Historic auction of Mickey Mantle’s Jersey likely to set a new record

The 1958 Mickey Mantle Yankees jersey is up for auction.
Inna Zeyger
Saturday August 12, 2023

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One of Mickey Mantle‘s jerseys is getting ready to break the auction record. Heritage Auctions has disclosed a bid of $3.25 million (which becomes $3.9 million with an extra fee) for a jersey that the Yankees legend wore in a game in 1958 while playing at Yankee Stadium.

Next weekend, during the extended bidding part of the Summer Platinum Sports Auction, the Number 7 jersey that Mickey Mantle wore could potentially beat the record for the most expensive baseball jersey ever sold. A Babe Ruth jersey that sold for around $5.64 million in 2019 holds the current record.

In September of 2021, a copy of his 1914 Babe Ruth baseball card with the Orioles reportedly went for $6 million. It surpassed the record for the most expensive collectible ever sold held by a 1952 Mickey Mantle card, which went for $5.2 million.

According to Chris Ivy, Heritage’s director of sports auctions, the jersey’s value was quite significant. The current bid is around the estimate the auction house has made while many more are very interested to go beyond it.

He anticipated that the final selling price would likely fall between 4 and 5 million dollars. Ivy thinks it has the potential to surpass the $5.4 million the Babe Ruth jersey fetched.

In February 2020, Heritage set the record price for a Mickey Mantle jersey at auction when it sold for $2.19 million. This time, the new jersey being auctioned is expected to sell for even more than that.

The originality of Mickey Mantle’s jersey

Ivy explained that this specific jersey has been confirmed to be the same one Mickey Mantle wore on the first day of the season in 1958, as well as in a few more games that year. It was also worn during important moments like his appearance on the TV show “Home Run Derby,” where he competed against Willie Mays, in 1960.

Chris Ivy mentioned that the capability of third-party services to examine photo archives and perform photo matching on this jersey is a key factor contributing to the significant attention and valuation it’s receiving. According to Ivy, for people belonging to the Baby Boomer generation, Mickey Mantle symbolized the New York Yankees and the city itself, which had the most prominent sports team during that period.

According to Ivy, Mantle was a figure who loomed large and was extremely influential for that entire generation. He drew a comparison between Mantle’s influence on his generation and the way his own generation views Michael Jordan.

Earlier this year, an auction sold a basketball jersey that Michael Jordan wore during the 1998 NBA Finals, which was his final championship campaign with the Bulls. It went for a staggering $10 million, which is the highest amount ever paid for a jersey in any sport.

Ivy explained that one interesting aspect of baseball is how Mickey Mantle is tied to that particular generation. He mentioned that children often listen to stories from their parents, and he holds the belief that respect and admiration for Mickey Mantle have been transmitted from one generation to the next.

This is the very first time this specific Mickey Mantle jersey is being put up for auction. Ivy explained that someone, who possesses one of the most impressive collections of Yankees memorabilia, privately bought this jersey a few years ago. However, the person who is now selling it prefers to keep their identity undisclosed. The auction will come to an end through two additional bidding sessions scheduled for August 19 and August 20.

According to Ivy, it’s not possible to have complete certainty, but they try to get an idea from the discussions they’ve had with potential buyers. Ivy expressed that they believe there is genuine interest in the Mickey Mantle jersey. He mentioned that he anticipates more bids to come in, although he can’t predict the exact extent of people’s willingness to bid higher. 

Ivy also noted that there are a number of interested parties at this stage, and he expects that multiple bids will be placed before the auction concludes.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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