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Value of Baseballs Signed by Mantle Going Up

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
August 14, 2005

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Dear Babe: Fifteen years ago, a friend gave me a baseball, saying it would be a good nest egg for me. The baseball (photos enclosed) is signed by Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford. It was supposedly signed on a movie set.
Jeri Boehm, Hemet, Calif.

I showed your photos to Brian Marren, vice president of acquisitions for the MastroNet.com auctions in Chicago, while I was at The National card show in the Windy City the last weekend in July. I don't know about a nest egg, but Marren said the ball is worth $500, but is sure to rise since Mantle baseballs are going up. If Ford and Mantle were in the movie together, I'd assume it's from the 1962 film "Safe at Home" that also had Roger Maris in it. Mantle, Maris along with Yogi Berra, but not Ford, were in "Touch Of Mink," another 1962 flick that starred Cary Grant and Doris Day. Had your friend presented you with a single-signed Maris ball, it definitely would have been a nest egg, since Maris baseballs list for $2,000 and really nice ones sell for more than that.

Dear Babe: I have an unopened can of Pinnacle baseball cards with Cal Ripken Jr. on it. It says these were the first cards in a can. It's a neat little conversation piece. I paid $2 for it. Should I open it up to see what cards are inside?
Brad Lipscomb, Cartersville, Ga.

Ah yes, another innovation that died a quick death after a couple of years because the cans are very hard to display in quantity and there were 24 in the set. Beckett's Almanac of Baseball Cards and The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards from the editors of Sports Collectors Digest list the can itself at $1.50-$2.50, assuming it's opened from the bottom. There were $150 cards in that 1997 Pinnacle set. A few cards, including Ripken's, list for a couple of dollars. There are also a number of inserts and some of those have some value. I find it interesting that cans only have value it they are opened from the bottom. In reality, I have found the opposite to be true when it comes to usefulness. My son and I opened the cans from the bottom to preserve value. However, they're worth little and no one wants them. They'd make nice pencil/pen holders, but who wants a look at something that is upside down. I doubt that your unopened can is going to skyrocket in value. Opening it (from either end) is your call. There's a pack of 10 cards inside.

Dear Babe: I have a ticket stub from the 1956 World Series Game 5 - Don Larson's perfect game. I also have another stub from the second game of the 1955 series. I have programs from each year.
Bruce Krogulski, Albrightsville, Pa.

Ticket stubs from Larsen's historic game sell for around $250-$300 in average condition, said Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com auction house in New York. If you have a Series program that is scored for the perfect game, it's worth $300-$400, Heffner said. Without scoring, it's just another World Series program that's probably worth $100. Full tickets are much harder to find and could easily sell for as much as $2,500 or more, Heffner said. The 1955 stub is worth $100-$125, because it's from the year the Dodgers finally won it all. That also applies to a '55 program, which Heffner valued at $150-$200.

Dear Babe: I have an Official Super Bowl XXX game coin, minted by Balfour. It is .999 ounces of fine silver and is in the original box in mint condition. The coin is one of 7,500 minted per the certificate of authenticity. Mine is No. 4310.
Mike Cooper, Joshua Tree, Calif.

Unlike baseball cards that have no intrinsic value, these coins are at least worth their weight in silver. That's about what one just sold for in an eBay auction for $5 plus the postage to ship it. Most of these coins usually sell for their original cost or for the value of the silver.

Dear Babe: I have a Mickey Mantle personal model glove (Rawlings XPG6) that I used in high school. When Mantle came to Atlanta to open one of his restaurants, I got him to autograph the glove a few years after I graduated. I also have a book. It is the Official National League History, 75th Anniversary. It is not dated. Ford Frick wrote the introduction and the Giants and Dodgers were still in New York.
Bill Slaugenhop, Jasper, Ga.

I was surprised to learn that even a store-bought Mantle glove has lots of value, especially when signed. Your glove is worth $400-$500, said David Kohler, president of SCPauctions.com in Laguna Niguel, Calif. As for the book, it should be from 1951 since the league was founded in 1876. I saw one that sold for just $2 plus S&H in a recent eBay auction and a few for sale from eBay stores. One was priced at about $13 with S&H while two others were offered for around $70 each. I suspect $10-$15 is probably a decent range.

About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs as well as answering questions on cards.

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