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Mickey Mantle. . . Why so valuable?
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The Star Trek / Star Wars aspect is interesting because both have long histories in both trading cards and various entertainment vehicles.

It would seem to me that there probably is a 'best' Harrison Ford autograph as well as a best William Shatner autograph. Why isn't there a continuous discussion/consensus on what is the best card from an era?

These are the types of cards that I think should be celebrated in the hobby. While many other amazing cards were listed I think that if only 5 or 10 of a card are produced it is so unattainable that it falls into a different category.
 
Posts: 4091 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Scarcity doesn't necessarily lead to demand. If a card too limited, it won't have wide appeal. Many collectors won't even know that it exists to even know wheather or not they'll want it. An example from the baseball card world is Mike Trout's rookie card from 2011 Topps Update. It's a mass produced card, but it routinely sells for triple digits.
 
Posts: 415 | Location: Long Beach, CA | Registered: October 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Heroes For Hire:
Scarcity doesn't necessarily lead to demand. If a card too limited, it won't have wide appeal. Many collectors won't even know that it exists to even know wheather or not they'll want it. An example from the baseball card world is Mike Trout's rookie card from 2011 Topps Update. It's a mass produced card, but it routinely sells for triple digits.


Precisely, you can have something with great demand and price yourself out of it. The higher the price goes the more potential buyers will fall away. The more limited a card is, the fewer people even look for it. If there is real demand you can mass produce and its going to sell well and hold value. And the volume of sales will get makers way more money than what will come from selling a handful of "best" cards.
 
Posts: 6750 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow, I can't believe that this thread got this long before anyone (ME) pointed out that aside from the large number of vintage baseball card collectors who would be seeking a 1952 Topps card 311 (which was a double print in the short printed HI series in Topps' first baseball set), The Mick played for the NEW YORK Yankees. The cultural importance of the Yanks in NYC causes way more demand for this card than if he played for any other team.

As for the "media hype", it's no different that the hype around Action Comics #1 or Detective Comics #27. Sorry, but as great and relatively close knit as it is, the Non-Sport Card community simply pales in comparison to folks who collect sports cards and comics. The upside of this is that you can find plenty of 60+ year old sets that you can buy in great condition for peanuts.

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Posts: 1478 | Location: Tinley Park, Illinois, USA | Registered: May 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by igman7:
Wow, I can't believe that this thread got this long before anyone (ME) pointed out that aside from the large number of vintage baseball card collectors who would be seeking a 1952 Topps card 311 (which was a double print in the short printed HI series in Topps' first baseball set), The Mick played for the NEW YORK Yankees. The cultural importance of the Yanks in NYC causes way more demand for this card than if he played for any other team.


Yup, and regarding that double printing, during that time TOPPS would routinely destroy excess baseball card inventory as a practice. So there is that story that I have heard many times about how a warehouse full of '50s cards, including '52 Mantles, was cleared out in the '60s. They said the cards were dumped in the East River. I think that part could be an urban legend Wink , but I can believe that these cards were treated as only so much junk back then.

People don't realize that sport card collecting only got really organized and became widely popular in the latter half of the '70s. Sure there was always card collectors, but it wasn't a mainstream hobby, it wasn't an adult collectible and the dealer/buyer channels were few. It all changed when the money rolled in. Big Grin People suddenly saw value in old cards and, as I recall, it was the Don Mattingly rookies of '84 that sparked the gold rush on new year releases. It lasted a pretty long time before the bottom fell out, but high grade vintage managed to retain a fair value, as do those Mantles.
 
Posts: 6750 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by igman7:
Wow, I can't believe that this thread got this long before anyone (ME) pointed out that aside from the large number of vintage baseball card collectors who would be seeking a 1952 Topps card 311 (which was a double print in the short printed HI series in Topps' first baseball set), The Mick played for the NEW YORK Yankees. The cultural importance of the Yanks in NYC causes way more demand for this card than if he played for any other team.

