A Mickey Mantle baseball card was sold for a whopping $12.6 million at Sotheby’s on Sunday, making it the most expensive sports memorabilia ever.
The baseball card was issued in 1952, depicting Mantle looking off at a distance with his bat resting on his shoulders. Micky Mantle, born in 1931 in Oklahoma, is considered one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history. Nicknamed “the Commerce Comet”, Mantle died in 1995.
The baseball card was owned by Anthony Giordano, who owns a waste and recycling firm in New Jersey. Giordano bought the card in 1991 for $50,000. The card was graded as 9.5 (out of 10) by the Sportscard Guaranty Corporation, which is considered an excellent rating for vintage cards. At the auction held at Heritage Auctions, Dallas, the card sold for $12.6 million to an anonymous buyer from New Jersey.
The auction broke the record of the most expensive sports memorabilia ever sold, breaking the record previously held by the jersey Diego Maradona wore in the 1986 World Cup. The jersey, also called the “Hand of God jersey”, was sold for $9.3 million in May this year. On the other hand, the most expensive baseball card previously was a Honus Wagner baseball card, sold in 2021 for $6.6 million.
In the last 3 years, sports memorabilia have been becoming a favorite at auctions and seeing a rapid rise in its prices. Baseball memorabilia was some of the most valuable artifacts in sports. Speaking of this rise in the market, Chris Ivy (Director, Sports Auctions, Heritage) said: “An eight-figure auction result in the sports market was the stuff of fantasy just a decade ago.”