• <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> John Adams Signed Ship's Passport, partly printed DS as president, signed “John Adams.”
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Extremely Rare James Garfield DS as President Appointing Revenue Service Agent.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Babe Ruth 1939 Cooperstown cover boldly signed — with photo.
    <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Incredible Harry S. Truman Kansas City Auto Club sales ledger maintained by Truman!
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Important Herbert Hoover 4 pg ALS about Chinese Gold Mining.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Rare Calvin Coolidge ALS as President.
    <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Abraham Lincoln Signed Appointment.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Ironic John Kennedy Jr. Handwritten report on why he is accident report form when he attended Collegiate School in 1975.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Katherine Bates Signed -“America! America! God shed his grace on thee.”
    <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Apollo 11 - Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Amassed Over Four Decades, an impressive 1100+ piece collection of entertainment and notables.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Mark Twain / Samuel Clemens Signed Letter and Card.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2022 Issue

The First Eight-Figure Baseball Card

2291d375-3b40-4614-a5fc-7bd93fc5c80b

The first eight-figure baseball card (Heritage Auctions image).

We have written many times about new record prices for baseball and other sports cards, but only because so many records have been set in recent years. This sort of paper collectible, small in stature but large in price, has been growing in value at an astounding pace in recent years. Those of us who collected and flipped cards in our youth, including those of the then active Yankee outfielder Mickey Mantle, could not have imagined what has happened to the value of the cards our mothers threw away. For some of us, we still can't.

 

A new record was set for the auction price of a baseball card, or, as best we can tell, any type of sports card or sports collectible. It was the first to reach eight figures. On August 27, a sale at Heritage Auctions closed, and the final bid on a 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps baseball card was hammered down for $12.6 million. That is not a misprint - $12.6 million.

 

For comparison, a new record for a baseball card had been set earlier this month when a 1909 Honus Wagner card sold for $7.25 million. The card for the early 19th century Pittsburgh star has for decades been the most valuable baseball card, though in recent years, Mantle has been jockeying for that position. Now in the late innings, it has turned into a rout. This price exceeds the old record by 74%. It is as if someone not only beat Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, but beat it by hitting in 97 consecutive games. Or, it is as if someone beat Bobby Bonds' home run record of 73 by hitting 127 (how many steroids would that take?), or Hank Aaron's career home run total of 755 by hitting 1,310. It is inconceivable, isn't it?

 

Mantle earned his chops in the collecting world in 2021 when his 1952 card sold for $5.2 million. It should be noted while that was a very good card, this one is a little better. The $5.2 million card was graded at 9.0 while this one is a 9.5. Heritage pointed out that it is the “finest known example.”

 

Mickey Mantle was unquestionably one of the great baseball players. He was a star of the powerful Yankee teams of the 1950s and early 1960s. One of the most exciting events in baseball history was Mantle and teammate Roger Maris' competition in 1961 to beat Babe Ruth's home run record. Mantle lost that race, but his overall career far outstripped that of his 1960s teammate. Still, it is somewhat surprising that Mantle's baseball card is so far and away the most valuable. As great and popular as he was, Mantle is not the iconic figure of a Babe Ruth. There are others, such as the aforementioned DiMaggio and Aaron, or Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Willie Mays and Ty Cobb, that stand on the same pedestal. ESPN ranked Mantle as “only” the seventh greatest Major League baseball player of all time.

 

According to the Celebrity Net Worth website, Mantle's first contract was for $7,500. It grew over the years, but at its peak, Mantle earned $100,000 in a season. In total, they say he made $1,128,000 over the course of his 18-year career. They estimate the current value of what he earned in his entire career is $9 million. And now, $12.6 million paid for a 2 5/8” x 3 3/4” rectangle of stiff paper bearing his likeness. The Yankees got one helluva deal.

 

I have searched the auction records for examples of books and similar paper collectibles to see what can stand up with this baseball card for price. It is a lonely landscape. The most regular visitor to the 7-8 figure price range is John James Audubon's magnificently illustrated first edition of Birds of America. It is also a double elephant folio in size, 26 1/4” x 39 1/2”. The best price in the auction records I could find was $11.5 million. How about a Shakespeare First Folio, the most important and valuable book by the greatest literary figure of the western world? Nope. The best I see is just under $10 million. A copy of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book published in America, still exceeds the Mantle card, having sold for $14.165 million in 2013. The Rothschild Prayer Book also managed $13.605 million in 2014. The 54-page Einstein-Basso manuscript, an early account of the theory of relativity, sold for about $13.75 million. Then there is da Vinci's Codex Leicester, purchased by Bill Gates in 1994 for $30.8 million. Finally, there was the first printing of the final text of the U. S. Constitution sold to hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin for a cool $43.173 million last year. Mickey Mantle joins a very exclusive club.

