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Topps Gives Away First Mantle Rookie
FIRST WINNER OF TOPPS MANTLE ROOKIE CARD ARRIVES IN NEW YORK TO RECEIVE HIS PRIZE
East Haven Grandfather Was a Big Mantle Fan
New York, July 25, 2001 - Roy J. Dulac, a big Mickey Mantle fan who personally acquired his autograph on three occasions, has one more treasure for his collection today.
Mr. Dulac recently purchased a box of 2001 Topps Baseball, Series II, at DJ Sports Collectibles and Comics in North Haven, CT., and found a redemption card in one of the packs good for a vintage 1952 Mantle rookie card!
And so Mr. Dulac, his wife Virginia, and his grandson Michael are today, appropriately, at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant in New York to receive his card from The Topps Company, which has been running a year long promotion around the 50th anniversary of Topps baseball cards.
Topps went into the marketplace and purchased one each of every Topps baseball card ever produced, and randomly inserted them in packs. The more expensive cards - and this is surely one of them - were awarded by redemption cards.
The good news for collectors is that there is still one more Mantle rookie out there - from Series I - that has not yet been claimed.
Mr. Dulac, 68, from East Haven, worked for 37 years as a mason at Yale University where he befriended the university president, A. Bartlett Giamatti, who went on to become National League President and Commissioner of Baseball. And so his baseball connection was strong, with his rooting interest in the Yankees going back to 1946. His card collecting interest is more recent, but it still goes back 18 years.
While Topps can make no guarantees as to what someone might pay for a Mantle rookie card today - and this particular winning card appears to be in excellent condition (it is not officially "graded" as some cards are today), - the current Beckett Price Guide shows a 1952 Mantle valued between $12,000 - $18,000, the numbers representing the lowest price one could expect to find with extensive shopping, and the higher price reflecting the current retail selling price. The prices reflect cards considered to be in near-mint condition.
The 2001 edition of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, published by Krause Publications (Sports Collector's Digest), shows the '52 Mantle listedat $15,000 in near-mint, $7,500 in excellent, and $3,750 in very good condition.
Topps' 50th anniversary has attracted enormous attention this year, with vintage baseball cards having become part of America's pop culture history. The company will be honored in at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on August 25-26, and even President George W. Bush talks lovingly of his old autographed Topps card collection, "which my mother threw out." ("I did not," claims Barbara Bush).