As for the "media hype", it's no different that the hype around Action Comics #1 or Detective Comics #27. Sorry, but as great and relatively close knit as it is, the Non-Sport Card community simply pales in comparison to folks who collect sports cards and comics. The upside of this is that you can find plenty of 60+ year old sets that you can buy in great condition for peanuts.


Yes, that Yankees legacy does help. If Mickey Mantle played for New York Giants or Brooklyn Dodgers during that time, his cards prices might be more comparable to Willie Mays or Duke Snider. Great Hall of Fame players, but not the hobby icon that Mantle is.

Because of non-sport cards smaller collector base, the relative rarity seems very skewed. In comics, Captain Marvel's first appearance in 2012's Avenging Spider-Man #9 has print run of just over 37,000 and ungraded issue sell for over $100. But an autographed insert trading card with the same comic book image by the cover artist Terry Dodson from 2013 Fleer Retro Marvel (which there are probably less than 500) can had for $20.
 
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Originally posted by Heroes For Hire:
Because of non-sport cards smaller collector base, the relative rarity seems very skewed. In comics, Captain Marvel's first appearance in 2012's Avenging Spider-Man #9 has print run of just over 37,000 and ungraded issue sell for over $100. But an autographed insert trading card with the same comic book image by the cover artist Terry Dodson from 2013 Fleer Retro Marvel (which there are probably less than 500) can had for $20.


I've always wondered why the non-sport hobby hasn't grown more. The comic hobby is huge. The baseball card hobby is huge. Non-sport hobby is growing lately, but as you illustrate above so much smaller. (Which is really the basis of starting this thread -- how is it that long dead baseball players draw far more collectors and money than current, very well known A-List actors)

We've touched on some of the possible reasons, I think, but another may be entry level price point.

You can buy a comic for $3.99-4.99 and have a complete comic with a complete story that someone down the road may want to buy or read.

For the same $4-5 you can get a single pack of probably 5-10 entertainment cards. In basically 100% of the packs nearly all the cards will be entirely valueless. You won't have a complete anything and no one will want to buy your small handful of common cards. If you get a hit the narrative changes a bit. But, what, 20% of packs have a hit? In order to buy in a 'unit' that guarantees some value (i.e. a complete set, hits, etc) you have to buy a box, which costs about $100.

In sports cards you can always chase players, rookies, etc. There is a chance in every pack to get something you actually want regardless if you get a hit or not.
 
Posts: 4091 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I tend to agree that an individual sketch card can't be deemed a "holy grail" because of their unique nature. There needs to be enough of a card out there for multiple collectors to chase or they'll consider it unattainable and give up. But I do believe that a particular artist's work from certain set can yield some "white whales" for some collectors to look for. Here are some examples that I think Marvel sketch cards collectors might like adding to their PC:

1998 Marvel Silver Age - John Romita
I believe Romita did roughly 800 Sketchagraphs from this iconic set. Not extremely limited so adding one should be attainable for many collectors, but getting a particular character might prove to be a bit more challenge.

2007 Marvel Masterpieces - Nar
For Nar's first Marvel sketch set, he did 200 cards in Marvel Masterpieces return to the hobby. Many collectors also returned to the hobby with this set.

2016 Marvel Masterpieces - Joe Jusko
After drawing the cards for this set, Jusko also contributed 50 sketch cards. A tough challenge, but fans of the set probably would want to add one of his sketch cards.

The one sketch card that I think could possibly be a "holy grail" is the 1998 Silver Age Sketchagraph of Spider-Man by Stan Lee. He drew 100 virtually identical sketches of Spider-Man's face and added his signature on each one. Because of Stan Lee's transcendent personality more than just Marvel fans would probably like to add it to their PC.
 
Posts: 415 | Location: Long Beach, CA | Registered: October 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by webjon:
We've touched on some of the possible reasons, I think, but another may be entry level price point.

