1965 Topps Mickey Mantle: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide
While any Mantle card from his playing days is highly desirable, the 1965 Topps Mickey Mantle consistently ranks among collectors as one of his best of the 1960s.
The imagery of The Mick following through on his swing and staring off into the distance in his Yankee pinstripes gives the card fantastic eye appeal.
Combined with the pink border and the calm mood of the practice session occurring in the background, the card almost has a calm and easygoing vibe to it.
But, we all know that Mantle was anything but calm at the plate as he was capable of blasting towering home run shots seemingly with ease.
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 #350 out of 598 cards
- it was part of the Series 4 print run (cards #265 - 352) making it relatively easier to find than the Series 7 "high numbers" (cards #507 - 598)
- although Hall of Famers Steve Carlton, Catfish Hunter, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez all have rookie cards in this set, Mantle's card is by far the most expensive in the checklist
The front of the card boasts a large, full-color image of Mantle following through on a swing in his Yankees pinstripes.
It's arguably one of the most memorable images of any of his cards from the 60s.
If I'm not mistaken, this photo appears to have been taken during a Yankees' Spring Training practice or warm-up at Fort Lauderdale Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, FL, before the 1965 season.
The Yankees called Fort Lauderdale home every Spring from 1962 to 1995 before moving over to Tampa on the Gulf Coast to play in what is now George M. Steinbrenner Field.
In the lower-left of the card, the Yankees pennant waves in front of a pink nameplate that contains Mantle's name and position.
The reverse of the card uses a horizontal layout with a light blue color scheme.
Near the top, just under Mantle's card number, name, and personal information, a short write-up reads:
- "In the 1964 World Series Mickey crashed three home runs to give him a career mark and an alltime record of 18! A three-time Most Valuable Player Award winner, he also won 4 HR titles.
The Yankees failed to make the playoffs for the remainder of Mantle's career from 1965-1968, so his playoff home runs total would remain at 18.
And he would never finish higher than 19th in MVP voting during that time, but three career MVPs is still incredibly impressive.
Mantle's stats from 1951 to 1964 round out the rest of the card's reverse, leaving very little space unused.
The most common condition issue with this card, and the rest of the 1965 Topps set, for that matter, is poor centering.
You'll often find the image favoring the left or right side of the card a bit more than the other.
Sometimes the image will even appear tilted.
Those colored nameplates are also notorious for showing print bubbles that can detract a bit from the overall aesthetics of the card.
Most grading companies use a 1 - 10 scale to judge a card's condition, 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
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, and poor centering.
Most 1965 Mantles that I come across ungraded 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.
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.
1965 Topps Mickey Mantle Value
So what is this card worth?
The value of a 1965 Topps Mickey Mantle card will depend on its condition and can range between $175 to $22,000 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 1965 Season In Review
After finishing second to Brooks Robinson in the 1964 MVP vote, Yankees fans had high hopes for another monster season from their hero, Mickey Mantle.
However, injuries nagged at Mantle and many Yankees players throughout the 1965 season, forcing the first losing season that Mantle had ever experienced as a Yankee.
With a 77-85 record, the Yanks finished sixth in the American League and a distant 25 games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins.
Mantle's batting average nosedived to .255, while his .452 slugging percentage and .831 OPS were the worst they'd been since his rookie season in 1951.
Despite the disappointing production, Mantle was still selected as an All-Star for the eighteenth time though Tony Oliva replaced him because of injuries.
With injuries holding him back, Mantle turned in the following stat line on the season:
- Games: 122
- Hits: 92
- Runs: 44
- Home Runs: 19
- RBI: 46
- Batting Average: .255
- OPS: .831
- SLG: .452
Though his season may have been disappointing, and the Yankees would never reach the playoffs with Mantle in uniform again, he was still a baseball hero.
Still today, he is regarded as one of the all-time greats, and his 1965 Topps card is still the most desirable of the set.