Sports Illustrated Blog #42 – Latest Update on CGC Grading Trends.

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

Thanks for your SI interest.  The scoop we all want to know.  What is CGC up to these days regarding magazines?

Is CGC, the most recognized comic and magazine grading company, its evolution, and its every trend/advancement important to our hobby? Perhaps I can best answer that question with a question – would you rather have a 1952 Mantle Topps Card Mint 10 or a near mint 9.5? 

Whether you’re interested in dollars or just bragging rights, we collectors “live and die” with our grades.

Just five short years ago, SI issues were collected by the cover, not by whether there was a mailing label, label removed, creased, stained, torn etc etc.  But one thing is absolutely certain in collectables, the best always rises to the top, in demand and value. 

Condition is the absolute driving force and momentum behind every collecting medium and magazines are no exception.

Hence, is the training and thought process behind every CGC grading criteria important?   Is every current event/trend at CGC important?   You bet your collection they are.

Magazine grading think ology is moving thru an evolution as unmistakable as the growth of the hobby.  Referring only to SI’s, there are probably about 10 pre-1980 CGC 9.8’s in existence today (excluding the #1 issue).  There are currently none listed on ebay or for sale at any of the auction houses which means the rest are in private collections and not being sold publically.  To my knowledge, the last pre-1980 CGC 9.8 sold in auction (again excluding the #1 issue) was two years ago at Heritage.  It was a 1955 Williams which sold for approximately $6000, an absolute steal in today’s market.  

I predict that the next publically sold pre-1980 CGC 9.8 SI with similar star magnitude, will sell in excess of $50,000.  In 1980, if I would have said that in our lifetime certain Topps cards would be selling for $millions, would you have believed me?

Here are a couple of current trends of interest coming out of CGC regarding high grades (9.8, 9.6), pre-1980, since 2017. 

  1. With the exception of the number #1 issue, there has not been a single grade above 9.4.  Not some, but all high grades on the census have come during or before 2017.  That is a trend.
  2. There has never been a 9.9 or 10.0 grade issued by CGC, across ALL magazines, EVER.  So I believe it’s a safe conclusion to assume any 9.8 will be the highest grade for that issue forever – until trends change.  That is a trend.
  3. If you are lucky enough to find, receive or own a 9.0, 9.2, or 9.4 CGC grade, it will be the very unlikely exception that your grade will ever be beaten.  That is a trend.

As we search the internet, trade with collectors, or even walk the isles of the NSCC (National Sports Card Convention) in July, in pursuit of the very best magazine grades, don’t shadow the crowd that believes a CGC 9.0, 9.2 or a 9.4 is not and will not be the best ever.  This is not baseball cards we’re talking about here, it’s magazines.  Fact, pre-1980 magazines have had a much more difficult time surviving than their counterpart in cards.

Think about it.  A newsstand SI is purchased in 1965.  In order to maintain a 9.0 status or above, it must be brought home without protection, stored in a box without being read, survive numerous moves, restoring, shuffling, bumping, box deterioration, humidity and handling all over a 50 year period.  If it survives all that, it must then be located in the box, pulled for perusal, handled for photographs, autographs, and reselling before eventually finding its way into a protective package.

That all this could happen without damage is more than a long shot – in fact, it happens so infrequently that the scarcity of high grade SI’s is the hobby’s biggest asset and worst liability.

In my next blog, I’ll have more to say about CGC’s actual grading process and what I believe to be their grading intentions as they absolutely drive the hobby momentum.

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 #41 – Seconds Anyone?

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

Thanks for your SI interest.  We’re Growing!

In the past three years since our hobby began organizing, the hobby has grown from tens of Sports Illustrated graded to 1000’s.  What does this mean to the hobby?  How do I stay ahead of the hobby curve?

I remember collecting baseball cards in the 70’s and 80’s and it was always the challenge to secure a high grade rookie card of almost any player – just as long as it was a first card.  As a result, super star rookie card pricing became prohibitive for most of us, so we turned to the next best thing – second, third, fourth, and subsequent player cards.  As this movement evolved, these cards were more available, fun to collect and beat the market for value gains.  I remember collecting all years and prints of George Brett and Mike Schmidt cards until I had a full notebook.  Still have them.

