10 Must-Have Dale Earnhardt Cards

10 Must-Have Dale Earnhardt Cards

Dale Earnhardt is one of the most beloved men in all of sports. He's one of NASCAR's true legends and remains one of the most collected people on the racing side of the hobby. Collectors have lots of Dale Earnhardt cards to choose  from, ranging from the very cheap up to some that cost several hundreds of dollars.

Shop for Dale Earnhardt cards on eBay.

Earnhardt won a record-tying seven Winston Cup Championships before a tragic accident claimed his life in 2001. He won a total of 76 races. Earnhardt finished in the top ten of 428 of his 676 career NASCAR races. Not surprisingly, he was an inaugural inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010. Earnhardt is also a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

The first Dale Earnhardt cards came out in the early-1980s. These were oddball and promotional releases that didn't see wide distribution. As NASCAR started licensing out full sets in the latter part of the decade, Earnhardt quickly became a key part. Collectors can trace the evolution of racing cards through Earnhardt. In the late-1990s, several bigger manufacturers stepped into the previously niche market. Although this led to an extremely crowded marketplace that didn't last long, many of these sets produced some extremely striking cards. Many of these can be found at very reasonable prices now.

Below is a list of ten of the best Dale Earnhardt cards ever produced, spanning the scope of his career. New Dale Earnhardt cards continue to appear in new products, including some extremely rare memorabilia cards.

10 Amazing Dale Earnhardt Cards

1983 UNO Racing Dale Earnhardt #27

This promo card has the notoriety of being the first Dale Earnhardt card. Given out as a promotional item and in giveaways, it's an modern oddball card with a lot of importance behind it. The front features Earnhardt celebrating victory at a Daytona qualifier. The back looks like a traditional UNO game card.

1983 UNO Dale Earnardt 190x300 Image

1988 MAXX Charlotte Dale Earnhardt #87 Winston Cup Champion

1988 marked the debut for MAXX, who helped elevate racing cards into more of a mainstream position. While the set has several Dale Earnhardt cards, most feature his car. However, this particular card shows the legendary racer alongside his team. Earnhardt may not be named on the front, but this is clearly a Dale Earnhardt card.

1988 MAXX Dale Earnhardt Winston Cup Champion 260x186 Image

1988 MAXX Charlotte Dale Earnhardt #99

Technically, this card was never released on the open market. MAXX had the card printed and ready to go but couldn't come to an agreement with Dale Earnhardt. Still, it managed to reach the open market and remains extremely popular with collectors. MAXX did later release some copies via redemption in 1994. These have a gold sticker attached to the front that act like a serial number. In 1997, Upper Deck released 100 autographed buybacks, all of which are numbered on the back. Collectors should beware for fakes that have Earnhardt's hometown of Kannapolis misspelled (it's spelled "Kannapolils"). Here's a good resource that documents the card's history and different versions.

1988 MAXX Promo Dale Earnhardt 208x300 Image

1989 MAXX Dale Earnhardt #3

The 1989 MAXX Dale Earnhardt card is widely regarded as his rookie card. It uses the same image as the 1988 card noted above, but with a bright orange and yellow border, a red and white checker at the bottom and a green nameplate. The design looks like they were done by the same people who did the Saved by the Bell opening credits (which also debuted in 1989).

1989 MAXX Dale Earnhardt 215x300 Image

1992 Traks Autographs Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty #A1

Not only is this the first Dale Earnhardt autograph card, but it also pairs him with another member of racing royalty, Richard Petty. For those looking for a Dale Earnhardt autograph, this is actually a fairly affordable option, particularly since it has significance as the first and it's dual-signed.

1992 Traks Autograph Series A1 Richard Petty Dale Earnhardt 260x183 Image

1996 Press Pass Burning Rubber Dale Earnhardt #BR3 Race-Used Tire #/500

1996 Press Pass Burning Rubber is one of the hobby's most ground-breaking inserts of all-time. All game-used memorabilia and screen-worn costume cards can be traced back to here. Incorporating pieces of race-used tires into the cards, they are the hobby's first cards to have used memorabilia. Cards fall 1:480 packs and are numbered to 500. The 1996 Press Pass Burning Rubber Dale Earnhardt uses a picture of his car on the front.

