Rookie Card Year: 1969
Investment Rating: 6.0
Despite having been retired from driving for several years, Mario Andretti will always be one of the most collectible racers in the hobby. When your career accolades include being the only driver to ever win the Daytona 500, the Formula 1 Championship and the Indianapolis 500, your legacy and collectibility are firmly cemented. Racing collectors represent a unique niche and their loyalty to individual drivers rivals, and often exceeds, that of fans and collectors in other sports.
Racing is a hobby category that often doesn't officially designate rookie cards. Such is the case with Mario Andretti. However, his first card that was nationally available is the 1973 Nabisco Sugar Daddy Speedway Collection. A very rare card, itcan sell for between $100-$300, depending on the condition. However, one of his most popular, and affordable, cards is the 1979 World of Sport.
Ironically enough, the card that collectors identify as being Mario Andretti's rookie card, isn't a card at all. It's a sticker from the 1969 Panini Auto Racing Sticker Collection.
Looking to capitalize on the explosive growth of trading cards in the mid-1980s through the 1990s, several companies looked to cash-in by producing trading cards outside the baseball, basketball, football and hockey. Racing was no exception. As a result, Mario Andretti has dozens of cards from defunct and obscure companies like Collect-a-Card, Hi-Tech, A and S Racing and Carms, to name a few.
Mario Andretti's first mainstream card was inserted in an issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids. It was part of a nine-card perforated sheet. In the years that followed, Andretti would be a staple in several Indy Racing sets produced by All-World.
The first Mario Andretti autograph and memorabilia cards were included in 2007 Sportkings. They are easily his most popular trading cards on the market today.
With regards to Mario Andretti's autographed memorabilia, anything associated with races in which he drove are the most popular items to have signed. For more deep-pocketed collectors, authentic racing helmets and die-cast replicas are high on the list of most valuable pieces. A personable and caring gentleman, he adores his fans and has always been a gracious in-person and through-the-mail signer.
Top Mario Andretti Cards
This sticker is treated by many as the Mario Andretti rookie card, even though it's technically a sticker. It is his earliest paper collectible. It seems only fitting that Andretti, a proud Italian, would first appear on a product made by an Italian company.
These tiny art cards may be far from traditional, but for racing and Andretti collectors, they are a staple.
One of Mario Andretti's first cards packaged in traditional wax pack form, it provides a look at an aging Andretti cruising the paddock on a Vespa.
Andretti's base card from the hand-painted art set may not be his first card, but it's still popular. It was his first trading card in five years, Andretti's longest drought of not appearing on a sticker or card since 1969.
One of two autographs in the set, the Silver version is limited to 99 copies, although it is not serial numbered. Andretti also has a Gold parallel. It's not numbered either, but is limited to ten copies. It's hard to believe that it took almost 40 years for one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen to have a certified autograph.
This is one of just several memorabilia cards Andretti has in the 2007 Sportkings set. Others include multi-color patches from one of his race-worn fire suits. This single-memorabilia piece is limited to 90 copies and is not numbered.
An amazing card, it combines an autograph, swatch of race-worn fire suit and a great photograph. The Gold version is limited to just 10 total copies. A Silver version was also produced and limited to 40 cards.
Mario Andretti Jr. Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find examples of what an authentic Mario Andretti autograph looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market include the following companies: PSA, JSA, Steiner, Tristar, NASCAR and Mounted Memories. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Mario Andretti Cut Signature Exemplar
Mario Andretti Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Mario Andretti signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. His signature does have two fairly distinct versions. However, regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features
- Very unique, written on a horizontal plane, no discernible lettering.
- Look for a long horizontal line with a start and stop mark.
- Just to the right of center starts a oval shape which is the "A."
- Look for the "a" to be in what looks like quotation marks often with one longer than the other.
Mario Andretti Signed Photograph Pricing
Mario Andretti Die-Cast Cars
Die-cast cars have an incredible collector following amoung all types of racing collectors and fans alike. Mario Andretti has had several replica cars created over the years in different degrees of quality and scale. The most popular being 1/24 and 1/64. He is one of the few drivers you can collect die-casts of various racing types, i.e. NASCAR, Formula 1 and Indy. However, his most popular and regularly available models are Indy cars.
For general information about Mario Andretti's racing career, visit: