(Newser) – When a 76-year-old man from New Jersey saw an ad in a newspaper earlier this year for a 1952 Mickey Mantle card being sold by Heritage Auctions with an estimated value of $3.5 million, he was sure the listed price was an error. “I told my daughter, ‘this is going to be interesting. Tomorrow’s New York Times, they’re going to print they had a typo and they had an extra zero in it,'” the man, who asked to be identified only by his first name, John, told the AP in a phone interview. “I really thought they had made a terrible mistake.” When he didn’t see a correction the following day, he began looking through the collection he jointly owns with his older brother, Ed. And when he saw the card sold by former NFL lineman Evan Mathis went for $2.88 million, that’s when John decided to call Heritage to have them evaluate his cards.
As it turns out, their collection includes five Mantle Topps cards from 1952, similar to the one Mathis sold. However, that card was graded a Mint 9 by PSA, one of the leading sports memorabilia authenticators. The best in the brothers’ collection is a PSA 8.5 that has been valued at $1 million by Heritage and is part of its Summer Platinum Night Sports Auction that runs through Aug. 19. Heritage already sold 26 cards in July for a total of $384,000. John recalled he and his brother began collecting cards in 1951 when they were growing up in West Hartford, Connecticut. John was 9 years old at the time, and Ed was 12, and they each had separate collections that got merged at some point years later when they were being stored. Their cards are from 1951 and 1952, and nothing after.
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