What’s the Difference Between a Type 1 and Type 2 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle Card?

Posted on 10/18/2022

The pinnacle of baseball cards comes in two different varieties; here's how to tell them apart.

The 1952 Topps card #311 — Mickey Mantle. The image is already in your mind as you read this.

You know the story: What has become one of the most iconic cards in the hobby started out as the kitchen table creation of Sy Berger and cartoonist, author and “Cardfather” Woody Gelman.

Mantle was almost an afterthought in the 1952 Topps set. It wasn’t until the late-season release of the final series of cards that Mickey Mantle’s picture was included.

You also know the story of how no one seemingly wanted the final series of cards so late in the baseball season. The high-number cases sat for years in the Topps Brooklyn warehouse. Sometime around 1960, Sy Berger decided it was time to clear out the warehouse of product that was taking up valuable space and loaded a reported 400 to 500 1952 Topps high-number cases onto a garbage scowl to be dumped in New York's East River.

But did you know there are two distinct versions of the ‘52 Topps Mantle card?

The fronts of a Type 1 (left) and Type 2 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle card
Click images to enlarge.

If you remember back from the “old days” of the hobby, the price guides would list the Mantle card with a "DP" next to it. It means double print and that indicates there are exactly double the number of Mantle cards printed in comparison to other cards in the set.

1952 Topps series were printed on sheets of 100 cards. When a series checklist equaled less than 100 card designs, the best way to minimize printing waste was to fill the gaps with duplicate card designs. In the case of the ’52 high series, one of the cards duplicated was card #311.

But 1952 was long before Photoshop or any other type of graphic design software. Card designs were made manually, cutting design devices by hand and pasting them together. While we can drag and drop a duplicate image today, in 1952, a duplicate had to be created almost from scratch. We can see evidence of this manual design creation by looking at the Mantle card.

The backs of a Type 1 (left) and Type 2 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle card
Click images to enlarge.

CSG has decided to notate the two versions of the 1952 Mantle card by designating the two versions as “Type 1” and “Type 2.”

So, how can you tell the difference between a Type 1 and a Type 2? Here are key areas of the card to look at to determine the type:

Key Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Cards

Design Element Type 1 Type 2
“Mantle” in signature on front
End of 'e' curves upward
End of 'e' does not curve upward
Box around Yankees logo on front
Solid black border on all sides
Missing black border at the bottom
"Star box" above name on front
Solid border around the top
Jagged border around the top
Black box near edge of card on the front
Rounded corner at bottom left due to missing “pixel”
Square corner at bottom left (no missing pixel)
Baseball on the back
Stiches point left
Stiches point right and are bolder than Type 1
The word "DiMaggio's" on the back
The 's' lines up with the 'h' of the word "Right" above it
The 's' lines up with the 't' of the word "Right" above it

To see these differences illustrated and to learn more about this epic card, click on the video link below.

Related Links


Stay Informed

Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free CSG eNewsletter today!

Thanks!

You've been subscribed to the CSG eNewsletter.

Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

Articles List

Add CSG Card

Create a Set

Join CSG for free to add cards, track your collection and participate in the CSG Registry. Learn more >

Join CSG

Already a member? Sign In
Add to CSG Card Registry Example
Add to CSG Card Registry Example