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Extraordinary 1958-1960 Mickey Mantle Vintage Signed Pro-Model Bat - MEARS A10
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $22,515
Mickey Mantle Adirondack block-letter (last name only) model ("113A") bat dating from the 1958-1960 manufacturing period. Graded a perfect A10 by MEARS. While this is an exemplary Mantle bat with respect to use and player characteristics, it is the vintage Mantle autograph on the barrel and its unique provenance that truly distinguishes it as one of the premier Mantle bats in the entire collecting world. According to the original owner, Richard Tomasco, who has provided a notarized letter of provenance, this bat was originally obtained in 1958 as the top raffle prize at a fathers-and-sons dinner. In his one-page typed-signed letter, Tomasco, relates how he obtained it. In full:
To Whom It May Concern: This Adirondack bat, signed by Mickey Mantle, was the top raffle prize at the 1958 Dad and Sons night at Corpus Christi School, in Piedmont California. In 1958, I was in the 6th grade and we had just had Major League baseball come to the west coast with the arrival of the Giants and Dodgers so anything to do with baseball was big. One of the Dad's [sic] had connections with major league baseball and specifically with the Yankees team and was able to get a Mantle bat signed by Mickey and donated to the school for the raffle. I was the lucky winner. The bat has been in my possession since 1958.
Mantle's inscription, scripted in blue fountain pen on the side of the barrel, reads "Best Wishes/Mickey Mantle." Although the second half of both the salutation and signature are somewhat lighter in strength than the first half (probably due to the less-than-conducive writing surface), each is legible and the inscription grades "5/6" overall. The fact that this is a vintage signature, dating from the time of his active playing career, makes it especially desirable. We cannot recall having seen another Mantle vintage-signed pro-model bat and even MEARS makes special note in its LOA that this is only such bat they have ever evaluated.
The bat itself, which is not cracked, is a picture-perfect Mantle pro-model bat from the era. Measuring 35.5 inches and weighing 32.4 ounces, the bat displays heavy use along its entire length. Ball marks are present on the entire barrel, but as MEARS notes in its letter, "the bottom of the barrel shows more use than the top." Additional use is present in the form of deeply embedded stitch marks and cleat marks. White-letter Adirondack bats, which were only manufactured for a short period of time, have long been prized by collectors for their aesthetic appeal and are among the most attractive of all pro-model bats. The "Flame Treated" stampings on the offered bat remain bold and distinct and only further accentuate its tremendous display value. Mantle batted .304 with a league-leading 42 home runs and 97 RBI in 1958. Those numbers help lead the Yankees to their fourth consecutive pennant and final World Championship of the decade. Graded A10 by MEARS (5 point base grade, 3 points for use, plus 1 point each for the vintage autograph [which places it in Mantle's hand] and the recognizable player characteristics). LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS, additional LOA from John Taube and Vince Malta of PSA/DNA, and LOA James Spence/JSA. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $20,000++. SOLD FOR $22,515
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