Initially, these second issue star cards were very affordable – pennies each – until they became limited and you guessed it, prices rose again.  That’s kind of where we are now in SI magazines.  Subsequent SI covers are following their first cover lead.  For example, a third SI cover CGC 9.6 1984 Jordan just auctioned for $8000, a CGC 8.5 (same cover) also gaveled at $1300.  These are prices scoffed at two years ago but suddenly they’re becoming the norm. 

Like anything else, we have a choice.  We can take a wait and see approach and watch the hobby evolve like we have seen in first covers over the past two years, or we can seek out and buy second covers with the knowledge that their day is on the horizon.

In my opinion, there are a number of second, third and fourth covers, which will become very popular and very hard to find once the hobby comes to the realization first covers are a bit expensive.  

Here is a short list of subsequent covers I would suggest checking out.

Jordan, Mantle, Mays, Palmer, Nicklaus, Starr, Bird, Johnson, Rose, Ali, Brett, Schmidt, Williams, Gretzky, Jackson, Aaron, Namath, Montana, Elway, Marino, and probably 20-30 more.

Buy those second covers now at pennies on the dollar, then watch the market move just like it did with base

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 Blog #37 – The Top 10 Absolute Hardest to Find, High Grade SI’s

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 one I find most interesting.  In previous blogs, I have ranked SI’s by difficulty/popularity and iconic/imprinting.  While these rankings are an important part of the on-going data evolution that keeps my blog readers ahead of the hobby curve, I want to share several more top 10 rankings which I believe will prove just as informative and only attainable to those reading my blog.

The next Top 10 SI Ranking and the feature of today’s blog is the “Absolute Top 10 Hardest to Find, High Grade SI’s”.  Unlike previous rankings which include a difficulty factor in the ranking, the only criteria used in compiling this ranking is rarity in high grade.  No weight is given to popularity, subject, or cover content – only high grade population.

The second ranking of interest is one for a future blog and may require some help from my readership.  We, the hobby, need to find out weekly, newsstand distribution/circulation counts for each issue pre 1980.  Clarifying total newsstand copies initially circulated would provide a sound basis upon which we could estimate current populations.  From there, we could reasonably assume/calculate the odds of future high grade populations – the Holy Grail for investors.

If you have knowledge of or can reference this data, I’d love to hear from you.  I’ll credit you in my blog and publish.

But for now, here’s the Top 10 Hardest to Find High Grade SI’s out there.  Sorry, I could only narrow down to 17.

77 Pele – None Graded

59 Unitas – Highest Grade CGC 6.5

No. 2

Nicklaus – Highest Grade CGC 7.0

No. 3

54 Clay – Highest Grade CGC 7.0

No. 4

60 Brown – Highest Grade CGC 7.5

No. 5

60 Palmer – Highest Grade CGC 7.5

59 Mays – Highest Grade CGC 7.5

No. 7

57 Aparicio – Highest Grade CGC 7.5

No. 8

61 Starr – Highest Grade CGC 7.5

No. 9

76 Schmidt – Highest Grade CGC 7.5

No. 10

61 Maris – Highest Grade CGC 8.0

No. 11

65 Oliva – Highest Grade CGC 8.0

No. 12

65 Marichal – Highest Grade CGC 8.0

No. 13

56 Mantle – World Series Highest Grade CGC 8.5

No. 14

57 Mantle – Highest Grade CGC 8.5

No. 15

67 Orr – Highest Grade CGC 8.5

No. 16

62 Taylor – Highest Grade CGC 8.5

No. 17

One analysis point to note – the above issues are in demand and as such, they are frequently submitted for grading in attempt to obtain the highest grade.  I’m sure there are other difficult issues that hobbyists are not yet inclined to grade and therefore, there are no statistics.

