Friday, September 26, 2008

1962 Post Canadian #5, Mickey Mantle

Sometimes I wonder at the arbitrariness of how we collect and value cards. OK, we like the Mick. His picture still looks good. A wrinkled patch of whiteness, though? That matters? A half-inch square of murky upper-left corner that you can still read through? What about all the French on the card? Would a true patriot want this in their collection? He's a Yankee, right? Ah, a conundrum.

Card front (blank back)

Politics aside, I've always enjoyed other languages on cards. Before Topps and O-Pee-Chee's overlap kicked off in the mid 60s, Post jumped in with this appealing cereal box set. It represented a big investment, as 1962's design spread across three different issues: domestic Post, Canadian Post, and Jello. Two cards, Mantle and Maris, even turned up in Life Magazine as advertising. All share the same design elements, though Canada got reduced player text in exchange for its second language.

Post and Jello collectors often define their collection by the number of short prints obtained and remaining. Frustratingly, the SP numbers vary by set, so #55 Wynn is rare in the Posts and more commonly available in the Jellos. Collectors or dealers who don't understand the set history can easily buy or sell the "wrong" kind of rarity. At least the Canadian versions distinguish themselves with "RECORD DES FRAPPEURS." As for the others...bon chance, mes amis!

Value: This low-grade gem cost me about $15 on eBay. Multiple classic features like creasing, tape stains, and missing paper knock down the "condition," but none of them make Mickey any less Mantle.

Fakes / reprints: They're possible, but I haven't seen any fake Canadian cards in the marketplace.

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