The armored truck and police motorcade that drove through downtown Denver this weekend wasn’t transporting the president, dangerous prisoners, or even gold — it was driving one of the world’s most valuable pieces of cardboard to the All-Star Game.

Heavily-armed Denver police kicked off Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week with a Saturday morning armored procession through downtown Denver as they transported one of the world’s most sought-after baseball cards to the all-new Rally Hotel just across the street from Coors Field.

“While the finest players are in town, we wanted to offer a rare glimpse at the finest moments in baseball history,” History Colorado’s John Eding said.

The card itself — a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card — is in  mint condition, and has been given the highest possible rating — a 10 out of 10 — that a trading card can receive from Professional Sports Authenticator, a company that grades the condition of a variety of different trading cards.

To collectors, it’s known as the ‘Holy Grail’ of baseball cards.

Brian Drent, president of the Mile High Card Company, a Denver-metro auction house, said that’s because the card on display at the “Hall of Legends” exhibit that began Saturday is in the best condition of the three other Mickey Mantle rookie cards in the world that have been graded as 10 out of 10.

Drent estimated the card’s value ranged between $35 to $50 million, which he said explained the security escort on Saturday.

“I’m telling you, the president of the United States wouldn’t have gotten that,” Drent said.

Saturday’s armored procession was escorted by a Denver police motorcade and officers in tactical gear units. The armored truck was provided by Armored Knights, Inc., a family-owned company based in Omaha, Neb. that provides armored car and escort services to public and private clients.

The exhibit opened Saturday morning, jump-starting festivities for the week of the All-Star Game, and will run through July 18. Tickets for the exhibit went on sale June 25.

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The Holy Grail of baseball cards, however, will only be on display until Tuesday before it will be returned to the bank vault it usually calls home. According Eding, that’s to prevent damage from light, as well as to make sure the card stays safe.  

The last time the public saw the card was in 2018.

The card’s owner, Marshall Fogel of Denver, made headlines in 2018 for the massive collection of vintage baseball memorabilia he’s amassed. He’s owned the card since 1996.

While it’s on display at the Rally Hotel, History Colorado chief creative officer Jason Hanson said the card will be housed in the same case that stored Thomas Jefferson’s bible and the Appomattox inkwell used by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee to sign the treaty that ended the Civil War when the artifacts were exhibited in Denver in 2013 and 2021.

Several other pieces of memorabilia went on display for the exhibit, including the last jersey Joe DiMaggio ever played in, a bat and glove used by Hank Aaron, and the jersey Larry Walker wore during the last All-Star Game that was played in Denver in 1998. Most of the memorabilia was lent by Fogel for the exhibit.

All proceeds from the exhibit will go to serving underprivileged and at-risk young people in the state through the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club Foundation, the charity arm of the team aimed at supporting Denver youths with baseball and softball programs.

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