Sports Illustrated Blog #101 – Understanding 1954 SI’s, SI “Dark Era” Explained

 
Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

 
 SI 1954’s and the “Dark Era” period are mysterious, surprising and very collectable and here’s why.

1954 SI’s have a particular allure to many SI collectors.  Its 20 issues comprise year one, beginning with two of the most popular of all issues – #1 – Night Baseball with Hall of Famer Eddie Matthews and #2 – the first Masters review with the exclusive Mantle card (Mantle did not have a TOPPS card in 1954).  These first two issues also start the printed baseball card set (4 mag set, 70 cards, with the 1955 Mays and Rosen issues), a novel approach to card collecting and very popular even today.  

With issue #3 appears the first swimsuit cover (later to be popularized as a yearly event), again, very popular in its own right.  Next, issues #4 thru #14, are a series of commons – horses, football, rodeo, car racing, hunting, fishing, covering the perceived topics of interest of the day.   

The final 6 issues, #15 thru #20, mostly mundane subjects with the exception of issue #15 – Y. A. Tittle, are printed in short series meaning they are significantly shorter runs AND printing quality suffers – two reasons why few high quality covers have ever been graded.  A high grade, high series cover, is probably 10 times scarcer than earlier issues. 1954 SI’s can be found in singles or sets at very reasonable costs considering age other unique factors.  I have the highest 1954 registry for sale as well as many middle grade singles and all raw issues.  

What is “Dark Era” print?  To be very clear, “dark era” print is a term that I invented and copyrighted 10 years ago, to label a period of time in Sports Illustrated printing chronology that has produced a lesser percentage of high grade covers due to inferior printing processes and materials.  It is not a term that Sports Illustrated uses to describe this era’s distribution.

From many 1000’s of samples, I have pinpointed this era to begin with issue July 11, 1956 and running thru December 31, 1969.  The years between 1959 and 1961 are notable as being the worst of the worst.  Issues such as Aparicio, Unitas, Brown and Maris are specific examples of printing that just haven’t held up over time.   Any high grade cover during this period carries with it a premium in value over comparable covers outside this era.  For this reason Maris, Unitas, and Brown are a few of the most prized high grade, collectable, and sought after SI issues over its 75 year history. The only way to beat a CGC 8.0 is to find a cover which had been shelved since its printing, and never distributed or read.  

Feel free to submit any questions you may have on these subjects, as my contact add-on is now working.

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and TIME magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you in our second century and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT magazines.

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit


www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #100 – Site Changes, Toughest Cover Offers, Goldin Auction Gems

 
Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

 
 

We’ve hit the century mark!  Many thanks to all that have supported this blog and have accepted it for what it is – A Sports Illustrated opinion blog.  It has been my honor to bring my opinion to you and I’m ecstatic our hobby evolution has hit every expectation and more.  But we’re nowhere near done…..

As Chris Berman used to say about Jerry Rice “touchdown number X, on our way to touchdown 200”.

Great news – This blog (www.sportillustrated98.com) is now able to communicate directly with me thru the “contact me” portion of the site.  You can speak directly to me thru the site with your questions and opinions.  Give it a try.  I answer all communiques.

News on the Graded SI auction front – Goldin Auctions has some beautiful, high grade, SI consignments currently open for bid.  Take a look – some really nice, hard to find first covers, as well as special event issues.  You can bid or find out sale details by clicking the link below.  Don’t miss this one – Jordan, Ohtani, Jeter, Maris, SI #1 – cgc 9.8, and more.

https://goldin.co/account/watchlist

I am offering for sale nine (9) of the toughest, most in demand SI, first covers out there – mid-grade.  These gems are priced to sell.  These are the covers collectors hold but I sell.  Just email me at wylliejohn@yahoo.com with your buying preferences. 

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and TIME magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you in our second century and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT magazines.

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit
www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #98 – The Next Big Thing

Sports Illustrated Blog #98 – The Next Big Thing

Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

 
 Congratulations to all SI believers.  Your hobby has come of age.  Currently, there are 220,000, yes 220,000, individual Sports Illustrated auctions currently on ebay alone.  With the hobby developments of the past year, my customers have experienced a serious upgrade in the value of their investments/collections.  

But, at the same time, your well-kept secret is out.  Graded SI’s are the darling of the graded mag hobby but that could be bad news if you’re still looking to jump in.  Everybody loves the concept, esthetics, and investment potential of SI.  Following Ebay, Heritage and other graded auctions, record sales are being recorded every month.  Good for those who have, not so good for those who have not.  

But when one door closes, another opens and that is what this blog is all about.  Approximately five years ago, I was a voice in the wilderness, crying out to the collectability of Sports Illustrated.  In the beginning there were few believers but interest has steadily grown.  Now we have raw mags routinely selling above $500 each and the scarcity of vintage newsstand is no longer a secret.  The word is out.  

