A rare Mickey Mantle baseball card is up for auction and could fetch more than $10 million when bidding closes later this month.
The card, created in 1952 by the baseball card manufacturer Topps, is in near-perfect condition. It’s also incredibly rare, one of just a handful of cards still in such good shape. In its listing, Heritage Auctions calls the card “a spectacular long-shot miracle of the collectible marketplace.”
The auction ends August 27, but already buyers have driven up the card’s price to $6.5 million. When all is said and done, Heritage Auctions expects the card to go for $10 million or more, a figure that would far surpass the record-holding 1909 Honus Wagner card that sold for $6.6 million in August 2021.
For the uninitiated, Mantle—also known as “the Mick”—was an iconic American professional baseball player who spent his entire 18-year career with the New York Yankees. A switch-hitter, he helped the Yankees win seven World Series titles. Mantle was an American League MVP three times, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted him into its ranks in 1974.
Mantle died in 1995, but his reputation as one of the best in the business lives on to this day. Collectors also continue to covet Mantle’s baseball cards, particularly those in mint condition, like the one being auctioned off now. Authenticators gave the card a grade of “Mint 9.5” out of 10 for its four sharp corners, glossy finish and rich colors.
Owner Anthony Giordano, a 75-year-old New Jersey waste management executive, bought the card in 1991 when his son, then 15, saw it at a show at Madison Square Garden. The price: $50,000.
Giordano bought the card from Alan Rosen, a well-known card dealer nicknamed “Mr. Mint.” At the time of the sale, Rosen told Giordano the card was “the finest known example in the world.”
After Giordano asked Rosen if he would put that sentiment in writing, the card dealer typed up a note on his “Mr. Mint” stationery. That letter makes the already-valuable Mantle card even more desirable to prospective buyers.
“It’s that extra layer of pedigree or provenance which separates this particular example from every other high-grade example that has ever come through any of the grading services,” says Joe Orlando, executive vice president at Heritage Auctions, to the Washington Post’s Caroline Pineda.
Giordano had considered selling the card before—someone even offered him more than $2 million five years ago—but just never felt the time was right. Until now.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Giordano tells Bobby Caina Calvan of the Associated Press (AP). “My boys and I have had the cards for over 30 years, and we’ve enjoyed it. We’ve enjoyed showing anybody that’s close to me—friends and relatives—and I think it’s time for someone else.”