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1966 Mickey Mantle Signed Pro-Model Bat - Mayor's Trophy Game Provenance
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $35,250
Mickey Mantle H&B signature-model "K90" bat dating from the 1965-1968 manufacturing period. Graded A10 by MEARS. Although this bat conforms to the general 1965-1968 labeling period, it can be specifically dated to 1966 based upon H&B factory records. According to company shipping documents, Mantle only received a single order of twelve "K90" model bats during the referenced manufacturing period, with that shipment occurring on February 4, 1966. Even more significant is that the order records specify "Mark Weights on Knob." The offered bat bears the original factory weight, "33," written in dark pencil on the knob. The fact that this bat can pinpointed to 1966 is of all the greater note as it fully supports its remarkable provenance: This bat has been in our consignor's family since the 1960s, when it was obtained by her father at a Mayor's Trophy Game. (The Mayor's Trophy Game was an annual in-season exhibition game between the Mets and Yankees that ran from 1963 through 1983. All proceeds from the event went to the city's Amateur Baseball Federation.) Years later, her father had Mantle personally sign the bat for him at a signing show. All of the details regarding the bat's history are conveyed in her accompanying one-page letter. In full:
Our father was a close personal friend of Herb Norman, the equipment manager of the New York Mets during the 1960s. As a result, he attended various sporting events as Mr. Norman's guest. We believe it was in the late 1960's, when our father was present at a Mayor's Trophy baseball game in New York City, that he acquired this baseball bat. He received it from Herb Norman, and was told that it was a game used Mickey Mantle bat. Several decades later, as our father became involved in collecting sports memorabilia, he had the bat signed by Mickey Mantle at a sports collectible trade show. In addition, in 1997, after writing to Louisville Slugger and providing the inscription on the bat of K90, it was determined that this bat was from those which were ordered in 1963, 1964, or 1966. These dates coincide with the time frame in which the bat was originally acquired from Herb Norman.
Both the referenced letter from Louisville Slugger and the ticket from the signing show also accompany the bat. Because our consignor only provided Louisville Slugger with the model number of the bat, the company had no idea what labeling period the bat was from. Although Mantle also ordered model "K90" bats in 1963 and 1964, the labeling period of the offered bat (1965-1968) precludes it from being a part of those two earlier orders. Its impeccable provenance notwithstanding, this is a Mickey Mantle pro-model bat of the highest order, especially with regard to use and player traits. The bats displays an incredible amount of use along its entire length, including a plethora of deeply embedded ball and stitch marks on all sides of the barrel. Also evident are rack marks and pine tar on the handle. Mantle's uniform number ("7") is written on the knob in vintage black marker. Mantle has flawlessly inscribed the bat "Mickey Mantle/HOF 1974" in blue Sharpie (grading "10") directly below the barrel stamping. Despite the fact that this bat was obtained at the 1966 Mayor's Trophy Game, the amount of use seen here indicates that it saw action weeks, perhaps even months, prior to the game. Actually, it is not even certain, based upon the family's remembrance, whether or not Mantle used the bat in the Mayor's Trophy Game; but that is where it was obtained. (We have located the New York Times article covering the game, which was won by the Yankees 5-2, but not a box score. Mantle is not mentioned in the recap of the game, so we do not know with certainty if he even appeared in the game.) Length: 35 inches. Weight: 33.9 ounces. Graded A10 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 3 points for use and an additional combined 2 points for player traits/provenance). There are currently sixty-six Mickey Mantle pro-model bats listed in the MEARS database, but only eleven are graded a perfect A10. A game-used Mantle bat of this extraordinary quality and provenance is a true rarity, and one that is made even more desirable by the documented authentic signature on the barrel. Given its provenance, amount of use, presence of the vintage uniform number on the knob, and the flawless signature on the barrel, by any measure this is one of the finest 1960s Mickey Mantle pro-model bats in existence. Perfect in every respect. LOAs from Troy Kinunen/MEARS and James Spence/JSA. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000+. SOLD FOR $35,250
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