Mickey Mantle Topps Rookie Card Sold by Evan Mathis for $2.88M

Mickey Mantle Topps Rookie Card Sold by Evan Mathis for $2.88M”

A near-record $2.88 million was spent on a 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps rookie card on Thursday night, and that hefty profit should be enough for the seller, former National Football League offensive lineman Evan Mathis, to buy his family's dream house.

According to Rovell, it's the second-highest price ever paid for a baseball card.

The 1952 Topps set is regarded as the first modern baseball card set and includes Mantle's rookie card.

Owned for about two years by collector/dealer/former NFL lineman Evan Mathis, the card generated significant national publicity after it was revealed as a consignment in early March. Ten years later, the record was $121,000.

According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the item recently sold for $2.88 million through Heritage Auctions. The last time a PSA 9 "52 Mantle was offered in 2006, it sold for "only" $282,588 (the equivalent of $349,017 today)". A PSA 9 example sold in the same Heritage Auction as the 1952 Topps card, netting $750,000.

The record for the card was for a PSA 8.5 sold for $1.13 million in 2016, which held until Thursday night.

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The Wagner card was made more rare by the company that produced them, Piedmont Cigarettes, when the card was discontinued. At the time, several years before the advent of professional grading services, Rosen sold the highest quality Mantle cards for $3,500 each. But Topps, in only its second year of making baseball cards, found that the cards came out too late in the year and there was little to no interest in consumers buying more. Ultimately unsold cards sat in a warehouse for seven years before Topps' Sy Berger attempted to sell them off in bulk.

"I went around to carnivals and offered them at a penny apiece", Berger told Sports Collectors Digest in 2010.

A PSA 8 Mantle is now being offered by Robert Edward Auctions and had a high bid of $216,000 including the 20% buyer's premium as of Thursday afternoon.

Even after all that effort, Berger still had 300 cases left, so he dumped them into the ocean, which is ultimately why the 1952 Mantle rookie is so valuable.

A mistake? Of course.

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