The star power of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton was aptly illustrated when a card he signed for a young fan fetched close to $1-million, at an auction.
Canadian 16-year-old Jean-Nicolas Gagon and his father, are about 100K short of being millionaires thanks to Mercedes legend, Hamilton, signing a rare collectable card, and setting a historic new sales record for F1 memorabilia of the genre.
Featured on the Netflix show ‘King of Collectibles: The Golden Touch’ the teenager and his Dad shared the story of how they turned $50 dollars into $900,000 dollars at an auction. Young Gagon recalled how he purchased a 2020 Topps Chrome F1 pack, which contained a 1/1 Lewis Hamilton Superfactor card, a one-of-a-kind card.
The card features Hamilton in his racing suit with Mercedes in 2020 – the year of his last F1 title to date – posing with his hands clasped. However, the image was not the only thing that made it special, the card also contained Hamilton’s autograph; the Gagon family decided to put it up for auction, at a starting price of $750,000.
Gagon senior said on King of Collectibles: “When I heard the figure I almost recoiled. I never thought a little piece of cardboard could be worth that much.” It fetched $900,000 when the auction gong rang to finalise the sale.
Jean-Nicolas whose card it was and now has 900K heading his way, cheekily taunted his father: “I’m your favourite son now, aren’t I, Dad?”
In the 1980s and 1990s, F1 collectables expanded massively
The sale of F1 collectables has a long history that dates back to the early days of motorsport. Of course, F1 has been popular since the 1950s, with fans collecting memorabilia related to their favourite drivers, teams, and races.
In the early years of F1, most collectables were limited to programs, tickets, and other paper-based items. These early collectables are now highly sought after by collectors, as they are rare and offer a glimpse into the early days of the sport.
As the sport became more popular in the 1960s and 1970s, manufacturers began producing die-cast model cars of F1 cars and drivers. These models were typically made of metal and were often hand-painted, making them highly collectable. Some of the most popular manufacturers of F1 collectable cars include Corgi, Dinky, and Matchbox.
In the 1980s and 1990s, F1 collectables expanded massively – boomed one could say – beyond model cars to include posters, clothing, and other items featuring F1 teams and drivers. These collectables often featured the logos of the teams and sponsors, as well as the names and faces of the drivers.
In recent years, F1 collectables have become even more diverse, with the introduction of digital collectables like NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), as well as memorabilia from historic races and moments in F1 history. The popularity of F1 continues to grow, and collectors around the world are always on the lookout for rare and unique F1 collectables to add to their collections.
Notable F1 collectables and memorabilia traded in recent years include:
- Ayrton Senna’s 1993 McLaren-Cosworth MP4/8A steering wheel – Sold for $362,000 in 2020.
- Michael Schumacher’s 2000 championship-winning Ferrari F1-2000 race suit – Sold for $166,000 in 2017.
- Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 steering wheel – Sold for $202,000 in 2013.
- Michael Schumacher’s 2000 championship-winning Ferrari F1-2000 carbon fibre nosecone – Sold for $115,000 in 2017.
- Ayrton Senna’s 1987 Lotus-Honda F1 helmet – Sold for $102,000 in 2012.
- Jim Clark’s 1963 Lotus 25 steering wheel – Sold for $86,500 in 2010.
- Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1956 Maserati 250F race suit – Sold for $83,000 in 2013.
- Niki Lauda’s 1975 Ferrari 312T2 steering wheel – Sold for $78,000 in 2013.
- Michael Schumacher’s 1994 Benetton B194 rear wing endplate – Sold for $80,000 in 2017.
- Lewis Hamilton’s 2010 championship-winning McLaren MP4-25 nosecone – Sold for $66,000 in 2019.
With the Drive to Survive by Netflix-inspired boom in F1 interest in the USA, it’s no surprise F1 collectable cards and memorabilia have a huge potential in a country which has a unique passion for the hobby.
Ten of the highest prices paid for collectable sports cards, in the USA:
- Honus Wagner T206 baseball card – Sold for $6.6 million in 2021.
- Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps #311 baseball card – Sold for $5.2 million in 2021.
- Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor baseball card – Sold for $3.9 million in 2021.
- LeBron James 2003-2004 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autograph basketball card – Sold for $5.2 million in 2021.
- Luka Doncic 2018-2019 National Treasures NBA Logoman Autograph Patch Rookie Card – Sold for $4.6 million in 2021.
- Babe Ruth 1916 Sporting News baseball card – Sold for $5.2 million in 2021.
- Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket Autograph football card – Sold for $3.1 million in 2021.
- Wayne Gretzky 1979 O-Pee-Chee #18 hockey card – Sold for $1.29 million in 2016.
- Kobe Bryant 1996 Topps Chrome Refractor Rookie basketball card – Sold for $1.79 million in 2021.
- Patrick Mahomes 2017 Panini National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph (RPA) football card – Sold for $861,000 in 2020.