Rare Air: First Amelia Earhart Memorabilia Trading Card Drawing Big Bucks, Curiosity

March 05, 2013

Earhart 2

Simply stated, last week’s celebrated release of 2012 National Treasures Baseball included some of the most historically significant trading cards ever produced, including bat knobs, buttons, booklets and cut signatures honoring the greatest baseball players to all time.

But National Treasures has always been about much more than just legends and current superstars from the world of sports. It’s also about honoring history-makers and pioneers off the field as well. So when you have an opportunity to make something as remarkable as, say, Amelia Earhart’s first memorabilia trading card, well, you do it.

So when Panini America Brand Manager Ben Ecklar set out to construct 2012 National Treasures Baseball, he kept a spot open for Earhart, the American aviation pioneer who in 1932 became the first woman to make a nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

But how, exactly, do you make a meaningful memorabilia card of a subject who never swung a bat, wore a jersey or donned a glove? In the rare case of Panini America and Earhart, the company acquired original wing fabric from the Lockheed Vega 5B aircraft that Earhart piloted on that historic 14-hour, 54-minute flight. For the record, she flew the same aircraft from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J., later that year, becoming the first woman to make a nonstop transcontinental flight.

Panini America produced five Remarkable Rarities insert cards incorporating the wing fabric. In addition, there’s also a 1/1 version that includes a piece of wing fabric and a cut autograph. In the week since 2012 National Treasures Baseball released, just one of the Remarkable Rarities cards has surfaced on the secondary market, and it sold for $461.78.

Earhart 3