One of the nine known PSA 9-rated copies of Mickey Mantle’s 1951 Bowman rookie card has hit the auction block, where it’s expected to fetch a record-setting price that could touch $1 million.
Heritage Auctions is offering the card in its newly launched Spring Sports Card Catalog sale.
Plagued by centering, print marks and the usual corner wear associated with older vintage cards, the Mantle rookie has been a challenge for even advanced collectors. Only 52 have even reached unqualified 8 (NM/MT) status after PSA reviews. Only one Mantle rookie has ever been given a 10.
High-end Mantle rookie cards rarely come to auction. A PSA 9 example has sold at public auction only a few times in the last dozen years according to Vintage Card Prices. The same card being offered by Heritage changed hands in October 2013 when it sold for a record-setting $220,150—more than double the previous high. It then sold again just five months ago for a record price of $588,000–again more than doubling the previous high.
The card carries a $250,000 opening bid. The auction will continue through April 19.
Heritage is also offering a PSA 9 1952 Topps Mantle that carries a pre-sale estimate of $3.5 million.