Sports Illustrated Blog #84 – What is “No Label?”

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

For example, unless your car has no steering wheel, no tires, or no engine, you wouldn’t typically describe your item for sale by listing the things it doesn’t have.  So why are so many magazine sellers on EBay calling out what is NOT on their covers? 

When you look at the cover picture, you can clearly see it does not have a mailing label.  So why waste time and advertising space to say “no label”.   We all know the answer to this question.

It’s purely a deceptive advertising tool used to gain a higher selling price.  It is meant to trick the buyer into thinking it’s a newsstand issue, which typically will sell for 10 times the subscription issue price.  I can clearly see it has no label.  But I can’t clearly see that the label has been removed. 

“No Label” means it’s a subscription issue that has had the address label removed.

I am appealing to all magazine sellers that sell one or both, newsstand and/or subscription issues – please call out what you are actually selling. 

It’s either subscription, label removed or newsstand.

We buyers will be very appreciative of your truth in advertising and trust you more as we do business going forward. 

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

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with SI/SPORT/TIME!

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #81 – New Designation – “Never Will Be Beat”.

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

With the evolving, toughening grading marks offered by CGC, the only game in town, I thought there would be some interest/benefit in lending my opinion to the current grading standard.    If we are going to live and die by the current grading standard, then my readers ought to know the translation.

I have started a new grade level for our hobby.  The “Never Will Be Beat” standard grade level.  What that means is that this writer believes that the grade in question, will never be beaten, EVER.  How can I say that?  Of course, I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t see into the future, but I am a statistics guy.  For example, of all the SI’s (or any magazine) ever graded by CGC, there has never been a 10.0 or a 9.9.  Forget it, not going to happen in the future either.  So, 9.8 is the gold standard.

It’s quite normal within sport or collectibles, that grading standards, over time, tend to become tougher and tougher as competition gets better and better.  Maybe not fair, but that’s the way it is.  It seems we always have to leave room for the next best effort.

So when collectors buy a CGC 9.4 – none higher, they want to know what the chances are that their purchase will remain “none higher” into perpetuity.  I’m going to offer the closest service to that request possible.  I’m going to offer my opinion, given all the comparables, current trends and grading standards, as to the likelihood of current “none higher” grades remaining the highest grade.

The new grade from me is “Never Will Be Beat”.  I’m going to keep track and if any mag to which I have assigned this designation is beaten, I will report it in my blog.  So far I’m batting a 1.000. 

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

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/TIME!

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #80 – Are Newer SI’s collectable?

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

Since this is a Sports Illustrated blog, let’s expand our coverage to the newer or current issues.  I have spent years critiquing and informing with regard to mostly Pre-1980 SI issues.  I think it’s time to give the new stuff (post 2010) some respect. 

In the last ten years, I feel SI has really had their best game on.  I’d estimate that there are no less than 20-30 star athletes that SI caught with a cover very early or even before the athlete’s prominence. Isn’t that what drives collector interest?

 And it seems that this period has been particularly rich in star talent.  Here’s a few that I like, broken down by sport.

Baseball

Ohtani, Tattis, Betts, Trout, DeGrom, Freeman, Bryant, Scherzer, Strasberg, Judge, Guerrero, Lindor, Springer

Basketball

Note:  This decade, basketball has experienced an influx of super talent rivalling the Bird, Johnson, Jordan era.  Major publication SLAM has beaten SI to the cover on several of these superstars.

Morant, Williamson, Young, Leonard, Curry, Thompson, Durant (2006), Giannis, Westbrook, Bates, Harden, Davis, Irving, Paul

Football

Herbert, Lawrence, Burrow, Barkley, MaHomes, Hopkins, Murray, Tua, Wilson, Prescott, Jackson, Watt, Mayfield, Elliott, Watson

Golf

Leonard, McElroy, Chambliss, Keopka,

Other Sports – Tennis, Hockey, Soccer, All have one or two collectable covers.

Every one of the superstar covers above has wide ranging collectability.

It’s an incredible time to be collecting and/or investing.

Many of the sell prices are very affordable.  Of course, timing is everything and some are more collectable than others depending on current events.  I am very intrigued by the newest and brightest basketball stars.  These guys are the real deal and they’re so young.  Same with baseball.  This Ohtani kid is amazing.