You can buy a comic for $3.99-4.99 and have a complete comic with a complete story that someone down the road may want to buy or read.

For the same $4-5 you can get a single pack of probably 5-10 entertainment cards. In basically 100% of the packs nearly all the cards will be entirely valueless. You won't have a complete anything and no one will want to buy your small handful of common cards. If you get a hit the narrative changes a bit. But, what, 20% of packs have a hit? In order to buy in a 'unit' that guarantees some value (i.e. a complete set, hits, etc) you have to buy a box, which costs about $100.

In sports cards you can always chase players, rookies, etc. There is a chance in every pack to get something you actually want regardless if you get a hit or not.


That's part of the problem when a non-sport set focusses on highlighting a episodic season. That high price point and then getting cards that not many people care about is definitely a concern. A card that says "Season 4, Epidsoe 11" and depicts a random a clip from that show with a few of the characters on there is not so appealing.

I believe that a hightlighted character from that epidsoe should be focus of the
base card front instead. The back of the card can follow the usual formula of letting us know that picture is from "Season 3, Homecoming" epidsoe. The "villain of the day" and when a new supporting characters are introduced (those could be like "rookie cards" for the set) along with the supporting characters, stars of shows, and guest stars would fill out the base card set.

Along with a few base cards, a pack need to have a couple different types of insert cards - whether it's a low-level base parallel, themed topic and/or numbered base parallel combined with mid-level holographic types - to go along with the high odds "hits" and material/prop cards and autographs to give a little more "value" to the cards coming out of those $4-$5 packs.
 
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Originally posted by webjon:

I've always wondered why the non-sport hobby hasn't grown more.



1. Cost...trading cards are way too expensive and stop most people from even starting.

2. Advertising....most people who watch the shows that non-sports cover have no idea that there are cards for the show. Imagine an advert running for the cards during the screening of an episode, never going to happen.

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Posts: 27558 | Location: wolverhampton staffs uk | Registered: July 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You guys are starting to sound like you are trying to reinvent the wheel here. Big Grin

You can't produce non-sport cards like sports cards. You can't make non-sport card collectors collect like sports card collectors do. They are two separate and distinct hobbies that have cardboard in common, but the subjects, and to a certain extent the accepted rules, are very different.

I could go into a long drawn out dissertation about this, but sports card talk may not be that welcome in a non-sport card forum. Enough to say that non-sport collectors have traditionally been closer to title focused set builders who were in it more for the enjoyment than the monetary or investment aspect of the hobby. The non-sport hobby has not grown because, in attempting to upgrade to what worked in sports cards to non-sport cards, established reliable collectors cut back or dropped out without attracting a more sizable or even comparable number of new collectors. I think that's it in a nutshell, we are losing more than we are gaining from it all, and yes cost is the #1 factor.

I might also add that, if you look at it properly, the current state of sports cards is a shadow of its peak market too, but there are still a large number of sports fans and sports cards are more readily available and marketed at the retail level.
 
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Funko Pop figures seem to be doing pretty well with the same subject matter as non-sport cards. The production runs are usually in the thousands for individual figures (consider baseball stadium giveaways were 20,000 and convention exclusives are usually around 1,000). Of course, the more popular characters from shows like "Buffy" and "Lost" sell better than the supporting/fringe characters to the casual collector but fans of the shows pick them up. If trading cards are made in ways that make for a nice display, would fans of those shows buy them in numbers like Funko Pop figure also?
 
Posts: 415 | Location: Long Beach, CA | Registered: October 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I personally did not know about Funko Pops until they started to show up in mass at a diverse range of retail stores. I think the collector market for these figures was on the down low side until the retail end exploded. Once they hit the general public they took off, but it wasn't just for collectors anymore. I've seen adults and children buying them and people are putting them on office desks and shelves. They are gitchy and most importantly, they are really cheap for the non-exclusive figures. I can't see how the overproduction of Funkos is not going to kill off the demand eventually.

