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Dan Wheldon appears on few cards, diecasts

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Former IRL IndyCar champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon died in a crash at the IndyCar season finale in Las Vegas on Sunday. He was 33.

Wheldon, who made his debut in 2002, won 16 races during his career and the 2005 series title. The accident happened just 11 laps into the event, which was called off after the multi-car wreck.

He appears on just 15 items in the Beckett.com database — just seven of those cards. His lone widely issued trading cards came in the 2007 Rittenhouse IRL set, which included his Rookie Card (above) and his only certified autograph card.

Before the news of his death, the RCs typically sold for $2.50 or less, while his autograph fetched $30 or less.

Monday Update: Since his death, copies of the autograph card have sold for $89, $130 and $150 on eBay.

His most recent items in the database are form the 2009 Hot Wheels release — 1:24 and 1:64 diecasts of his ride. His most valuable diecast is his 2007 GreenLight IRL Garage Series 1:18, which is limited to just 1,002 copies and typically sells for $60 or less.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

12 Comments

joe

RIP dan weldon. I saw the crash today and it was horific. You could just feel something wasnt gonna be good about it the way these cars just shred apart.

Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink
Shawn

I strongly suggest Beckett consider taking down this article. Listing how much his cards have gained overnight due to his death is in bad taste and is not welcomed. You should be ashamed of yourselves for letting this be posted.

From mod: There are no citations of “gains” — simply a statement that a card sold three times and a listing of those amounts. That is all.

Posted October 17, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink
chrisolds

Shawn, as I said in my email to you …

We run obituaries regularly to inform collectors of what is out there for a person and what they would have previously paid for key items.

Why? In part so they don’t get taken for a ride buying something at 10-20 times what it used to.

This story merely reports that he has few cards and what they previously sold for – it’s not suggesting a spending spree or a sell-off … or even asking whether there is future potential worth.

An updated line notes that the autograph has been selling exceptionally high – to inform readers of something that is happening on cards, which is what we typically do in ANY instance.

Here are some other notable obits of late – all with collectibles angles and all who had notable surges in sales.

http://www.beckett.com/news/2011/10/stevejobs/

http://www.beckett.com/news/2011/10/al-davis-legacy-not-one-reflected-on-much-cardboard/

http://www.beckett.com/news/2011/05/randy-macho-man-savage-dies-at-age-58/

http://www.beckett.com/news/2010/11/champion-surfer-andy-irons-dies-at-32/


The trend of people clamoring for items after someone’s death is absolutely nothing new. It happens all the time — athletes, celebs you name it. This is just the latest example — and it’s one, as the headline says, for a guy with very little memorabilia as it is.

Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

Chris-

I’m not debating the fact that there are surges in sales of recently deceased celebrity figures. But to run an article within 24 hours highlighting card values of a person who died under such tragic circumstances is just in poor taste, and trivializes his death.

Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

John, this item was posted within minutes of the news — just like all of the other obituaries listed above. All inform readers about what cards someone may or may not have and state the levels at which they previously sold for before a time of obvious enhanced attention.

I’m sorry you feel something is trivialized, however, what is presented here are simply facts — and it’s information that a lot of readers are interested in for varying reasons. There’s no arbitrary timeframe for when it’s “right” to write an obit — some people aren’t going to like them any time. Others want to know information right away.

I have written many an obit here — and they are all handled the same way regardless of how someone died.

This one was more brief because I am not very familiar with IndyCar — nor do I intend to be.

Posted October 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
michael runyon

i do not think there was anything wrong with how this article was handled. As you said Chris this is how they are always written. ALso people are talking the same thing on other sites as well iin general conversations.

Posted October 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

People can read all kinds of things into stories.

Posted October 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink
card opinionator

Are you guys serious? Beckett reports on card values. Little affects these values more than a sudden death. This report is expected by readers. I thought it was well done.

Posted October 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
albert

Chris: The difference between this article and the others you linked is they did not die in a fiery crash broadcasted on TV. Seems that no one really knows the cause of Irons death but the others… age, cancer, and heart attack. I feel that this article is bad taste. My opinion.

Posted October 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Permalink
Ben

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Are you kidding me? There was absolutely NOTHING controversial about this piece. It’s an obit from the hobby’s prospective. How Wheldon died has nothing to do with Beckett’s determination to run a piece like this.

Was his death sad, ugly and unfortunate? Absolutely. Does that mean we forget that it happened because it was so graphic and broadcast on TV? No.

It’s a known fact that when someone dies all of their collectibles see an instant (and temporary) bump in value because collectors and fans pay tribute to a person by purchasing items with their likeness and signature.

Bad taste? Please.

It’s not like Chris linked to the video of the crash just to show it once again.

In fact, I’d argue that this was done in good taste for the mere fact that there isn’t a link to the crash. You know that is that link were in there there’s be more traffic for the Web site.

For those who argue against running a piece like this, I wonder want you expect. Did you expect Beckett, a magazine and collector database, to merely forget that Wheldon died? Did you not expect the company to inform collectors of the issue.

There has been worse written and shown about Wheldon since his passing on Sunday. This, was a vanilla as can be.

Posted October 18, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink
Shawn

I have no problem with an Obit, but the way he died and the quick post by Beckett just put a bad taste in my mouth. It is MY opinion. Call me soft.

I will be bypassing Obit articles and leaving them for the people who feel they are “vanilla as can be”.

Posted October 18, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink
David Johnson

I agree that this article is good and not in poor taste. It’s not like Chris linked auctions that he was running or that he was personally trying to profit from the piece. He was informing people such as myself that didn’t watch the race, and honestly hadn’t heard about the death until I read it on here. Plus at least he mentioned what the cards were selling for before his death, so you can have a realistic idea of what they will be worth in a few months when people move on.

What annoys me is that people complain that the prices rise right after someone dies, but don’t think about what causes that rise in price. The prices rise because all of a sudden more people are interested in getting something of someone who is now dead, when they wouldn’t have been interested in getting it if that person was still alive. People drive up the prices so that they can have the items right after a death. All too often people complain about sellers trying to profit off a death, but look at the number of bidders who drive up the price of auctions or buy everything regardless of price right after a person dies. It is the buyers who are causing that profit. After all, a seller can only sell an item if it is at a price that a buyer is willing to pay.

Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

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