Year – 2013
Size – 28″x38″
Medium – Black & white acrylic paint and colored pencil on gessoed board.
The most important postwar baseball card, ’52 Topps #311 reigns as the single most valuable and most famous card aside from the multi-million-dollar T206 Honus Wagner. Indeed, it’s estimated that any one of the just three known PSA Gem Mint 10 Mantles would likewise easily surpass the seven-figure mark and approach elite Wagner territory. How did the second-year card of an Oklahoma country boy become the stuff of legend? Timing is everything. The stars aligned for one brief shining year, and young Mantle became the torchbearer for the
Class of 1952. Boasting larger dimensions, dynamic graphics, and a cherished high-number series (that began with #311), an upstart company named Topps staged a cardboard coup d’état, usurping the throne from old-guard Bowman and launching a new era in diamond collectibles. The Mick, too, was the harbinger of a new age. As the card-back presaged, “Switch-hitting Mickey is heralded as Joe DiMaggio’s successor.” Mantle had the good looks, all-American appeal, punishing bat power, big numbers and, of course, Yankee pinstripes that made him the obvious leader of the national pastime in general and Topps’ inaugural issue in particular. The oversized card was an immediate favorite for trading, flipping and “spoking,” and both its popularity and revered stature have only skyrocketed over the intervening decades.