Sports Illustrated Blog #89 – Values, Opportunities 

Sports Illustrated Blog #89 – Values, 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.



We’re about to witness our first public offering of a high grade, highly coveted, super star Sports Illustrated magazine.  Heritage Auction has listed a 1981 Wayne Gretzky, CGC 9.4, first cover that will gavel in about three weeks. 

One development that has held the lid on even greater profit taking in our hobby is the reluctance of impact collectors to actually offer their highest valued stuff in public auction.  I’ve blogged about it several times previously so I won’t bother detailing their reasons here.

Of the many super star 9.8 and 9.6 issues I’ve sold – Gretzky, Musial, Mays, Williams, Clay, Robinson, to name a few, all are still with their original owners.  This Gretzky represents the first, five figure issue of its type to hit public auction, albeit a modest 9.4. 

Fact – our hobby has a few pioneers – those individuals that saw the value early on and have been buying the best of the best for the past five years.  For example, as part of my start-up operation, I sold a CGC 9.8 Gretzky four years ago for $8000.  At the time, it was somewhat of a buyer’s risk – but it’s easily worth ten times that amount today.   And these few pioneers are happy to keep gobbling up the most premium stuff at Super, and I emphasize Super, discounted prices that have lagged so far behind their actual and/or projected value, it’s just an investor’s bonanza.

Because they are the only game in town for now, they have self-imposed limits, suppressing the really big advances – a monopoly of sorts.  This Gretzky auction may bring out the first “no limit” buyers – buyers that will change the landscape as we now know it.  When that happens, across the board pricing will increase not incrementally, but hundreds and hundreds of percentage points at a time. 

In just three to four years, the value increases we’ve seen on these high grade, iconic issues, kind of makes you wonder when auction numbers will begin to actually reflect where the market is headed and not where it is.  Maybe Gretzky will be the first.  

I predict this Gretzky will surpass the ALL IN total of $15,000, a number I consider the ice breaker signaling the beginning of a movement that will quickly gather growing momentum.

If you can believe my value scale below – if a 1983 CGC 9.8 Jordan cover were to hit the market today (value uncertainty keeps this from happening), you would quickly understand why owners are not selling.  The top line is what I project the value for a one of a kind, significant demand superstar cover.  The rest would follow based on the top number. 

1983 Sports Illustrated Michael Jordan, FC, CGC 9.8
Believe or Not…  I’m always inviting someone to prove me wrong.
9.8 – $1MM
9.6 – $500M
9.4 – $100M
9.2 – $50M
9.0 – $25M

Is this crazy or what?  And guess what? – there are several other mag publications just waiting their turn for the same type of value increases.

What an awesome time to be on the leading edge of such a great opportunity.
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 #87 – Graded Mags Expand Sales and Sellers

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 Whales on the sidelines, our hobby, graded Sports Illustrated and SPORT magazines, is expanding in number of sellers and public auction sales.  For years the Whales have been complaining about not enough inventory, not enough sellers, not enough competition……

Complain no longer.  New sales of graded mags are routinely in the 5 figures.  Check the list of bona fide sellers of graded mags currently listing on eBay.   You’ll find 30 to 50 sellers with hot, high grade mags, each one topping the other for supreme grade.  You’ll find this month’s sold list of five figure sales topping 20 units with 100’s topping the millennium mark. 

This is all happening while the Whales sit on the sidelines absolutely refusing to sell anything in their inventory.  Here’s why – they know that we have only scratched the surface with realized sell values of graded mags.

The Whales know that 100’s of graded issues are still waaaaaay undervalued.

In my opinion, it is an extremely good sign that the Whales are not selling.  They’re betting on the future of our hobby.  Look at what’s happening – graded mags sales are hot, newsstand copies sales are hot, guys are now making informational videos, new graded sellers entering hundreds/thousands of entries into the hobby every month …. 

No more Whale complaints. 

For years, I have been predicting this movement. I hope you have stocked your collection because you are about to take a serious upgrade in value. 

I am also advising to keep buying!

We are nowhere near the top of the mountain.  My opinion and advice is to keep buying until we see the Whales start selling their best stuff.  I will keep you appraised of that and my guess is, we are a long ways away from that happening.

What an awesome time to be on the leading edge of such a great opportunity.

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 #85 – Fine Condition Vintage Newsstand SI Values Reflect Scarcity.

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

Vintage SI’s from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s are realizing much higher point of sale values without being graded.  There are several reasons for this market shift in the hobby.

  1. They’re scarce – much scarcer than the hobby realizes.
  2. They’re very expensive to grade and the time allotted for grading is prohibitive in a changing hobby.
  3. They’re esthetic.  They’re beautiful.  Not only the first cover stars but even the commons tell a story that needs to be re-told.

Add this up and you have a recipe for increasing customer demand – just try to tell a collector he can’t have something.  That’s where these vintage newsstand issues stand right now.  They’re hard to find.  Of course, we have seen the super star ungraded covers routinely sell well into the four figures and second tier/commons have followed right along.

Although I have seen a few graded subscription copies sold, for the most part, these issues have no increasing values.

My opinion here is that this is a not a trend, but a movement, that will continue as long as hobbyists continue to have few other reasonable options.  I also predict that high quality newsstand issues from this era will end up having retail values 2 to 3 times higher than anyone else in the market is currently predicting.

So the message is clear, vintage newsstands are a bargain.  Watch and see. 

I’d also like to update my readership on my revolutionary “never will be beat” designation.  I have now labeled over 100 graded items “never to be beat”.  Still batting 1.000.  I’ll keep everyone posted as to updates. 

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/TIME!

For a complete review of previous blogs, please visit 

www.sportsillustrated98.com

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