As SI grows in popularity, I hear and read many collectors/investors are totally committed to SI, which leaves a whole spectrum of other opportunities open for those not so narrowly focused.  

Let’s talk SPORT (and there are others), for example.  Do you like first covers?  Compared to SI, SPORT magazine has the first Mantle, Mays, Musial, Aaron, Clemente, Williams, DiMaggio, Maris, Chamberlain, Unitas, and on and on and on.  These vintage covers are just as iconic as SI.  Here’s a few must haves for the post war collector – 46 DiMaggio, 48 Robinson, 47 Williams, 48 Musial, 53 Mantle, 55 Mays, 56 Mantle, 51 Berra, 53 Cousy, and there are plenty more.  

This is an opinion blog so here goes.  I love Sports Illustrated.  SI has been a great investment for me but….. with all its success, it’s getting expensive.  If you are like me, shelling out $500 for a raw mag can be a bit draining and is more risk than I would like to take on.  For me, it’s time to head in a different direction.  

And that direction is SPORT magazine and my prediction is this – SPORT magazine WILL follow the SI lead.  

As SI grows (and it will continue to grow and become less affordable to the average collector), other pubs will fill the void.  Who wouldn’t want to own the first issue of DiMaggio in the highest grade?  And the list goes on.   In my next few blogs, I will explain why SPORT is, not only a good investment, but a great investment.  Do you think kids would have used the 52 Topps Mantle in between their spokes had they known the future?  They couldn’t make an informed decision.  Readers – my opinion is your information.  

Just like I was “ALL IN” for SI, I am “ALL IN” for SPORT.  SPORT has my strongest endorsement.  

I know there will be deniers.  I know change is tough.  But if you followed my advice about SI, I’m pretty sure you are happy.    There is so much to like about SPORT, for example, instead of paying $500 for a raw mag, you can pay $10 or $20, which makes the cash flow and the risk much less.  

OK – I’m done endorsing.  Next I will be explaining and illustrating the why behind the endorsement.  

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and TIME magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT magazines.

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit

www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #97 – Pricing and more…Part 2

Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.
 
 This blog is meant to be an experienced voice, guiding interested investors/collectors down the path of the most informative decision making possible.

As our hobby expands, “fair pricing” has become a hot topic.  I hear and read about the lack of comparables (the holy grail in the card hobby), but that objection is easily remedied.

Mags are a little different in that exact comparables are scarce but indirect comparables are readily available.  It makes a lot of sense that there are certain issues and grades that can logically be compared to each other.  Using these parameters – athlete, year, POP, and grade, you can easily and accurately, arrive at a “comparable”.

So when you see a 64 CGC 9.4 Brooks Robinson for $33,000, you can use these parameters to gauge if it’s a good buy or not.

Graded SI mags have experienced such growth in buyers that the demand is catching up to the supply.  That has long been the drag on the hobby. 

It’s important to note, there are such low levels of supply that once this supply/demand concept starts to turn, issues at the top of the scale (most valuable) will become unstable, and rise in price, until a balance, again, is reached between supply and demand.

The message here is that the high grade SI vintage newsstand magazine is no longer a secret.

And when everyone is buying Mickey Mantle, that’s the time to buy Willie Mays.

Stay tuned in my next blog for the next big thing.

Sports Illustrated Blog #96 – Pricing and more…

Sports Illustrated Blog #96 – Pricing and more…  

Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

 
 
Today’s blog will run the gamut on opinions, emotions, hobby updates and advice.  As my readers will attest, this is mostly an opinion blog and I make no apology for my thoughts on the hobby.   

First thought – the hobby is exploding with excitement however, I believe pricing, in some cases, has accelerated faster than actual value.   In my mind, value has three components – comparison pricing based on yesterday, today’s value, and future pricing.  In a fast growing market, comparison pricing can be antiquated and not reflective of what’s happening now.  Today’s pricing feels the safest for buyer and seller.  Then there is future pricing.  What the heck is that? 

As a seller and investor in this hobby, I think I understand the concept of selling too early.  If the hobby (selling prices) is growing faster than inflation, than it makes sense to either hold or try to sell at the forecasted/estimated value – 3 mo, 6 mo, 1 yr, etc.  For example, I sold the 81 Gretzky for $8000 four years ago.  If I were to obtain another, what would be the selling price – $8000 plus inflation for four years?  I don’t think so.  We’re talking $100,000 plus.  Why?  Because as the hobby matures and more investors become intimately involved, there are collectors who want the best, the only, the most coveted.  Price is not an object.  When you have one of these, patience is a virtue and today’s pricing has very little relevance.   

