Sports collectibles are finally getting their due as an investment. The best sports items are now starting to rival artwork, rare coins and rare artifacts as a great investment vehicle.Derek Grady, executive V.P. of sports auctions for Heritage Auctions. The auction company recently facilitated the sale of a 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card; at $12.6 million, it’s the most valuable sports memorabilia item ever to be sold at auction.
Why It Matters: A mint condition baseball card of Mickey Mantle is the first sports item to be auctioned for an eight-figure sum; the card was originally bought for either a penny or a nickel and has remained in near-perfect condition for 70 years. The sale highlights the recent boom in sports collectibles, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Who is Mickey Mantle? He played on the New York Yankees throughout his entire 18-year MLB career, during which he hit over 500 home runs. Mantle, who is considered one of the best baseball players in history, passed away in 1995.
- The Boom: The sports memorabilia market was estimated at around $5 billion in 2018. The pandemic prompted an increased interest in sports collectibles, making the market worth about $26 billion in 2021. Why? “People are starting to look at these collectibles as legitimate alternative assets," said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions for Heritage Auctions.
- Something to Consider: “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. He added that "the value is whatever the market’s willing to support.”
Baseball Card Sold for $12.6 Million, Breaking Record (New York Times)
Mickey Mantle card breaks record, as sports memorabilia soar (Associated Press)
by Jenna Lee,