By now my readers should have picked up on the common theme throughout the list – all but one are “dark era prints”.  This is not a coincidence.   With regard to condition, a vast majority of the SI magazines printed between mid-1956 thru 1969 have not stood the test of time as well as those before or after.  Proof is in the data.

Please send any questions or suggestions you feel should be added to this list.  Thanks in advance for contributing.

If you’d like to see a new top 10 list, feel free to send me your thoughts.

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 #36 – “Diamonds in the Rough”

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

Hello again.  I feel I should apologize.  I try to update the hobby twice per month and it’s been almost two months since my last SI update.  It is important to me to make clear to my readers that I practice what I preach.  I have recently purchased several SI collections in addition to working with individual collectors that are now concentrating on filling in their collections.  They all want the highest grade possible.  But never doubt, I am still “all in” buying high grade SI’s and TIME magazines.

If you are a collector of anything, especially SI or TIME magazines, as the hobby becomes more knowledgeable relative to value, it’s easy to get discouraged by the lack of new material that seems to come available.  Sometimes it might feel like “all the good stuff is gone”.  I’m here to tell you that “all the good stuff” is never gone. 

Value is everywhere.  Try expanding your collection.  Buy with your brain – not your heart.  There are “diamonds in the rough” everywhere – even in the most unexpected places.  Try changing your approach from searching for what is not available to finding the value in what is available.  You may be losing opportunity if you expect to double your investment in the short term.  Perhaps there is long term value on the table right in front of you.

Collecting is fun and can be monetarily profitable as well as personally rewarding as long as you remain alert and vigilant to what’s going on around you.  Magazine collecting is still in its infancy.  You are still in control of this hobby!

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 #35 – Ungraded Newsstand – the Latest in New Buying Opportunities

Sports Illustrated Blog #35 – Ungraded Newsstand – the Latest in New Buying Opportunities

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 week’s blog is especially important as I’m going to outline some new buying strategies that will help even the most modest buyer and casual collector in keeping up with the SI movement.  It’s been two years since I started blogging on the merits of buying, collecting and investing in graded Sports Illustrated.  Over that period, I’ve heard from many readers and without exception, their reaction has been positive no matter their level of participation – buying, collecting, or investing in SI’s, especially graded, has proved to be an exciting and rewarding journey.

I’m not saying that all my predictions fit the interests and risk factor for each and every reader, but what I am saying is that if you jumped in two years ago, you’re glad you did. 

The downside for some is that graded mags, especially high grade stars and dark era copies, continue to increase in purchase cost measured by months, not years – and may have become prohibitive for many in the hobby.

What if I started late or if I’d like to begin collecting SI’s, TIME, and Newsweek now, what buying opportunities are still available to me that make sense and also fit my budget?  The pricing on graded mags can be prohibitive for the casual collector so how do I get started?  Is it too late?

No it’s not too late!  First let me share a story, my story, on my Sports Illustrated collection evolution.  I think many of you will identify.  My first subscription began in 1965 and continued uninterrupted thru the mid 80’s.  Years later, by absolute luck, I found my earliest issues stored and protected, neatly in my parents basement.  Almost every issue intact and preserved – unlike my baseball cards, my Mom didn’t throw them away! 

I thought these issues would really be worth something as they got older.  Between the mid 80’s and 2000, I tried to add to my collection by finding and buying older issues, especially with baseball players on the covers.  Pre-internet, it was difficult.   2000 thru 2010, removing labels became popular and I realized my label issues could never compete with these nice, label removed issues.  Unfortunately, my early retirement dreams were dashed as soon as I saw the first label removed covers.  So I participated in removing and selling label removed issues for a while but something wasn’t right – it wasn’t pure.  As a result, I started buying newsstand issues when I could find them and afford them. 

This is when it all started to make sense.  The real collectors would always want newsstand issues over label removed.  Shortly thereafter, I graded my first 1963 Cassius Clay – 9.6 – still the highest graded, POP 1, and perhaps the most valuable of all graded SI’s today.  Soon after I sold my first graded issue, I relieved my entire collection of labelled and label removed issues, and I have never bought anything but newsstand since.

