Record breaking baseball card sold

August 29, 2022
Old Rawlings baseball with a green field in the background

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,