DALLAS (CBSNews) — A fortune may be in the cards for two New Jersey brothers who discovered some rare baseball cards in their childhood collection. The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card is considered to be the Holy Grail for baseball memorabilia collectors – and these guys have five.
“A big part of collecting is people trying to rebuild that collection that they had when they were children and so this a whole different level,” said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions for Heritage Auctions.
“Mickey Mantle is one of the most popular players of a generation, and 1952, ’cause they made the cards larger, they used real photography, they had statistics on the back. So those were all things that were exciting for kids at the time,” said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions for Heritage Auctions.
“It happens all the time in this business. People go into the attic and they start searching,” he said. “Who knows how many people have thrown millions of dollars away just because they don’t know what they’ve got.”
The two brothers who own the cards got the idea to look through their collection when they heard a ’52 Topps Mantle had sold for nearly $3 million earlier this year. Former NFL lineman Evan Mathis was the one who parted with that card.
“It’s just stuff in the end. For me, it was all about the experience. I’m okay. If it increases in value 10 times — I have no regrets,” Mathis said.
Two of the brothers’ Mantle cards have already sold for more than a quarter million dollars, but the prize of their collection – now on display at the National Sports Collector’s Convention in Cleveland – is a near-mint version of the card.
He said one card is estimated to sell at $1 million or more, Ivy said. “The bidding is currently over $600,000 and the auction is going on for two more weeks,” he added.