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A mint-condition Mickey Mantle baseball card sold for $12.6 million, breaking records
A mint condition Mickey Mantle baseball ticket sold for $12.6 million on Sunday, entering the record books as the highest-selling sports memorabilia in a market that has grown exponentially in recent years.
Mantle’s rare card eclipsed the record published a few months ago: $9.3 million for the jersey Diego Maradona wore when he scored the controversial “Hand of God” goal in the 1986 World Cup soccer game
25 million for a century-old Honus Wagner baseball card that was sold in a recent private sale.
And last month, the heavy boxing belt found by Muhammad Ali during 1974’s “Rumble in the Jungle” sold for nearly $6.2 million.
They are all part of a booming market for sports collectibles.
Prices have not only increased for the rarest items, but also for pieces that may be gathering dust in garages and attics. Many of these items find their way to consumer auction sites like eBay, while others are put up for auction Houses.
Because of its near-new condition and iconic subject matter, the Mantle map was destined to be a bestseller, said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions, which led the bid.
Some saw the collectibles as a hedge against the
inflation of the past two years, he said, while others reignited their childhood passions.
Ivy said that smart investors saw inflation coming, as it did. As a result, sports memorabilia has become an alternative to traditional Wall Street investments or real estate, particularly among Gen Xers and older millennials.
You know, they got back into their hobbies and sports collecting was definitely one of them,” said Ivy, noticing an increase in calls from potential sellers.
Add to that interest from wealthy foreign collectors and you have a confluence of factors that make sports collectibles particularly attractive,” Ivy said.
And I think it all sorted itself out,” he said. “
I would say that the onset of the pandemic has really added fuel to this fire.
Before the pandemic, the sporting goods market was valued at over $5.4 billion according to a 2018 Forbes interview with David Yoken, founder of Collectable.com.
By 2021, this market had grown to $26 billion, according to market research firm Market Decipher, which predicts the market will grow astronomically to $227 billion within a decade, driven in part by the rise of so-called NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, which are digital collectibles with unique data-encrypted fingerprints.
Sports cards were in particular demand as people were spending more time at home and there was an opportunity to rummage through potential treasure troves of childhood memories, including old comics and small stacks of sports star bubble gum cards.
This lure of making money from something that might be in the basement of your childhood was irresistible, according to Comic Connect founder Stephen Fishler, who has observed the growing rise – and profitability – of collectibles traded in auction houses.
“Put simply, the world of modern sports trading cards has gone insane,” he said.
Dating to 1952, Mantle’s baseball card is widely considered to be one of the few of the baseball legend in near-mint condition.
The auction brought in a large profit for Anthony Giordano, a New Jersey waste disposal businessman, who bought it for $50,000 at a 1991 show in New York City.
His children oversaw the auction for him. “They stayed up and called me bright and early this morning to tell me he got where he got.
The card was one of dozens of sports collectibles up for auction. The items fetched approximately $28 million, according to Derek Grady, executive vice president of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions.
“Sports collectibles are finally coming into their own as an investment,” Grady said. “The best sporting goods are now beginning to compete with works of art, rare coins and rare artifacts as great investment vehicles.
The two-handed Mantle was a 1956 Triple Crown Winner, three-time American League MVP, and 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. For others he is just a Rembrandt. It’s a work of art for some people,” said John Holden, law professor of sports management at Oklahoma State University and amateur sports trading card collector. of art that has no intrinsic value, he said, when it comes to sports tickets, value is in the eye of the beholder or in the pocket of the potential bidder.
“Value,” Holden said, “is what the market is willing to support.