Mickey Mantle Type 1 Photo Sells for a Record Breaking $844K

A preserved photo of Mickey Mantle.

A rare type 1 photograph of legendary baseball player Mickey Mantle sold for a whopping $843,750, making it the most valuable type 1 photo ever sold at auction.

Type 1 photo auctions have been gaining popularity, and earnings. Type 1 photographs are prints developed within two years of when the shot was taken from the original negative. Because of these specifics, they’re very rare and the right one can be incredibly valuable.

“What I love most about the type 1 photos is their proximity to history,” Joe Maddalena, Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President, said in a release. “This isn’t just any Mickey Mantle photo: It’s the one that has become emblematic of his ascension from rookie to legend — when he was just the fresh-faced kid from Oklahoma who wasn’t yet The Mick, a Hall of Famer, a legend. I’m thrilled collectors now see Type 1 photos for what they are: artwork to be collected, cherished, coveted.”

Because of that, the type 1 image of Mantle served as the showcase of Heritage Auctions’ Photo Legends Type 1 Showcase Auction on Sunday. It shows Mantle wearing the number 6 with his bat raised and ready to swing. It came from the collection of one of Mantle’s teammates, the late Jack Krammer, who played with him on the 1951 New York Yankees team.

“It was found among his keepsakes in a plain brown envelope bearing the New York Yankees’ logo, Yankee Stadium’s Bronx address and a handwritten note: ‘Pictures of 1952 New York Yanks all individuals,'” according to Heritage. The sold Mantle photo remained in the brown envelope for decades, sealed in a Ziploc bag and stored in a cedar chest, the auction house added.

“This same image, colorized but otherwise barely altered, was used not only for Mantle’s first baseball card but also his 1952 Berk Ross card, by which time he’d famously become No. 7 on the legendary roster, and his 1953 Topps offering,” a release from Heritage read.

The image was taken by the team photographer at the time, Bob Olen, and was used for a trio of Mantle baseball cards, including his 1951 Bowman rookie card. The type 1 image is a vintage gelatin silver semi-gloss that measures 8×10 inches.

Image credits: Heritage Auctions