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1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card fetches record  $2.88 million at auction

Mickey Mantle baseball cards are coveted by collectors, and the 1952 Topps card of the New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame outfielder remains the gold standard for post-World War II collectibles.

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The bar was raised even higher Thursday night, as a ’52 Mantle in mint condition -- graded PSA 9 by Professional Sports Authenticator -- sold for $2,880,000 in an online event hosted by Heritage Auctions. That price, which includes the buyer’s premium, is the most ever paid for a post-World War II trading card and the second-highest for any trading card, Sports Collectors Daily reported. 

The highest amount was $3.12 million for a T206 Honus Wagner card sold in October 2016 by Goldin Auctions.

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“The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is more than just a baseball card,” PSA President Joe Orlando said in a news release. “It is pop culture art and the symbol of the card collecting hobby itself.”

There were 21 bids cast for the Mantle card, which was part of Heritage Auctions’ Spring Sports Card Catalog Auction. The previous record for a 1952 Mantle graded PSA 9 was set in 2006, when Memory Lane Auction sold one for $282,588, PSA said in its release. The previous record for a Mantle card, regardless of grade, was a PSA 8.5 that sold in 2016 for $1.13 million.

The card that was sold Thursday night was owned by former NFL offensive lineman Evan Mathis, who played for six teams during his professional career. Wednesday night, Mathis spoke with with ESPN’s Bob Ley about the card and his love for collecting. Mathis said he sold the card to finance a new home in Tennessee, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

Mantle’s 1952 card is not the slugger’s true rookie card, but it is the first card that Topps issued. The 1951 Bowman card of the Mick is considered his rookie card, and one graded PSA 9 sold during this week’s Heritage Auctions sale for $750,000.

“The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card captures the attention of baseball fans, serious collectors, and investors alike and this auction made it one of the most valuable sports collectibles in existence,” Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage Auctions, told Sports Collectors Daily. “It’s a phenomenal price, a world record, but it’s also the natural progression of a trend we’ve seen building for years.”

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