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Mickey Mantle. . . Why so valuable?
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Gold Card Talk Member
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. . . and what does that have to do with non-sport cards. . .

I've been pondering this for a while now. . .

First, clearly there is a much larger collector base for sports cards.

That said I've always kind of been in awe that old baseball cards sell for so much.

Recently a guy posted that a small scratch on an Eddie Plank t206 card saved him over $50,000. $50,000?!?!? For Eddie who?

Eddie Plank hasn't played baseball in over 100 years (I looked him up on Wikipedia).

Mantle hasn't played in 2 generations yet his cards also sell for obscene amounts of money.

The folks who collect vintage baseball cards seem to think that these types of values will continue forever. . . but why?

No one collecting today ever watched Eddie Plank play. . . and Mantle hasn't played in 50 years.

When I was first collecting I wanted Mikey Mantle cards so badly. I never got one. But why did I want one? I never saw him play, I wasn't a fan of whatever team he played for. . .

Ultimately I think I wanted on because it seemed like every 2nd or third baseball card magazine I picked up talked about how great the 52 Topps Mantle card was -- how it was the holy grail, or crown jewel, or some other such superlative. Looking at PSA population reports there are over 1000 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards graded. . . That's not particularly rare compared to lots of non-sport cards over the last 20 years.

For whatever reason we don't really see companies or people talking about fantastic older non-sport cards. Sure there are some exceptions like GPK and Mars Attacks, but I'm really thinking about celebrities -- specifically autographs since that's one of my collecting focuses. . . There have been some amazing autographs in non-sport cards. A-List celebrities, Presidents, world famous musicians. . .

For some reason I don't see anyone saying they saved $50,000 on Johnny Depp autograph. Just about everyone alive today is familiar with him. . . I'd bet less than 5% of the people I know could tell me who Eddie Plank was. There are about 70 T206 Eddie Plank cards graded by PSA -- so fairly rare (probably roughly in line with Depp's autograph, I'd imagine). The cheapest Plank Graded card according to the price guide is $27,500.

Mid grade Mantle rookies price out at $40K.

Will collectors and publications realize how many non-sport gems exist today and drive the demand (and prices) up, and if not -- why not? Why isn't there hobby wide reverence for some of these fantastic cards? Or is the hobby just to small to make a difference?
 
Posts: 4053 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picasso . . . why so valuable? Banksy . . . why so valuable? Honus Wagner T206 . . .why so valuable?

Because a bunch of wealthy people decided that they wanted them and are willing to pay as much as necessary to outbid each other and get them. Who in their right mind would pay over a million dollars for Banksy's not terrific art? And then when the thing gets shredded, it's worth even more? Come on, I wouldn't give you $20 bucks for it. Big Grin

But the thing is, common sense is not required for anything bought as a personal collectible or a collectible investment. These markets are mob driven when it comes to the monetary value. People talk about supply and demand, but it is really only demand and supply filters into it as a secondary factor. You can have only 20 of something, but if only 5 people want it, it will never appreciate in value and will probably go on sale. On the other hand you can have a 1000 Mantle TOPPS rookies and if 10,000 rich guys want one, that card will hold value and rise accordingly.

Current collectible markets, which all follow the same basic principals regardless of the items involved, are built around the idea of artificial scarcity. But the truth is that making it limited does not make it valuable or make it more likely to hold value. It must be in demand first and demand does not have to make any sense. Its circular logic. People want something because other people want it, so they must want it too.

I might add that such thinking is not just limited to collectibles. The mob mentality works for the kind of phones people have, the places they shop, the way they eat, everything really. Sometimes the only thing that restrains people from doing utterly stupid things is that they don't have enough money for it. That's a good thing a lot of times, for a lot of easily influenced people.

