Many people still mistakenly call the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle card his rookie card. And while the 52 Topps is definitely his most famous and valuable card, the true Mickey Mantle rookie card is the 1951 Bowman #253 pictured below.
How Many Mickey Mantle Rookie Cards Exist?
Because vintage baseball cards weren’t serial numbered like certain modern cards are now, there’s not a way to know for certain exactly how many of the 1951 Bowman Mantle rookie cards exist, BUT, because the major sports card grading companies keep records we can get a better idea.
According to the CardLadder Population Report there are currently (as of 8/9/23) 2,628 total 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie cards that have been graded by PSA, SGC, Beckett and CGC combined.
It’s also important to note that the 2,628 number is very likely inflated a bit due to cards that were counted multiple times with multiple grading companies. For example, a card is submitted to SGC and grades a 1. The owner decides to crack the slab and submit the same card to PSA. Now that card is counted twice on the population report. Let’s be conservative and say 10% of the population is duplicate. That would mean less than 2,500 graded Mickey Mantle rookie cards exist.
There are of course many more that exist that have not been graded. Let’s take a guess and say for every graded Mantle rookie there are 3 out there that are not graded (there are likely less than this out there ungraded due to how valuable and iconic this card is). That would mean there are approximately 7,500 total. Not NEARLY enough to satisfy the tremendous demand for a rookie card of THE MICK!
What do YOU think? Feel free to comment below.