The bubble gum has somehow succeeded to tobacco : Topps Chewing Gum becomes a leader in its market by using the previous distribution networks of a tobacco company. In 1952, Topps launches its first edition of baseball cards.
The project is ambitious and innovative. The image of the player, printed in beautiful colors, is accompanied by a fac simile of his autograph signature. The back side lists the statistics and feats of the player as well as personal information and laudatory comments.
No fewer than 407 players are selected and the production is performed in two runs. The second part starts at number 311 showing Mickey Mantle. It was the rookie year for this champion in the very prestigious New York Yankees team, making two more reasons to be interested in this card.
The fact that it is the first number in the second part is probably linked to his rapidly growing fame in 1952. His Topps card introduces him as the successor to Joe DiMaggio.
The second part of the 1952 Topps series is released too late, when the season is already over, and its sales are catastrophic. Topps did not insist and prepared the edition of the following year. Due to the highly detailed sports record information, the cards were obsolete from one season to another. In 1960, Topps destroyed its unsold stocks of the second part of the 1952 edition by drowning a barge into the Atlantic Ocean.
Three units of the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle have been graded Gem Mint 10 by PSA. One of them was sold for $ 275K by Superior Sports Auctions in June 2001.
On July 30 in Chicago, Heritage sells a card graded 8 by PSA (between Near Mint and Mint), lot 80016 estimated in excess of $ 200K.