Just as he did in 1961, Mickey Mantle came up just short of a record.
A 1952 Mantle rookie card in mint condition sold for $2.88 million. Thursday night, which was the second-highest price ever paid for a baseball card, according to ESPN. The Mantle card came up just short of the record set in October 2016 when a 1909 Honus Wagner card sold for a record $3.12 million.
Value in the card has shot up as fast as one of Mantle’s massive homers at Yankee Stadium.
Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage told ESPN the $2.88 million the Mantle card fetched blew away the price for what a similar card sold for a decade ago.
“It’s a remarkable price,” Ivy said. “It was 10 years ago when we last had a Mantle 9 (PSA scale) sell, but this sold for 10 times that.”
The card of the Yankee legend was sold by former NFL offensive lineman Evan Mathis, an avid card collector who purchased the card two years ago.
Mathis said a collector friend sent him a photo of the Mint 9 and he knew he had to have it. The ex-NFLer traded the “vast majority” of his collection and agreed to a payment plan to pay for the rest of the card.
He said last month he was selling the card to free up cash that he could spend on a house.
“I don’t think I’ll have any regrets because I’ll have a nice house to show for it instead of the card,” Mathis said in an interview with the AP.
Mathis called the card “the Mona Lisa of the sports card world.”
Mantle, one of the most beloved Yankees of all time, hit a career-best 54 home runs in 1961, but watched as Roger Maris was the one to chase down and pass Babe Ruth’s 1927 60-homer season.
His Hall of Fame career included three MVPs, a Gold Glove, a batting title, 20 All-Star appearances and seven World Series titles.
Lets play ball!