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Mickey Mantle card fetches $18.three million

New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle is still breaking records, with a mint-condition 1952 baseball card featuring the pinstriped slugger selling for $US12.6 million ($A18.3 million).

It is the highest price ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia.

The seller, Anthony Giordano, who works in New Jersey waste management, bought it for $US50,000 ($A72,601) at a New York City show in 1991.

The $12.6 million mark set on Saturday shattered the old world record – the $US9.3 million ($A13.5 million) paid for the strip soccer star Diego Maradona wore when he scored the “Hand of God” goal in the 1986 World Cup.

A buyer spent $US6.2 million ($A9.0 million) for the heavyweight boxing belt Muhammad Ali won after beating George Foreman in the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle”.

A century-old Honus Wagner card recently sold for $US7.25 million ($A10.53 million), which at the time was the record for a baseball card.

The Mantle card, from his first full season, was discovered in 1986 by a forklift operator who told Alan Rosen, a famous Boston-area collector, that a friend had found a box of cards, including the pristine Mantle card, in his dad’s house where it had been sitting for decades.

Rosen bought the lot: 5,500 1952 cards for $US125,000 ($A181,502), including dozens of Mantles.

“This card is arguably the finest-condition example of the most iconic post-war card in the world,” Chris Ivy, Heritage’s director of sports auctions, said in a statement.

Emmy Award-winning director Dan Klein is working on a documentary about the card, called “Four Perfect Corners”, according to Heritage Auctions.

Mantle, who died in 1995, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974, going down in history as one of the best switch-hitters to ever take the field.

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