So without going into a long post detailing why the Mantle card is so valuable while more deserving cards and autographs are not, I'll just forgo all the arguments and say because it is. Wink
 
Posts: 6638 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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OR in fewer words

It is what it is Big Grin

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Posts: 1410 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: October 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by JOHN LEVITT:
OR in fewer words

It is what it is Big Grin


Raven

Apologies it was my 1400th post so it needed to be silly!

regards

John

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Posts: 1410 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: October 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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John, congrats on reaching 1,400 posts! Metal
 
Posts: 398 | Location: Long Beach, CA | Registered: October 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, with regard to Mantle, he's considered to be one of the Top 10 baseball players of all time, along side Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, people like that

So that is why his card is valuable

With movie stars, however, it is more subjective as people today under the age of 30 could probably care less about actors of the Golden Age. In 20 years or less, people will probably feel the same way about Johnny Depp

Think about how many "hot" stars there were, even in recent memory, whose glow has diminished. Are people still in awe over John Travolta, Molly Ringwald, and Val Kilmer, for example ? Even folks like Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Brad Pitt, and Ben Affleck have faded, to various extents
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Tommy C:
With movie stars, however, it is more subjective as people today under the age of 30 could probably care less about actors of the Golden Age. In 20 years or less, people will probably feel the same way about Johnny Depp


I understand what you are saying, and I agree. . .

The fact that that the same lack of interest doesn't follow certain baseball players/cards is what I find odd. And actually I personally think that over time these vintage cards will fade significantly in value. After all baseball isn't nearly as popular as it was just a few decades ago, and Mantle stopped playing 2 generations ago now.

Perhaps it is because baseball is more of a continuous thing, and to some degree you can compare Mantle to modern players. . .

I personally think that the near continuous media coverage of the 1952 Topps Mantle and other rare vintage cards in the hobby is a big reason that it is so sought after, and I also think if there was a media focus on some of the great non-sport cards they'd be much more sought after than they are.
 
Posts: 4053 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by JOHN LEVITT:
quote:
Originally posted by JOHN LEVITT:
OR in fewer words

It is what it is Big Grin


Raven

Apologies it was my 1400th post so it needed to be silly!

regards

John


That would be another way of saying it, but I'm trying to get paid by the word. Big Grin Keep those posts coming. Smile

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Raven,
 
Posts: 6638 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by webjon:
I personally think that the near continuous media coverage of the 1952 Topps Mantle and other rare vintage cards in the hobby is a big reason that it is so sought after, and I also think if there was a media focus on some of the great non-sport cards they'd be much more sought after than they are.


I would certainly agree that everything needs hype, it's that mob driven mentality again. However the collecting mind set between sports cards and non-sport cards is very different. If you ever have been involved with both, you'll know exactly what I mean. I can't think of one single vintage non-sport card that is so iconic by itself that it could be compared to the '52 Mantle, or even his '51 Bowman rookie. Mars #1 maybe, but that would be purely visual, its a base card in an iconic set.

Surely no modern non-sport card could be compared, not even one of the expensive super short premium hits. Not even a certified autograph. Not even a sketch. They are all manufactured collectibles with artificial scarcity. The market is being flooded with the accumulation of short prints.

So just out of curiosity, and since you started the topic, what single non-sport card would you propose as being comparable in esteem and worth to the Mantle '52 TOPPS or even his '51 Bowman rookie? What might be the Wagner T206 of the non-sport world? Never having been a vintage non-sport card collector, I would be interested to know where the media focus would be if it existed.
 
Posts: 6638 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Raven:
So just out of curiosity, and since you started the topic, what single non-sport card would you propose as being comparable in esteem and worth to the Mantle '52 TOPPS or even his '51 Bowman rookie? What might be the Wagner T206 of the non-sport world? Never having been a vintage non-sport card collector, I would be interested to know where the media focus would be if it existed.


I'm not much of a vintage collector but I would guess the 1959 Fleer Three Stooges card #1 of Curly would be up there in non-sport Mantle-type popularity. PSA values it at $47,500 in a MINT 9 grade. But my sleeper pick is not even vintage. I think the Artbox POA Update triple Harry Potter autograph has the chance to go up quite a bit as time goes on. And it's already worth a lot now. I love that card and wish I owned one. A truly iconic card and the best of the modern/autograph era in my opinion.
 
