CEO of the Meta Mark Zuckerberg’s Little League baseball card fetched a six-figure sum at auction, according to a report.

An autographed card bearing a photo of Zuckerberg in his Little League days sold for $105,000 at an auction that concluded early Wednesday evening. With a 15% buyer’s premium, the total figure came to $120,750, according to Market Watch.

While the price hardly compares to the record-breaking $12.6 million that a 1952 Mantle card fetched earlier this year, it may prove to be an early benchmark for an item related to the Facebook and Meta META, -3.67% founder.

At least that’s what Stephen Fishler, chief executive officer of ComicConnect.com, the company behind the sale, told MarketWatch a few hours before the auction concluded. Fishler pointed to the rarity of the item, which he said was the only known surviving example of the card from Zuckerberg’s youth.

“There’s nothing you can logically compare it to. I could not draw a line between this card and anything,” said Fishler. He added that while 1952 Mantle cards are highly prized, especially ones that are in top condition, hundreds are known to exist, along with Mantle cards from other years.

Of course, the reason there aren’t Zuckerberg cards from other years is that Zuckerberg wasn’t a sports figure. The card was created essentially as a novelty item — and it was given by a young Zuckerberg to Allie Tarantino, a counselor at a day camp in White Plains, N.Y., that the future tech entrepreneur attended.

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Tarantino asked Zuckerberg to autograph the card as a way to make the young camper feel like a star, he told MarketWatch. And he held on to the card the way he held on to various other items — as a summer-camp keepsake. It wasn’t until years later, as Zuckerberg rose to fame, that Tarantino, who now works as a fifth-grade teacher and also serves as a program director at that same New York camp, realized he might have something of value.

“It’s such a weird, one-of-a-kind piece,” he told MarketWatch shortly before the auction’s conclusion.

Always having a collector’s mindset, Tarantino kept these items of affection in boxes.

But he never expected that day in 2005, when he read in a magazine that Mark Zuckerberg was the young entrepreneur behind Facebook.

It was the same Mark Zuckerberg that was his camper some 13 years prior. The same Zuckerberg who, at the end of the summer, gave Allie his Little League Baseball card and signed it.

Zuckerberg didn’t make the Majors, but that baseball card still sold for $120,750 on Wednesday night, including buyer’s premium at auction house Comic Connect.

“Don’t be afraid to save everything,” Tarantino said. “I have friends who have made fun of me for holding onto everything. They don’t make fun of me anymore.”

Tarantino knew Fishler, and the two had talked about selling the card at some point. With the broader collectibles market having experienced a boom during the pandemic, Tarantino decided now was finally the time.

Once Tarantino saw the magazine article, he found the card and put it in a hard case. Five years ago, Tarantino got in touch with Stephen Fishler of Comic Connect, the nation’s leader in comic book auctions, and asked him what he thought of the card.

Fishler waffled and understandably so. The memorabilia market for famous people when they were kids hadn’t developed to the degree it has now.

“All I knew was that the kid on this card had more impact in the world than almost any athlete on earth,” Fishler said.

Once Covid came around, Fishler made it his project. He confirmed the connection between Tarantino and Zuckerberg, he contacted the photo company who made the card to assure they did so and began the process of talking to the card grading companies about slabbing it.

It was also during that time that Fishler said he realized the card was likely worth more than he originally thought.

“During Covid, people were offering me cards of guys like Wander Franco for $200,000,” Fishler said. “I didn’t even know who Wander Franco was. I thought he was actually the guy who was offering me the card.”

What also happened over Covid was the “star as a child” market developed substantially. A signed baseball by a Little Leaguer named Mike Jordan sold for $36,000 and a Lionel Messi ID card from his earliest days as a soccer player sold for $181,000.

Tarantino said he’s planning to use money from the sale to pay down his mortgage and help fund his children’s college educations. But he isn’t ruling out making a special purchase — but he collects comic books, not sports cards, so he’s more likely to buy a rare comic with his Zuckerberg cash.

Fishler said that Zuckerberg has given the sale of the card his blessing. Indeed, Zuckerberg talked up the card — and an NFT made from it — in an Instagram post, referring to it as his “old little league baseball card.” The NFT from the card sold for 11 Ethereum (the equivalent of about $14,800) in a parallel digital auction that concluded Wednesday.

“I thought I would treat myself,” he said.

No matter how the auction ends up, it’s an incredible story about a counselor who, 32 years later, is still working at the same camp, telling fond stories about his former camper, the one who became a tech titan.

“Mark was memorable. He was always talking a mile a minute!” Tarantino said.

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Sources: Market Watch, Action, Comic Connnect

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