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      A LOOK AT THE MANY SIGNATURES OF MICKEY MANTLE

 

Mickey Mantle is a common signature. I'm not going to lie to you. Mickey signed a great deal; of course, always for pay. I have heard numerous stories of approaching the Mick and getting denied in a rude fashion. Even during his last days, he admitted feeling bad after being approached by a fan denying that person a signature. How many signatures did the Mick sign?

Let's say he did about 20 shows a year for seven years, about 3,000 pieces. That's 420,000 signatures. And that doesn't count his numerous private signings with the likes of Upper Deck and Scoreboard. Could the Mick have left behind not only a legacy, but a million signatures? Very possible. Unlike the Babe, all his signatures were during a time of collecting, greed and profit.

In 1987, he did a private signing with Richard Gelman and Card Collectors Co. at $ 15 per signed 8 by 10, you could collect all ten different poses. In 1988, he started doing the show circuit at about $ 13 per signature. Even then, the Mick only signed a very small amount of baseball bats. Usually 20 per appearance. Getting bats weren't even that popular then. A year later, he was $ 18 per signature, with same strict guidelines toward buying baseball bats. In 1989 he was $ 20. In 1990, he raised his price to $ 30 and then  $ 35 in 1991. In 1994, he was charging about $ 75 per item. At that point, he was beginning to charge $ 1,000 per bat and was even finicky about certain oversized items.

When Mantle passed away in 1995, everyone brought forth their goods in hope of reaping the award of the athletes passing, but while a baseball before his death was selling around $ 75-90, it was very difficult to get that afterwards. After all, Mantle signed more memorabilia then the population of certain countries.

There will always be interest in the Mick's signature because of who the Mick was and perhaps that is why fraud is so great.

1. BEWARE OF FAKE BASEBALL BATS! There's no real sense of forging a baseball unless you want to sell it for $ 20, that's why so many fake Mantle bats have showed up. You can buy an authentic signature bat from Upper Deck for about $ 1500, but  have seen about 100 bats on line selling for $ 400-500 asking why a person would let this go so cheaply? It's so easy to take a $ 13 Blank stick Rawlings and adding a signature to it and making that $ 13 investment into a $ 400-500 investment. Must remember that Mickey signed a very few bats in the beginning of his autographing career, and even less later. If you went to a show and wanted a Mantle signed bat, you could always negotiate with the promoter and come home with a signature for about  $ 1000. That was the going rate. I see a great deal of bad Mantle bats, always on Rawlings bas which became accessible in the early nineties when signing bats became the craze. So in order for those bats to be real, dealers had to pay $ 1,000 each to have them signed. 

2. BEWARE OF FAKE 500 HOME RUN MEMORABILIA! If you bought a Super Ticket to the big 1989 Trop-World show where all the 500 home run hitters gathered, you would have to have pay $ 150 for it. It should also be noted that the Mick (and Ted Williams) did not sign bats there. Most pieces that proclaim to be authentic 500 club pieces Most bad 500 club pieces are all signed in one hand. It's tough to forge one signature badly imagine forging 11! The forger will always screw up on Eddie Mathews, Mike Schmidt and Harmon Killebrew. Three of the challenging signatures. Also look to see if the bat is all signed in one Sharpie. Does every signature look like it was done with the same pen? Why would a person use the same pen to get each of the signatures? 

 3.  WATCH OUT FOR THEME BALLS, ROGER MARIS BALLS! A lot of bad Roger Maris balls! I would estimate that 80% of all Maris/Mantle balls are phony. Theme balls are a crock too. Balls with lifetime stats, nicknames, middle names. When you bought a signature from the Mick, you only got his signature. Nothing else!

4. REALLY STRANGE FIFTIES SIGNATURE, well that's called a clubhouse signature. Usually on a baseball. Clubhouse boys forging autographs. 

5. LITTLE UNDERLINE.  I have no idea why he did that. Mickey took pride in his neat signature. 

 

  1950 signature

1951 signature

1956 signature

1958 signature

1962 signature

1964 signature

1968 signature

1985 signature

1987 signature

1990 signature

1991 signature