A Mickey Mantle baseball card became the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold when it went for $12.6 million at auction this past Sunday at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.
The baseball card was issued in 1952. It depicts Mantle, who is considered the greatest switch hitter in history, looking off into the distance with a bat resting on his shoulders in front of a bright teal background.
The card was graded as a 9.5 out of 10 by the Sportscard Guaranty Corporation. It was once bought by Anthony Giordano, the president of a waste and recycling center in New Jersey. He bought the card in 1991 for $50,000 dollars, a record at the time. The card then sold to an anonymous New York resident.
This record-breaking sale follows two years of exploding auction prices in both the visual arts and collectibles. The previous record for sports memorabilia was broken this past May when the jersey that Diego Maradona wore when he won the 1986 World Cup for Argentina sold for $9.3 million. The previous record for a baseball card was broken in 2021, when a Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $6.6 million.
“An eight-figure auction result in the sports market was the stuff of fantasy just a decade ago,” Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage, said in a statement. “We always knew this card would shatter records and expectations. 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.”