But what about those pieces on the fringes – the one’s that draw interest but are certainly not destined to lead the hobby?  I am seeing future pricing on these that I will not live to see the value.    Some have perceived an opportunity but have not invested the time, the energy or the analysis to justify their pricing.  Yes it’s a fledgling market, prone to speculation but you must do your homework and trust your instincts.  There are great opportunities out there – there are also not so great opportunities. Speculative buying is just that – speculative and it’s buyer beware.  

Second thought –   CGC’s walk through is now 21 days.  I will never understand (maybe those in manufacturing can help me deal) how I could place an order today and be quoted a lead time of 9 days and then be told, without explanation a day later, it’s now 21 days.  Either they moved orders which came in after me, ahead of me, or they had no idea what they were quoting in the first place.  And the get out of jail free card is – “we don’t guarantee our deliveries”.  Too bad our hobby is so dependent on this type of mediocre performance.  

Third thought – Pay attention to registries or “a set within a set” – all covers of certain athletes (not just the first) – Jordan, Magic, Bird, Rose, Clay/Ali, Mantle, Mays, Brady, James, and more will outperform the market.  All these high grade covers have more than a passing collector interest.  

Fourth thought – Raw mags.  Raw mags have always been risky – hidden restoration, stains, inside damage but they are the excitement of the hobby.  It’s like the lottery.  If you get lucky, you can make some money.    As sell prices for graded reach new heights, month after month, more hobbyists are willing to bet the risk/reward on raw mags hoping to strike graded gold.   Vintage, raw, high grade, newsstand SI mags are VERY hard to find.  Early on, the cover athlete was first consideration, then grade.  Now it’s reversed.   

Almost any vintage, high grade, newsstand, cover is worth a certain amount of speculation.

Fifth thought – Recently, I participated in an on line video chat organized by Jim Kehoe with about nine other joiners.  It was fun, entertaining and informative.  I hope Jim continues with this event.  

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and TIME magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT magazines.

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit


www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #94 – High Grade, Subsequent Issues.

Sports Illustrated Blog #94 – High Grade, Subsequent Issues.

Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

 
 
Collectors love Michael Jordan.  Who wouldn’t want to own every (50) SI Jordan in CGC 9.8?  Of course, we all would and there are a few collectors out there intent on making it happen.

How about Brady?  James?  Mantle?  This blog is written to put forth the premise that subsequent superstar covers have a value, a real value.  We all want to own the first issue of all superstars but there are serious collectors that want to be the #1 Registry in Jordan, Brady, James, Mantle, etc., etc., etc.

Many first covers are not esthetic, unworthy of their lofty status, or shared with other athletes.  For example, Jordan, LeBron (Slam), E. Smith, Alcindor, B Jackson, and many of the newer covers exhibit these features.  In these cases, subsequent covers may actually out-price the first cover.

That means any CGC 9.8 of these stars has a serious value.  There is and there will be none higher.  For example, many of the 50 Jordan’s, in raw, are widely available in public auctions – but in 9.8??? it’s a gamble.  The availability is the allure.  So the competition is on for the best collection.  Watch and see how the Jordan etc., highest grade buy prices trend in the near future.  My suspicion is that they will easily out pace a fast escalating market.
       
   Right now, subsequent covers are available at what I consider bargain prices.  The grade is the key.  Lower grades (9.6 and below) will not fare as well.  My specific reference for this blog refers only to CGC 9.8 on post 1990 issues.   Earlier vintage issues – pre 1980 – may not have a CGC 9.8 available.  For example, most of Mantle’s do not.     

Don’t automatically pass on High Grade, subsequent covers without taking a closer look.  You might be passing on gold.
   
Best of luck.

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and TIME magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT magazines.

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit
www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #93 – Raw SI Issue Sales Shattering Records

Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

Recently, a raw third cover, Magic Johnson, which I estimate the grade to be CGC 6-7, sold on eBay for $887.  As you know, I am the biggest proponent of vintage, high grade, SI values, but this one even impressed me.  And it’s not an anomaly because two bidders were in that range.

Folks, this hobby is on a rocket ship flight.  Even now, there are many, many, value buys out there.  What you thought was impossible, has become the routine.  But with these bold statements come with a caveat – all good things come to an end and collectables are very susceptible to that axiom so be cautious in your investments.

The rapidly escalating prices of SI raw mags is a solid indicator of the market’s view of the rarity/scarcity of high grade, vintage SI, SPORT, SLAM and other major pubs current availability.  With cards, rare could mean 1000’s.  In mags it could easily mean one!

At this point in the SI graded mag evolution, I’d say “be careful”.    I think, with the escalating prices we’ve seen in SI, my opinion is to look in the obvious next progression of the hobby – SPORT, BASEBALL, RING, SLAM, GOAL, and others for the real values ahead of the curve.  Sports Illustrated is still King but the King is not cheap, however I have a saying – “Cadillacs are not affected by recession.”