So while many of these figures may appear on trading cards, I don't see any way to draw a comparison between them and cards as display material. You can always mount cards to a picture backing or include them in a case with related things, if that is your goal.

I just can't get that excited about Funkos. They are cheap toys that all look pretty much the same to me, except for some occasionally clever accessories. But need I add that the cheap part really helps if you are so inclined. Wink
 
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Originally posted by Raven:
I personally did not know about Funko Pops until they started to show up in mass at a diverse range of retail stores. I think the collector market for these figures was on the down low side until the retail end exploded. Once they hit the general public they took off, but it wasn't just for collectors anymore. I've seen adults and children buying them and people are putting them on office desks and shelves. They are gitchy and most importantly, they are really cheap for the non-exclusive figures. I can't see how the overproduction of Funkos is not going to kill off the demand eventually.

So while many of these figures may appear on trading cards, I don't see any way to draw a comparison between them and cards as display material. You can always mount cards to a picture backing or include them in a case with related things, if that is your goal.

I just can't get that excited about Funkos. They are cheap toys that all look pretty much the same to me, except for some occasionally clever accessories. But need I add that the cheap part really helps if you are so inclined. Wink


And that is a part of the problem for the lack of growth of non-sports cards, it has never found a way to make that jump from collectors to the general public buying them. Those cheap toys that look pretty much the same took the same source material and is popular for pretty much just displaying on office desks and shelves. Maybe if the packs of cards included a cardboard easel or something to help display them that could help. The general public doesn't want to take time out and go to a hobby store just to buy some Ultra Pro card cases, pages, or albums for their cards to be displayed. Funko Pop figures are already boxed and ready for display right after you pay $9.99 for them. As it is now most trading cards after they are freed from their $2.99 pack just sit in a box hardly ever being seen and enjoyed.
 
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I get your point HH, but we are stuck with the physical trading card, and we can't make a paper weight out of it.

Perhaps what you are proposing is a combination of card and Funko, which would not be a bad idea. Its not new to have a cut out card as part as the back packaging. McFarlane sports figures put cards with the figures and the cards were collected on their own accord. So that might be a way for a TOPPS or UD to increase the visibility of their card products by striking a deal with Funko to include a licensed card that matched the figure. Don't know if any of them would try it, but it couldn't hurt. Wink
 
Posts: 6750 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Raven:
You guys are starting to sound like you are trying to reinvent the wheel here. Big Grin

You can't produce non-sport cards like sports cards. You can't make non-sport card collectors collect like sports card collectors do. They are two separate and distinct hobbies that have cardboard in common, but the subjects, and to a certain extent the accepted rules, are very different.

I could go into a long drawn out dissertation about this, but sports card talk may not be that welcome in a non-sport card forum. Enough to say that non-sport collectors have traditionally been closer to title focused set builders who were in it more for the enjoyment than the monetary or investment aspect of the hobby. The non-sport hobby has not grown because, in attempting to upgrade to what worked in sports cards to non-sport cards, established reliable collectors cut back or dropped out without attracting a more sizable or even comparable number of new collectors. I think that's it in a nutshell, we are losing more than we are gaining from it all, and yes cost is the #1 factor.

I might also add that, if you look at it properly, the current state of sports cards is a shadow of its peak market too, but there are still a large number of sports fans and sports cards are more readily available and marketed at the retail level.


I think entertainment cards can be produced like sports cards, and I see plenty of examples of it happening -- i.e. Pop Century, Agent Carter, etc.

