Mickey Mantle baseball card sells for record $12.6 million


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Mickey Mantle baseball card sells for record $12.6 million

The sale easily surpassed the $7.25 million for a century-old Honus Wagner baseball card recently sold in a private sale.
 
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A Mickey Mantle baseball card at Heritage Auctions in Dallas on July 21. A mint condition Mantle card sold Sunday for $12.6 million, blasting into the record books as the most ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia.
 
Aug. 29, 2022, 1:50 AM AEST
By The Associated Press

A mint condition Mickey Mantle baseball card sold for $12.6 million Sunday, blasting into the record books as the most ever paid for sports memorabilia in a market that has grown exponentially more lucrative in recent years.

The rare Mantle card eclipsed the record just posted a few months ago — $9.3 million for the jersey worn by Diego Maradona when he scored the contentious “Hand of God” goal in soccer’s 1986 World Cup.

It easily surpassed the $7.25 million for a century-old Honus Wagner baseball card recently sold in a private sale.

And just last month, the heavyweight boxing belt reclaimed by Muhammad Ali during 1974’s “Rumble in the Jungle” sold for nearly $6.2 million.

All are part of a booming market for sports collectibles.

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Referee Zack Clayton, right, steps in after challenger Muhammad Ali knocked down defending heavyweight champion George Foreman in the eighth round of their championship fight in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), on Oct. 30, 1974.

Prices have risen not just for the rarest items, but also for pieces that might have been collecting dust in garages and attics. Many of those items make it onto consumer auction sites like eBay, while others are put up for bidding by auction houses.

Because of its near-perfect condition and its legendary subject, the Mantle card was destined to be a top seller, said Chris Ivy, the director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions, which ran the bidding.

Some saw collectibles as a hedge against inflation over the past couple years, he said, while others rekindled childhood passions.

Ivy said savvy investors saw inflation coming down the road — as it has. As a result, sports memorabilia became an alternative to traditional Wall Street investments or real estate — particularly among members of Generation X and older millennials.

“There’s only so much Netflix and ‘Tiger King’ people could watch (during the pandemic). So, you know, they were getting back into hobbies, and clearly sports collecting was a part of that,” said Ivy, who noted an uptick in calls among potential sellers.

Add to that interest from wealthy overseas collectors and you have a confluence of factors that made sports collectibles especially attractive, Ivy said.

“We’ve kind of started seeing some growth and some rise in the prices that led to some media coverage. And I think it all it all just kind of built upon itself,” he said. “I would say the beginning of the pandemic really added gasoline to that fire.”

Before the pandemic, the sports memorabilia market was estimated at more than $5.4 billion, according to a 2018 Forbes interview with David Yoken, the founder of Collectable.com.

By 2021, that market had grown to $26 billion, according to the research firm Market Decipher, which predicts the market will grow astronomically to $227 billion within a decade — partly fueled by the rise of so-called NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are digital collectibles with unique data-encrypted fingerprints.

Sports cards have been especially in demand, as people spent more time at home and an opportunity arose to rummage through potential treasure troves of childhood memories, including old comic books and small stacks of bubble gum cards featuring marquee sports stars.

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New York Yankees center fielder Mickey Mantle hits his 49th home run of the season in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium in New York on Sept. 3, 1961.

That lure of making money on something that might be sitting in one’s childhood basement has been irresistible, according to Stephen Fishler, founder of ComicConnect, who has watched the growing rise — and profitability — of collectibles being traded across auction houses.

“In a nutshell, the world of modern sports cards has been going bonkers,” he said.

The Mantle baseball card dates from 1952 and is widely regarded as one of just a handful of the baseball legend in near-perfect condition.

The auction netted a handsome profit for Anthony Giordano, a New Jersey waste management entrepreneur who bought it for $50,000 at a New York City show in 1991.

“As soon as it hit 10 million I just turned in. I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore,” Giordano, 75, said Sunday morning. His sons monitored the auction for him. “They stayed up and called me this morning bright and early to tell me that it reached where it reached.”

The card was one of dozens of sports collectibles up for auction. In all, the items raked in some $28 million, according to Derek Grady, the executive vice president of sports auctions for Heritage Auctions.

“Sports collectibles are finally getting their due as an investment,” Grady said. “The best sports items are now starting to rival artwork, rare coins and rare artifacts as a great investment vehicle.”

The switch-hitting Mantle was a Triple Crown winner in 1956, a three-time American League MVP and a seven-time World Series champion. The Hall of Famer died in 1995.

“Some people might say it’s just a baseball card. Who cares? It’s just a Picasso. It’s just a Rembrandt to other people. It’s a thing of art for some people,” said John Holden, a professor in sports management law at Oklahoma State and amateur sports card collector.

Like pieces of art that have no intrinsic value, he said, when it comes to sports cards, the worth is in the eye of the beholder — or the pocketbook of the potential bidder.

“The value,” Holden said, “is whatever the market’s willing to support.”

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mickey-mantle-baseball-card-sells-record-126-million-rcna45156

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Wow. I was still into collecting around 1991. The $50K for the Mantle card was the going rate according to Beckett Magazine.  Never saw one as nice as this one. 

Investment wise, his ROI was damn good.

