We’re used to seeing staggering numbers from Mike Trout.
His bWAR has topped 10.0 three seasons, with another three years checking in at 8.2 or above. He’s finished first or second in the AL MVP voting seven times in his eight full seasons — he’s won three times — and he signed a 12-year, $430 million extension with the Angels last spring. All are just jaw-dropping facts and figures.
But somehow, the news from Goldin Auctions on Wednesday night was still hard to comprehend. A Mike Trout baseball card — a 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks and Prospects Mike Trout Red Refractor Autograph (sheesh that’s a handful) graded at 9.5 out of 10 — sold for a realized price of $922,500.
Yep, nearly a million bucks for a baseball card made in 2009. The hammer price was $750,000, with buyer’s premium and other costs totaling up to $922,500. That sale price puts Trout in elite company — stop me if you’ve heard that one before.
The most expensive baseball card is the Honus Wagner T206, the Holy Grail of the “hobby.” A card graded at 5 sold for $3.12 million (again, including buyer’s premium) in 2016. A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle graded at a 9/10 sold for $2.8 million in 2018 and a different 1952 Topps Mantle, graded at 8.5, sold for $1.14 million in 2016.
This particular card is a 5/5, meaning there were five exact copies of the Red Refractor Autograph made, though Trout’s autograph might vary slightly because, well, autographs tend to do that. It’s unclear what’s happened to the other four copies, though. Maybe still available in an unopened pack somewhere?
There are two boxes of 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks and Prospects available on eBay, if you’re feeling lucky. The lowest “buy it now” price is $3,899.
There are other Mike Trout autographs from the 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft set available on eBay. There’s a Gold Refractor numbered to 50 that’s listed at $299,999 — free shipping, tho! — and a Blue Refractor numbered to 150 that’s listed at $129,999 (also free shipping!). The cheapest Trout autograph from that set isn’t a Refractor, and it’s listed at $14,999 (gonna cost you $50 to ship, unfortunately).
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