A 1914 Babe Ruth baseball card, worth about $6 million and the first to feature the Major League Baseball icon as a player, recently sold for a record sports collection price. Now the public gets a chance to own some of it Collectable.
Launched last September, Collectable emulates a sports memorabilia stock market, allowing users to buy and sell shares of sports-related items.
The company said a private buyer recently purchased the card. Although it did not disclose the price due to a nondisclosure agreement with the card seller, it said the acquirer paid more than the previous record. $5.2 million paid for a 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card in january. A LeBron James rookie card sold in April for $5.2 million.
Collectable CEO Ezra Levine told CNBC it’s a “reasonable assumption” that the buyer paid about $6 million for the card, which will be kept at the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore.
Levine said the card, which shows 19-year-old Ruth as a minor league pitcher for his hometown of Baltimore Orioles, is “the most important and wonderful baseball card in the world.”
Before making his MLB debut for the Boston Red Sox in July 1914, The Bambino pitched in the International League, where he recording 22-9 in 35 games. Only 10 copies of the 1914 card exist and the last one was sold in 2013 for a then-record $450,300.
“It never comes up, and when it happens, people grab it and pay the price it takes,” Levine told CNBC. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime find.”
The buyer requested to remain private, but he is allowing partial ownership interests in the platform starting at $3 per share through Collectable.
“He loved the ability to share this asset with the public,” Levine said. “He takes this physical asset and almost transforms it into a stock that can be traded liquid on a platform.”
Levine said the company has more than 35,000 investors on its platform and has completed about $20 million in trades through 101 IPOs. The company makes money from transaction fees and secondary market trading.
The collectibles space is one of the more active sectors in the sport this year. Non-functioning tokens are on the rise, thanks in part to Dapper Labs. And MLB entered the NFT space on Tuesday. Outside of the Mantle and James cards, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic’s rookie card has been sold for $4.6 million in March, and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s rookie card sold for $3.75 million last month.
In May, collectible Raised $5.5 million to expand business and attract investors, including Bain Capital. Collectable declined to disclose its company valuation, but Levine said the company is no more than $100 million.
Levine said his company wants to leverage the collectibles by making rare items accessible to everyday consumers “similar to how Robinhood opened the financial markets, educated people and made them accessible.” He added that Collectable focuses on the “passion and profit” of consumers in the space.
“We say that all the time,” Levine said. “It’s passion because people love sports, and when you collect, you’re generally very passionate about what you collect. I say profit because historically, in the upper end of the industry, a lot of money has been made. It has just never been affordable or accessible to people.”