When you see NASCAR drivers autographing items presented to them by fans, it's often a photo, a cap or a die-cast car. Helmets may be a little harder to come by--or cart around--but they are one of the best items around which to build a collection. Signed NASCAR helmets display well, have a perfect spot for autographs and are one of the most unique racing collectibles you'll find. Put them on display and you're bound to get comments along the lines of "now that's cool".
Like a football or baseball helmet, NASCAR helmets provide a solid surface for the driver to write on, which means you generally get a bigger, bolder autograph that's much easier to see. Drivers tend to take the extra couple of seconds it takes to make their signature legible when they're writing on a quality item rather than something like the cap that sat on your sweaty head or a photograph they've seen ten thousand times before.
The visor provides a natural space for the Sharpie autograph since it's a dark space, but if you have a dark helmet, you can also have them sign the shell.
Drivers change sponsors and race day themes often enough to where you'll see quite a variety in the marketplace. We love the Washington Redskins-themed helmet signed by Bobby Labonte and Joe Gibbs. It sold for just $162.50, which is really quite a bargain. Drivers and sponsors want their helmets to be eye-catching so they're great for display.
You can buy the full-size helmets or the mini replicas. Full helmets obviously cost more.
While some online outlets charge up to $1,500 for a big name NASCAR driver's autograph on a full-size helmet, you can find a lot of signed NASCAR helmets on eBay. There are fakes, but carefully reading the descriptions and looking at a buyer's feedback and their willingness to answer questions can help you navigate through the listings to find authentic helmets at a cheap price. Many race fans get their items signed in person, then wind up having to sell to pay bills. Not as many racing collectors use autograph authenticators since signed items are usually less valuable and it simply hasn't become the norm. NASCAR fans are collectors first--not investors or dealers.
Send them in for authentication via PSA or another autograph authenticator and you'll increase the value. With PSA, you can compare your next purchase to an authentic autograph by subscribing to Real! Autographs Online.
Signed NASCAR helmets do take up space, but most collectors would rather have a smaller number of really interesting pieces than a room full of stuff you see all the time. Click here to see what's currently available on eBay.