January 05, 2010
That gentleman there is Sam Thornton, a Montreal fellow who created the ultimate NASCAR mancave. We wrote about him a couple months back. Sam loves his NASCARiana, as do many of you, but here's the bad news: if you were planning on turning all those old Rusty Wallace and Intimidator die-casts into cold, hard cash, you're probably out of luck. The NASCAR collectibles market, much like everything else with a dollar sign, is crashing hard.
Motorsports Authentics, which produces a vast amount of NASCAR-branded shirts, cars, and other gewgaws, is dangling on the edge of bankruptcy. The company owes $23.4 million to a range of entities, including several NASCAR teams -- Roush-Fenway, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing. Apparently -- make of this what you will -- a large part of Motorsports Authentics' debt is tied up in significant quantities of unsold Junior merchandise.
MA was created in 2005 when Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corporation joined together to spend $250 million in the purchase of two souvenir companies. Since then, the only year the company has turned a profit was 2008, and that only a relatively minuscule $3.2 million.
Racing Nation has an interesting take on the way that the collectibles market bottomed out, from the insanely booming days of the 1980s to the "hey, this stuff ain't so exclusive" awakening of the 1990s to the scorched-earth world of today. Most souvenir cars and jackets are worth a gut-wrenching ten percent, at best, of what collectors paid for them.
So, yes -- bad news for those of you hoping to make some cash with your souvenir investments. Not that I'd advocate underhanded flimflammery, but you might want to unload your stuff now, before your pals read this post. On the plus side, when civilization goes to hell and we're all living like cannibals in "The Road," you can probably barter off your old Dale Jr. No. 8 diecasts for some crusts of bread.
NASCAR Collectible Market A Bust [RacingNation.com]
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