Why relate this story?  Two reasons – 1.  I know there are a lot of avid SI readers that saved their labelled subscriptions only to find out that they are not rare or even hard to find.  And 2.  Collecting newsstand issues is can be fun, affordable and profitable.

If you are interested in jumping into or re-directing your collecting interests, it’s not too late.  I have begun selling a series of encapsulated – not graded, and raw SI issues, all newsstand, all high quality, and all affordable – none over $200.   Each is meant specifically for those collectors who want to fill in their collections with the hardest, most popular covers known to the hobby in newsstand copy.   And because they are newsstand, they are the standard of excellence within the hobby and you will sleep well at night knowing you have positioned your collection for long term success.

Available in this collection are many high grade newsstand issues including the first covers of popular but difficult stars such as Mantle, Clay, Mays, Orr, Aaron, Clemente, Williams, Gretzky, Jordan, and at least 50 more.  I don’t collect commons, so I don’t sell commons.  These are the ones you want.  No fillers. 

Part of my blog routine is giving advice and here it is.  There is an urgency for those interested in taking advantage of this opportunity.  These issues are selling right now and I’m predicting they WILL sell out fast so don’t be a watcher, pull the trigger or be sorry. 

See for yourself.  Below are a few examples. 

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 #34 – Top 12 Iconic SI Covers – A Great Registry

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 covers have an attraction like no other magazine.  Their photography is so over the top, so way ahead of their time, that many of their covers become etched in your mind after only seeing them once.  I have been reading and collecting SI’s for over 50 years and from early on there has been a certain few that just stand out.  Once you see them – you never forget.  I am so captivated by these covers that I have decided to comprise a list of the 12 most iconic SI covers of all time.  The only qualifying criteria is that the esthetics must be a conversation piece.  The picture itself, not the athlete or the event or the value, must imprint an indelible image in your memory.  I will admit that I’m partial to pre-1980 covers for several reasons – (1) there seems to be more focus on the subject rather than 4 or 5 other story lines, (2) much less writing and advertising which distracts from the subject esthetics, and (3) the usually deep, brilliant colors peak your senses.

The list below represents some really awesome, indelible, great photography.  I hope you enjoy.

  1. 80 Hockey – The only comment I have for this one is that I bet you know where you were when Coach Brooks and a bunch of ragtag amateurs beat the Russians.                                                                                                                                         
  2. 65 Marichal – Every time I see this cover I think to myself – did he really pitch like that? – Check the Hall of Fame – and yes he did.                                                  
  3. 70 Butkus – The picture says it all. Message to the NFL – Don’t mess with this guy.                                                                                                                                                 
  4. 56 Spahn – Beautiful color combination (I love red, white and blue), full extension, great concentration preceding the high leg kick.  This is how you win 363 games.                                                                                                                            
  5. 56-62-65 Mantle – The progression of every career.  The 56 head shot, perfectly captures the bright, young, true Yankee early in his career, followed by the Indispensable Yankee and finally the End of an Era.  The most iconic series ever printed.                                                                                         
  6. 66 McDowell – As with many of these covers, the picture says it all.  BTW – Faster than Koufax!                                                                                                                            
  7. 61 Maris – Interesting fact about this picture – this is the home run swing that sent 61 taters into the stands in 1961, but it took SI until October to feature this incredible feat.  There was as much stress in the face and there was in the muscles.                                                                                                                        
  8. 75 Swimsuit – Tiegs second cover.  This is the most captivating of all swimsuits.  The emphasis is spread across the beauty of not only the model, but the swimsuit, the crystal clear green water, and the background.  This one is perfect.                                                                                                          
  9. 54 Dog with pheasant – If you’ve ever experienced hunting with a dog, it’s a thrill you’ll never forget – perfectly captured here.                                                                   

10.74 Aaron – The long and winding road lead to this.                                                                            

  1. 76 Clarke – If you can capture the allure of an entire sport in one picture, this is it.                                                                                                                                                    
  2. 84 Baseball Strike – Well said with just a picture.                                                                     

 

If you have your own nomination, send along to me (wylliejohn@yahoo.com) and maybe we’ll expand the list.

