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While the NFT and crypto markets are hurting, the sports memorabilia market is thriving. A nearly flawless Mickey Mantle card selling for a record-shattering $12.6 million is just the latest example.
The 1952 Topps card sold at Heritage Auctions, and dwarfed the previous record for the most expensive card ever sold. That was a Honus Wagner card that went for $7.25 million earlier this month.
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The card reportedly originated from a collection of a former Topps driver. After the driver passed away, his son discovered the cards and sold them to a collector, according to ESPN.
The Mantle card isn’t just the most expensive card ever sold; it’s the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever. The card surpasses the game-worn Diego Maradon jersey from the ‘Hand of God’ game, which sold for $9.3 million in May.
Sports Memorabilia Market Is Booming
With so many record-setting purchases in the sports memorabilia market, it’s clear that it’s in a great place, and it’s likely just a matter of time before something else trumps the recently sold Mantle card.
Chris Ivy, the director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions, believes investors saw inflation coming down the road. They were right, and as a result, sports memorabilia has become an alternative to traditional Wall Street investments.
Before the pandemic, the sports memorabilia market was estimated at more than $5.4 billion, according to a 2018 Forbes interview with David Yoken, the founder of Collectable.com.