And while you can't force entertainment card collectors (who refuse to evolve how they collect) into the sports card collector style of collecting you can't stop the sports collectors from buying non-sport cards -- and they are. The hobby may be losing non-sport collectors, but it is gaining (in some instances) sports collectors. Companies can capitalize on that or they can continue to cater to traditional entertainment card collectors who mostly refuse to spend more than $5 on a 90 card set.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: webjon,
 
Posts: 4091 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Heroes For Hire:
Maybe if the packs of cards included a cardboard easel or something to help display them that could help. The general public doesn't want to take time out and go to a hobby store just to buy some Ultra Pro card cases, pages, or albums for their cards to be displayed. Funko Pop figures are already boxed and ready for display right after you pay $9.99 for them. As it is now most trading cards after they are freed from their $2.99 pack just sit in a box hardly ever being seen and enjoyed.


Love the outside the box (no pun intended) thinking. . .

Taking this a step further, what if there was just 1 card per pack and it came in a one-touch magnetic case, I think some of those have stands or stand on their own.

You could use your previous idea about focusing on characters and have a small set of really nice character cards from a show. The series could be really small like 10 cards or something, and I'm also thinking these probably wouldn't be a 'blind buy,' you'd know what you were getting when you bought it. The item would need to stand on it's own as something someone would want to buy. Obviously that breaks the mold of how cards are currently purchased, but you could still do traditional packs too. . . These 'retail' exclusive cards could be included as chase cards in the hobby wax.
 
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Originally posted by webjon:
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Originally posted by Raven:
You guys are starting to sound like you are trying to reinvent the wheel here. Big Grin

You can't produce non-sport cards like sports cards. You can't make non-sport card collectors collect like sports card collectors do. They are two separate and distinct hobbies that have cardboard in common, but the subjects, and to a certain extent the accepted rules, are very different.

I could go into a long drawn out dissertation about this, but sports card talk may not be that welcome in a non-sport card forum. Enough to say that non-sport collectors have traditionally been closer to title focused set builders who were in it more for the enjoyment than the monetary or investment aspect of the hobby. The non-sport hobby has not grown because, in attempting to upgrade to what worked in sports cards to non-sport cards, established reliable collectors cut back or dropped out without attracting a more sizable or even comparable number of new collectors. I think that's it in a nutshell, we are losing more than we are gaining from it all, and yes cost is the #1 factor.

I might also add that, if you look at it properly, the current state of sports cards is a shadow of its peak market too, but there are still a large number of sports fans and sports cards are more readily available and marketed at the retail level.


I think entertainment cards can be produced like sports cards, and I see plenty of examples of it happening -- i.e. Pop Century, Agent Carter, etc.

And while you can't force entertainment card collectors (who refuse to evolve how they collect) into the sports card collector style of collecting you can't stop the sports collectors from buying non-sport cards -- and they are. The hobby may be losing non-sport collectors, but it is gaining (in some instances) sports collectors. Companies can capitalize on that or they can continue to cater to traditional entertainment card collectors who mostly refuse to spend more than $5 on a 90 card set.


First of all, I collected plain old sports cards for many years before turning to autograph cards and before switching to non-sport cards and non-sport autographs. I know something about the subject and I have no idea why you sight Pop Century and Agent Carter as examples of being produced as sports cards. In what way?

Pop Century is a hodge-podge set bought mainly for the chance of pulling good autographs out of a bunch of common autographs. Agent Carter was a limited, exclusively released product that was never boxed and was sold out immediately. Neither one follows the principals of sports card collecting as far as I can see. Maybe we are debating two different arguments.

Perhaps what you are talking about is products more likely to attract flippers. Flippers are not card collectors, not for sports cards or non-sport cards. This has nothing to do with comparing the collecting principles of these two distinct hobbies.

Secondly, the non-sport card hobby has certainly evolved and the non-sport card collector has certainly evolved. Just because you have been doing it for a long time does not mean you are resistant to change. There is a great argument to be made that non-sport cards are better now then they have ever been. But with that has come change that isn't good for some collectors. If you believe in the doom and gloom people, the hobby is dying because it costs too much. Yes that is the main reason. It's not that non-sport collectors are cheap and only want $5 base sets. It's that they can't spend $120 on a box and find the same contents on eBay for under $40.

