Rare baseball cards featuring icons of the game were amongst the top sellers at Heritage Auctions’ latest sports memorabilia sale in New York.
Leading the auction was a 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps rookie baseball card, graded in Near-Mint to Mint 8, which sold for $501,900 – marking just the second time one of these cards had topped half a million dollars.
"The 1952 Topps Mantle rookie has become the most recognizable baseball card in the world," said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Collectibles Auctions at Heritage. "Its profile, and price, has been rising steadily in the last few years. The price realized for this example just reinforces its place as the current gold standard."
The biggest surprise of the night came when a 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente rookie baseball card, graded PSA Mint 9, soared to a world record price of $478,000.
"This is a high grade example of a very famous baseball card of one of the most legendary players to ever put on an MLB uniform," said Ivy.
"Clemente has only grown more beloved and more mythical as the decades have passed since his untimely 1972 death in a plane crash while delivering relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims. The record price realized for this card is a testament to just how cherished Clemente still is."
Further top-selling cards included a 1916 M101-5 Blank Back Babe Ruth #151 card, graded PSA EX 5, which sold for $191,200; the finest-known 1934 Goudey Lou Gehrig #37 card graded SGC 98 Gem 10, which fetched $167,300; a 1909-1911 T206 Piedmont Ty Cobb (Green Portrait) graded PSA NM-MT 8, the rarest Cobb card in the hobby, which brought $155,350; and a 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle #253 card graded PSA NM-MT 8, the Commerce Comet’s true rookie card, which sold for $137,425.