Graded by PSA NM 7. Mickey Mantle is still considered by many to be the last true baseball hero. The young outfielder accepted the torch passed by the great Joe DiMaggio, who had similarly followed in the path of Lou Gehrig. The 1951 season was Mantle's first in pinstripes and, despite his being sent back down to the minors for more seasoning, Bowman issued this card in that year's final, key series. Bowman's initial vision of future greatness is wonderfully captured on this mini-artwork, rendered as a horizontal image set against the brightest of skies. As with the more well known 1952 Topps issue, this 1951 Bowman card is the first card of the more difficult high number series. For many years, the 1951 Bowman lagged behind the 1952 Topps Mantle is both desirability and value, but over the last 10 years as more people realize how difficult the 1951 Bowman is compared to its larger cousin, these factors have changed. The 1951 Bowman Mantle rookie card is now one of the more desirable cards in the market right now, and the prices realized numbers bear this out. Two years ago, this card was regularly selling from $20,000 to $24,000, whereas the last few examples have surpassed $30,000, with two of the last three examples in and around $35,000. This example of Mickey Mantle's rookie card will eliminate the need to upgrade a top-quality collection for most collectors. Only in the most carefully preserved specimens, as the offered example does the design's true magnificence reveal itself. This example has superb creamy-white borders culminating in four sharp corners. It has a clean surface, though it is centered a bit towards the top. The card has tremendous visual appeal with bold colors and a full, uninterrupted image. It has escaped the printing inconsistencies that characterize the issue and which make "clear" examples, like this one, so very special. The reverse is perfectly centered and unblemished. Solid Near Mint condition with strong investment potential.
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