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Mickey Mantle Rookie Card is Found in the 1951 Bowman Set, not the 1952 Topp's

Mickey Mantle rookie card is from Bowman's 1951 set, even though the 1952 Topps card isconsidered his rookie card, since this was Topp's first card of Mantle.

In 1951, Topps produced its first baseball cards in two different sets known today as Red Backs and Blue Backs. Each set contained 52 cards, like a deck of playing cards, and in fact the cards could be used to play a game that would simulate the events of a baseball game. Also like playing cards, the cards had rounded corners and were blank on one side, which was colored either red or blue (hence the names given to these sets). The other side featured the portrait of a player within a baseball diamond in the center, and in opposite corners a picture of a baseball together with the event for that card, such as "fly out" or "single".

Topps changed its approach in 1952, this time creating a much larger (407 total) set of baseball cards and packaging them with its signature product, bubblegum. The company also decided that its playing card model was too small (2 inches by 2-5/8 inches) and changed the dimensions to 2-3/4 inches by 3-5/8 inches with square corners. (In 1957, Topps shrank the dimensions of its cards slightly, to 2-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches, setting a standard that remains the basic format for most sports cards produced in the United States.) The cards now had a color portrait on one side, with statistical and biographical information on the other. This set became a landmark in the baseball card industry, and today the company considers this its first true baseball card set.

The cards were released in several series over the course of the baseball season, a practice Topps would continue with its baseball cards until 1974. However, the last series of each year did not sell as well, as the baseball season wore on and popular attention began to turn towards football. Thus cards from the last series are much scarcer and are typically more expensive (even commons) than earlier series of the same year. Topps was left with a substantial amount of surplus stock in 1952, which it largely disposed of by dumping many cards into the Atlantic. In later years, Topps either printed series in smaller quantities late in the season or destroyed excess cards. As a result, cards with higher numbers from this period are rarer than low numbers in the same set, and collectors will pay significantly higher prices for them. The last series in 1952 started with card #311, which is Topps' first card of Mickey Mantle and remains the most valuable Topps card ever (and the most valuable post-1948 card). The 1952 Topps Mantle is often mistakenly referred to as Mickey's rookie card, the Mickey Mantle rookie 1951 Bowman card has that distinction, which is considerably less in value because of the scarcity of the 1952 Topp's card.

Mickey Mantle rookie cards are the must sought after card of the era.

Mickey Mantle Rookie Card The 1951 Bowman Card

Mickey Mantle Rookie The 1951 Bowman Card

"As far as I'm concerned, Aaron is the best ball player of my era. He is to baseball of the last fifteen years what Joe DiMaggio was before him. He's never received the credit he's due."---

Mickey Mantle

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