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I find it interesting how this card, which was mass produced outsold some very unique one off's.  The Honus Wagner card is by far more rare given the age and the circumstances around it. But Mantle was a household name, a Yankee and held the adoration of Boomers for a long time. You could argue the market for his card was far greater than the other ones.  And while Maradonna's jersey or Ali's belt may have more worldwide appeal.  A "made in the USA" baseball star in a country laden with big spenders is more likely to garner a big sale.

Around the same time, an old friend of mine was spending his hard earned cash to buy Michael Jordan rookie cards.  Fleer and Star Cards.  I wonder how he's doing?  :)

 

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I used to collect comic cards in the 90s. Still have a few sets that are worth a fair bit of change. I'd get them graded, but the cost would be astronomical for little return.

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1 hour ago, Fuzz said:

I used to collect comic cards in the 90s. Still have a few sets that are worth a fair bit of change. I'd get them graded, but the cost would be astronomical for little return.

I always felt the grading services were a bit of a scam.  Unless you have some really valuable single items to begin with, what's the point?  Anyone in the hobby that doesn't see a well centered, chip free, flaw free card without the need for an "official" grade deserves to miss out on a good item.

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7 hours ago, Fuzz said:

I used to collect comic cards in the 90s. Still have a few sets that are worth a fair bit of change. I'd get them graded, but the cost would be astronomical for little return.

Rather funny (to me) that we're on this subject. One of the "raised eyebrow" items I am moving are my old BB card collection. '65 thru '74. I certainly don't have the '52 Mantle, but I have a couple of Nolan Ryan/Jerry Koosman '68 rookie cards! Got Mantle 67-'69. A favorite memory of mine was when my grandfather would sneak my brother and I out while he was "babysitting." 

"You boys wanna go to the ballgame?"  Yeeeeaaah!!!

NOW BATTING FOR THE YANKEES, NUMBA SEVEN. MICKEY MANTLE! MANTLE IS YO BATTA!!!

As he swats into the 3rd deck at Minneapolis Met Stadium...

 

6 hours ago, Puros Y Vino said:

I always felt the grading services were a bit of a scam.  Unless you have some really valuable single items to begin with, what's the point?  Anyone in the hobby that doesn't see a well centered, chip free, flaw free card without the need for an "official" grade deserves to miss out on a good item.

Mixed emotions. The same argument could be made that PSP/HQ is a scam? We have seasoned eyes picking the best products from the run-of-the-mill. Same with coins, stamps, cards, etc. I certainly am not able to tell you (visually) between a Boli PC PSP and a clearance, but I can blindfold the subtle differences in wrapper, etc. I am a firm believer in the PSP/HQ critique. Worth some extra coins for the grading? Yep, from my point of view.

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The card grading system is a scam. The cost most of the time far outweighs the earned benefit. I remember I was once quoted USD400 per card to grade my comic cards, and I would have had to send it to the US.

Just looking now, they have service in Australia for card grading, and the costs are a lot more reasonable at AUD20 per card. Makes me more inclined to go get them graded, if I can find a reputable grader that is recognised worldwide.

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1 hour ago, Fuzz said:

The card grading system is a scam. The cost most of the time far outweighs the earned benefit. I remember I was once quoted USD400 per card to grade my comic cards, and I would have had to send it to the US.

Just looking now, they have service in Australia for card grading, and the costs are a lot more reasonable at AUD20 per card. Makes me more inclined to go get them graded, if I can find a reputable grader that is recognised worldwide.

Hmmm, again mixed emotions. Go to US Ebay and check some of my past sales. You have to read my feedback for the older stuff. Coin collection, mostly US Morgan dollars. Beautiful pieces, sold at 1/3 what they should have. Graded they would have brought top dollar, but "raw" they are worth basically scrap value. Is it a scam? Maybe, but one that most everyone has bought into...

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13 hours ago, Chas.Alpha said:

Hmmm, again mixed emotions. Go to US Ebay and check some of my past sales. You have to read my feedback for the older stuff. Coin collection, mostly US Morgan dollars. Beautiful pieces, sold at 1/3 what they should have. Graded they would have brought top dollar, but "raw" they are worth basically scrap value. Is it a scam? Maybe, but one that most everyone has bought into...

The grading services are creating tiers in the collecting world.  You've accepted selling non-graded items at a "discount" knowing that there will be buyers who will then fork out the extra cash for the grading services.  I'd bet that your stuff moves faster than the graded material.  :)  When it comes to grading, collectors know what to look for.  The services just make it easier for the lazier collector or more comforting to the speculator.  When I buy sports cards, I know what to look for. Centering, no creases, whiteness of border, no dings, chips, etc.  I can easily grade to 90% accuracy of what the pros do.  What grates me is how my, ungraded item will go for far less than a graded one. Even though if you put them side by side they're identical.  😒  With that said, that is the market. Each seller has to determine for themselves how low they will go.  The Mantle rookie has always been a holy grail item that commanded top dollar. This jump to 12M is somewhat puzzling considering there are far more of these out there than the Honus Wagner card. But Mickey was far more popular and was a Yankee.  Rarity =/= higher price. I stopped collecting cards, comics back in the 90's as I was getting sick of all the short prints, variant covers, mail away's etc.  I'd see comics on the walls of stores that I had, at price X. I'd offer to sell mine and get offered 20% of what was on the wall.  🤬 

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I know the feeling. I have a huge number of collectible comic books, and the only way to make any real money would be to sell them privately one by one.

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