THE CHAMPION EFFECT

BY ANDREW FRANCIS,

DIRECTOR, THE SIGNATURE STORE

I reckon we’re all up to date with the goings on from last year’s Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi, either that or some have been living blissfully under a rock. But, whether we feel the events were right or wrong, the fact stands that Max Verstappen is the 2021 world champion.

 

And that brought about a curious – if slightly predictable – swing in the collectibles market that we shall call, the ‘World Champion Effect’. Almost as soon as the flag had dropped in Yas Marina and the fireworks faded, both demand and value for Verstappen memorabilia spiked. In the last few months we’ve seen prices effectively double. Great news if you bought back in the summer!

 

Max also benefits as his signatures are very restricted. He generally only signs things for either his own official shop or for F1 official outlets, only occasionally for fans, so the market isn’t awash with his signature.

 

But it also shows the effect that even a single world title has. By winning the world championship it has cemented his place in F1 history. It’s likely his collectibles will always carry a boost in value, purely because he’s now a world champion. And by beating Lewis; a seven-time World Champion to do it.

 

Generally, something signed by a champion holds more value, but there are exceptions to this, much as there are also some ‘less popular’ champions. Take Nico Rosberg, for example; he’s one of the nicest guys you can meet and the 2016 world champion, he also beat Lewis to the title, he’s still involved in Formula 1 and yet the ‘champion’ effect is less influential commercially. Nelson Piquet, a three-time champion who has somehow managed to go under the radar and his collectibles value has never been particularly strong.

 

There are the legends who never actually won the championship, like Gilles Villeneuve. His cult following is huge and his signature is among the most expensive out there, purely as it’s so rare; he never signed that much. It’s impossible to know what world champion status would have done for his memorabilia, or if he even needed it, such is his fan-base.

 

Being in the public eye, as Verstappen is, certainly helps, and memorabilia from world champions does tend to ride a wave of value, before something like an anniversary comes along, or a new documentary film and their popularity escalates again.

 

It can be a very up and down market, so picking the right time to buy and sell can be critical. But the sky’s the limit for Verstappen right now.

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Becoming World Champion has significant effect on values

BY ANDREW FRANCIS,

DIRECTOR, THE SIGNATURE STORE

ARTICLE FIRST PUBLISHED, MARCH 2022, MOTORSPORT MAGAZINE