Posts: 1619 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: September 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, and he's also the most recently-retired of the old legends. If you were a kid and collected cards when he retired in 1968, you might feel more of a connection to him than to Ruth, Wagner, Gehrig, or Williams because you saw him play.

There were baseball card shows in the 70's but they started becoming more of a big deal in the 80's as the kids of the 60's settled into their careers. Baseball card collecting was becoming at least partly a business for many collectors just as dealers became more serious as well. I think the first price guide I saw was published in 1982. People were focusing on the condition by then as older superstar cards in great condition were truly scarce. Some collectors just wanted to find some of the cards they either didn't get as a kid or they wanted to replace all the ones "Mom threw out." A lot of those kids of the 60's are still chasing Mantle cards so they hold their value.

I'm a little too young to remember Mantle playing (saw him later in commercials and on shows). The first baseball card I got was a 1972 Kellogg's 3D Lou Brock right out of the box and the first packs I bought were '73 Topps. I was pretty much out of sports cards by 1982 but picked up some cards in the 90's when I got back into non-sports. In the mid-90's I was tempted to buy a 1969 Topps Mantle that looked to be at least near-mint. It was maybe $250 at the time but I passed.


quote:
Originally posted by Tommy C:
Well, with regard to Mantle, he's considered to be one of the Top 10 baseball players of all time, along side Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, people like that

So that is why his card is valuable

With movie stars, however, it is more subjective as people today under the age of 30 could probably care less about actors of the Golden Age. In 20 years or less, people will probably feel the same way about Johnny Depp

Think about how many "hot" stars there were, even in recent memory, whose glow has diminished. Are people still in awe over John Travolta, Molly Ringwald, and Val Kilmer, for example ? Even folks like Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Brad Pitt, and Ben Affleck have faded, to various extents
 
Posts: 651 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Originally posted by webjon:

The fact that that the same lack of interest doesn't follow certain baseball players/cards is what I find odd. And actually I personally think that over time these vintage cards will fade significantly in value. After all baseball isn't nearly as popular as it was just a few decades ago, and Mantle stopped playing 2 generations ago now.

Perhaps it is because baseball is more of a continuous thing, and to some degree you can compare Mantle to modern players. . .


Sports players are more evergreen as they're still talked about like you said when modern players are compared to old players. Younger fans are raised knowing who the greats were whether it's by their parents, at the ballpark, or in any sports publication.
 
Posts: 1254 | Location: NJ | Registered: August 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Ted Dastick Jr.:
Sports players are more evergreen as they're still talked about like you said when modern players are compared to old players. Younger fans are raised knowing who the greats were whether it's by their parents, at the ballpark, or in any sports publication.


That is another interesting point -- baseball cards and baseball are forever linked in ways that entertainment cards and entertainment are not.

You never see Entertainment Weekly taking about entertainment cards, but every time you go to a ball game they are talking about baseball cards of some sort. . .
 
Posts: 4053 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Raven:

They are all manufactured collectibles with artificial scarcity.


I think that a lot of non-sport cards have actual scarcity because the hobby is so small.

I also think that if older modern non-sport cards start to take off in popularity at all there is a very real possibility that some cards could skyrocket because not a lot are produced.

As far as a non-sport holy grail card to compare to Mantle -- I'm not sure I'm the right guy to have an opinion on that.
 
Posts: 4053 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When it comes to an autographed insert cards in the non-sports, I can't really think of an iconic release that captures the imagination of the hobby as "the one" to have in a personal collection.
I believe part of the "problem" is that there doesn't seem to be a premium placed on a celebrity's first certified autographed card like there is on rookie year autographed cards in sports cards. If someone wants to add an autograph insert card to their collection, they're very likely to pick up the most affordable version available. I have heard fellow collectors lament why pay more if you don't have to. It seems like with each autograph card release, the demand pool is diluted a little more. If I wanted a Stan Lee auto card, is there quintessential one to get? If I wanted a Leonard Nimoy Star Trek auto card, should I get one from 1999, 2009, or 2018? They all seem to blend together because of lack of hype place on any particular card.
 
