A 1-of-1 Lewis Hamilton Topps Chrome Superfractor is currently the F1 trading card GOAT. (Photo via Cristiano Barni ATPImages/Getty Images)
TRADING CARDS & COLLECTIBLES

F1 Trading Cards: A Boardroom Quick-start Guide

Who are the biggest names in F1 cards? Whose cards have produced the most expensive sales? Let’s get you up to speed on the Formula 1 hobby.

Baseball cards possess a timeless kind of aura; they’re cardboard Romanticism with a capital R. Soccer cards, once a sleeping giant, are wide awake. But the collectibles hobby has a new kid on the block — or the circuit, as it were — that might just be the next sensation due to become a billion-dollar business unto itself: Formula 1 auto racing.

To be fair, F1 trading cards are not “new,” per se. But with its rising tide of global support thanks in no small part to the success of the Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive, the markets are moving faster than Max Verstappen slamming the DRS on a new set of softs.

So, from the biggest names to the key manufacturers to the most expensive sales, let’s dive into what you need to know to get started in the F1 trading card game.

Sign Up For Our Newsletters

Get on our list for sports business, industry trends, interviews, and more.

Who’s the main F1 card maker I need to know about?

In 2020, Topps F1 cards became the exclusive name of the game in this particular corner of the hobby. Formally, the manufacturer is 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 10 active F1 teams in each given season.

Which driver has the most popular F1 trading cards?

Perhaps you fell in love with Haas after watching Drive to Survive and want to buy up all the Kevin Magnussen stock. Perhaps you’re bullish about George Russell as the future face of Mercedes. But here and now, there are three names you need to know in the world of F1 cards, and they shouldn’t come as much surprise:

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, reigning champ Max Verstappen, and Ferrari phenom Charles Leclerc.

So, whose are the most desirable on the market? We’ll compare their 2020 Topps Chrome F1 offerings, as that’s the set with the best batch of available data to go on at this time.

Numbers reflect auction data as published via Card Ladder.

PAST 3 MONTHS

No. of sales:

  1. Hamilton: 68
  2. Verstappen: 62
  3. Leclerc: 9

High sale price:

  1. Hamilton: $1,045
  2. Verstappen: $675
  3. Leclerc: $650

Average sale price:

  1. Hamilton: $653.29
  2. Leclerc: $457.22
  3. Verstappen: $412.58

Market growth rate:

  1. Leclerc: +300.0%
  2. Verstappen: +37.28%
  3. Hamilton: +14.26%

PAST MONTH

No. of sales:

  1. Hamilton: 31
  2. Verstappen: 22
  3. Leclerc: 5

High sale price:

  1. Hamilton: $841.11
  2. Leclerc: $650
  3. Verstappen: $525

Average sale price:

  1. Hamilton: $631.91
  2. Leclerc: $543.20
  3. Verstappen: $421.90

Market growth rate:

  1. Leclerc: +20.0%
  2. Verstappen: -3.91%
  3. Hamilton: -10.03%

What’s the most expensive F1 trading card ever sold?

On May 1, a 2020 Topps Chrome F1 Lewis Hamilton Superfractor 1-of-1 sold for $900,000 at Goldin.

Sir Lewis and Mercedes may be off to a disappointing start this season, but that’s clearly done little to dull the sheer star power of the seven-time world champion.

What are some of the other notable Topps F1 card sets?

In addition to the base Topps F1 set and the popular Topps Chrome Formula 1, hobbyists will also want to get wise to:

  • F1 Topps Now, an instant-reaction set that captures the sport’s biggest moments, but whose cards are only available for 24-hour windows at Topps.com
  • Topps Dynasty F1, featuring authentic autographs and pieces of Grand Prix-worn driving suits
  • Topps Turbo Attax, a gamified collection that allows collectors to compete against one another in gameplay styles like “Circuit Race” and “Race to the Finish.”
Sign Up For Our Newsletters

Get on our list for sports business, industry trends, interviews, and more.

Subscribe

Enter your email below