October 2018 Fall Classic Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/4/2018

For well over a century, product endorsements and professional baseball have gone together like popcorn and peanuts at the ballpark. In the 1930s and 40s, superstars like Joe DiMaggio and Lefty O'Doul then began to successfully parlay their winning ways on the diamond into successful restaurants and bars. It wasn't until the late 1950s, however, that Mickey Mantle started a new trend by purchasing a stake in a Holiday Inn Motor Hotel in Joplin, Missouri. For the better part of the decade, American families had begun taking to the sprawling network of American highways and byways, which would officially become the American Interstate Highway System with the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, ultimately linking California to New York and Washington State to Florida and all the states in between. In order to accommodate the countless transient families and wayward travelers, motels, or motor hotels, began springing up faster than wildflowers along the new interstates.

It was with this cultural development that Harold Youngman invited Mickey Mantle to invest in a hotel he was building in Joplin, Missouri. Unlike most other motor hotels, however, this one would be different. It would bear the name of baseball's most beloved player; it would be called Mickey Mantle's Holiday Inn. In addition to 53 guest rooms and a 55,000 gallon swimming pool, it would feature Joplin's first sports bar, the Dugout Club. Among many other items, on display in the Dugout Club would be The Mick's diamond-studded Hikock Belt from 1956 and the silver bat he was awarded for winning the 1956 batting title. With their plan in place, Mantle and Youngman started a corporation and sold shares to their friends. Mantle took 25% ownership and purchased his shares at just 5 cents a piece.

Mickey Mantle's Holiday Inn officially opened in October of 1957, and it was an immediate success. Not only did the hotel serve its intended audience of travelers and local drinkers and sports fans, but it quickly became a destination unto itself, as baseball devotees from all parts of the country traveled to Joplin to stay in The Mick's hotel and worship at the alter of his sports bar. As menus and ashtrays and key chains starting disappearing, it didn't take long for management to realize the commercial opportunity of branding everything imaginable with Mantle's name: place mats, coasters, napkins, matchbooks, bars of soap, you name it. It's not clear exactly when and how the hotel began selling souvenirs specifically designed to meet this obvious demandwe can assume there eventually developed a gift shop or point of sale operation at the front deskbut we do know that among the first items to be peddled at Mickey Mantle's Holiday Inn sometime in 1958 were a popular black and white premium photocard (a stunning PSA 8 highest graded example of which can be seen in lot #21 in this auction) as well as a comparatively obscure postcard showing the same iconic image.

Exactly why the postcard is so scarce is unknown, but in nearly a quarter century of professional card grading, PSA has handled just 14 copies, making it one of the rarest Mantle collectibles in its databases. Proudly offered here is the hobby's first-ever PSA 6 EX-MT specimen, a Pop 1 in its grade that has been surpassed by just a single superior on record (a PSA 6.5). The offered specimen looks every bit of a NM-MT 8 to even Mint 9 postcard but for a mild bend in its upper left area that can only be seen in the reflection of a bright light. Everything else looks as sharp and clean as the day it was printed. Although it technically rates as the second finest copy on record at PSA, from an overall presentation standpoint, we're confident in calling this mint-seeming slice of Americana the finest copy in existence.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,000
Final prices include buyers premium: $2,682
Number Bids: 2
Auction closed on Sunday, November 4, 2018.
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