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/TIME Blog #31 – Unicorns, Hen’s Teeth and 9.8’s!

Sports Illustrated/TIME Blog #31 – Unicorns, Hen’s Teeth and 9.8’s!

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

 

What do unicorns, hen’s teeth and 9.8’s have in common?  They’re all hard to find???    In previous blogs, I have touched on the recent grading trends coming out of CGC.  Echoing the sentiment of graded magazine dealers across the country, the higher grades are getting more and more scarce and 9.8’s are a pretty much a thing of the past.  How does that effect you, the collector and is that a good thing or a bad thing?

To  my readers that follow graded magazine hobby trends – this is my most important blog to date.

First – the current CGC 9.0 is the new CGC 9.8 with regard to pre – 2000 magazines.  The CGC 9.8 is pretty much a thing of the past – not impossible but very, very, very unlikely and more unlikely the older the magazine.  Given the scrutiny of the today’s grading, a CGC 9.0 grade is a gem and worthy of bragging rights.  Assuming no magazine is perfect (there has never been a CGC 10.0 or a CGC 9.9 since the beginning of grading at CGC) – not even right off the printing press – so as collectors we need to set our expectations accordingly.  Here is a calculation for you to ponder – and please don’t ask me to substantiate.  These are my calculations – believe or don’t.  It is widely accepted that newsstand SI’s from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s accounted for 2% of the overall circulation.  My estimate of that circulation is that 1% would be worthy of grade submission today and 1% of those would attain the grade of CGC 9.0 or higher.  If the circulation was, say, 3,000,000 per week, the total issues of a week’s circulation achieving a CGC 9.0 or higher would be 3,000,000 x .02 x .01 x .01 = 6.  If you chose to believe these calculations (or something similar), then you know why it’s so difficult to find these high grade magazines.  What this means is that with each issue there is a potential, after all mags of that issue have been reviewed, to uncover 6 with a grade of CGC 9.0 or higher in today’s world.   Therefore, anything above CGC 9.0 is worthy of the much overused term – “rare”.  And rare translates to me as a market mover.  If you have a pre-1980 CGC 9.0 SI issue, it very likely is a “none higher, POP 1” or within that range.  And if there is a mag or two higher, that number is most likely 6 or under.

If you don’t like my assumptions, then here are some facts.  This blog is the only place you will find this data and analysis.  Due to the excitement surrounding the hobby and the emergence of new investors and collectors, the graded magazine hobby is in a state of constant change.  For the past two years I have been recording historical grading data across 34 of what I consider to be the most relevant SI issues.

  1. Regarding SI submissions for CGC grading, in the 18 months between July 2016 and December 2017, there were 62 recorded CGC 9.8 grades. Rejoice if you have one of two of these.
  2. Regarding SI submissions for CGC grading in 2018 YTD (8 months), there were three 9.8 grades recorded – two of these were post year 2000 and the other was the #1 issue. Not one, repeat, not one, 9.8 grade was recorded on any SI submission dating between 1955 and 2000 across the balance of the 31 most relevant issue dates.
  3. With only one exception, since the beginning of this year, no issue date has even recorded a new highest grade. That means whatever the highest grade was 8 months ago, only one grade has improved.

This is seriously important information if you are at all interested in the future of this hobby.  

Here are some inferences we might draw from the provided data.

