Baseball card sells for £10m smashing record set by Maradona ‘Hand of God’ shirt

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A Major League Baseball card has shattered Diego Maradona’s record for the most valuable piece of sports memorabilia ever sold at auction.

A Mickey Mantle baseball card was sold for £10.8million, surpassing Maradona’s Argentina shirt donned during his team’s 2-0 win over England at the 1986 World Cup. The iconic shirt, worn when Maradona scored the ‘Hand of God’ goal, was sold for £7.1m at Sotheby’s in London.

A century-old ’T206’ Honus Wagner card sold this month for £6.2m held the previous record for a sports card. The record-breaking card is from Mantle’s rookie season and was issued by the collectible company Topps in 1952.

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“An eight-figure auction result was the stuff of fantasy just a decade ago,” said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions, the body which conducted the sale. “We always knew this card would shatter records and expectations. But that doesn't make it any less of a thrill.”

The card was owned by Anthony Giordano, a waste management entrepreneur from New Jersey. He reportedly purchased the card – graded a ‘Mint+ 9.5’ out of 10 by Sportscard Guaranty Corporation – for £42,679 in 1991.

“It bears the finest qualities any 1952 Topps can possess: perfect centring, registration and four sharp corners,” Ivy said. “That this Mantle rookie card remained in this condition for 70 years is a true miracle.”

What do you think should be the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia? Let us know in the comments section.

Thanks to his stellar career, Mantle is considered one of the best switch-hitters – a batter who regularly bats both right and left-handed – in professional baseball history.

Mantle played his entire MLB career with the iconic New York Yankees from 1951-68. He helped the franchise win 12 American League pennants and seven World Series titles, and he was ultimately inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

Ironically, a 1952 edition of Mickey Mantle’s card sold for £4.2m in January 2021 and originally set the record for the most expensive sports card at the time. The former Yankees star was a Triple Crown winner in 1956 and a three-time American League MVP.

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