The largest collection of Mickey Mantle baseball cards to ever hit the market — 1,392 individual cards or 97-percent of Mantle baseball cards — will be auctioned by Huggins & Scott Auctions through August 3.
Bill Wilen has made it his life’s journey to collect Mickey Mantle baseball cards.
As a young boy in Sioux City, Iowa, Wilen grew up a Yankees fan because his father adored Mickey Mantle. In 1956 at the age of ten, Wilen began collecting baseball cards, particularly of Mantle. The following year for his 11th birthday, Wilen received what he called the greatest birthday present ever from his father; the pair flew to Kansas City to see Mantle and the Yankees play ball. In 1961, the Washington Senators moved to Minneapolis, a 230-mile drive from Sioux City, which allowed Wilen to see the Bronx Bombers play each season. Following batting practice at a 1961 game, Wilen ran on to the field and had his photo taken with Mantle. It was a moment Wilen never forgot.
After a 19-year hiatus, Wilen resumed collecting Mantle cards in 1983 and returned to his boyhood home in Sioux Falls to retrieve his old collection. Over the last 30 years, Wilen, an Illinois attorney, amassed a legendary collection of Mantle baseball cards. Wilen attended card shows and bid on eBay with the goal of obtaining every card of his childhood hero. Wilen acquired 1,392 individual Mantle cards or 97-percent of the cards issued.
In 2016, Wilen wrote a colorful documentation of his Mantle card collection titled, The Mickey Mantle Baseball Card Collector’s Guide. The book features Wilen’s Mantle cards from 1951-1969.
Wilen’s Mantle collection will be offered through Huggins & Scott Auctions. The collection highlights include the regular-issued Topps and Bowman cards along with rarities such as the 1958 and 1964 Topps blank-back variations; a complete set of the Topps Venezuelan cards; the 1959 Oklahoma Today magazine with all cards intact and the 1969 Topps Super uncut proof.
Auction president Bill Huggins commented, “After 60 years in pursuit, Bill is finally ready to see his quest through to its natural conclusion, handing the collection down to a next generation of Mantle mavens who will appreciate and care for its myriad treasures. This is a baseball card collector’s dream come true.”
Wilen’s collection will be on display at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago from through Sunday.