NASCAR Racing Collectibles
The popular sport is also the basis for a lucrative and entertaining collectibles market.
I met NASCAR legend Richard Petty in the summer of 2009 when I was lecturing at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Accompanied by his lovely wife, Mr. Petty was there on vacation and was easy to recognize in his trademark cowboy hat, sunglasses, and kind smile.
Upon meeting him, I thought Richard Petty (“The King”) would be the kind of guy who only knew a lot about race car driving. Well, he does know a lot about it, but I found out that he knows a lot about fine art too. Petty surprised me with his vast knowledge of the Impressionist painters and I was pleased to hear about his interest in art history.
After our meeting, I thought it was only fitting that I took some time to become more educated about his field of expertise. I began investigating the exciting sport of Nascar and the collectibles market relating to Richard Petty and some of his NASCAR colleagues.
National Association of Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) debuted in the 1940s with races held in Daytona Beach, FL and Charlotte, NC. By the 1950s, American car racing had corporate sponsors and a litany of collectibles from collector plates and wristwatches to ticket stubs and race programs available. Over the last 60 years, fans have brought Nascar to the forefront of the sports collectibles market.
While you can find your fair share of signed Richard Petty baseballs and those signed by many other NASCAR drivers. However, they are not going to bring much cash in the market. Going for about $50 each, they aren’t connected to a specific race so they aren’t desirable. It is best to obtain a related object, so ignore the abundance of unrelated objects. If you only have a little money to spend on your NASCAR collection like $20 to $40, consider the 1990s Kellogg’s cereal boxes featuring Jeff Gordon and other drivers. If you are Barbie collector, you can pick up Mattel’s 50th anniversary NASCAR Barbie doll in full racing uniform for about $300.
The Earnhardt Legacy
A driver who is often discussed in the same sentence as Richard Petty is the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr. This month will mark the 10th anniversary of the tragic death of the racing legend known as “The Intimidator” who died while racing at the Daytona 500.
Dale Earnhardt, Sr.’s race uniform covered in GM Goodwrench logos from the 1996 Daytona 500 race worn by Earnhardt remains a significant artifact in the world of motorsports. He took second place in the 1996 race on the same track where he would experience a fatal crash five years later. Similar to a major league baseball uniform worn by a key player in a major league playoff game, Earnhardt’s famous race-day uniform from 1996 sold for $11,950. A limited production Chevrolet Camaro built by Earnhardt in his Chevrolet dealership in Newton, NC prior to his death was signed by Earnhardt on the tachometer and sold for $40,000. Of course, like any sports collectible, make sure it is authentic before you invest in it. There are many fakes out there, so don’t be fooled.
Finally, a 4 x 5 inches autographed photo of Richard Petty with Dale Earnhardt Sr. sold for $500 recently. Doesn’t seem like a lot of money to own something touched by two legends of the sport.