Like most sports trading cards, Racing Trading Cards started out being printed on tobacco cards in the early 1900s. The American Tobacco Company’s other sports cards might be more valuable these days, but they were among the first to print racing and autosports cards. These early cards featured illustrations of drivers at the wheel of their automobiles and are very hard to find today.
In the 1920s and 1930s, racing cards were more popular as they were used to promote specific racing events and car dealerships. Early cards from this era can be valuable but the modern era has provided more opportunities for collectors to add high value cards to their collection.
In the 1980s and 1990s, racing trading cards started a big rise in popularity and value as the sport itself became more popular on cable television stations. Nowadays, whether you’re a fan of NASCAR, Formula One, IndyCar, or any other type of car racing, there’s a company making trading cards for you to enjoy. Cards from the last few decades featuring racing superstars like Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Richard Petty have seen their value climb the most, with many selling for thousands of dollars.
Many racing cards are available in different versions, such as holographic or foil-stamped, driving up their value to collectors. The condition of a card, which should be professionally graded by experts if you want to know its true value, is also important if you want to sell cards to modern collectors. Certain sets of cards from key races, autographed cards, and those with limited distribution tend to increase in value as well. Professional graders take all of these elements in account when they judge the value of a card.
Today, Panini publishes cards for the huge variety of NASCAR drivers, while Topps prints cards for Formula One (F1). Cards may feature drivers or their vehicles, with these different versions giving collectors a wide variety of options to choose from. As the hobby grows, more racing card collectors are also connecting online to buy, sell, and discuss the value of their card collections.
Racing is becoming more and more popular every year, driving the market for memorabilia across all the types of racing, including trading cards. As the hobby expands to a wider audience, card values may see an increase, as has happened with most other sports cards. Like much of the sporting card industry, racing cards have been getting more popular and more valuable as the hobby continues to grow.