To say Bill Wilen collected Mantle cards is like saying Noah collected animals. Collect is just too small a word for Wilen's epic undertaking. Stockpile is more like it. Corner the market even. The retired Illinois attorney made it his life's mission to amass every last Mantle card from 1951-2000—the first half-century of Mantle-mania—and Wilen very nearly got there. Incredibly, his collection is 97-percent complete! Add in the years from 2001 to 2012 and the grand total comes to an astounding 1,392 individual, different Mantle cards. In his recently published book, The Mickey Mantle Baseball Card Collector's Guide (2016), Wilen documented the Mantle cards from 1951-1969. Nobody but nobody can rival such breadth and depth, and never before has a Mantle mother lode of this scope reached the auction block.
Huggins and Scott could not be more proud or more honored that Mr. Bill Wilen has selected us to handle his ENTIRE Mantle collection and present it to an increasingly hungry public. The appetite for high-grade Mantle cards is more voracious than ever, with record-shattering prices coming left and right. Now it's Wilen's turn to make hobby history. 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. Even beyond the regular-issue favorites, there are such desirable rarities 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; the 1969 Topps Super uncut proof; and so very much more. Also, all encapsulated cards are designated with the title Bill Wilen Collection directly on the holder label.
Likewise, we at Huggins and Scott are truly thankful to be part of this landmark sale! See you at the National Convention in Chicago, where Bill Wilen will be on hand at our booth to talk with fellow Mantle collectors and sign copies of his book.