Saturday, May 4, 2013

1982 ASA Mickey Mantle Story Set


The Authentic Sports Autograph Company released their first single-player set in 1982, featuring 72 cards of Yankee hero Mickey Mantle (several others were to follow, featuring retired star players). A total of 20,000 sets were produced according to the company, with 5,000 of the sets containing a hand-signed autograph by Mantle on card number one. The cards basically chronicle Mantle's life from his rookie year of 1951 through his appearance at the Yankees Old-Timers Game in 1981, and many of the photos used for the set were provided by Mantle himself. The original retail price for an autographed set was $24.99, while an unsigned set could be purchased for $12.99. 

Of the 20,000 total sets that were produced (according to the manufacturer), 5,000 of these sets featured a header card personally autographed by Mantle. Please note that ALL sets feature a facsimile Mantle autograph on card number 21, which looks like this:


All of the cards in an autographed Mantle set were printed with blue-colored card backs. The remaining fifteen-thousand unautographed sets were printed with red backs. In addition to the certified autograph sets having blue backs, they also include a serial-numbered card like this:


Like other 1980s sets that are somewhat hard to find today, prices vary when a set becomes available for sale or auction. We believe an unautographed set (red backs) has a fair market value of $35 to $40, while an autographed set (blue backs) can easily sell for $120 or higher. Given the continuing popularity of Mantle, and the large number of forged Mantle signatures that litter the hobby today, the autographed version of this 1982 A.S.A. set is highly prized by collectors.

NEWS FLASH

OK now... After understanding that ASA produced 5,000 autographed Mantle sets with blue backs, and 15,000 unautographed sets with red backs, we have a startling revelation to make...

Mantle DID NOT autograph 5,000 sets! That's right kids, we have seen at least three examples of blue-backed sets that are not autographed -- as a matter of fact, we own one. See the certificate shown above for set number 4,136 of 5,000? It is tucked safely in our collection, in all it's autograph-free glory. Here's a front scan of card number one, the header card that should feature the signature:


The other examples of unautographed blue-backed sets were listed on a popular internet auction site and featured serial numbers 3,839 and 4,568 (we are not actively looking for more examples...) One does have to wonder though... How many sets did Mantle actually sign? 3,000? 4,000? 4,997? 

Click here to find ASA Mantle Sets on eBay

15 comments:

  1. I have set # 528 with autograph. Ed in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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    1. Thanks for checking in, Ed! You have quite a set there. Maybe one day I'll find one on the cheap... But I'm not holding my breath!

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    1. It's probably about a $40 set... Which serial number is yours?

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  3. I have a blue set that was passed down to me without an autograph on it what should i do and how much could it be worth?

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    1. Wow, that's the lowest serial number yet that I have seen for an unautographed "autographed" set... On eBay you could probably get around $40 for it, maybe a bit more if you ran a Buy It Now for a while. Thanks for the serial number info!

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    2. I feel like with this website you have you can get a lot more than that.. so your saying the set you and I have are only worth 40$ I think its a rear commodity with this set don't you think? I guess its in the eye of the buyer how much they would really send... I have a lot of Mantle's cards and autograph balls and pictures so i feel it would sell for far more than 40 dollars that's just my opinion, if what you are saying is true.

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    3. If the set has the autograph, it would be worth in the $200 range. Otherwise, there were over 15,000 sets printed without the autograph, so if a collector wants to find one of these they usually can without much of a problem on eBay.

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  5. I don't know you seem to be pitching why its so rare to have this set on this page its confusing but its all good, good luck bro.

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    1. There aren't a ton of these unsigned "error" sets out there... I do agree with you that they are probably scarce. Unfortunately, I have never seen any special collector interest in them, meaning there's no extra value added to the price. Thanks for your conversation!

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  6. Hello there just recently found your site here while researching an article I recently purchased. just bought a 72 card uncut mantle Story sheet that has been autographed by the Mick on the top border. Comes with SGC auto cert. was wondering if you or any readers had further info. One rumor I heard was an SGC employee said these sheets, 7 total, were signed for Mick`s agent.

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    1. Sorry, I just saw this comment! I don't recall hearing any official word on uncut, signed sheets being released but I know I've seen a couple of them over the years. They seem to be quite scarce and the Mantle signatures look great on them. I'd love to find out the the seven number is true...

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  7. I have 681 of 5,000 and autographed

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