Mickey Mantle NFT: Home Run or Foulball?

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Mickey Mantle autographed memorabilia has traditionally been one of the safest investments in the world of sports collectibles – whether it’s baseballs or the Yankees Slugger rookie card.

On Friday (March 4), a non-fungible token (NFT) featuring a photo of the 1952 Topps card sold for $471,000, demonstrating the 16-time All-Star’s blue-chip status extends the crypto world.

NFTs contain some type of media—images, videos, legal documents, absolutely anything. They come with an integrated certificate of origin as each transaction is permanently and immutably recorded on a blockchain and can be viewed by anyone – a very important consideration for any collectible.

See also: PYMNTS NFT Series: NFTs target the collector market with avatars and celebrities

The Mantle Rookie Card NFT has a good provenance. It is the first in a series of Topps Timeless NFT series from the maker of historical baseball cards associated with Major League Baseball. It has the Official Seal of Authenticity and Topps have promised it will be one of a kind with no other being sold.

“The Topps 1952 Mickey Mantle card continues to be one of the most coveted baseball cards of all time, and we’re thrilled that a passionate fan can add this monumental piece of sports history to their digital collection,” said Tobin Lent, vice president and general manager of digital sports and entertainment division of Topps.

As Topps no doubt hoped, the NFT card set a record for a pro league’s official sports token, more than doubling the $230,000 NBA Top Shots NFT of a LeBron James Slam Dunk from the 2020 NBA Finals. (Of course, five of King James’ top six shots are NFTs, and they’ve grossed almost $1 million — and he’s still dipping.)

However, the NFT came nowhere near the $5.2 million paid for a physical mantle card in January 2021.

What it has is rarity and “first” status in the Topps NFT line, which NFT buyers are willing to pay for. For example, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet — visible to anyone on the social media site — fetched $2.9 million.

A bit more …

Additionally, the NFT auction comes with a boost from the Mantle estate, with his sons Danny and David raising the stakes by giving the winner a 30 minute interview. Which apparently adds…something…to the value.

From a market value perspective, that value depends on whether the interview can be recorded and whether that recording can be transferred to your own NFT – which would make an interesting pair. However, since it wasn’t marketed that way, we call that unlikely at best.

The NFT market, which barely existed two years ago, has gone more than a little crazy of late, peaking last March with the $69 million auction of a collage by digital artist Mike Winkelmann, known as “Beeple” is known to be its peak. A sale that does not grant ownership of the work that can be downloaded from Christie’s website except for display.

Continue reading: PYMNTS NFT Series: From famous artists to counterfeiters, the art world welcomes NFTs

As a result, celebrities of all stripes stormed the space, from Snoop Dogg to Paris Hilton to Ozzy Osbourne’s CryptoBatz collection. Julian Lennon’s recent auction of NFT images of several of his father John’s coats worn in the film and notes on the arrangement of a song (not the actual lyrics) came with a clear indication that Julian Lennon retained all rights to the actual items.

Related: PYMNTS NFT Series: Hey Jude, don’t burst the bubble

And with all due respect to quarterback Tom Brady’s status as greatest-of-all-time, his recent series of NFTs has been a little on the side of the eyebrows: It includes pieces of sports history as exciting as a picture of a pre-NFL station wagon jersey – 1,300 of these have been sold, possibly to both fans and collectors.

Given the difficulty of actually buying an NFT — it generally involves providing Know-Your-Customer (KYC) proof of identity and buying cryptocurrency that can be used to pay — and reports that the entire 16,600 pieces line sells out within minutes, that seems unlikely.

See also: PYMNTS DeFi Series: How to buy an NFT in 19 easy steps

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