One of the secrets in investing is to beat the crowd and be ready when the time is right.  With regular grading lead times out a year or more, your ability to predict the right covers in advance of increased demand, will be your greatest advantage, or maybe not so much.

My opinion on the collectability of newer SI’s is, yes, they are very collectable and don’t miss out.  This stuff is fun to collect and here’s an inside tip – Justin Herbert’s newsstand, regional, first cover in high grade condition is extremely hard to find.   Very low POP’s.  There’s just very few out there.  For this reason, I believe you will see this one increase in demand and value.  There’s something to be said for athletes we can watch on a daily basis.  We like that.  And it’s fun.  Who isn’t routing for Ohtani?

And this is all coming from a pre-1980 guy.    

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

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

Sports Illustrated Blog #78 – Options for Storing Raw and Graded Magazines.

Sports Illustrated Blog #78 – Options for Storing Raw and Graded Magazines.

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 love our mags – graded and not.  And we want to keep them preserved in their current condition, forever if possible.

I have a few suggestions on how to make that happen.

Storing raw mags long term:

One common question I hear is “should I store my raw mags flat or hanging – similar to a notebook or a file?”  The absolute best way to preserve your ungraded magazines is to bag them with a ridged board (making sure the board dimensions are longer and wider than the dimensions of the mag) and lay them flat in a container that is approximate in inside dimensions as your ridged board.  It’s perfectly fine to stack 20 or 30 copies, one on top of another but I wouldn’t go any higher than that.  Too much weight.

Keep your storage container in a climate controlled room and locate it where it’s not going to be moved every time you vacuum.  Ideally, you’ll only want to handle your mags when absolutely necessary.  Over time, this stuff will wear.

In 1988, I was trying to collect all the vintage SI covers featuring baseball players, back thru 1954, but I had no way of identifying the old covers.  This was before the internet and/or eBay.  I wrote a letter to SI and suggested they print a book of covers so guys like me could find what was actually printed.  Voila – the first book of covers was printed in 1989.  At the same time I also bought some back issues straight out of their inventory.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  I bought an 82 Henderson, 75 Ryan, several Gretzky’s (they didn’t have the 81), 85 Mantle and 80 Rose/Schmidt.   All arrived in really nice condition – no upc’s, no white label box and no address label.  I stored them in a notebook plastic and they had been kept that way til just recently when I found them. 

I recount this story here because I wanted to make mention of the fact that even thou these mags had been carefully stored in the best available materials of the time, they still had begun to show signs of wear.  These magazines, pre-1990, are getting old.  It’s almost impossible to protect them from the effects of aging over such a long period of time – let alone the mags from the 50’s and before.   

So when you see a well preserved magazine from the 80’s or 70’s, consider them to be the exception and no longer the rule.

Preserving your graded copies:

Keeping your graded mags well preserved is much easier and requires just a bit of common sense.  Never take them out of the sleeve unless photographing or bragging to your collector buddies.  They can be stored in the boxes in which you received them, in a display case, or on a book shelf.  I like the book shelf idea because they can be stored neatly, side by side, in chronological order, right in their sleeve and it’s easy to pull them out when bragging to your friends.  Typically you can get quite a few on each shelf.

Be careful not to pack them too tight – I separate all my graded stuff with cardboard – so the plastic sheath stays in nice condition.  If you ever want to sell them, the buyer will appreciate this effort.

Hope this helps and please feel free to email me with any storage questions you may have.

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

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/TIME!

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #77 – 1954’s – Dynamic Beginnings.

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

Sports Illustrated has a best kept secret and it’s hiding right in plain sight.  They are the issues we have been passing over for years in favor of Mickey and Willie and printed ball cards.  Who cares about sailing, hunting dogs, steeple chasing, road trips, ocean fishing, and rodeos? Of course, the secret I’m referring to are the 20 issues comprising the subset of 1954 issues.

These 20 issues seem to take in the very heart of 1954 America starting right off with night baseball – the beginning of a new era in America’s pastime.  Little did fans at that time envision how the sport and night baseball would evolve.  In addition, there are 27 printed baseball cards included which have become highly collectable in their own right.