1996 Press Pass Burning Rubber Dale Earnhardt 214x300 Image

1996 Press Pass VIP Dale Earnhardt Firesuit

This is actually a two-card set. It's the NASCAR equivalent to a game-used jersey card. Unlike the Burning Rubber memorabilia cards, these picture Earnhardt and not just his car. Both come in four versions based on their foil color: Silver (1:384 WalMart packs), Gold (1:512 packs), Blue (1:2,048 packs) and Green (1:6,144 packs).

1996 Press Pass Firesuit Dale Earnhardt 214x300 Image 1996 Press Pass VIP Autographs Dale Earnhardt 2 216x300 Image

1996 Zenith Dale Earnhardt Seven Wonders #/94

This commemorative Dale Earnhardt card has seven small diamond pieces embedded directly into it. It honors Earnhardt's record-tying seventh Winston Cup Championship. Inserted 1:6,025 packs, it is hand-numbered out of 94 on the back.

1996 Pinnacle Zenith Seven Wonders Dale Earnhardt 94 219x300 Image

1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Gold Dale Earnhardt #3 #/49

With the late-90s came a surge in low-numbered parallels. For Dale Earnhardt collectors, one of the top targets for many is 1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Gold. Numbered to 49, the wild etched foil design seems appropriate for racing. Another trend at the time in the hobby was protective peeling on high-end sets. Whether the peel is in tact or not shouldn't really matter. This card is so tough to find that the overall condition is what should be considered most.

1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Gold Dale Earnhardt 212x300 Image

1999 Press Pass Signings Dale Earnhardt #14 Autograph #/400

1999 Press Pass Signings have emerged as one of the most popular NASCAR autograph sets of all-time. They have a clean design and a strong checklist covering active and retired racers. Dale Earnhardt comes numbered to 400. There's also a gold ink version numbered to 100, which commands a high premium. Overall, 1999 Press Pass Signings cards fall 1:48 packs.

1999 Press Pass Signings Dale Earnhardt 208x300 Image

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DALE EARNHARDT 50 Trading Card Set- PRESS PASS -NIB
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Dale Earnhardt 1995 Assets Images Preview Micro-Foil card #RI 1
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Dale Earnhardt Sr 23 KT GOLD Racing Card RARE!*** w Flag!!!!
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Dale Earnhardt - 2 Card Lot 1994 High Gear
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Dale Earnhardt High Gear Power Pak Team Set RCR 1994
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Dale Earnhardt - 10th Anniversary Collection
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DALE EARNHARDT SR FLEER ULTRA SEASON CROWNS MOST LAPS LED 1996 #3 15
$5.00
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Dale Earnhardt + Jr. - Salute To Dale Insert Set 1-3 2010 Stealth
$6.99
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dale earnhardt sr. 2002 press pass card #0 9 total memorabilia power pick contes
$11.49
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Dale Earnhardt + Jr. - Salute To Dale Insert Set Cards 1-3
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Dale Earnhardt - Die-Cut Promo Graded 10 Mint
$7.99
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Dale Earnhardt - High Octane
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Ryan Cracknell

E-Mail Author | 
Ryan's collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection. Ryan can be found on Twitter @tradercracks and Google+.

User Comments

  1. i have thousands of 1980 nascar cards some of them not even cut yet could you please guide me as to how i could find out what these might be worth or how to sell some of these? thank you, anne

  2. anne » One way to see if what they’re selling for online would be to check eBay completed auctions. Here’s an article on how: http://www.cardboardconnection.com/what-are-my-sports-cards-worth-using-ebay-to-find-the-value-of-your-collection

    For things like the sheets, your best bet might be to contact a card shop.

  3. I have Dales card where he won the 2 nd brickyard 95 and he started 13 what is it worth.And i have another 95 shades card that tells about his glasses .What are they worth they are mint in hard cases

  4. I have a complete 100 card set of 1996 Zenith, plus a 38/94 Dale Earnhardt Seven Wonders card. All the cards look Nm-Mt to me—just saying. Need to know how to locate someone to give me a grading and a selling price in Ga. if possible.Thanks

  5. I have a picture of dale earnhardt Sr. racing his last night race large picture in frame it’s number 113 of the 300 sold that night for sale best offered call Me at 9208529993

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