DENVER - The “Holy Grail” of baseball cards, a pristine 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle valued at several million dollars, was delivered to the History Colorado Center on Monday via armored truck for a 72-hour public display.
“I want the community to enjoy looking at the card,” said its owner, retired lawyer Marshall Fogel of Denver. “It’s the finest card ever made, and it just happens to be my favorite player, Mickey Mantle.”
The cardboard treasure was transported from a bank’s safe deposit vault and placed in a secure case that once housed Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, with UV-lens protection and temperature/humidity control.
The card, which Fogel said was insured for $12 million “and is probably worth more than that,” is being displayed in the lobby of the museum where its current exhibition, “Play Ball!” features Fogel’s collection of classic baseball artifacts.
Mike Fruitman, a sports card expert in Aurora, Colorado, said Fogel’s ’52 Mantle card is at least on par with the 1909 Honus Wagner T206 card whose rarity is attributed to Wagner’s supposed disapproval of the card being sold along with tobacco.
One reason Mantle’s 1952 card is so rare is that so many of them were returned along with other unsold cards by retailers making room for the 1953 cards. The returned ’52 cards were subsequently sunk from a barge in the Hudson River.
Fogel’s card is a gem mint PSA 10, one of only three ’52 Mantle cards in existence with this rating. Of the three, Fogel’s card is the only “perfect 10.”