A Mickey Mantle baseball card has sold for a record $5.2 million ©Goldin Auctions

A new record for a baseball card has been set with a mint 1952 Mickey Mantle selling for $5.2 million (£3.8 million/ €4.3 million) in a private transaction. 

The card, issued by Topps, is one of only nine known in existence in its condition.

It has been sold to Rob Gough, an entrepreneur and actor, who started the DOPE clothing and CBD line and whose credits include the 2018 film Billionaire Boys Club.

Mantle was one of the greatest players in baseball history for nearly two decades with the New York Yankees between 1951 and 1968.

He was a three-time winner of the MVP - most valuable player - and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

Mantle, who died in 1995 at the age of 63, was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.

The record-breaking card is graded as Mint 9 by PSA - the industry standard used to measure the quality of cards – sold for $2.8 million (£2.1 million/€2.3 million) in 2018 to an unidentified buyer, who then sold it to Gough in a deal brokered by PWCC Marketplace, a leader in the trading card investment market.

"Based on our research, this is the nicest looking 1952 Topps Mantle PSA 9 in existence," Jesse Craig, director of business development at PWCC Marketplace said.

Actor Rob Gough paid the record sum for the baseball card of former New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle ©PWCC Marketplace
Actor Rob Gough paid the record sum for the baseball card of former New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle ©PWCC Marketplace

The card exhibited only a few slight flaws - a very slight wax stain on the back, a minor printing imperfection or slightly off-white borders, according to PSA’s grading system.

A Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfactor BGS 9 card - a one-of-a-kind card autographed by Trout - sold for $3.93 million (£2.89 million/€3.25 million) in August 2020, setting the mark at the time for the most expensive card ever.

That Trout card had previously sold for $400,000 (£290,000/€330,000) just two years earlier, a mind-blowing jump in value.

"I've dreamt of owning a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle since I was a kid collecting cards," Gough said.

"It's the Mona Lisa of sports cards and I’ve been searching for this high graded example talking to industry experts, dealers, auction houses, friends and I’m ecstatic that I’m now the proud owner of this iconic card."

Trading cards have proved a massive boom in recent years.

A Honus Wagner T206 - another of the holy grail baseball cards - sold for $3.7 million (£2.7 million/€3.1 million) in October to real estate mogul Kurt Rappaport.

Outside of baseball, a LeBron James rookie card with a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey swatch sold for $1.845 million (£1.36 million/€1.53 million) in July.