Mickey Mantle Debut Ticket Sells for $141K, Second-Highest Ever
Mickey Mantle’s 1951 debut stub with the Yankees sold for $141,395 in a Classic Auctions sale, the second-highest ticket sale ever behind the 1903 World Series.
The Mantle stub, graded a 3 by PSA, came in the same grade as one that sold just 31 days prior for $101,269, just short of the record price paid for an unsigned ticket. In 2018, a collector paid $116,075 for a badge to the first Masters.
Tickets were not considered a legitimate collectible asset class until a couple years ago when PSA started grading them. The placing of the ticket in a holder, the grading of them and the listing of them in a population report called out their extreme scarcity.
Mantle debut tickets, graded at the minimum authentic grade, could be had over the last 10 years for $5,000 to $10,000 with very little movement. But that changed when tickets started to get more attention.
Earlier this week, a signed Tom Brady debut ticket, against the Detroit Lions in Nov. 2000, sold for $73,200 at Goldin Auctions.
In May, Heritage Auctions sold a Michael Jordan signed “Shot” ticket from the 1982 NCAA title game sold for $90,000, a Jordan Bulls debut ticket for $56,400 and a ticket to the 1996 Milwaukee Open, Tiger Woods’ first as a pro, for $37,200.
Much of the rise in tickets is due to their extreme rarity in relation to cards. PSA has graded a total of 1,460 1952 Topps Mantle rookies. They have graded 17 of his debut tickets.
Tickets also have a complexity cards don’t have — their value can be tied to famous moments. A signed Lou Gehrig “Luckiest Man” speech ticket sold for $95,600 in 2014. That would likely be worth at least $500,000 in today’s market.
Correction: The Mickey Mantle stub was initially listed as the highest ticket sale ever. The story has been updated to reflect the error.