DALLAS, TX – On April 24, when a Mickey Mantle game-used grey road jersey dating from 1966 crosses the auction block in Dallas as part of Heritage Auction Galleries’ April Signature Sports Collectibles Auction, it will mark the sale of a truly great piece of baseball memorabilia, one that was given to the consignor as a hand-me-down.
It’s a story that is the stuff of dreams: Imagine you were a young baseball player in the mid-1960s dreaming of the big leagues as you make your debut in the minors with a Yankee farm team in Oneonta, NY – not too many miles away from the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. Now imagine that you are given a worn jersey to play in, and it happens to have the number 7 on it. You look at the jersey’s tag; your breath is gone, your jaw drops. It reads: “Mantle – 1966 – 42.”
“For a sports fan, and a Yankees devotee in particular, this is akin to winning the lottery,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Collectibles at Heritage, “only much better.”
Few players in baseball history are as hallowed as Mickey Mantle. His mere presence could reduce the most hardened baseball fan to tears, and his storied stats are recited by hardball fanatics like scripture. Any piece of equipment directly tied to The Mick commands attention from all level of collectors, but a game used jersey is a rarity among rarities and the example at Heritage is one of the most desirable of the very few Mantle gamers to come up for public bidding.
“Perhaps even more important than its historical positioning is the jersey’s rare status as 100% original and unaltered,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Collectibles at Heritage. “Though the jersey was consigned by a former Oneonta Yankees minor leaguer who was issued the flannel treasure as a hand-me-down, neither the original navy felt ‘New York’ on the chest, or historic number 7 on verso were removed or replaced as is typical of most Yankee shirts of the era.”
The jersey is in amazing condition considering its original and secondary usage. Nothing beyond a few inconspicuous rust spots at the shoulders and chest interrupt the pristine expanses of grey flannel of this jersey. Even the original embroidered swatch applied within the collar, reading “Mantle – 1966 – 42” remains in place, a tribute to the esteem in which the consignor held the iconic slugger. Not even a button has been replaced. The proper “Wilson [size] 42” label appears in the left lower front tail, notated with a number “66” in sweat-bled black marker, digits that are repeated just above.
“This is clearly a cornerstone piece of memorabilia for any serious collection,” said Ivy. “The provenance is rock solid and the piece itself is museum quality. There are few, if any, names more closely associated with the game than Mantle. Perhaps only Babe Ruth ranks above The Mick when it comes to notoriety.”
To read a detailed description of the jersey, and to see downloadable, fully enlargeable images, go online to www.ha.com/Mantle Jersey.
Heritage Sports Collectibles specializes in rare and collectible sports cards, as well as uniforms, equipment, and related vintage sports memorabilia. Consignments for future Signature Sports Auctions are currently being accepted. Prospective consignors or sellers of quality vintage sports cards and sports memorabilia are encouraged to contact Chris Ivy at 800-872-6467 Ext. 1319 or email: CIvy@HA.com.
For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.ha.com.
To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Client Services at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 1150, or visit www.ha.com/Catalog to order by email.