There was always something special about Mickey Mantle. It was a mystique that captivated a generation of young baseball fans.
His baseball cards have always been special, too. They seemed to be harder to get than those of other stars. And, in those days when cards were traded for cards and not cash, a Mantle was worth a stack of other players' cards.
Even though Mantle's rookie card was a 1951 Bowman (No. 253), his first Topps card (No. 311 in 1952) has become the most valuable of the post-war era. The Topps carries a Beckett book value of $25,000, while the Bowman is listed at $8,200.
Topps plans to honor Mantle, who died in August, by reissuing 19 of his cards as inserts in its baseball Series 1, which will be shipped in December. Cards will be coated and carry a commemorative stamp. There will be one from each year of his career, plus the 1969 card that had his final statistics. A 20th card, which will have information on the Mickey Mantle Foundation, will be No. 7, his uniform number.
As a final tribute, Topps will retire No. 7 as a card number in its Topps brand baseball cards.
Pacific Prism II
Pacific completes its 1995 Crown Collection Prism Football set with the 108-card second series, due to be released this week. There are two insert sets, plus 50 randomly inserted autographed 1994 Gems of the Crown John Elway cards.
More Stadium Club NFL
Topps' Stadium Club Football Series II has 225 basic cards and four insert sets. The set, due to be shipped next week, features top rookies and players on the NFL's two expansion teams.
7-Eleven is expanding its offerings of prepaid phone cards with a limited edition set featuring five members of the NFL's Quarterback Club. Each card has 15 minutes of long-distance time and includes a replica autograph and a recorded message from the player that is heard when the card is used. Each 7-Eleven will have approximately 100 cards. Cards feature Dan Marino, Steve Young, Boomer Esiason, John Elway and Michael Irvin.
Series I of Pinnacle Hockey will have an artist's proof version of its all-foil parallel set. Another insert set features 15 stars on cards printed with a new clear holographic process.
Winston Cup Country
Action Packed's third NASCAR series, Winston Cup Country, has 105 cards and focuses on the drivers. There are subsets on favorite sunglasses and charity work.
Cal Ripken and Lou Gehrig are together in artwork licensed by the Tufton Group and Curtis Management. James Fiorentino, 18, who created artwork to commemorate Ripken's shortstop home run record, has drawn Ripken and Gehrig in watercolor. The picture is offered as a signed lithograph ($395), unsigned lithograph ($199) and poster ($24.95). Call (800) 519-0029.
Saturday-next Sunday, Starting Lineup East Coast Collectors Convention, Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.
Nov. 10-12, card show, Pikesville Armory (expected signers include Pete Rose, Bob Gibson and Bobby Hull), Nov. 10 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 11 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov. 12 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., (410) 682-4375.
Card of the week
Pinnacle is replacing Select football with Select Certified, an upgraded super-premium version. The set, with 135 basic cards, three insert sets and a parallel set, is hobby-only and will be shipped in early November. One lucky collector will get a card redeemable for a trip to the Super Bowl. (Shown is Troy Aikman.)