1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Rookie Highlights Grandpa's Shoebox Collection from Canada

Shoebox of Treasures Hidden Under Grandpa's Pickles
  • June 09, 2021

When Darren's grandpa passed away, his grandma found a box of old sports cards in the cold room of their Canadian home, on a shelf underneath the pickles. Upon discovering the cards, Grandma mixed up all the cards randomly into three different shoeboxes for the grandkids.   Forgotten for years, Darren's wife opened the box recently to find one of the most iconic baseball cards of all-time: a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie.  See the card hiding amongst pickles for years and learn how you could sell your vintage cards safely and easily not only from Canada but from anywhere in the world.


Darren's wife, Andrea, reached out to me from Canada on the FREE APPRAISAL  section of Just Collect.com, where, as you guessed it - I offer free appraisals on your collection.  I was hooked from the first line: "My husband’s grandpa had a shoe box of old baseball cards in his cold room -like the shelf underneath the canned pickles."   How could you not be intrigued after reading that...


Darren's grandpa collected cards and when he passed away, his wife divided up the collection and randomly placed cards sporadically into three new shoeboxes to pass down to the grandkids. The shoebox given to Darren and his wife sat for about 15 years.  When Andrea opened up the box, she found a nice mixture of baseball and hockey cards from the 1950's and 1960's, including a card she recognized quite well.  A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie was hiding in Grandpa's Shoebox Collection from Canada!







The 1952 Topps Mantle is valuable in any condition and was such a majority of the value of the collection I sent the Mantle to PSA first for grading to ensure it's final grade (we were certain it would grade either a PSA 1 or PSA Authentic) so I could make Darren and Andrea a fair offer for their family's card collection.  PSA is one of the top professional grading companies that not only grades your cards on a scale of 1 to 10 but also researches your cards to make sure they are authentic. To learn more about card grading, we have information and a video for you HERE.  PSA gave the Mantle rookie card a grade of 1.  Despite the low grade, this Mantle card is still VERY desirable. There are only 1,759 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards graded on the PSA population report. What makes this card such a hot commodity? Let's take a look into Mick's rookie and the three-known GEM MINT PSA 10 copies!


Mickey Mantle's 1952 Topps baseball card is arguably the most iconic card ever made.  Mickey Mantle had an incredible baseball career that resulted in 7 World Series titles for the Yankees, 3 MVP awards, and enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  You can check out Mantle's storied career HERE.

Mantle's rookie card is not only valuable due to his play on the field but the rarity of the card also drives the value.  Sitting at card #311 in the 1952 Topps baseball set, the Mick is considered a "high number."   Topps released their baseball card set in different series throughout the year to keep customers continuously buying their packs.  Imagine if a collector bought a whole box of cards in April, completed their set, and never bought another pack all baseball season - that'd be bad not just for Topps but also the stores trying to keep foot traffic in their businesses.  Starting with Mantle, cards numbered from 311 - 407 came out in the sixths series. You can read all about the 1952 Topps baseball set and series information HERE.

So why is the Mickey Mantle so valuable and why are 1952 Topps baseball "high number" cards so coveted?  By the last series, kids were already grabbing the football cards off of stores shelfs and ignoring baseball.  Unable to move the product, up to 500 CASES of these high-numbered cards were dumped into the Ocean! Read about the unusual resting spot of countless 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie cards HERE.


I told you how only 1,759 Mantle rookies have been graded by PSA.  Of those, only THREE - just 3 were given a perfect grade of a PSA 10.  Thousands of Mantles ended up in the ocean, and the copies that survived most likely were tossed in shoeboxes like Darren's grandpa's cad was. Always make sure to safely store you cards these days; you don't want a rare card getting damaged in a shoebox!  I have great tips how to safely store your cards HERE.  After nearly 70 years, so few 1952 Topps cards have stayed in pristine condition. So where are the three prefect Mantle cards?  Well, the collecting world actually only knows the whereabouts of only two out of the three!

Who has a PSA 10?

  • Colorado attorney Marshall Fogel bought his PSA 10 in 1996.
  • Ken Kendrick, owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks secured his PSA 10 in 1998.

Recently I was contacted by Alex from Sports Illustrated to pick my brain about the 1952 Topps Mantle and about the three PSA 10 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards in existence.  After I graduated Rutgers College in 2000 my first full time job in the sports card business was with a dealer named Mark Murphy, "The Baseball Card Kid."  Mark's dad actually owned a PSA 10 Mick rookie!  I connected Alex with Mark and am excited to see the final article!


