Long before he was switch-hitting for the New York Yankees, a young Mickey Mantle was taking swings against his right-handed father and his left-handed grandfather in front of a shed next to his family’s humble 670-square-foot house in tiny Commerce, Okla. More often than not, the young slugger would knock the pitches clear over the house’s roof. Sometimes he’d smack line drives into the side of the rusted shed, where visible dings in the walls remain to this day.
Starting Friday, fans of the “Commerce Comet,” arguably the most beloved Yankee of all time, can own a piece of Mantle’s childhood home for just a few dollars — $7 to be precise.
Rally, a collectibles company that offers buyers fractional ownership in everything from sports cars to classic comic books, is getting into the real estate game. The company purchased the two-bedroom house, which sits at 319 South Quincy Street in Commerce, for $175,000 in 2022. It replaced the roof and expanded the porch. Inside, thanks to careful preservation from previous owners, the home resembles a time capsule from the blue-collar 1930s, with a washboard in the kitchen and sagging red sofas.
The sale will comprise 47,000 ownership shares for $7 apiece (valuing the house at $329,000). The amount is both a nod to Mantle’s iconic No. 7 jersey and to the number of times he led the Yankees to the World Series championship.
Mantle is the greatest claim to fame for Commerce, a sleepy former mining town along Route 66 with fewer than 3,000 residents. The city’s average home price is just shy of $60,000, according to Zillow, and aside from Mantle’s childhood home, its top attractions are the Hitch-N-Post flea market and Dairy King, a mom-and-pop joint serving hamburgers, ice cream and cookies emblazoned with “Route 66” from inside an old-time gas station. A bronze statue of Mantle welcomes visitors on Mickey Mantle Boulevard at the edge of town.
Michael Hart, Commerce’s city administrator and previously its mayor, said he hopes the sale will encourage others to get to know the town. Mr. Hart was raised in the house directly next door and remembers, as a child in the 1980s, playing in a sandbox with a neighbor when a woman walked up and asked if they knew the history of their street.
“Growing up, I was in and out of the house all the time, just running circles in that place,” he said. “It’s interesting that people from all over the world are now going to be so focused on Commerce. It’s a small town and not a ton goes on here, so to have this focus potentially headed our way is a neat opportunity.”
Rally was founded in 2016 and this summer opened a brick-and-mortar museum in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood to showcase some of its rarest collectibles, including a 1780 letter signed by George Washington, a Marilyn Monroe print by Andy Warhol and the skull of a 60 million-year-old triceratops. For its first foray into real estate, said co-founder and chief product officer Rob Petrozzo, Mickey Mantle’s childhood home made sense.
“We wanted something that really could be considered a collectible as much as it is considered real estate. And the most collectible names in sports and in collecting history is Mickey Mantle,” Mr. Petrozzo said in a phone interview.
Indeed, Mantle, who died in 1995 at age 63, has been as valuable to the collectibles industry as he was to the Yankees. After retiring in 1969, the Hall of Famer made countless appearances and signed thousands of autographs at sports conventions. In 2022, a Mantle rookie card became the most valuable piece of sports memorabilia ever sold at auction, notching $12.6 million.
Mr. Petrozzo, a Brooklyn native and die-hard Yankees fan, said that the home’s value lies in its story. “The genesis of Mickey Mantle’s career started here,” he said. “For us and for our end users, that is exactly what we look for in any asset. It is real estate, but it’s also a collectible.”
About 2,200 of the 47,000 total shares have been set aside for residents of Commerce, who will receive them as gifts from the company. Shareholders will later be able to vote on what to do with the property. Rally said in a news release that potential future uses of the home include turning it into a museum or national landmark, or adding a baseball diamond to the yard for Little League players in Commerce. Should these future plans for the home produce profits, shareholders will receive quarterly dividends.
The sale opens to the public Oct. 27, coinciding with Game 1 of the World Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers. The Yankees’ last championship came in 2009.