The boom in sports memorabilia continues: A mint 1952 Mickey Mantle sold for a record-shattering $5.2 million to entrepreneur and actor Rob Gough in a private transaction brokered by PWCC Marketplace.
The deal, to be announced this morning, is the most ever for a trading card, exceeding the previous record of $3.4 million paid last August for a Mike Trout rookie card.
“I’ve dreamt of owning a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card since I was a kid collecting cards,” said Gough in a statement. “It’s the Mona Lisa of sports cards.”
The Mantle card is graded Mint 9 by PSA, meaning “a superb card” exhibiting only one of a few slight flaws—a very slight wax stain on the back, a minor printing imperfection or slightly off-white borders, according to PSA’s grading system. Jesse Craig, director of business development for PWCC, a trading card marketplace, believes the card is the finest 1952 Mint 9 Mantle in existence. Just five other such Mint 9s are known to exist.
While not technically Mantle’s rookie card (Bowman issued a card for the slugger in 1951), this one, issued in Mantle’s first year of more than 100 games in the majors, is his first Topps card and features his 1951 statistics (he hit .267 with 13 home runs and 65 RBIs). It also heralds him as Joe DiMaggio’s successor.
Gough is an entrepreneur and actor who has appeared in the films Billionaire Boys Club and The Forgiven, among others. More recently, Gough sold much of the intellectual property for his clothing brand DOPE in November and is relaunching the brand as a CBD business, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has also launched and sold businesses in recycling, charity internet auctions and sporting goods.
The sale of the mint Mantle caps an explosive 12 months for sports collectibles, which also saw million-dollar-plus sales of a LeBron James and a Giannis Antetokounmpo trading card in addition to Trout’s card. Mantle, the iconic Yankee centerfielder during one of the franchise’s dominant periods, also anchored the launch of fractional card ownership company Collectable. Its first offering was a Mint 10 1953 Mantle card at a valuation of $1 million.
PWCC has been brokering card sales since 1998. According to its website, investable-grade cards have outperformed the S&P 500 and produced a 10-year return on investment of 153%.