Finally, there is no great influx of sports card collectors into the non-sport hobby. If there was the hobby would be booming and we wouldn't be discussing ways to make it popular. There are some card collectors who do both, but they are generally in one camp or the other and just cross for a product or two. The average card collector can't afford to be in too many places at the same time and sports card people stick with sports. There are way more of them, the retail is way more and the major sports leagues ensure a constant churning of interest with new heroes every day. How is that not radically different than the kind of interest you can drum up with non-sport titles and hobby distribution?

Even with that, the sports card hobby has dramatically shrunk since its peak market period. It has shed a ton of collectors too because of the pricing and the abundance of high end products that flippers love.

If non-sport card manufacturers think they can save the hobby by catering to flippers they can go right ahead and try. Every flipper has to sell to a collector or they make nothing. The non-evolving penny-pinching non-sport card collectors are not getting with the program, let's blame it on them. Big Grin

Nah, I don't think so. Smile

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Raven,
 
Posts: 6750 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I used Pop Century and Agent Carter as examples as they are both recent releases in which every card in the set stands on its own. There are other older examples as well like Americana, Panini Century Collection, Celebrity Cuts, etc.

As you said -- sports card collectors cross in to non-sport cards for a product or two here and there. And those products always sell out and the hits always increase in value.

Agent Carter sold out instantly, and Pop Century always sells out and boxes of Pop Century are never dumped.
 
Posts: 4091 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Webjon asked "Mickey Mantle ... Why so valuelable?" to start this thread. That's a good question. Of all the great baseball players that has played Major League Baseball (MLB), why is Mickey Mantle the one that is so valued?

I believe the question was mainly directed towards Mantle's 1952 Topps card, but also encompassed vintage baseball cards in general. And Raven hit it on the head by pointing out that people with the means to purchase them have decided to outbid each other to acquire those vintage cards.

Mickey Mantle's other Topps cards during his playing days are popular also (not to the extent of the 1952 Topps ... that card is in a class of its own). Upper Deck had an autograph and trading card deal with Mantle for years. Shortly after his passing, Topps reprinted his cards as an insert set that was popular in 1996 products. In 2017, Panini even acquire the exclusive rights to make Mantle trading cards and they don't have have the rights to include MLB logos on them. The "Mickey Mantle brand" is strong in baseball cards. Why Mantle and not other Hall of Fame players?

Think of baseball like a shared universe like the Arrowverse or the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) ... it's all connected. Some collectors want all the players that hit over 500 home runs, others want all the players that have won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards, World Series and so on. Mantle checks off a lot of the boxes that various baseball card collectors look to collect.

Then there's the New York and the Yankees factor as igman7 poignantly brought up. There's Yankees fans that want all of their great players And why not? That franchise has a lineage of greats ... Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Roger Maris (you know that his baseball card was in an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation?), Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter, and so. If Mantle played for the New York Giants or the Brooklyn Dodgers, his popularity might be on par with Willie Mays and Duke Snider. Great Hall of Fame players, but not the hobby icon that Mickey Mantle is.

Add to that the popularity of baseball cards started to take off in the late 1970's in to 1980's just as baby boomers had to means to go back and re-purchase those cards of their youth as catskilleagle pointed out. Mickey Mantle was the star during many of collector's youth. Those collectors passed on their collecting experiences to the next generation. So even though Mantle hasn't played in over 2 generations the stories are there to be shared and compared to with the current generations of baseball fans and collectors.

Which then leads to back Raven's mob mentality and circular logic theories on the popularity of the 1952 Topps Mantle and lack of demand for deserving cards and autographs.

Anyone noticed what I did there? I circled back and incorporated the word "circular logic" also Smile Just so I can end my post by pointing out that I tried to recap the thread while pointing out why Mantle is such a baseball card hobby icon.
 
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