Over the past couple of years, I’ve participated in a bunch of vintage set breaks. These types of breaks are when you buy a spot and receive the card assigned to that spot by a blind draw. You are guaranteed a card for each spot purchased. These breaks are intriguing to me because you have a chance of landing some nice vintage cards at a fraction of what they typically sell for. I am a big fan of vintage cards and this is a fun way to add some to your collection.
I found @BurlsSports a couple of years ago on twitter. He generally does one vintage set break each week. He mixes it up with a nice variety of sets from 50s-70s and very reasonable prices per spot. I try to get in a couple breaks each month and have hit a few HOFers. Some of these include ‘65 Duke Snider, ‘66 Ernie Banks, ‘68 Steve Carlton and a ‘69 Joe Morgan. In April of this year, I landed my biggest hit to date. I pulled a 1965 Topps PSA 6 Steve Carlton RC. This sharp looking HOF RC was easily my biggest hit until recently.
Two weeks ago, a set of 1969 Topps was listed. This is one of my favorite sets from the ‘60s. I like the design and it’s loaded with HOF stars and a nice selection of rookies. Each spot was only $6, so I purchased 7 spots. For this set break, both versions of the Mickey Mantle cards were included. I usually do not watch the breaks live, but instead catch the video after it’s posted. The video started and a bunch of HOFers came off the board without my name being called. The biggest easily was card #260, a PSA 6 Reggie Jackson RC. Another batch of All stars, HOFers and stars were shown, then finally it was time for card #500, Mickey Mantle. Burl shows the card first. It’s a sharp looking PSA 5 White Font variation of The Mick. The card has crisp corners and edges, just OC a bit. He slowly scrolled down the list of names, stopped at #500 and the next thing I heard was my name called. I sat there stunned, staring at the screen. Holy Crap…I just won a Mantle! The 1st vintage Mantle that I own. Needless to say, the rest of the video was a blur.
This card is special for a few reasons. Some of the higher number cards in the ‘69 Topps set had a printing error where their names were in white font instead of yellow. This includes the Mickey Mantle card. This variation is more rare. At this time, PSA has graded 8,000 versions of this card. Only 1,040 were the white font variation. And of those, only 574 cards had a grade PSA 5 or better. Also, this is the last card that Topps made for his career. Mantle announced his retirement at the age of 37 in March of 1969. So the back of card #500 had the full career statistics of the future HOFer.
A few days after the break, the card was on its way. I anxiously checked tracking a few times each day. The card arrived on Monday and looks even better in person. Aside from the scarcity of this version, this is a gorgeous looking card. This card has a great photo of Mantle. The design of the card is clean and looks sharp. Also, with this being his last card, Topps lists the stats for each year of his storied career. I am not a Yankees fan, but Mickey Mantle is an iconic player and I’m happy to add this centerpiece card to my collection.