Mickey Mantle returns to baseball cards with new Panini America deal

The Mick is back on cardboard.

Mickey Mantle, the icon of a generation of collectors, will be back on baseball cards soon as Panini America has reached a deal with the estate of the Hall of Famer and former New York Yankee who died in 1995. It will be his first cardboard since 2012 when his family let their deal with Topps expire.

The deal is expected to be formally revealed today with at least one card perhaps coming immediately via the Panini Eternal program, though his sons David and Danny disclosed the deal to Yahoo Sports’ Big League Stew in an interview.

“We had come off a long contract with another company, and they had pretty much flooded the market with cards. So me and David decided we should let it dry up a little bit,” Danny Mantle told Yahoo. But fans kept asking us what’s going and why aren’t there cards? It just made sense to do it.”

There will be cut autographs and memorabilia cards as part of the new deal with the Mantle estate. We’ll have more details on this one right here later today after it is formally announced.

Update: The multi-year deal allows Panini to use Mantle in up to six products per year with cut autographs and memorabilia cards. He’ll also be on the packaging for two Panini brands.

The launch of The Mickey Mantle Collection comes today at 2 p.m. Central time via Panini Eternal, while he will first appear in 2017 Panini Immaculate when it arrives in August.

“We are honored that the Mantle family has chosen Panini America to represent Mantle’s legacy on trading cards for now and the future,” said Jim Stefano, Panini America Senior Director of Product Development. “This is a historic day for Panini MLBPA-licensed baseball trading card products. We believe trading card collectors will be excited about what we will be creating in terms of product content and promotions by utilizing arguably the most collectible player in baseball history. We plan to work closely with the Mantle family on The Mick’s triumphant and long-overdue return to the trading card marketplace.”

Update 2: The first Eternal cards are now live at the link above with the standard card being $9.99 and printed to order, a Blue parallel limited to only seven copies for $99.99 and a 1/1 Black parallel that was $249.99 before it sold out. All three can be seen above. Meanwhile, Panini had Mantle’s sons on Facebook Live for a video Monday afternoon that you can watch below.

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