Posts: 398 | Location: Long Beach, CA | Registered: October 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There was some hype on the Sean Connery die cut auto in the 2017 Bond set by Rittenhouse

Some have speculated that around 40 or so were made. A few have sold in the $ 1500 range on ebay, but still alot remain unsold. You can always see a half dozen up for auction
 
Posts: 2044 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I should imagine that some of the 1/1 cards will attract a scarcity value. Note that it is also rumoured that some promotional cards have been produced in numbers less than 3. There is also the ET card where only 6 were produced.

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Posts: 1410 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: October 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I can't count manufactured 1/1s, or 1/5s, or 1/10's or one of a kind sketch cards as being comparable to what we might call "Mantle card status". Within the sports fan community the name Mantle has an automatic recognition, whither you were alive when he played or not. So does Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Joe Jackson, Honus Wagner, Roger Maris, among many others.

That creates demand for all of their trading cards, if they had them. Some of those cards were rare from the beginning due to factors that had nothing to do with holding value. Indeed early tobacco cards were just free extras. TOPPS baseball cards were always wildly overproduced and high numbers in the final series were short printed only in the sense that they were mildly overproduced. Big Grin

These cards were not made as collectibles, just as bonuses and kid's trading games. The sports card collectibles market only truly began to develop in the 1970's as a popular hobby. I would date the non-sport card market really kicking in maybe as much as 20 years later, although there were plenty of vintage non-sport made prior. Even today many of these of 40, 50 and 60 year old and older cards have nowhere near the rarity of our artificially scarce new non-sport releases. There are plenty of Mantles out there. What you don't have is a lot of high-grade Mantles. What these vintage cards in general lack is high-grade copies because many were destroyed and most of the survivors were not handled very well.

Vintage cards, be it sport or non-sport, became valuable because the demand surpassed the available supply naturally and the card condition became the biggest factor. The card manufacturers of today have tried to duplicate that by making cards of what they deem high demand subjects in as short a supply as possible, which ensures that what few do exist will stay mint.

Not the same thing at all. Sure those new rare cards will go for big money in the one or two times they may come up for sale, but the selling is so infrequent that many can't even be priced in a guide. The demand is there, but it also isn't, because 99% of normal collectors are not actively involved in looking for a high value card that has only a handful of copies. And they didn't get that way naturally, so from a purist's point of view it's all artificial.
 
Posts: 6638 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Besides the number of collectors (There are a lot more sports card collectors than non-sport card collectors), I think the difference is that non-sports cards are mostly based on time related subjects. Add to the fact that non-sports collectors tend to have shows / movies / actors they like and don't seem to stray from these means that there it harder to maintain long term interest or value. Ask a non-sports card collector who is a Star Trek Fan and he may say I would love to have a William Shatner Auto, but somebody who is a Star Wars Fan could care less about that and would love to have a Harrison Ford Auto. Same for TV Shows like Buffy or Lost. Most collectors have their favorite, and don't really care about others. Also, as somebody else mentioned, there is not really a set or manufacturer that is the holy grail. So I Ford Auto from Star Wars (any set) or Indiana Jones, or maybe a Pop Century are all seen as the same. Add to the fact that Sports players have a much shorter career and usually do not have new cards being produced year after year make the ones that were produced more special. If TOPPS were to add a auto card of Derek Jeter or other recently retired players in each and every new set they produce, the value of these would be low.

Recently talked to somebody who mentioned he felt the Non Sports Card Community was soft and not as cutthroat about their cards. He said that most Sport Card collectors look at things as a investment and non-sports card collectors look at things as a hobby. So maybe that also has something to do with it.
 
Posts: 239 | Location: Califon, NJ | Registered: October 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by AWR:

most Sport Card collectors look at things as a investment and non-sports card collectors look at things as a hobby.



I for one like the sound of that. Thumb Up

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