The Indianapolis 500 celebrates its 100th anniversary when the green flag drops later this month. One of the most popular events surrounding the race is the National Automobile Racing Memorabilia show. Exhibitors flock to this event from across the United States and several foreign countries to offer their collectibles for sale.
The NARM event is America’s second-oldest sports memorabilia show, and the nation’s oldest auto racing memorabilia gathering. Organizers say even collectors who generally specialize in items from ‘stick and ball’ sports have made the show a habit.
“My family likes the show,” said show regular Margaret Stemple of Maryland. “The relatives we bring with us enjoy it, and I absolutely love it.”
Any long-standing show such as this offers three key elements to the attendee: the opportunities to Buy, Sell and Trade.
Want a race crew-used shirt or a ticket stub from the race the year you were born? How about a photo of the winning driver from your first Indy 500? The Show also features programs, ticket stubs, pit badges, advertising signs, driver suits, helmets, original Speedway bricks, intricate die-cast cars, autographed pictures, pins, and anything else racing-related
Free appraisals (up to three items) are available all day on Saturday. The show has ready and willing vendors who all sport one thing- cash- if you should decide to sell.
“I buy Indy 500 memorabilia all year long,” said John Douglas of Lebanon, Ind., one of the show’s owners. “But in the two days of the show, I buy as many items as I do in the other 363.” The current economy has contributed to the increased supply of items being sold, for sure.
Organizers say vendors at the show will consider trades if they can diversify their inventory, or monetarily, the transaction is to their advantage.
Mike Reeves, a long-time attendee from Ohio, says “I bring stuff to trade every year. Sometimes it all works out and I get a few things I really want without laying out cash I really don’t have. Other times I happen to stumble across another collector who’s looking for what I threw in to my attaché. I’m seldom disappointed.”
Former Indy 500 race drivers and personalities will be present both days to meet fans, take photos and sign autographs.
Three of the Show’s biggest fans have been racing legend Andy Granatelli, commentator Chris Economacki and renowned racing writer Robin Miller. Granatelli often brings celebrities who just finished riding in the Indy 500 parade in to sign autographs (see Carol Burnett photo at left).
Hours for the National Automobile Racing Show are Friday, May 27 from 2:00-8:00. (Hoosier Hundred starts at 8:00 adjacent to the Show’s Our Land Pavilion location); and Saturday from 9:30 until 5:00. Admission is $10.00 on Friday and $7.00 on Saturday. Admission for ages 7-14 is $3 each day. The Indianapolis 500 is Sunday, May 29.