A new record and personal best has been set in baseball card collecting. A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card was sold by Goldin Auctions this weekend for a whopping $330,000, and Heritage Auctions had a sample sell for $382,400. While there is no way to track privately negotiated transactions, those outside of auctions and public sales, this weekend’s PSA-graded “8” Mantle card sales beat out all known prior record sales for the same card in any grade.
True vintage baseball card collectors know that the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card is not worth as much as a handful of other cards and memorabilia items, but to many this card represents the official face card of vintage baseball card collecting. There are more than 1,200 PSA-graded card samples and 374 SGC-graded card samples in existence of the 1952 Topps Mantle.
Honus Wagner cards from the T206 tobacco baseball card set from 1909 certainly sell for higher, with one fairly recent Goldin Auction fetching some $2.1 million.
Before you think that this $330,000 sale price and the $382,400 is all that there is to consider, there is actually more to the story. Auction houses charge a buyer’s premium, and the premium here from Goldin was said to be 21.5%. Heritage says that its realized price includes a 19.5% buyer’s premium, so that would imply a $320,000 sales price if there were no exceptions, versus an all-in price for the Goldin price of almost $401,000 if there were no discounts or price kickers.
Vintage sports card collectors know that many samples of the 1952 Topps Mantle card in various grades sell each year. Most sell in a range of a just under $10,000 to over $20,000 for the most common grades, but it is very rare for a graded sample of 8 and higher (on a scale of 1 to 10) to come up for auction or sale. Many samples come up via eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) or other auction houses. Items of this magnitude attract investors as well as sports cards and memorabilia collecting enthusiasts.