Issue # 2 and its 27 Yankee baseball cards, including the exclusive Mantle card missing from the TOPPS set of that year takes over where issue #1 leaves off.  It’s coverage of the 1954 Masters was at least a decade ahead of its time.

Issue #3 – the first swimsuit from Jones Beach, New York – a far cry from the Seychelles or Maui. 

Then it’s on to explore the real America which is where most of us HOF seekers dropped off.  Rodeos, dogs, and football crowds aren’t what Mickey and Willie collectors are looking for and as a result, I think we really missed something important.  This is the American of that era.  This is who we were and it’s no surprise to me that within this insightful, encompassing subset are currently some of the most popular issues in the hobby today.

It’s a relatively easy subset to complete.  Unless you’re looking to own the highest ranked registry in the census, the issues aren’t rare.  And they tell a story.  A story of the beginning of the most revered sports publication, before, during or, sadly, after its publication.

Recent public auction returned $11,200 for a Graded 9.8 #1 issue and the #2 9.4 gaveled at $6,900.  The owner of the winner of the #2 is accepting bids of $12,075 on his new purchase.  All the more common issues have seen public auction recently, returning between $500 and $1000 each, for mid-level grades.  Pretty good for commons.  Someone out there is going to want to own the #1 registry of this “best kept secret” subset, now growing in popularity and value.  Is it you?

Below I have illustrated a picture of all 20 graded 1954 issues.  This is 1954 America – the way we were.  Many are the highest known on the census. 

Message to my readers – don’t sleep on the 1954 subset.  It’s just starting on its upward trajectory.  You heard it here first.

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

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/TIME!

Sports Illustrated Blog #76 – Second Qtr. Update – Prices and Lead-times.

Sports Illustrated Blog #76 – Second Qtr. Update – Prices and Lead-times.

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

Prices continue to rise, lead-times continue to grow.  I use Heritage Auctions as a barometer for current buy price valuation.  Consistent with the collector hobby, some auction items remain steady or see marginal increases but if you are selling the popular covers such as Jordan, Mantle, swimsuits, any 1954’s – commons or stars, or high grade first covers including newer covers (DeChambeau, Lawrence, Herbert, Prescott, Mahomes), you’ve seen exponential increases in value over the past month or two.  Also keeping pace with hobby growing interests are the major non-Sports Illustrated pubs – SPORT, BASEBALL, HOCKEY Illustrated, Sports Digest, RING Magazine and others.  Obviously, the major interest in RING is the ALI-Frazier-Foreman era and HOCKEY is Gretzky. 

Many of these pubs feature the most iconic athletes, years ahead of Sports Illustrated.  For example, Clemente, Aaron, Maris, Chamberlain, Gretzky, Clay, Mantle, Mays, Berra, Chamberlain, Unitas, Robinson, DiMaggio, Williams, Munson, all appear on other pubs first.  Pretty impressive list especially if you like original first covers.  And these non-SI covers generally feature bright prime colors which tend to accentuate the already eye-appealing esthetics.  As I’ve been blogging for some time, many of these first cover pubs will favorably compete with or exceed the value of later SI first covers.  Some of them are out there right now.

If being ahead of the curve is where you are looking to be, these major pubs will put you there and when the market figures it out, you’ll already be there with the best stuff.  If you believe, it’s a simple formula.

I finally figured out how CGC calculates their delivery lead-times.  If you are like me, when someone tells you the “turnaround time” for your purchase is 4 weeks, you expect delivery in about a month.  That’s not the way CGC figures or quotes their “turnaround time”.  Turnaround time is the amount of weeks today’s shipped orders have been in house.  If an order was received on February 1st and it was shipped on May 1st that equates to a 13 week turnaround and that is what will appear on their website for turnaround time.  Every week, based on this calculation, turnaround lead-times are updated.

What is missing is the calculation of time FORECASTED (looking forward, not backward) between submission receipt and the time of shipment.  If you submit an item today, that item may have a year’s worth of orders ahead of it, but the turnaround time is quoted as the weeks in house of today’s shipments.  CGC can’t or won’t even commit to a ship date.  If CGC would just be a little more forthcoming, it would be less frustrating for their customers.  I’ve found in my career, that when things get tough, the best policy is to be honest with your customer.

