1963 Topps Mickey Mantle: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide
When it comes to my favorite cards of the 60s, the 1963 Topps Mickey Mantle is high on that list.
There is nothing inherently special about it as it wasn’t a short print, there weren’t multiple variations, nor was the 1963 season itself one of his finest.
It all comes down to the dual-image design and overall color scheme…
Each of the design elements works seamlessly together to make the card visually pop as loudly as a Mantle longball headed for the seats beyond the outfield wall.
Few Mantle cards are as instantly recognizable as this one.
In this guide, we’ll look at what makes it so unique, how much it’s worth, and how to best go about buying and selling one.
Let’s jump right in!
Some things to consider before we get into more detail:
- the card measures 2-1/2" by 3-1/2"
- this is card #200 out of 576 cards
- it was part of the Series 3 print run (cards #197 - 283) making it relatively easier to find than the Series 7 "high numbers" (cards #523 - 576)
- it is one of the top cards in the set along with rookie cards of Pete Rose and Willie Stargell
- this was the first Topps card with a vertical layout to feature two images of Mantle on the front (the '56 and '60 Topps cards have horizontal layouts)
The front of the card boasts a large, bright-colored image of Mantle staring off into the distance complemented by a smaller, encircled black and white shot of him in the lower-right.
A blue background helps the black and white image stand out in front of a vibrant, green nameplate along the bottom.
Mantle's name, team affiliation, and position are listed in the lower-left to help make room for the dual-image design.
The reverse of the card uses a horizontal layout with a gold and cream color scheme that pops.
A two-pane box across the top house Mantle's card number, personal information, a cartoon drawing of teammates congratulating him and a couple of quick facts:
- "Mickey ranks seventh among the all-time home run hitters. He has won 3 A.L. MVP awards."
- "Mickey has hit 14 World Series homers"
The fact that he already ranked seventh all-time in home runs when he was two-thirds of the way through an 18-year career is telling of just how much pop he had in his bat.
Appearing in ten World Series through his first twelve years allowed him to smack those 14 World Series homers, positioning him one shy of Babe Ruth's record of 15 at the time.
Mantle would tie Ruth later that year with one home run during the 1963 Series against the Dodgers and eventually moved into sole possession of the record with 18 when he hit three more against the Cardinals in the 1964 Series.
Finally, along the bottom, Topps included his Major League statistics from the 1951 to 1962 seasons.
The entire 1963 Topps set is plagued by centering challenges and those pesky "fish-eye" print bubbles that pop up from time to time in the colored nameplates across the bottom.
Those colored nameplates are also notorious for easily showing wear and tear.
To give you an idea of differences in condition, notice the excellent centering, sharp corners, and beautiful surfaces of the PSA 9 card below versus the PSA 4:
PSA 4 VG-EX Condition
PSA 9 Mint Condition
While the PSA 9 example boasts fantastic centering, sharp corners, and little to no surface issues, the PSA 4 shows fuzzy corners, worn edges, poor centering, and noticeable chipping on the green nameplate.
One of the quickest ways to tell a high-grade 1963 Topps card from a low/mid-grade card is to observe the lower section first:
PSA 4 VG-EX Condition
PSA 9 Mint Condition
The colored nameplates give the most significant clues to differences in centering, edge wear, corner damage, and print issues on the surface.
Most 1963 Mantles that I come across are usually in the PSA 3 to PSA 5 range as they were well-loved by collectors over the years.
If there are any tears, pinholes, markings, wrinkles, or creases, then the card will almost always grade out as a PSA 1.
Graded takes place on a 1 - 10 scale with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest--the higher the grade the higher the value.
In order to be graded in mint condition, the card has to be nearly perfect:
- centering has to be pretty much 50/50
- the corners have to be sharp with no signs of wear or rounding
- the surfaces can not have any blemishes, divots, cuts, creases or wrinkles
- the edges cannot be damaged or have any chipping
As I mentioned earlier, most 1963 Topps Mantles that I see ungraded are in the 3 - 5 range.
Even as a 1 in poor condition, this card has some value since it's a Mickey Mantle.
But, the serious money comes into play once you start seeing conditions in the mid to higher grades.
If you have one of these cards and you'd like me to take a look at it, please reach out to me using the contact form above.
1963 Topps Mickey Mantle Value
So what is this card worth?
The value of a 1963 Topps Mickey Mantle card will depend on its condition and can range between $50 to $16,000 or more.
The following table shows estimated values in conditions ranging from PSA 1 (Poor) all the way to PSA 9 (Mint):
As you can see, condition is everything in this hobby when it comes to a card's value.
Mickey Mantle's 1963 Season In Review
Coming off his third MVP award in 1962, hopes were high for another standout season in 1963.
However, on June 5 agains the Orioles, Mantle snagged his foot in the outfield wall and broke it while trying to prevent a home run off of Brooks Robinson.
Up until then, he was hitting .310 with 11 home runs through 36 games.
After recovering, he would return on August 4 and would finish out the rest of the season with the following stat line:
- Games: 65
- Hits: 54
- Runs: 41
- Home Runs: 15
- RBI: 35
- Batting Average: .314
- OPS: 1.063
- SLG: .622
Like the rest of the team in the '63 World Series, Mantle struggled mightily at the plate against dominant Los Angeles Dodgers pitching as he batted .133.
Regardless of how disappointing his season may have been compared to his overall body of work, his 1963 Topps issue is still a fantastic baseball card.