Counterfeit Card Alert: 1960 Bazooka #31 Mickey Mantle

Posted on 12/1/2022

This fake has a pervasive problem with pixels.

Mickey Mantle cards are a hot ticket in the sports collecting world. CSG recently graded a 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle expected to sell for well over $1 million. Even some of the lesser-known cards issued during his playing years can sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

The 1960 Bazooka #31 Mickey Mantle is a good example. Mantle had already secured his place in New York Yankees history by the time it was issued, helping his team to five of the total of seven World Series championships they would win during his career.

The card submitted to CSG, and what the Bazooka boxes looked like (in an image from Sports Collectors Daily)
Click images to enlarge.

These cards were found on the sides of the Bazooka bubblegum box, with three cards on each box. Mantle was grouped with Chicago Cubs pitcher Glen Hobbie and Cincinnati Reds shortstop Roy McMillan in the 36-card set. The cards were hand-cut, which makes it hard to find high-grade examples today.

Recently, CSG encountered a purported example of a 1960 Bazooka #31 Mickey Mantle. While the thickness of the cardboard stock is similar to a genuine example, the print quality is poor compared to an original. However, because the print on genuine examples is itself not high-quality, collectors may find it especially challenging to identify a counterfeit.

It helps to know that genuine examples were printed on a white-coated stock. So the white rectangle around the player’s name ought to be free of other ink. Under magnification, it is clear that is not the case here; there is a blizzard of pixelation surrounding Mickey Mantle’s name. These pixels are a result of the printing process used to create this counterfeit.

Close-up of the white space around the name.
Click images to enlarge.

CSG uses world-class expertise, advanced technology, innovation and operational excellence to provide sports card collectors and dealers with accurate and consistent certification services. CSG backs these determinations with the industry-leading CSG Guarantee, which adds significant confidence, liquidity and value to the hobby.

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