The card grading arena has seen many changes over time. Despite being known for grading coins, comic books and trading game cards, CSG is still somewhat new to the sports collectibles hobby as a reputable sports card grading company. That said, it is now becoming much more widely accepted with four main grading companies ranking with PSA, SGC and Beckett’s BVG/BGS services.
One feature which catapulted CSG’s grading early in 2022 was a change to the grading encapsulation’s presentation. Collectors had complained of its old green and white look, so the encapsulation is now a black, silver and gold palette that the company made to complement colors and designs of any sports card.
And one more point to prove a broader acceptance of CSG grading was that the company announced its 1 millionth graded card in July of 2022. The lucky card slabbed as the 1 millionth card was a 1997-98 UD3 Season Ticket Autographs #MJ Michael Jordan graded CSG 7 and with the autograph graded CSG 10. According to CSG, the company hit the 1 million card grade milestone faster than any third-party card grading service and is realized prices for graded cards is also reflected now.
But there is about to be a significant milestone for CSG with an expected $1 million card sale for an encapsulated card. It’s not a Honus Wagner, but it is the other face card of the sports collectibles hobby — the 1952 Topps Mickey mantle cards, graded as CSG 8.
SCP Auctions actually has two of the 1952 Topps Mantle cards (#311) graded by CSG up for auction. The cards were the key feature cards in SCP’s 2022 Fall Premier Auction set to end on December 10, 2022. The first card is a CSG 4.5 grade, but the CSG 8 is the card that’s expected to hit the $1 million mark. According to CSG’s announcement:
Fewer than 20 are graded higher out of about 2,000 in the world (including one that sold for $12.6 million in August 2022, setting a record for most expensive sports card at auction). SCP gives this CSG-certified card (lot 1) an estimate of at least $1.5 million.
The CSG 8 graded 1952 Topps Mantle card is Lot #1 at SCP, and with 8 days and 9 hours left the current bid if $487,181 after 8 bids. This part of SCP’s description:
Leading off SCP Auctions’ 2022 Fall Premier is an absolute stunner graded NM-MT 8 by CSG (Certified Collectibles Group’s reputable sports card grading service). Not only does it measure up to four equal-grade counterparts (all unique) that have each achieved seven-figure prices since the summer of 2021; it has clear aesthetic advantages over at least two from that group, making it among the finest NM-MT 8 examples in the hobby. The eyes don’t lie, folks.
Surface is near-flawless, color is exceptional. It’s a piece of artwork…
And this was SCP’s notation about the population and how this CSG 8 grade compares to other top grades at competing grading houses:
Out of 2,650 slabbed #311 Mickey Mantle cards in the four population reports combined (two-thirds of which are PSA), fewer than twenty have received a higher unqualified grade than this beauty (five from SGC and fourteen from PSA). Neither Beckett nor CSG have graded one higher. The numbers prove that PSA has been more lenient handing out NM-MT 8 or better grades for this iconic card, doing so at a rate of 2.63%. That’s nearly double SGC’s rate (1.5%) and five times higher than BVG (0.56%).
Here is a snapshot of some of the other highest sale prices for graded 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards besides this summer’s record-breaking $12.6 million auction price after the buyer’s premium:
- A PSA Mint 9 sold for $2.88 million in 2018, but the same exact card was then sold in January of 2021 for $5.2 million. That owner has since reportedly turned down eight-figure offers implying the $10 million mark.
- In June 2021, a PSA 8 graded example sold for $2.112 million, and in the Fall of 2021 another PSA 8 sold for $2.029 million.
As noted above, CSG gave this particular 1952 Topps Mantle card a $2 million estimate. SCP Auctions’ own conservative projection was set at $1.5 million and up.