You may think that Topps baseball cards wouldn't have made their way to Canada in 1952 but I've previously purchased several 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards from there.  Each time I've received a call or an e-mail about 1952 Topps baseball cards in Canada with a 1952 Topps Mantle, I tend to see small groups of 1952 Topps high number cards along with it.  To me, this means that a collector in Canada once purchased a few packs of '52 Topps baseball high numbers up there! 

For the most part, cards in Canada were from the O-Pee-Chee and Parkhurst brands.  In 1911, two brothers opened a chewing gum company in London, Ontario.  In the mid 1930's, the company put out baseball cards like the 1934 V94 set. Other Canadian-based cards grew in popularity like the 1951 Parkhurst Hockey set.

With their trading card success, O-Pee-Chee was able to work with Topps baseball and came into an agreement in 1965 to sell O-Pee-Chee baseball cards in Canada using similar designs to the US Topps cards.  How did the 1952 Topps cards from the US get into Canada, though?  Did a well-ahead-of-their-time baseball card dealer bring a case that was meant for the ocean up North?  I'm not 100 % certain HOW the cards ended up in Canada but I am 100 % certain they are there; Darren's grandpa's card is living proof that 1952 Topps Mantle cards were there in Canada in the 50's!



After I received Andrea's appraisal form, I spoke with she and Darren on the phone.  The couple was worried on how to get the collection to me at the Just Collect Office here in New Jersey.  The Covid-19 pandemic has caused closure of the boarder between the US and Canada.  To ensure safety and insurance of the collection, I offered Darren and Andrew my fully-insured, two-day shipping account with FedEx!  We have a few ways to bring your collection to Just Collect:

  • SHIP your collection 

If you choose to mail your cards, I will evaluate your cards for FREE still. If you choose not to sell the cards, I'll ship them back shipping fees paid by us!  I'll provide my FedEx account with 2-day shipping, fully insured, all covered by me. Contact the office or myself to set up this option.

  • Travel to me!

If you're willing to wear a mask when you and I meet, and you can make the trip here - we can make a deal at the office.  Recently I met a father-son duo that drove eight hours from Virginia to meet me to sell a Michael Jordan rookie card stored in Tupperware since 1986 - great read here

  • Come to a Show

I keep a LIST of card shows we'll be attending to buy and sell!  Come stop by our booth!  I just went to the Chantilly, VA. card show and plan to be at Philadelphia Valley Forge show this weekend!

After my initial offer to Darren and Andrea, they agreed to sell me their grandpa's shoebox collection from Canada! If we agree on a deal, I'll wire you money, send a check, or pay in cash.  USD, Canadian Dollars, NFT's, or even eBay gift cards that you can use to buy vintage Star Wars toys; you let me know how you want to be paid!


I am very familiar with buying 1952 Topps cards, including the Mickey Mantle rookie.  I've purchased a '52 Mantle from a collector right here in town, a little further away at the Coast, and of course I've purchased a Mantle rookie card previously from Canada including THIS one from Vancouver. If you have a Mickey Mantle rookie in NJ, anywhere in the US, Canada, or world wide, I'll find a way to us to meet.  Short of the starvation part, I'll do the whole Into the Wild trip with a backpack and cash in-hand to for a Mick rookie.

While not a grandma, Darren's grandma passing down a Mickey Mantle rookie reminds me of The Fairy Godmother collection I purchased. A godmother passed down a box of vintage T206 tobacco cards including a very rare Eddie Plank!  

Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. We are also buying tickets and ticket stubs from sporting events, concerts, and other famous events such as Michael Jordan's NBA debut. Your collection doesn't have to be all vintage like this collection either!  I recently bought a graded card collection of more modern cards that was filled with rookie cards of Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, and even Hulk Hogan that you can see here.

If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact me today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and I would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace. Check out the Just Collect Buy List

Just click here for our FREE APPRAISAL!



I've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 25 years. Although Just Collect is known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage baseball cards, I am also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and I treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. I understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, understand the feelings that you're going through and will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, I'm not happy.


One of the most valuable baseball cards ever made, the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, hiding in a cold room near the pickles! I'm going to need to add this one to my tip sheet of Unexpected Places You May Find Vintage Cards. If you have inherited vintage cards like Darren and Andrea, I'd love to hear from you! Whether you have vintage cards, graded cards or modern wax you want to sell, you can reach out any time! 


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