By Michael Bennett

Ex-Eagles guard Evan Mathis retired from pro football in January 2017 as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

But on Thursday he struck gold in baseball.

A mint condition 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card that Mathis owned sold for a $2.88 million.

It is the second-highest price ever paid for a card, falling short of the $3.12 million a collector paid for a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner card in October 2016.

The card was owned by Mathis, who told ESPN he’d owned the card for about two years, and auctioned by Heritage Auctions. It was graded by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) as a 9 on a scale of 10.

“The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card captures the attention of baseball fans, serious collectors, and investors alike and this auction made it one of the most valuable sports collectibles in existence,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage. “It’s a phenomenal price.”

In its second year of business, Topps had a hard time generating interest in the cards and selling the packs. They were sold at carnivals for a penny a piece. After seven years in a Brooklyn warehouse, Topps’ card pioneer Sy Berger dumped the remaining unsold packs into the Atlantic Ocean because they were taking up too much space.

Mathis decided to sell the card to finance a new home in Tennessee so his wife and daughters could live closer to family.

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