While the start of the upcoming Major League Baseball (MLB) season remains in jeopardy, trading card company Topps is trekking forward with its baseball-themed non-fungible token (NFT) sales.
The first edition of the company’s “Topps Timeless Series,” an NFT of the storied 1952 baseball card of New York Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle sold for 175 ETH (roughly $471,000) in an OpenSea auction that closed Friday around 19:00 UTC.
The sale finds itself among the largest-ever in the sports NFT landscape, topping NBA Top Shot’s highest sales of $230,000 and $210,00 for limited edition LeBron James collectibles.
In July, an NFT of Yankees legend Lou Gehrig’s iconic “luckiest man” speech was bought by Gemini co-founder Tyler Winklevoss for $70,000, which was at the time the largest baseball-related NFT sale to date.
“The Mick” collectible is officially licensed by MLB and sold in cooperation with the Mantle Estate, with the winning bidder also being granted a 30-minute interview with Mickey Mantle’s two sons, Danny and David Mantle.
“This card has been part of my father’s legacy for 70 years, and it is amazing to see its continued impact with collectors and baseball fans around the world,” the Mantle sons said in a statement. “We are very pleased to share this piece of history with Topps in a new and exciting way through NFTs.”
The physical cards the NFT is based on remain some of the most coveted in the baseball card market, with current prices ranging from $30,000 to $250,000, depending on their graded condition.
Topps has been an active player in the NFT game dating back to April 2021, when it launched its first series of digital baseball collectibles on WAX. The trading card company then moved its NFT marketplace to the Avalanche blockchain in August, marked by the launch of its first MLB-licensed collection, “Inception,” with NFTs from the collection currently trading for around $2 a pop.
Topps was acquired by sports merchandising giant Fanatics for $500 million in January. Fanatics, which announced Thursday a $1.5 billion funding round at a $27 billion valuation, is also the owner of baseball NFT marketplace Candy Digital, which advertised the Mantle sale to its users in the weeks leading up to the auction.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.