  1. It is most likely that magazine issue dates pre-1980, currently with a mid to high CGC 9.4 -9.8 grade as their highest graded submission, will never be beaten. When buying or selling one of these (CGC 9.4-9.8), consider the highest graded issue now will always be the highest graded issue.  Nothing is guaranteed, but if you are a statistical collector, you’ll like these odds.
  2. The pre-1980 CGC 9.8’s you previously purchased over the past several years are rarified. Set the buy and sell price accordingly.  The same follows for any CGC 9.0 and above, perhaps just to a slightly lesser extent.
  3. Collectors should be taking advantage of high grade issues as they surface because high grade magazines are not like cards – significantly less have survived. The escalating values you are seeing in the big auction houses is not a fad.  It is the result of supply and demand.  As I have predicted and we are already witnessing, as more collectors come into the market, the supply of high grade magazines is not going to be able to keep up.  There has been and will be just enough high grades to generate a growing hobby interest but not nearly enough to satisfy demand.  If you own the product that is exactly what you want.

There is no substitute for knowledge.  Going into any transaction as the most prepared assures you the edge and having the edge translates into equity.   Project yourself out six months and look back to today.  You won’t believe the pricing.  Watch and see!

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/TIME Blog #30 – Swimsuit $7800, Rose $5800 lead the way!

 

Sports Illustrated/TIME Blog #30 – Swimsuit $7800, Rose $5800 lead the way

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

 

High grade SI’s set Heritage sales records. 

Quality is always in demand.  In Heritage’s most recent Sunday internet auction, a 1964 #1 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit CGC 9.2, none higher POP 1, set a new record high for the sale of a graded SI as bidders pushed the final buy price to $7800.  Six different bidders shared in the action.  The ‘64 Babette March swimsuit issue (along with other 60’s and 70’s swimsuits) has always been an SI collector’s classic but until recently, a grade of 9.0 or above has been non-existent.   Current CGC census data of the first swimsuit issue lists only one CGC 9.2 and one CGC 9.0.    In addition, swimsuit issue #2, a 1965 CGC 9.0 sold for $1300+.

There are earlier swimsuit issues (1954, 1955, 1957) however the ’64 is considered the first in a series that continues in uninterrupted sequence thru 2018.  High quality SI 60’s and 70’s newsstand swimsuit issues are among the most popular and most difficult issues to find making the one and only early swimsuit registry in the CGC census a “must explore” for serious SI swimsuit collectors.  This registry is the one graded collection currently known with every one of the first 25 swimsuit issues graded and available for sale.  SI collectors are also raising the bar on ungraded newsstand issues as a rare set of the first 25 ungraded swimsuit issues (1964 thru 1989) in high grade newsstand condition sold this month in a private sale, setting the sales record for ungraded issues as well.

Not to be outdone, another graded SI auction item, a 1968 Sports Illustrated Pete Rose first cover CGC 9.2, one higher POP 1, broke the previous graded Sports Illustrated sales record for a public auction.  Gaveling at $5800, this iconic first cover issue illustrates the brash Rose in a variety of action poses indicative of his hard charging approach to the game.  Even though banned from the hall of fame, Pete’s memorabilia continues to be a fan favorite and may even be gaining in popularity as he is further removed from retirement.  It is this type of quality memorabilia that consistently maintains and even increases in value within an often changeable market.

One more graded item, a 1975 SI magazine graded CGC 9.6 depicting the third Ali vs Frazier fight – “The Epic Battle”, sold for $3840.  Not bad for a non-first cover issue!  Across graded Sports Illustrated issues, Ali continues to be one of the top 2 or 3 most in demand athletes ever to grace the SI cover portfolio.

This bidding action is clear indication that high quality, graded SI issues have moved up the graded sports memorabilia collector’s want lists.   Over the past year and a half, you have been reading in this blog that graded Sports Illustrated would become the next big thing in the sports memorabilia hobby and Sunday’s auction has revved up that prophecy.  A really interesting observation to note here is that although SI swimsuits are among the most popular of all SI issues, there are several other notables such as the 54 #2, 55 Mays, 55 Berra, 55 Williams, 56 Mantle, 61 Maris, 63 Clay, 67 Clemente, 68 Rose, 69 Aaron to name just a few (see my list in previous blog #9 of the top rated 100 SI’s covers), that are every bit as popular and perhaps even more in demand.  What will be their sell price as they come to auction?

