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5 Most Expensive Baseball Cards in the World


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1952 Topps Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle poses for a portrait before a game with the New York Yankees.
Mickey Mantle poses for a portrait before a game with the New York Yankees.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Mickey Mantle's 18-year career with the New York Yankees led to 12 World Series appearances and a record for most home runs hit during the World Series. His 1952 Topps card is poised to set a record of a different kind.

The Topps card is often mistaken as Mantle's rookie card -- that distinction goes to the Mantle card issued by Bowman Gum in 1951. Of the more than 1,000 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards that have been graded by PSA, only three PSA 10 versions exist. A mint-condition card hasn't come to auction since 1997, when it sold for $121,000 and set a record for the card. A PSA 9 version of the card sold for $282,587 at an auction in 2008 [source: Professional Sports Authenticator].

While these figures are small compared to other entries on the list, a PSA 10 1952 Mantle Topps card has the potential to eclipse every other sale on the list. Orlando says he knows of private, million-dollar offers that have been rejected. The fact that this card rarely becomes available has only whet collectors' appetites. "There's so much built-up demand for that card," he says. "Once one of them hits the market [in a PSA 10], who knows what it could generate? I would bet the farm that it would go well north of seven figures if it popped up today" [source: Orlando].