And here’s a head’s up.  For the first time ever, the first 25 SI swimsuits (1964 – 1989), all inclusive, most with the highest grades ever posted, are headed for Heritage auction beginning right now.  Don’t miss this one because most of these are one of a kind and cannot be purchased anywhere else.  If you want something your friends don’t have, this is it.  Best of luck on this one.

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

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/TIME!

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

Sports Illustrated Blog #75 – Big Changes at CGC – How Will They Affect The Hobby?

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

How do we want to look at this – a pain in the butt or growing pains?  This blog will focus on the big changes trending at CGC, the grading service for our hobby, and how they will affect buying, selling, grading, not grading – going forward.

First of all – the CGC changes;

  1. Longer lead times – much longer.  Lead times on the most economical grading tiers have increased from 6-8 weeks to 20 weeks.  That doesn’t include the 4-8 weeks it takes for them to just receive your submission. 

Interesting phenomenon I noticed last week – in 7 days the lead-time for a Modern submission moved from 89 days to 96 days.  That tells you that your submission lost ground after it was submitted.  How does that happen?

CGC has promised solutions.  Unfortunately, we’re going to have to live with these longer lead times for a while.  It’s certainly better than the card market.

2. Price Increases – significant price increases.  CGC prices have increased 50%-80% across the board.  For $120 you still can grade walk thru which really means about 3 weeks when you include shipping both ways and receiving.

So now we have extended lead times and higher prices and no creditable grading alternative leaving us with these questions;

  1. Should I pay the extra money and wait the extra time to grade?
  2. Should I spend $120 each for faster service?
  3. Should I stop grading and sell only raw mags?
  4. Should I stop buying raw mags considering these new road blocks?
  5. How is the value of previously graded mags affected?

The first four questions require your own personal decision but #5 could actually be the benefit in all this negativity.  Let’s assume demand stays strong for graded product.  Barring a trickle of newly graded stuff, the only product available for sale in any quantity will be the previously graded items. 

And I predict there will be a reluctance to buy new raw mags when the grading process is so restrictive, further reducing the eventual inventory for sale.  The very tip of the pyramid probably won’t be affected as they will be walk thru graded and the extra cost will be absorbed in the selling price.

Interesting changes for sure.  I frequently talk of the next big thing.  I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the next year or so, another grading player emerged as competition for CGC.  That is the real solution.  CGC has way too much control over this hobby.  When there is competition in the grading of mags, watch this hobby take the next big step forward.

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

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/TIME!

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #74 – Topps and Sports Illustrated Collaborate on a New Set of Cards – All Vintage SI Covers.

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

It just keeps getting better.  Although I’m not an expert on the new marketing program TOPPS has introduced involving trading cards picturing vintage SI covers, I wanted to bring this to the hobby because I believe it’s totally relevant to our hobby interests. 

TOPPS has begun their introduction of a 70 trading card set, each card illustrating a vintage SI cover!  Are you serious?  Yes I’m serious.  The cards are not initially for institutional sales meaning they are presold and only printed and distributed in those qualities.  The set is being released in two card increments – those purchasing each card on a pre-sale format receive their order in about a month subsequent to the close of sale date. If you don’t order initially, the only way to get them is thru the secondary market. 

There are also parallels (similar to regular trading sets) inserted randomly (how they are doing this I’m not sure) in various advertised quantities. 

The importance of this development for SI mag hobbyists is that it’s just another acknowledgement from the manufacturer (TOPPS) and the market that vintage SI magazines have a following significant enough to devote an entire product line based solely on SI cover market awareness.  In other words, more exposure for our hobby. 

It’s stuff like this from the industry giants that supports everything we’ve been saying and doing.  Three years ago Heritage Auction House was leery about even listing SI’s for fear of lack of interest.  Not anymore – graded SI’s are a staple of their weekly auctions.  Ebay sales are up.  Private sales are up.  The word is getting out there.  Maybe not overnight but I can see the movement from month to month.

It’s an exciting time to be on the front edge of something this popular.  It’s once in a lifetime.