The main purpose of this blog is to educate and inform my readers as to relevant hobby updates and trends.  In each blog, my goal is to provide hobby facts that will lessen risk and increase the opportunity to add equity to each and every SI collection.  My conclusion based on the data above, is that graded Sports Illustrated, especially 9.0 and above, is increasing significantly in demand (more interested collectors are entering the hobby) and that will translate into higher, and higher, and higher auction sale prices.  And I’m not talking about next year or five years from now.  I’m talking now.  I predict these recent auction records will be broken before year’s end.  And even at these escalating prices, today’s prices will be a bargain next year.  Don’t over extend your budget but graded SI’s are fun, they display great, they are nostalgic conversation pieces and if you have been buying them over the past year and a half, you know why new collectors and investors have been drawn to the hobby – they perform.

These are truly great times for the SI/TIME graded mag hobby. 

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/TIME Blog #29 – Buyers Love Hobby Correction!

Sports Illustrated/TIME Blog #29 – Buyers Love Hobby Correction!

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

Graded mag buyers fell in love with the latest SI pricing hobby correction.  After two years of solid price escalation, the hobby decided to take a breather.  The hammer prices realized at the most recent Huggins auction were well below expectations leaving hobby enthusiasts questioning what’s in their future.  But visionary hobbyists take heart – with every hobby event there is always a silver lining or learning opportunity.  I am excited about the current hobby progress and believe our recent correction is more opportunity than setback.

These blogs are meant to bring expert hobby opinions to just such volatile times.  I remember in October 1987, the stock market crashed 25% in one day.  The next day, the guys with cash went on a buying spree scooping up tremendous bargains from jittery stock owners.  The rich guys got richer while those that panicked continued to lose.  As the stock market began to rise even above previous highs, it became abundantly clear who had won and who had lost.  Following this example, the graded mag hobby is in its infancy and has been growing at such an accelerated pace, I’m surprised a correction hadn’t taken place earlier.

The great news is – Corrections are Opportunities.  They also inspire different hobby reactions – sit on your hands and wait for prices to rise again and buy high or buy low now and sleep comfortably as prices rise and surpass previous highs.  I am not a guru or a market expert, but for graded mag collectors I believe these are fantastic times.  For a short period, I predict there will be great buying opportunities to those that stay the course and remain undeterred by the volatile nature of a burgeoning hobby.   You only have to follow the card or comic hobby for a history of similar corrections and growth spurts always followed by overall hobby expansion. Personally, I have already taken advantage of several graded auctions and internet sales that offered real value.

Because I’m interested in being a catalyst in the continued growth and expansion of the graded SI/TIME hobby, I have decided to tangibly participate in the movement.  Effective immediately, I am implementing my customer loyalty offer to all of my readers and only my readers.  It’s an offer you can’t refuse.  For the next 10 days ending Sunday, 8-26-18 (a hard ending), I am offering my entire ebay graded magazine line at 50% of auction price plus shipping.  That’s 300 items, no gimmicks, no exclusions, no hooks.  Jordan, Ali, Brady, Bird, Gretzky, swimsuits, LeBron, Mantle, old, new, none higher, POP 1, whole or partial registries – they’re all here.  Buy one item, buy 10 items, buy 100 items – it’s your time to take advantage of your customer loyalty.   All you have to do is write me at wylliejohn@yahoo.com and tell me what you want, I’ll send you an invoice, and the items will ship in one day after receipt of payment.  I’ve never made this offer before and don’t plan on making it again.  And Monday the 27th will be too late.

 

Here’s why I’m making this offer;

  1. This is a good time to promote interest in the hobby.
  2. I have built an inventory sufficient for handling such an offer.
  3. I want to continue to encourage my readership to build their favorite registries. I have the highest graded registry sets in existence.
  4. I will be promoting hobby sales while helping out my readers at the same time.   Win.
  5. I am following my own advice by encouraging hobby participation and suggesting that these purchases will be great long term hobby investments. That is consistent with the central purpose of my blog.