 

Is this a good investment? So far, every step before this has been one. Still, in the long term, I wonder. The beauty of Audubon's Birds of America has enabled its value to continue to grow almost two centuries later. That will not fade with time. Shakespeare has stood the test of time. He is still the greatest four centuries later and I imagine he will be when time adds another one. Will Mantle still have the same level of fame and admiration 100 years from now? He was a star for his time, but for all time? I don't know.


Posted On: 2022-09-01 02:59
User Name: bukowski

Bonds has the career home-run record, not Aaron.


Posted On: 2022-09-01 03:02
User Name: bukowski

Baseball cards are legitimate collectibles, just as much as plays (stories with dialogue) or drawings of birds. Get over yourself.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> South America.- Conquest of Peru.- Cieza De León (Pedro de). <i>Parte primera de la chronica del Peru,</i> first edition, Seville, Martín de Montesdoca, 1553. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Asia.- Mandeville (Sir John). <i>Tractato bellissimo delle piu maravigliose cose & piu motabile che sitrovino nelle parte delmondo,</i> Florence, [Lorenzo Morgiani], 1496-99. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Bible leaf, Latin. Single leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, [Mainz], [Johann Gutenberg & Johann Fust], [c.1454/55]. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Publicius (Jacobus). <i>Ars oratoria. Ars epistolandi. Ars memorativa,</i> first edition, Venice, Erhard Ratdolt, 1482. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Biblia Pauperum.- Single leaf from a blockbook Biblia Pauperum in Latin, from the Wiblingen copy of Schreiber's edition III, Netherlands, 1465. £25,000 to £35,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> South America.- Brazil.- Steinmann (Johan Jacob). <i>Souvenirs de Rio de Janeiro,</i> Paris, chez Rittner & Goupil, 1837. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Asia.- Polo (Marco). <i>In cui si tratta le meravigliose cose del mondo per lui vedute,</i> Venice, Matteo Pagano, 1555. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Sir Joshua Reynolds' copy.- Donne (John). <i>Poems, by J.D. With elegies on the authors death,</i> the Joshua Reynolds-Philip Bliss copy of the first edition, Printed by M[iles]. F[lesher]. for Iohn Marriot, 1633. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Gilbert (William). <i>De Magnete,</i> first edition, Peter Short, 1600. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Audubon (John James). <i>The Birds of America,</i> 8 vol., New York, George R. Lockwood, [c.1889]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Pratchett (Terry). <i>The Colour of Magic,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1983. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Flaubert (Gustave). <i>Trois Contes,</i> first edition, one of 100 copies on papier de Hollande, Paris, Charpentier, 1877. £5,000 to £7,000.
  • <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> JOYCE, James. <i>Ulysses.</i> London: John Lane the Bodley Head, 1937. PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST ENGLISH EDITION PRINTED IN ENGLAND. $50,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [SHACKLETON, Ernest]. –– BROWNING, Robert. <i>Poetical Works of…</i> London: Smith and Elder, 1906. PRESENTED TO SHACKLETON AND THE OFFICERS OF THE NIMROD BY A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> AUDUBON, John James. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York: George R. Lockwood, [1870]. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> ARISTOTLE. Opera, in Greek, parts one and two only: Organon and Natural Philosophy I. Edited by Aldus and others. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1 November 1495–February 1498. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> COOK, James, Capt. [Collected Voyages]. First and Second Voyages: London: W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1773, 1777; Third Voyage: London: H. Hughes for G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785. $14,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne (“Mark Twain”). <i>The Writings of…</i> Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1899–1900. $12,000 to $16,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>The Poems of…</i> Edited by Frederick S. Ellis. Hammersmith: William Morris for the Kelmscott Press, 1893. $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> LONDON, Jack. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905. PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY LONDON. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CROWLEY, Aleister (1875–1947). <i>The Winged Beetle.</i> London: privately printed, 1910. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> WILDE, Oscar (“C.3.3.”). <i>The Ballad of Reading Gaol.</i> London: Leonard Smithers, January 1898. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> DRYDEN, John. <i>Fables Ancient and Modern; translated into verse from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer: with original poems.</i> London: John Tonson, 1700. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [MAP]. LINSCHOTEN, Jan Huygen van. <i>Delineatio Orarum Maritimarum…</i> London: John Wolfe, 1598. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Extensive archive of papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> George Catlin, <i>North American Indian Portfolio,</i> 1844. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures, Carefully Translated…after the Best Jewish Authorities, Philadelphia, 1853-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Wedding book of Eleanor Roosevelt’s bodyguard, Earl Miller, signed by the Roosevelts, 1932. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Textile titled <i>The Resignation of Pres’t Washington,</i> Scotland, circa 1800. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Gideon Welles, Pass for President Lincoln’s White House funeral, 1865. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Confirmation of arms and nobility in favor of the Diez y Mora family, Madrid, 1710. $2,500 to $3,500.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions