As Formula 1’s calendar and global audience get bigger and bigger, here’s what prospective collectors need to know about the current market for Topps F1 cards.
The popularity of Formula 1 auto racing has soared over the last few years — especially in the United States — resulting in not just the addition of new races to the world championship calendar, but more seasons of the smash-hit Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive. Thanks to this surge in fanfare, there has been increased interest in collecting F1 trading cards, too.
While it is not as intimidating as it was during the pandemic-era hobby boom, here is a beginner’s guide to the expanding F1 trading card market, from the biggest names to collect to the key brands driving the business.
Who’s the main manufacturer of F1 cards?
Topps became the exclusive manufacturer of Formula 1 trading cards in 2020. This includes being the “Official Sticker and Trading Card Licensee of Formula 1” as part of a worldwide pact that covers all physical and digital card and sticker offerings for all active F1 teams.
Who are the main F1 driver cards to collect?
There’s no doubt the two drivers everyone wants for their collections are Red Bull phenom and two-time defending champion Max Verstappen and seven-time world champ Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes. Even though the first Topps cards came out in 2020, their most recent 2022 Topps Chrome Autographs still hold tremendous value. Hamilton’s 2022 Chrome Refractor Auto in a PSA 10-grade recently sold for $3,600, while Verstappen’s Orange Refractor Auto /25 sold for $4,176.
These are a steal compared to these superstars’ 2020 Topps Chrome Autographs, however, which can easily go for five figures here and now.
Ferrari’s dynamic duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, longtime veteran and world champ Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin — the most recent sets depict him as a member of Alpine — and Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, George Russell, are also gaining steam amongst collectors.
Particularly for those wanting to break into the world of F1 cards without breaking the bank, these drivers will be the ones to keep an eye on.
What sets are available?
In 2020, Topps had three sets of Formula 1 trading cards available: Topps Chrome, Topps Dynasty, and Topps Chrome Sapphire. Chrome is the most popular set, while Dynasty is considered the highest-end set and Sapphire is considered a premium version of Chrome.
Starting in 2021, Topps added a paper-stock set simply named Topps Formula 1, a racing analog to the annual Topps Baseball Series 1. In addition, Topps also released Lights Out and Turbo Attax — Lights Out is a 40-card set that includes all drivers from the current season, while Turbo Attax is a gamified collection that allows collectors to compete against one another in gameplay styles like “Circuit Race” and “Race to the Finish.”
New drivers for 2023
The hottest rookie in the F1 card market is Logan Sargeant of Williams Racing. Sargeant is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and has garnered plenty of buzz among US fans due to being the only active driver from the States. He’s depicted as a Formula 2 driver in the 2022 sets, and while his prices have cooled down due to some unfavorable finishes out of the gate in the 2023 campaign, the potential is there for the young American driver.
Other debutante drivers to look out for include Oscar Piastri of McLaren and Nyck de Vries of Alpha Tauri, both of whom dipped their toes in the water as F1 reserve drivers a year ago.
Where to buy F1 trading cards
Other than directly from Topps, there are plenty of online retailers out there, including BlowoutCards. Be sure to check out your local card shops, however, to see if they have any singles or hobby boxes available to purchase — in this industry, brick and mortar lives on.
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