1988 Maxx Dale Earnhardt Story
The 1988 Maxx #99 Dale Earnhardt is one of the best NASCAR racing cards out there to collect. It was suppose to be in the 1988 Maxx set but legend has it Maxx and Dale Earnhardt could not come to terms. Unlike the other sports there is no players association in NASCAR so the card companies have to deal with each individual person to get their permission and compensate them for their likeness.
The #99 card was designed and put on the 1988 Charlotte edition uncut sheets. There is a picture of the sheet, which included the #99 Earnhardt, in the October 1996 Beckett Racing Monthly Issue #26. So the card was printed and cut but held at the factory from being included in the 1988 Maxx set.
For a long time the 1988 Maxx set card #87 was considered his rookie card because he was pictured on it with his team. That’s the closest fans could get to having a 1988 Maxx Dale Earnhardt rookie card.
Maxx and Earnhardt came to terms in 1989 and Maxx used the same photo that they used for the 1988 #99 promo card for the 1989 Maxx #3 card.
1988 Maxx Dale Earnhardt Gold Numbered Version
Then in 1994 Maxx included the 1988 Maxx Dale Earnhardt #99 in the 1994 Maxx Medallion wax as a redemption. There was 1 redemption per case. Each case had 20 boxes and each box had 18 packs. So the redemption was 1 per 360 packs. Only 999 cases were sold. The winner would send in the redemption and they would get the #99 card, a certificate of authenticity which matched the number on the #99 card and a letter that stated that this was an officially released card. These cards have a round gold sticker on them in the top right on the front of the card. Each is numbered out of 999 so they can be indentified from all of the other 1988 Maxx #99 Dale Earnhardt cards that were released from Maxx’s bankruptcy and theses that found their way out the factory which are unauthorized.
***Update: There were 1000 cards released with gold stickers. I spotted an eBay auction with card #000 out of 999.
1988 Maxx Dale Earnhardt Autographed Version
In 1997 Upper Deck, which purchased Maxx, released 100 autographed versions of the 1988 Maxx #99 Dale Earnhardt card via redemptions in the 1997 Maxx wax product and 1998 Maxx Year in Review factory sets. These cards were autographed on the front and hand numbered out of 100 on the back.
They were also given a certificate of authenticity which was numbered and matched the number on the autographed 1988 Maxx #99 Dale Earnhardt card.
1988 UNAUTHORIZED Version:
The gold sticker version and the autograph version are quite rare. The regular unauthorized version has popped up quite a bit since 2005. It seems that the secondary market has accepted these and are still very desirable cards.
These have been counterfeited. In November 2007 Beckett confirmed that these were counterfeited. Below are two examples. The one on the left is an original one while the one on the right is counterfeit. Notice the spelling of his home town on the fake (right side) is incorrect. The correct spelling is KANNAPOLIS and only has one L.
While a misspelling on the back might be a sign of a variation the different color red on the front, where his name is located, is another tell tale sign of the counterfeit.