The Quest for a '52 Mantle
Back in 2005, a gentleman by the name of Kyle MacDonald set off on the mission of trading one red paperclip for a house. One year and 14 trades later, he accomplished his goal. Last September, a gentleman by the name of Bryon (or Elemenopeo by his Collectors Universe Forum handle) set off on a similar mission. His red paperclip: a 1986 Topps #418 Alan Knicely card. His house: a 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle card.
The Beginning - September 15, 2007
It all started on the Collectors Universe Forums, a thread titled, "I'll trade ya this for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle". It was an idea that Bryon had been kicking around for a while and the day had finally arrived to embark on the journey: trading his way from a 1986 Topps #418 Alan Knicely, all the way up to a 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle.
His plans for the '52 Mantle? To enjoy it for a few months, show it off to his family and friends and then auction it off, with half of the proceeds going to charity and the other half going to his 3-year old daughter's college fund. Valiant enough.
Alan Knicely played 8 seasons in the Majors, batting .213, a real common among commons, a red paperclip in a collecting world where the 1952 Mantle is as big as a house.
He set some ground rules, allowing himself the right to modify them in case of unforeseen circumstances and he was on his way.
Trade #1 - September 19, 2007
Well, the forum seemed enthusiastic about the prospect of following along in this journey and several were willing to participate in trades. After contemplating the initial offers he received, Bryon decided to go with this card - from the 1950 D358 Drake's TV Baseball Series set, #8 Carroll "Whitey" Lockman, part of a 36-card set released by Drake's Bakeries in packages of cookies once upon a time. Although he'd never heard of this set up until this point, the scarcity of the card was hard to pass up, and it was assuredly a grand leap up from the Alan Knicely.
Trade #2 - October 13, 2007
Forrest Gregg was 9-time Pro-Bowler and part of 6 World Championship teams as a player. He later went on to coach and was head coach of the 1981 Cincinnati Bengals team that went to the Super Bowl.
Bryon cited PSA grading, the popularity of the set, as well as good eye appeal and decent name recognition as reasons for accepting this trade.
Trade #3 - October 23, 2007
Trade #4 - October 31, 2007
Next, came an interesting move for Bryon - a trade for "Kelvin who from what set?"
In 1990, Topps released limited, glossy versions of its base set, and apparently, these cards, in gem condition, especially of Dallas Cowboys players, are of particular interest to certain registry set builders.