1949 Mickey Mantle Payroll Check & Photograph

Value (2008) | $31,000 Auction$51,500 Auction

GUEST:
My grandfather was the secretary of the Independence Baseball Club and for some reason, he just decided to keep them. He'd cashed their checks, and he kept them from going to the trashcan after they got cashed. That's really all I know. You know, we found them up in a box in the attic.

APPRAISER:
Well, you've got two wonderful pieces here. You've got a payroll check for Mickey Mantle from 1949 and a team photo of the Independence Yankees of 1949, and it's an original photo that has Mickey Mantle in it, right here at the very end, with his eyes closed. Do you know that this is his very first year in professional baseball?

GUEST:
It was my understanding, but I was not positive about that.

APPRAISER:
That being an original photo from his very first year, would probably have a value of about $1,000 to $1,500.

GUEST:
Oh. Really? Just...

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
However.

GUEST:
Ah.

APPRAISER:
what you have is a situation where the photo is stuck to the glass, so you're gonna need some restoration there.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And it's gonna cost probably at least a few hundred dollars.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
But I think it would be worth it.

GUEST:
Oh, yeah.

APPRAISER:
Now, this check really means a lot.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
'Cause it's dated August 30, 1949, and it's about three months after he started playing professional baseball.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Now, do you know that he was paid $400 for that season?

GUEST:
No, I didn't know that.

APPRAISER:
If I turn this over... we have on the reverse, his signature, and that is probably one of the earliest documented signatures that we've ever seen on Mickey Mantle.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
In fact, this is probably one of the very earliest documents we've ever seen on Mickey Mantle alone. It's amazing.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Now, value. There are few cancelled checks that have sold by Mickey Mantle,

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
in the $6,000 to $7,000 range.

GUEST:
Right. Wow.

APPRAISER:
However, this check represents his first year in baseball. I think at auction, this is gonna bring approximately $30,000 to $50,000.

GUEST:
Oh! (gasping) Oh, don't film me. (crying) Are you kidding? Just for that?

APPRAISER:
Not at all.

GUEST:
(crying) I'm sorry. Whew...

APPRAISER:
What did you think it was worth?

GUEST:
Uh... Well, we... his signature... Maybe $500. I... I don't know. I'm speechless. (laughing) I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cry. Oh, my God. (giggles)

APPRAISER:
Do you have any more of these? I'm just curious.

GUEST:
Um, there's five of them. There's five checks.

APPRAISER:
There's five checks including this one?

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Oh, my. All right. Well, that would... You know, there's a diminishing return with, with multiples.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
But, um, I have to tell you, all five of those checks would probably bring in the range of, uh, $150,000 to $200,000, and I might be low at that.

GUEST:
Oh. Whoa. (laughing) Oh, my stars. (both laughing) Golly.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
Dallas, Texas
Appraised value (2008)
$31,000 Auction$51,500 Auction
Event
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Material
Ink, Paper

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