A 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card has smashed all records by selling for the highest auction price ever of $12.6 million.
The rare rookie card was graded as a minty 9.5 in condition by sports memorabilia grader SGC and only sold for $50,000 in 1991 by top collector Alan Rosen, according to the New York Post.
The final price zoomed past the estimated $10 million that the auction house estimated.
In a letter included in the sale, Rosen wrote that the card was “in my estimation the finest known example in the world” with only the “slightest evidence of paper toning.”
Heritage auction’s Chris Ivy said that “The card more than lives up to Rosen’s claim when viewed in person,” and added, “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 card has a storied history, ESPN reported. In 1986, collector Alan Rosen, known as “Mr. Mint” in card collecting circles, got the card from a truck driver who said he inherited it from his father. Even back then, the card became instantly famous in sports collecting.
The Mantle card blew the previous card record auction price out of the water. Earlier this month, a 1909 Honus Wagner Pittsburgh Pirates baseball card earned $7.25 million at auction. The same card sold for $6.5 million last year.
The Mantle and Wagner cards have vied for the top seller for years.
Auctioneer Ivy said that sports collectibles might be soaring partly because of the pandemic.
“There’s only so much Netflix and ‘Tiger King’ people could watch,” Ivy said, referring to the Netflix streaming series. “So, you know, they were getting back into hobbies, and clearly, sports collecting was a part of that.”