Record price: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card sells for $5.2M

Mickey Mantle hit his last home run 53 years ago, but the New York Yankees slugger is still setting records in the baseball card market.

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A 1952 Topps card of Mantle -- one of the most coveted trading cards of the post-World War II era -- became the highest selling card of all time, PWCC Marketplace announced in a news release Thursday. The card -- the first one of the Hall of Famer produced by Topps -- was bought for $5.2 million to actor Rob Gough.

The sale tops the previous mark set in August when a 2009 Bowman Chrome SuperFractor card of Anaheim Angels star Mike Trout sold for $3,936,000 in the first Goldin Auctions “Elite” sale. The Trout card topped the $3.12 million paid in 2016 for a T206 Honus Wagner card, ESPN reported. The Trout card sale included a buyer’s premium, which is typically 20%. The gavel-ending price was $3.84 million.

The Mantle card is mint -- graded 9 out of 10 by Professional Sports Authenticator, a grading service. According to PSA’s database, there are only six cards that have received a PSA 9 grade. Only three cards are graded higher, at PSA 10, according to the company’s database.

Gough, who acquired streetwear brand Dope in 2017, has appeared in “Billionaire Boys Club,” “The Forgiven” and “Mom and Dad.”

“I’ve dreamt of owning a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle since I was a kid collecting cards,” Gough said in a news release. “It’s the Mona Lisa of sports cards and I’ve been searching for this high-graded example talking to industry experts, dealers, auction houses, friends and I’m ecstatic that I’m now the proud owner of this iconic card.”

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The card had been owned for nearly two years by former NFL lineman Evan Mathis, who sold it through Heritage Auctions for $2.88 million in 2018, Sports Collectors Daily reported. That price included a buyer’s premium. Mathis sold the card to finance a new home in Tennessee, according to Sports Collectors Daily.

“Based on our research, this is the nicest looking 1952 Topps Mantle PSA 9 in existence,” Jesse Craig, director of business development at PWCC Marketplace, said in a statement.

Gough sold the Dope trademark to Swedish company Ridestore AB in 2020 but retained the trademark, the Indianapolis Star reported. He hopes to transform Dope into a CBD company by June, the newspaper reported.

Gough, who collected baseball cards as a youth in his native Indianapolis, returned to his childhood hobby of card collecting in 2015, the Star reported. Buying a high-grade Mantle became a goal.

“As a kid, this card was the most iconic card ever,” Gough told the Star. “It’s always been the face of the hobby, the card that everybody knows.”

Gough bought two Mantle cards, one graded PSA 5 and the other a PSA 6. He sold the latter card to his friend, disc jockey-producer Steve Aoki, and continued his search for a PSA 9 or PSA 10 card, the Star reported.

PWCC Marketplace, a site that features analytics tools, has built databases representing the investment performance of professionally graded trading cards, according to Forbes. Their “PWCC 500 Index” tracks the top 500 blue-chip trading card assets produced before 2000, against the S&P 500.

Gough said the cash he paid for the PSA 9 was worth it.

“Five point two million seems high but if you look at the data, other less iconic cards have (sold for) more than 10 (times) that in the same period of time since this card was last sold (for) $2.8 million,” Gough told the Star.

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