NEW YORK — A decades-old Mickey Mantle baseball card could break records when it goes up for auction next month.
The 1952 collectible features one of baseball’s most famous and charismatic legends, and is widely considered one of the few in pristine condition.
It is estimated that the card could exceed $10 million when the two-day auction begins on August 27. The record is $6.6 million for a 1909 Honus Wagner card that was auctioned off a year ago, months after another 70-year-old Mantle card was salvaged. $5.2 million.
Whatever the final price of the rare Mantle rookie card, it will be a big profit for the current owner, a New Jersey waste management contractor who bought it for $50,000 at a trade show in New York in 1991.
“Every time he got up on the plate, the crowd went crazy, the roars were there. And he never let you down. … He had that aura around him,” card owner Anthony Giordano said. about Mantle, who spent his entire career with the New York Yankees from 1951 to 1968. “Whether you’re from the New York area or not, or a Yankees fan, it’s always Mickey Mantle who has been highlighted.”
The switch-hitting Mantle — the Mick — won the Triple Crown in 1956, three-time American League MVP and seven-time World Series champion. The Hall of Famer, who died in 1995, was considered a humble player on the pitch. When he hit a home run, he often ran for bases with his head down.
“I thought the pitcher felt bad enough without me showing it around base,” Mantle said.
As for the baseball card, its rarity lives up to the mythical reputation of its subject.
“The quality of the card is key,” said Derek Grady, executive vice president of sports auctions for Heritage Auctions, which runs the auction. “Four sharp corners, gloss and color jump off the card.”
Grady said the collectibles market is experiencing a renaissance, noting that cards that are “the creme de la creme, the best of the best, are still selling despite the current economy”, and that Mantle, “the king” baseball cards, “has always done well.”
Giordano, 75, said it was time to give the Mantle card a new home.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “My boys and I have had the cards for over 30 years, and we’ve enjoyed it. We’ve enjoyed showing everyone close to me – friends and relatives – and I think it’s time for someone to ‘other.”
Prior to the start of the auction, the card will be on display in Atlantic City Wednesday through Sunday during the National Sports Collectors Convention and at the New York office of Heritage Auctions the following week.