Collecting Danica Patrick: Options For Everyone

Danica Patrick’s Wheels Element rookie card can be had for just a few dollars.

This weekend, the Daytona 500 will have a lot of extra attention on it because of one driver: Danica Patrick. As the first woman to race from Daytona’s pole position, Patrick will secure herself in the annals of NASCAR history.

But long before she starts her engine on Sunday, the world of Danica Patrick collectibles is already running rich with options. Regardless of your budget or collecting preferences, there’s something for everyone—from the casual fan to hardcore collectors.

There’s no doubt that interest in Patrick’s racing career has been largely influenced by the fact that she’s an attractive female driver. Endorsements and product placements have done little to play down her physical attributes and led some to suggest that her gender is what’s driving the media attention.

But don’t let the naysayers fool you. In open-wheel, Indy Racing League, her two top-five finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (fourth in 2005 and third in 2009) helped cement her position as a more than capable driver worthy of the sport’s biggest stage. She started exploring her options outside the IRL circuit in 2010 when she split time with Indy’s Andretti Autosport and JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. She made the jump to NASCAR full-time in 2012, driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Her recent pole victory for the 2013 Daytona 500 has once again reignited interest in her collectibles.

 

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Getting in on Danica Patrick collectibles market can be easy enough with die-cast replicas. An autograph, even on a Hot Wheel (left), adds market value.

By far, her most popular and attainable items are signed die-cast replicas of the race cars she’s driven throughout her career. Current prices for such display pieces range between $150 to $250 depending on the paint scheme and year of the car, with minimal preferential treatment in value shown for her earlier cars from her IRL days versus the stock cars she currently drives for NASCAR. There have been a handful of manufacturers of these die-cast models including RCCA, Lionel and Color Chrome.

If you are getting any model car signed by Patrick in-person, make sure to get her to sign the car. If you can also get an additional signature on the box, it does add value from a retail standpoint, but if there’s only one signature to be had, choose the car over the box. It’s also interesting to note that even Patrick’s micro-scaled die-cast Hot Wheels cars can sell at a premium when signed.

For those with more to invest, Danica Patrick’s race-used items, like a signed face shield (above) command hefty sums on a robust secondary market. Her Argent Racing suit (right) has a current sale price of $17,500. Even her pit crew’s race suits carry strong prices.

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For those fans and collectors with deeper pockets, Patrick does have race-used items available that command a huge premium on the secondary market. The current asking price on a race-used fire suit from her IRL days with Argent Racing is $17,500.

Because of Patrick’s long-standing relationship with sponsor GoDaddy.com, she has become synonymous with the brand. As a result, even race-used fire suits from her pit crew regularly sell for between $500 and $800

Believe it or not, Danica Patrick also has trading cards. The current holder of the NASCAR license is a company called Press Pass, which has specialized in the niche for several years. Having been active in two different racing circuits, Patrick has rookie cards for each. Her very first—and what some people would consider her definitive—rookie card is her 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter card #305. Raw, ungraded versions of the card can be found for under $10, but high-grade autographed copies can sell for well over $100.

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Danica Patrick’s 2007 Rittenhouse Archives rookie card (left) can be had for a reasonable price, but the Press Pass Five Star card will set you back about $300.

The Allen & Ginter set, however, is an eclectic, multi-sport product, and as a result, many collectors choose instead to pursue her first officially licensed IRL card, released by Rittenhouse Archives as Card #1 in 2007.

Her official NASCAR rookie card was released upon her entry into the driver circuit in 2010. Her cards can be found in multiple Press Pass brands from that year, including Wheels Element, Eclipse, Five Star, Stealth and Premium. Of these, the Wheels Element card is the least expensive and can be purchased for just a couple dollars. On the opposite end of the spectrum is this stunning card from Five Star, which goes for around $300.

Magazines and ads of Danica Patrick, if autographed, can make a nice collectors’ piece

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As mentioned previously, Danica Patrick has been able to land numerous, highly lucrative endorsement contracts from brands and ad campaigns like Peak Antifreeze, Got Milk and Tissot watches. One could make an impressive collection of tear sheets simply from the amount of print advertising that has featured her. These make for great pieces to have signed, and many collectors also like them as a way to supplement more traditional collections.

As to be expected with a woman possessing her girl-next-door sex appeal, Patrick has been the subject of plenty of photo shoots resulting in an abundance of photographic items that capitalize on those characteristics. Her appearance in back-to-back issues of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue in 2008 definitely caught the attention of mainstream America and those outside of the racing fan base. She has also appeared on the cover of the magazine’s weekly issue, as well as ESPN the Magazine, all of which make for a perfect medium to have autographed.

Rob Bertrand has been an active collector of sports cards and memorabilia for more than 20 years. His involvement in the hobby community is well documented, having been the content manager for the Card Corner Club website before the company’s merger with CardboardConnection in 2011, where he is now a staff writer and multimedia content producer. Rob is also the co-host of the sports collectibles hobby’s only live and nationally broadcast radio show, Cardboard Connection Radio. He is the author of the highly respected and trafficked blog, Voice of the Collector and you can follow him on Twitter @VOTC. A dealer himself, Rob runs an online business through eBay, and is frequently asked to consign collections.

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