Mint Condition Mickey Mantle Rookie Card Sells for $12.6m at Auction


Mantle card found in attic

A pristine 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card fetched $12.6m at auction on Saturday, setting a new record as the most expensive sports card or memorabilia item ever sold.

Heritage Auctions managed the sale of the Mantle rookie, which beat the previous record of $7.25m for a T206 Honus Wagner card sold earlier in August.

Card grading service SGC rated the Mantle rookie as a 9.5, making it the highest-rated copy of the iconic card known to be in existence.

collector Alan Rosen found the Mantle rookie in 1986

The story of the record-setting card is nearly as fantastic as its selling price. Collector Alan Rosen found the Mantle rookie in 1986 as part of a 5,500-card lot of 1952 Topps cards in the attic of truck driver Ted Lodge. Rosen paid Lodge more than $125,000 for the collection, which Lodge found when he inherited a home from his father.

From ungraded to unparalleled

In 1991, before grading cards became commonplace, Rosen sold one of his ungraded Mantle rookie cards from that collection for $50,000 to an anonymous buyer. The buyer, Anthony Giordano, resisted grading or selling the card for decades, until his sons recently convinced him to do so.

in a category of its own.”

“This card is arguably the finest-condition example of the most iconic post-war card in the world,” Heritage director of sports auctions Chris Ivy said in a statement. “That grade, plus the fact it has documented provenance from the most storied find in hobby history, puts this card in a category of its own.”

The Mantle rookie also set a new record for any type of sports memorabilia, surpassing the $9.3m sale of the jersey Diego Maradona wore when scoring his “Hand of God” goal in the 1986 World Cup.

After the sale, Ivy reflected on the $12.6m price tag.

“We always knew this card would shatter records and expectations,” Ivy said. “But that doesn’t make it any less of a thrill to be part of an auction during which a single item breaks the eight-figure threshold for the first time.”

Ruth bat sets record

Mantle played his entire MLB career – spanning from 1951 to 1968 – with the New York Yankees. He hit 536 home runs in his career, played in 20 All-Star Games, won seven World Series, and took home three American League MVP awards. He entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

The Mantle rookie card wasn’t the only piece of memorabilia which attracted heavy attention on Saturday. Heritage also sold a game-used, autographed Babe Ruth bat for $1.7m, making it the most expensive bat ever sold at auction. Ruth used the bat from 1918 through 1922, and later gifted it to teammate Frank “Home Run” Baker.

Heritage listed these and other memorabilia items as part of its August 27-28 Summer Platinum Night Sports Auction.

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