These are truly great times for the SI/TIME graded mag hobby.  I hope to hear from you.

 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/TIME Blog #26 – Home/Hobby Magazine Grading 101

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

 

Have you ever tried to grade your own magazines before sending to CGC?  Even though most of us can’t duplicate the work of the grading professionals, it’s really the responsible thing to do because there are variables in cost and in outcome that determine the risk/reward balance.  Most of us like to fantasize our magazine grades pre-submission but before you get all excited about those 9.8 potentials, here’s why it doesn’t often work.

  1. You’re biased in favor of you. The tendency is to look at your own mags thru beer googles instead of thru a magnifying glass.  We are too optimistic about overall condition because it’s natural to want and hope for the best which rarely occurs.
  2. We don’t know or understand the grading calculation process and until we do, how can we accurately predict? What seems a minor downgrade to us may be major to the grader.
  3. We don’t see all the downgrades. I think graders get more downgrade aware the more magazines they grade.
  4. It is my opinion that as the graders and the grading process becomes more organized and more sophisticated, the tendency for graders is to become increasingly aware of any downgrades therefore, higher grades get tougher and tougher. I also believe the tougher grade phenomenon doesn’t level off but continues to get tougher as more product is evaluated.  That is why grades submitted one year ago on certain issues may end up being “none higher, POP 1” for a long time to come.  And today’s grades will be higher than tomorrow’s.  There will high grade submissions, but as the process gets more sophisticated the grades will get tougher.

If you’re really serious about estimating the grades of your pre-submissions, here are a few simple rules to follow

  1. Be honest with yourself. Those minor downgrades will count against the grade so don’t overlook the obvious.
  2. Compare your estimates with previous results.
  3. Be conservative. Downgrade your overall estimate by one grade point.

I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than overwhelmingly depressed.  Few hobby events are worse than the elation of predicting a 9.0 and actually receiving a 7.5.  Happens to me all the time.

Lastly, I’d like to offer some insight on the grades themselves relating to pre – 1980 magazines.

We all love those 9.0’s+.  But there’s a reason why sellers are asking so much – and getting it.  They’re very hard to find and get quite exclusive the higher the grade.  Basically, a 9.0 mag is Mint with a very, very minor flaw that keeps it from grading 9.8.   If you operate solely in the 9.0+ arena, the action will be infrequent and the cost will be high risk/high reward.

But there is very good news for grades under 9.0.  Personally, I think there’s a great deal of opportunity in the 7.0 thru 8.5 sector.  Take a look at an 8.5 on Ebay or in your own collection.  It’s a pretty clean mag isn’t it?  Sometimes you can’t even find anything immediately wrong with it.  Four square corners, no creases, very little wear.  If you think about it, how many out of 100 newsstand copies would be this nice?  10?  5?  Maybe 1?  If you agree, then it follows that these magazines will eventually rise to top of the collector’s want lists as soon as finding and buying something higher becomes too difficult.  Try viewing a 7.0 and you’ll see almost the same thing – very nice magazine.  The lesson here is – don’t overlook the current 7.0 thru 8.5 grades.  They will be surprisingly collectable in the near future but remember, if you procrastinate on your purchases, you’ll be competing with everybody else when you finally decide.

There is one more group – the 5.0 thru 6.5.  If you pick the issue wisely, mags in this sector can be very rewarding.  Certain issues such as the 59 Unitas, 60 Brown, and 61 Maris (and many more especially in this era) are rare above these grades.  If you can find one or more in this range, be brave and scoop them up at bargain prices.

That’s personal home/hobby magazine grading 101.  Follow these tips and you’ll be ahead of the curve, exactly where you should be.

 

One more heads up – I will be submitting the first ever CGC Graded Magazine registry for auction in August.  It’s my best Clay/Ali graded series, 1963 thru present, most are “none higher, POP 1”.  I will be following this auction with the first Jordan Graded Magazine registry in September – most “none higher, POP 1”.  Jordan and Clay/Ali – great way to kick off the registry auction movement.

 

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!