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  #1  
Old 03-26-2011, 08:49 AM
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Jarrod
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Default Better Investment: '51 Bowman Mantle or '52 Topps Mantle?

I really like the '51 Bowman Mantle, as it's his true rookie card. Also, you can get a lot more card for the money (a PSA 3 for $2000-2500). I'd like to know which would hold better investment potential in the long run?

A '52 Topps, it would be a PSA 1 or A at best, whereas one could get a 3 (or better) in the '51 Bowman. However, the Topps is such an iconic card, I feel it may appreciate more or at least hold it's value better over time.

Thoughts?

Last edited by scmavl; 02-19-2012 at 09:07 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-26-2011, 01:20 PM
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I have neither card currently. I would think that a PSA1 '52 Topps Mantle holds a very limited potential for appreciation unless it is a "1" only in technical sense and has the appearance of a much better card. In that instance though you are not going to buy it for PSA1 money most likely. I think that the Topps will always be the most iconic of the the two because you can't rewrite history at this point but you may have a better chance for appreciation as a percentage of investment with a clean looking
"3" in the '51B.
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  #3  
Old 03-26-2011, 02:26 PM
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all due respect to Jeff, I have to disagree. A PSA 1 will typically bring anywhere from 10-15% of what the card books for raw in NM, in the case of the '52 topps Mantle a PSA 1 is gonna go in the $3k range (actually seen a few go right around there and they looked like someone had crumpled it up and played office basketball with it.)

If you look at the value histories of the two, the '52 Mantle has seen significant 'growth' in terms of its value where the '51 Bowman has remained more stable. So from a purely investment standpoint with hope of future appreciation of value, I'd probably go with the '52. However, as a true collector its a crapshoot because both have their own 'mystique'

Just my two cents
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:17 PM
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No offense taken, believe me. I may be all wet. What you are betting on is that there will continue to be an increasing number of people who feel the compulsion to own this iconic card so much that it will continue to drive the price even for a ragged out copy. Long term there "may" be more "rookie" card collectors that may drive the Bowman as much or more. There is no doubt that the '52 Topps will always carry a mystique that the Bowman will never approach. At some point IMO that may matter less than it does today comparatively. I have owned both cards in the past and if I had to pick one I would prefer the Topps. But if my choice were a PSA1 Topps or a PSA3 or better Bowman for the same coin and the PSA1 Topps looked like a derserving PSA1, I going Bowman.
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Old 03-26-2011, 07:45 PM
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I'd go for the 51, I believe the mystique of the 52 Mantle might fade a bit when the generation of collectors who were around when he played are gone, then his true rookie should gain greater value. But if a 52 is what you always wanted then go for it!
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:45 PM
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Default 52

52--big is better, it's all about the image that's all that matters. also i haven't looked at the pop report but i would guess there are many more 51 bowmans than 52 topps mantles so in that sense supply is always on the side of the 52 not to mention demand too....
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Old 03-27-2011, 02:19 AM
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Yeah, I wonder what the pop report does show. After all, the '52 card, despite being a high number, was double printed, whereas the '51 Bowman was a single-print. Then again, the pop report would simply reflect greater numbers of cards graded, based on popularity, rather than the actual numbers in existence.
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:50 AM
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Found an answer. It appears more '51s have been graded. From PSA:

1,150 copies of Mantle's '51 Bowman rookie card have passed under the magnifying glass at PSA and 46 PSA 8s and nine PSA 9s have resulted, along with a solitary PSA 10 example. Contrast these numbers with his 1952 Topps rookie, which has been graded 924 times and awarded 29 PSA 8s, one PSA 8.5, seven PSA 9s, and three Gem Mint 10s.

Last edited by scmavl; 03-27-2011 at 08:37 AM.
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  #9  
Old 03-27-2011, 08:55 AM
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Default Investment

$2,000+ can be better invested elsewhere, especially in far more rare, significant pre-WWII cards. As of this date, PSA had graded a total of 1,261 '51 Mantles, with 129 3's, and 855 in higher grades. It had also graded a total of 1,014 '52 Mantles, with 142 1's and 823 in higher grades. My research indicates that the '51 Bowman in that grade hasn't even doubled in the last 15 years (it looks like it might have earned around 4.5% compounded annually, maybe; while the '52 may have earned 5-6%). While these figures aren't bad compared to a savings account, etc., there are a lot of pre-war cards that have done much, much better, and will probably continue to do so.

If you want either card because its an iconic Mantle, and connects you to him and takes you back to his earliest days with the Yankees, buy it to enjoy it--that's the heart of the hobby--but there are far, far better investments to be made. See if you can find a 1923-1924 Exhibit Ruth even in low grade; a '58 Kahn's Clemente, a card PSA had graded just 4 of at last look; a 1931-32 Exhibit Ruth from the movie stars set, a wonderful portrait, which the Standard Catalog terms the rarest Exhibit Ruth (I believe Rob Lifson is on record as stating there are probably less than 10 in existence, and PSA has graded just 3. Exhibitman states the '23-'24 Exhibit Ruth is even tougher, and he would know); 1907 Wolverine News Cobb; or either 1907 Dietsche Cobb rookies ( with batting and fielding poses. PSA has graded < 22 1907Batting pose Cobbs in all grades total, with that number being up just 5 in the last three years or so, and just 5 of the Fielding pose Cobbs, each of which are true rookies). Exhibit Gehrigs from the '20's are also quite scarce to downright rare, with a lot more upside than a lower grade Mick. I say this despite being one of the Mick's greatest fans. If you really want a Mantle with a lot of potential, try to find a '55 Postcard Back Exhibit, bearing the legend "Made in USA" at the bottom right. It appears to be an extremely rare card at this point, and that legend indicates it was orignally printed in his rookie era, '51-'53, then reissued in 1955. PSA has graded just 8 '55 Exhibit Postcard Backs total to date, and no Mantles. Other Mantles with seemingly more potential from an investment standpoint include the '53-'55 Dormand, bat on shoulder pose in NMt (a truly beautiful card, with literally only a handful in ex-mt or better), or the '59 Bazooka graded at least PSA 6 (not hand-cut inside the dotted lines, which yields a grade of authentic).

Past performance is not guarantee of future performance, however, and you personally have to use your own best judgment.

Best of luck in your investing,

Larry

Last edited by ls7plus; 03-27-2011 at 01:11 PM.
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  #10  
Old 03-27-2011, 02:07 PM
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Larry,
Thanks for your insight, it really gave me something to think about. I wanted a Mantle to both enjoy and to hopefully have as an appreciating investment. I wouldn't be interested in a Cobb simply because I'm not a fan of the man himself. Do you think most mid-grade or better Ruths will continue to appreciate?
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