Click the link below for an illustration of a couple of subject cards.

Duke Snider

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/EhUAAOSwsgZgcCzx/s-l500.png

Mike Trout

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/JBYAAOSwppZgUQrp/s-l500.jpg

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

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/TIME!

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com

Sports Illustrated Blog #73 – Three of the Prettiest CGC 9.4’s You Will Ever See.

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 is all about beauty and raising the bar on the entire graded magazine hobby.

Below I have pictured CGC 9.4’s of three of most relevant sports heroes on their first major publication (not Berra’s first) in the highest grade – none higher, POP 1.  I bring these to you to show you how beautiful some of these major pub covers can be while maintaining their high quality as well.

There is significance here in that the 1960 Maris cover is a full year ahead of his first SI and the 1962 Aaron cover, while also cosmetically superior, is seven years ahead of his SI appearance.  I predict these covers will challenge their SI counterparts in hobby relevance and open the door for other major publication first cover entries to blow the “cover” off our hobby.

Just like in cards, there’s no substitute for quality as Upper Deck illustrated back in 1989.  Don’t sleep on SPORT’s challenge into this market.

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

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/TIME!

Sports Illustrated Blog #72 – To Grade or Not to Grade?

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

With magazine values on the serious rise, I am receiving more and more inquiries regarding the pros and cons of grading your own magazines.  The thought behind the question is ‘if my magazines are worth more graded than ungraded, doesn’t it seem to make sense to grade them?

I personally went thru the raw vs graded process right from the on-set of the hobby having graded 1000’s of mags and left many more 1000’s ungraded.   I believe I have graded more SI’s, by a wide margin, than any other collector in the hobby.  I have learned the hard way, by trial and error, that excelling at the grading equation takes a knowledge of the hobby as well as personal above average grading skills.        

The first decision in this process is to define your expectations.  What do you want to achieve?

Let’s assume anyone that grades their magazines is trying to increase the value of their collection so you’ll need to be able to weigh the cost of grading against the increased value of the grade.  If you are going this route, you will need to hone your own grading skills so that you can make the cost vs value decision BEFORE deciding to submit.  You can’t be expecting a CGC 9.0 only to receive a CGC 4.0.  You’ll go broke on grading costs alone. 

Once you’ve decided to grade, you’ll need to learn the proper packaging for mailing your prized mags.  I promise you, you’ll bend a few corners before you get this right.  Do not save money on packaging.  Figure $50 per mag for regular grading time frame (3-5 months) and $100 for walk-thru (one week).  CGC is notorious for extending their lead times, so be patient.

If you are going to grade, please consider the following:

  1. Grading is a double edged sword.  High grades are good of course but, low grades can actually be worth LESS than the raw mag.
  2. Grading adds a cost to your collection.
  3. Grading defines the value.  There’s little debate regarding condition or value about a graded mag.  The grade is your guarantee against surprises.
  4. An added benefit of grading is that the process actually protects the condition of your mag.
  5. Unless you are a professional grader, you’ll tend to grade your stuff higher than the true grade.
  6. High grades (CGC 9.0 or higher) are much more difficult to obtain than you may estimate, especially on pre-1980 mags.  Frequently, collectors get discouraged with the grading process because it is so tough.  Selling raw magazines will be less work and less surprises.  It’s not for the faint of heart. 
  7. If you are a seller, you must learn the difference between a raw 8.0 and a raw 9.0.  Until you acquire this skill, you’ll grading magazines that shouldn’t be graded and, in turn, wasting your cash on unnecessary grading.

If you decide to leave the cost and risk of grading to others, take the extra step of properly protecting your raw mags from further degradation.  One day you may want to sell raw or even have them graded and you’ll want the condition unaltered.

The decision to grade or not depends on so many variables my opinion is that if you decide to grade you should be the guy that likes surprises. If you’re risk averse stay away. 

Lastly, I love to buy graded magazines.  No risk.  No surprises and no wasted grading fees.  They cost more but have all the variables removed before your investment.

I hope some of this has hit home but feel free to send questions to wylliejohn@yahoo.com.

Best of Luck.

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

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/TIME!

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com