If you plan on entering the hobby for fun or investment, know that if you’re looking to score a CGC 9.8, you’re not operating in a vacuum and your purchase price will, more than likely, be commensurate with market values.  But today’s prices, for the most part, still seem to be a bargain when compared with future estimates. 

The landscape is evolving.  Be careful on the extent of your participation but intuitive investors will still find gold, and lots of it.

Best of luck.

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and TIME magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT magazines.

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #92 – CGC Quality Issues

Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

This blog has never been about negative issues and I’m not about to start now.  This is not a complaint but more of a gentle reminder that we, customers of CGC, are experiencing a higher rate than normal regarding damaged CGC shipments. 

For the past two years, CGC has been, in my opinion, overwhelmed with new business and has become so prosperous that they may have slipped into a trance of complacency.  Specifically, their shipping quality control seems to have been left unchecked.

In support for this supposition, my last three submissions have been received with cracked cases.  I watched a SI video on line where the guy was opening a box of graded SI’s and 5 of them had cracked cases.  These are not just random guys.  They are two of the biggest dealers in graded magazines in the hobby.  I have always been a stat guy so I’m surmising that there are bunch of other disappointed customers with the same issues.

The biggest downside to damaged shipments is that if you originally paid for walk thru service, you will lose your priority status upon re-submission and be placed at the end the of re-holder line – two to four months.

If you are experiencing quality issues with CGC shipping, I am suggesting with each case, you let them know you’re not happy about it.  Perhaps if enough customers voice their displeasure, CGC will review their processes and implement some very simple changes to improve their quality performance.

Best of luck.

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and TIME magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT magazines.

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #91 – Brady’s Back!

Sports Illustrated Blog #91 – Brady’s Back!

Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

Yes, Brady’s Back!  A race between the Energizer Bunny and Brady – who wins?  I wonder if Brady’s back will be on the cover of the next SI.

Why is it important?  Every update, every breaking story, every tidbit in our collector/memorabilia business, is relevant.  With few exceptions, notably the $500,000 football you’ve heard tell about, Brady back in the headlines is great for the hobby and great for Brady memorabilia holders.

More touchdowns, more yards, more wins, the possibility of another Super Bowl – it couldn’t be more fascinating.  Pricing on Brady magazines has been based on what we knew – the numbers were final and in the books.  That’s all changed.  Now, Brady is another year on the front page.  Whatever his value was, it just got a spike. 

For all you Brady holders, the fairy tale lives on.  What happens if he has another MVP year?  Super Bowl?  Smart betters have quit doubting Brady.  In my opinion, if that happens, Brady will have to be included in any goat debate naming Jordan/Mantle/Gretzky/Clay and his collector value will move from the super bargain to six or seven figures.  Considering Brady mags are much newer, that’s a big ask – watch and see.

Don’t be on the outside looking in.  It’s a great time to be a buyer.

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and TIME magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT magazines.

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #90 – Congratulations! 

Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

Congratulations to the new owner of the Sports Illustrated Wayne Gretzky, FC, 1981, CGC 9.4, – $30,000 – a new record!  And also congratulations to our hobby.  This was a meaningful auction because it moved the needle a little closer to spotlighting the true value of these pieces of art.

Over the years, I’ve been writing about the investment value of Newsstand SI’s and how we were on the “front” edge of the hobby.  I still believe that’s true but with bid records falling monthly now, we’re certainly moving into a better understanding of the cosmetics, hobby interest and scarcity SI’s (graded or ungraded) have to offer.  SI is truly a magnificent publication.

So what is next?  Heritage now has a Brady SI 2002 First Cover, CGC 9.8, None Higher, “Amazing” up for auction as well as The SI First Issue CGC 9.8, None Higher.  Results of these auctions will give us even more insight into where we are on the hobby maturity scale – will investors continue to scoop up these unbelievable bargains at fire sale prices?

Readers should remember that I am a total believer magazine prices today are still significantly undervalued (as witnessed by the Gretzky sale). When we look back one year from now, these high grade, super star covers will have increased in price many times over, if you will be able to buy them at all. 

There is another movement in the hobby that is not so quietly making its presence known – high grade, vintage, raw SI’s.  Raw SI’s which routinely sold for $25 – $50 just six months ago, may now cost you $500 or $1000 or even $2000 today.  In my opinion, that evolution is caused by more buyers competing over the same hobby inventory with the intention of grading their own.  As a result, the graded magazine inventory is growing to the point where it has unleashed a pent up participation interest as it makes finding covers of interest increasingly possible to find.  That attracts new collectors, passive hobbyists, and new investors – all part of the massive growth of the hobby.

Growth is good.  Growth leads to higher buy and sell prices.

I’m buying at today’s prices because I believe tomorrow’s sell prices will justify that decision.

Things are really moving. I love it.

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and TIME magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT magazines.

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com