The most expensive baseball card in history just sold for $12.6 million

A Mickey Mantle baseball card from 1952 sold for a jaw-dropping $12,600,000 early Sunday morning, according to a news release from Heritage Auctions shared with CNN. The sale makes the card the most valuable sports collectible in the world, according to the auction house.

The price almost doubled the previous record for a baseball card set when a rare Honus Wagner sold for $6.6 million last year. And it also beat out the record for any item of sports memorabilia, bypassing the $9.3 million sale of Diego Maradona’s famous ‘Hand of God’ jersey.

The Mickey Mantle card is especially valuable because it’s so well-preserved. The card was graded “Mint+ 9.5” by the Sportscard Guaranty Corporation, according to Heritage Auctions.

Mantle spent 17 years playing for the New York Yankees and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. The record-breaking card is from his rookie season and was produced by trading card giant Topps.

For the auction house, the sale represents the growing draw of sports collectibles.

“An eight-figure auction result in the sports market was the stuff of fantasy just a decade ago,” said Chris Ivy, Heritage’s director of sports auctions, said in the release.

“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. It’s an extraordinary accomplishment for our wonderful team of sports experts at Heritage Auctions. And, of course, we could not have done it without our consignor, Anthony Giordano, who put his trust in Heritage to bring this amazing card to market.”

Anthony Giordano bought the Mantle card for what was a record-breaking price in 1991: $50,000. He kept it hidden away for three decades before bringing it to Heritage Auctions, according to the release.

“It bears the finest qualities any 1952 Topps can possess: perfect centering, registration and four sharp corners,” said Ivy in the release. “That this Mantle rookie card remained in this condition for 70 years is a true miracle.”

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