Purchased $100K+ Collection W/ 1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle PSA 7 & More!

Well-Centered and High-Grade Cards Shows How Ahead of His Time the Collector Was!
  • August 23, 2023

When I received an e-mail with the subject "Mantle, Namath, More Vintage Baseball...Call" I couldn't wait to see what was inside the message; I love vintage Mickey Mantle and Joe Namath cards! After reading the full e-mail, I knew one thing: time to hit the road.

On my podcast, Leighton's Loft, I frequently talk about the vintage card collections purchased here with Just Collect. A long-time collector heard the podcast and reached out regarding a collection of vintage cards they were interested in selling. When I receive an e-mail that has Mantle and Namath in the subject, there is no hesitation on my end; I'm diving in like a kid in a candy store.


Like you, the original owner of these cards collected as a kid. Who didn't take their allowance, peddle to the nearest gas station, and grab a pack of cards to open? Putting the cards away for a while, this gentleman entered back into the hobby when PSA was in it's infancy. If you're not familiar with grading cards, a professional company will examine the condition your card and assign a grade of 1 to 10 with a ten signifying your card is perfect and free of any flaws. PSA is one of the top companies in the industry at grading cards. Which cards did the gentleman purchase after getting back into collecting? The vintage cards he knew from his early days, of course! However, this gentleman was savvy and WELL ahead of his time; he began to collect high-graded, well-centered PSA vintage cards with eye appeal long before most.

When looking to add cards to his collection, this man looked not just at the condition of a card, but also shopped based on eye appeal. If you place two cards side by side, but one card is centered better than the other, the well-centered card is more appealing. Both of these cards could have sharp corners, bright coloring, and neither appears to have been placed in bike spokes (don't worry; we all did that), but if the centering is off just slightly, collectors today prefer that well-centered card. Believe it or not, this just wasn't the case in the early days of card grading. For grading standards both cards might be a 7 out of 10, but today the card with better centering is more valuable! Collectors will pay a premium for the card with better eye appeal.

Unfortunately, this gentleman lost his vision but he never lost his passion for baseball and collecting cards! Having a loving and supporting wife by his side, the collector taught his wife all about card collecting and what to look for when purchasing the PSA-graded cards. The pair shared the joy and built this beautiful collection of cards. This gentleman and his wife knew the benefits of collecting high-grade vintage cards with strong eye appeal long before many collectors did, and this collection proves it - this is one for the books! 


Mickey Mantle Cards

The collection was highlighted by 28 Mickey Mantle PSA Graded Topps and Bowman cards!

Mickey Mantle was one of the greatest baseball players ever to play the game. When The Mick retired from baseball on March 1st, 1969, his 536 career home runs were third all-time. Only Babe Ruth and Willie Mays had more homers in their careers than Mantle after his final season. You can see Mantle's final Topps card in the bottom right; this is from 1969 and is graded PSA 7. When Mantle started his career in 1951, he was just 19 years old. At age 20, he was already putting up superstar numbers on the field. There is a young Mantle on the top left, pictured on his 1952 Bowman baseball card; this card is also graded PSA 7. I know what you're thinking: you want to ask why a 7 out of 10 is a "high grade." Not only did kids place these cards in bike spokes when they were younger, but games of FLIP were had with cards, and when it came time to store these cards kids put rubber bands around stacks before tossing each into a shoebox. Safely storing and protecting cards in the 1950's and 60's was non-existent. A grade of 7 is very desirable in vintage cards! For example, PSA has graded a total of 3,743 cards of the 1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle, and only TWO were given a perfect 10. Currently, only 131 cards were given a grade of higher than a 7. With that knowledge, take a look at all the high-grade cards of Mickey Mantle between that 1952 Bowman on the top left and his final card from 1969 Topps on the bottom right! This stack of Mickey Mantle cards reminds us of the Multiple Mickey Mantle Card Collection we recently purchased.

Aaron and Mays Cards

Hank Aaron and Willie Mays are two icons. Aaron retired as the all-time home run leader having eclipsed Babe Ruth. A 25-time All-Star, Aaron captured the 1957 NL MVP award en route to winning the World Series. The Hammer has beautiful baseball cards and this collection has a few! We love the 1956 Topps card on the top left; the horizontal design is always one of our favorites. Willie Mays may be the best all around player ever to pick up a bat or glove. Mays clobbered 660 home runs and also won 12 Gold Glove awards for his defense. A two-time NL MVP winner (1954 and 1965), Mays also won the Fall Classic in 1954. Mays looks so happy; he's smiling in almost every card above! Take note at how the centering is on each from not just top to bottom but left to right, too.

Clemente Cards

Roberto Clemente collected 3,000 hits, won two World Series championships, and was a mainstay at the All-Star game. Sadly, Clemente passed away in a plane crash while helping delivery supplies to Nicaragua following an earthquake. It is always an honor purchasing Clemente cards. The 1958 Topps card with the yellow background is graded PSA 8; only 18 cards have been graded higher! Still not finding a card that appears to be off-centered. No cards with writing or eraser marks to remove the fake mustache a kid may have drawn on Clemente's face.

HOF Rookie Cards and StarsVarious HOF Cards

On top of this stack of cards is a beautiful example of the incomparable Jackie Robinson from the 1956 Topps set. Jackie was ending a historic career in 1956, a year after he won the World Series for his 1955 Dodgers. Robinson played an entire career from 1947-1956 while enduring things we could never imagine, and he did so with perfection on his way to becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer. 

What is better than high-graded PSA vintage cards? When those cards are rookies!

Below Jackie you can see rookie cards of Willie McCovey, Joe Morgan, Rod Carew, Tom Seaver, Johnny Bench, Mike Schmidt, and a second-year card of Thurman Munson. The Seaver card is graded PSA 8! Fewer than 100 Server rookies have been given a grade of better than 8.

I mentioned second-year Thurman Munson, the former Yankees captain we lost too soon. Was his rookie card in the collection? You bet! Above, bottom left, with the gray background, there is a PSA 7 rookie card of Munson. From Brooks Robinson to Rickey Henderson, that group of cards is another Who's Who of baseball.  

The rookies and stars just kept coming in this collection. Hall of Fame rookie cards of Pete Rose, Reggie Jackson and Nolan Ryan are here. Additional cards of each star are included, as are wonderful examples of other stars such as Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax, Frank Robinson, Stan Musial, and Brooks Robinson!

VIntage StarsRyan CardsKoufax Cards

Mickey Mantle wasn't the only famous New York Yankees player in the collection either; three-time MVP, Yogi Berra. Look at the vibrant red color that hasn't faded since 1949 in the Bowman card in the top row, middle. A PSA 8 card from 1948 featuring Ralph Kiner is in the collection. How rare is a that Kiner card? Only 13 (12 PSA 9 and 1 PSA 10) have been graded higher than this PSA 8! 

Yogi Berra Cards

You recall the subject of the e-mail included "Namath." Broadway Joe Namath is included in the collection. As a Jets fan, the 1965 Topps rookie card is an all-time favorite card of mine. Topps produces cards larger in size that year, with each falling 2 ½" x 4 11/16" - you can see how much bigger the card with middle with the yellow background is than the standard-size cards on each side. The 1969 Topps card on the right is special, too; the Jets won Super Bowl III on January 12th, 1969 after the QB guaranteed victory. Here is to hoping we can with another Lombardi Trophy.

Joe Namath Cards

Other coveted cards and rookie cards in the collection include the likes of Jim Brown (1959 Topps on the top left in the picture below), Dr. J Julius Erving (1972 Topps middle row, first card), An In-Action rookie of Wilt Chamberlain (1961 Fleer) next to Dr. J, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (1980 Topps) by Wilt, and Terry Bradshaw (1972 Topps bottom row, first card) as well as other early cards of of each player.

Vintage Football and Basketabll

The entire collection had over 1,000 vintage PSA graded cards, but I knew not every card was for sale. We chose 300 of the cards and then ultimately made a deal for 136 total cards. The price paid for the 136 cards was over $100,000!


After I read the e-mail, I asked the owner for images of about two dozen of the top cards; this provided me an idea of what the collection entails. Having the manufacturer (such as Topps, Fleer, Bowman, etc.), years, grades of cards, and an idea on the volume of the collection allows me to save you time and provide you with a smooth process. We did not come to a deal before hitting the road and completing an in-person evaluation with this collection, but both the owner and I were on the same track after my preparation and our communication. 

When I arrived at the owner's home to see the entire collection, I began to evaluate each card carefully. Your local card shop is generally not well equipped to appraise or purchase vintage cards or collections like this. The retail stores are focused on selling modern products and simply don't have the time or the knowledge to carefully evaluate vintage collections. This is where I am happy to help you. Given the volume of cards, I returned for a second day! After noting each card from the collection, I stayed at a hotel in the area, and then came back the following morning with my appraisal and strong offer for the 136 cards we greed upon.

I paid the owner how he wanted to be paid! All $100,000 +. I can pay you in cash, certified check, money order, and as a fan of fine cuisine, I wouldn't say no if you preferred a trip to the best steakhouse in town if that's what you would like! 

With over 800 cards still in the collection, there is a chance the owner and I come to a deal to purchase the remainder of these incredible cards. Normally I love to share the location of the collection, the origin and even the photos I took during a wonderful meal, but keep checking back here on the Just Collect blog in the event I purchase the whole collection and I'll take you behind-the-scenes!

My name is Leighton, owner of Just Collect, and professional baseball card treasure hunter! If you're interested in selling your collection, I'd love to hear from you; reach out directly to Leighton@JustCollect.com. 




Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we 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.

We always offer a FREE APPRAISAL for your collection here at the Just Collect site. Just click here:


We offer may ways to evaluate your cards other than or using our website, too.

  • Travel to Us

If you can make the trip here like the son from my hometown did for this collection- we can make a deal at the office. We once met a father-son duo that drove eight hours from Virginia to meet us to sell a Michael Jordan rookie card stored in Tupperware since 1986 - great read here

  • Come to convention

We keep a LIST of card shows we'll be attending.  Come stop by the Just Collect table and chat.

  • Meet in-person

If you have a valuable collection and want us to come to you, we'll hop on the next plane out.

  • Meet in New York City

We have another location in New York you can meet us at; read all the information here.

  • SHIP your collection 

If you choose to mail your cards for an appraisal, we will evaluate your cards for FREE still. If you choose not to sell the cards, we'll ship them back shipping fees paid by us!  We can offer our FedEx account with 2-day shipping, fully insured, all covered by us. Simply contact the office to set up this option.


We'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, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, we 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, we're not happy.


Whether you have vintage cards or modern wax you want to sell, you can reach out to us any time! 


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