Sports Illustrated Blog #16 – Part II TIME Magazine – A Collector’s Guide and Top 25 Cover Ranking.

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


In previous blog 15, I opened up the issue of TIME magazine and its importance within the magazine collecting trade.  I don’t want to get too far away from my passion – SI – however I think we have a picture here that is incomplete without both pieces (TIME and SI) in place.


The best way to illustrate TIME’s place in sports magazine history, is to compare the timing relationship between TOPPS/Bowman/Leaf/Goudey in cards and SI/TIME in magazines.  Although both SI and Topps have been extremely popular in their own right since 1954 and 1952 respectively, Bowman/Leaf/Goudey and TIME brought us quality card and cover appearances extending back nearly another 50 years.  While SI began its complete, in-depth sports coverage of our favorite athletes in 1954, TIME bridges the gap between 1923 and 1954 with regard to featuring our favorite, most dominant sports heroes of the era.  The first card and cover appearances of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and many other famous HOFers predate SI and Topps publications.   The best way to think about early Time covers is to draw the analogy – Bowman/Leaf/Goudey are to Topps as TIME magazine is to Sports Illustrated.


TIME covers have a particular color and flair that are distinct and recognizable from a distance which is perhaps one reason for their collector popularity.  To me, the esthetics of the 47 Robinson, the 36 DiMaggio, or the 50 Williams covers, as well as 50-100 others, create an iconic, long lasting impression about the times and the athletes.   Bowman/Leaf/Goudey card values have soared over the years and are among the most sought after in the hobby.  Likewise, TIME magazine is headed in the same direction as more issues are graded and auctioned.  2018 will be a great year for magazine collecting.


I have put together a list (with individual rating) of the 50 most popular, hardest to find TIME magazine sports covers of all time.  Below I have listed the top 25 with the subsequent 25 to appear in my next blog.

Rank Year Newsstand Cover Newsstand Population Scarcity Condition Scarcity Cosmetics Collectability Investment Potential Total Weighted


1930 Bobby Jones


10 10 10 10 50 27000


1953 Mantle 10 10 10 10 10 50


3 1954 Mays 10 10 10 10 10 50



1936 DiMaggio 9 10 10 10 10 49 24300
5 1947 Robinson 9 10 10 10 10 49



1950 Ted Williams 9 10 10 10 10 49 24300


1949 Musial 9 10 10 10 9 48 21870
8 1949 Hogan 9 10 9 10 10 48


9 1925 Bobby Jones 10 10 8 10 10 48



1925 Sisler 10 10 8 10 10 48 21600
11 1928 Hornsby 10 10 8 10 10 48



1929 Foxx 10 10 8 10 10 48 21600
13 1962 Palmer 8 10 10 10 10 48



1962 Lombardi 8 10 10 10 10 48 21600
15 1963 Clay 8 10 10 10 10 48



1962 Nicklaus 8 10 9 10 10 47 19440
17 1937 Feller 9 10 8 10 9 46



1936 Gehrig 9 10 7 10 10 46 17010


1972 Namath 7 10 10 10 9 46 17010
20 1973 Secretariat 7 9 10 10 10 46


22 1974 Reggie Jackson 7 9 10 10 10 46



1965 Brown 7 10 9 10 10 46 17010
24 1945 Ott 9 10 7 9 9 44


25 1935 Dean 9 10 8 8 9 44



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 #15 – Introducing TIME Magazine – High Quality Precursor to Sports Illustrated.

Welcome to my 15th in a series of Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blogs – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

First a couple of housekeeping matters from previous blog #14:

Thanks to reader response, I’d like to qualify a statement from Blog #14 – “With any signature you buy or otherwise obtain, make sure you receive an accompanying certification (preferably from PSA , JSA, or CGC) of its authenticity.  In general, the higher the profile of the athlete, the more important the certification.

And have a quality piece for your autograph.

Below is a $1000 signature on a 10 cent magazine (due to condition)

I wonder if the owner of the one above wishes he had that signature on the one below.

Enough said on the subject.

Thanks to my reader input on this one and feel free to send questions anytime.

Today’s blog, the first of two on the subject, is perhaps the most important and relevant blog I have written to date involving magazine collector opportunity.

In previous blogs, I have very briefly touched upon the existence of another high quality, popular and very collectable magazine which happens to be closely linked to Sports Illustrated.  Perhaps some of you SI guys are like I used to be – steadfastly loyal to collecting only SI.  Then I discovered another really cool and pertinent segment of the collectable magazine presence – TIME Magazine.

One of the first things you’ll notice upon a bit of research is that the two magazines, TIME and SI, have been forever joined together by publisher and chronology, a fact appealing to sports collectors in general.  Time magazine’s first publish date, March 3rd 1923, marked the beginning of significant, responsible world news reporting by a single publication.  Although primarily a world news magazine, TIME’s versatility stretched across the sports spectrum to all newsworthy sports, people, and events.  As a testament to its trustworthy, respected global news coverage, TIME has remained in continuous publication since 1923.  In 1954, Time Inc, recognizing the growing demand for a weekly sports magazine, expanded its publications to launch a new magazine – Sports Illustrated, Inc, and a star was born.  As a result, TIME is forever recognized as the precursor of SI.

An interesting component within the timing of the SI launch is its relation to the first appearance of TOPPS baseball cards.  Comparisons can be drawn between magazine publications and baseball card printing – TIME is to SI as Bowman is to TOPPS.  Why do I make this point?  While the actual grading of magazines may be more similar to that of comics than to that of cards (hence CGC being the dominant market share leader in the space), the other aspects of collecting SIs and the sports-oriented Time magazines that predate them are more analogous to cards.  They are extremely condition sensitive, with very few older issues having survived the years in pristine condition.  They are also scarce, cards having been tossed out as seemingly worthless in the 50s, 60s, and earlier, and magazine publication being limited, especially for newsstand copies estimated to comprise a mere 2% of total production annually.  Finally, both are pieces of sports history and have an artistic component as well, thus appealing to avid sports fans and collectors of all things sports related.

However, unlike baseball cards of this era that have little continuity between printing years and manufacturers (significant breaks in printing between Tobacco and Topps), TIME magazine provides a nice, neat, uninterrupted transition right into its first publication of Sports Illustrated lending an easy and fun path to collect both, side by side.  I have found that collectors are drawn to the unique opportunity of owning the best of both magazines.  For example, the possibility of owning a first cover CGC 9.8 1950 TIME Ted Williams AND a first cover CGC 9.8 1955 SI Ted Williams is a collector’s dream.  An additional benefit of this type of collecting is that graded magazines make for a highly attractive display as well as reminiscent conversation.  Other similar vignettes available are Cassius Clay, Mantle, Mays, DiMaggio, Aaron, Musial, Jim Brown, Nicklaus, Palmer, Marichal, Lombardi, Bench, Rose and many more.  For a complete list of TIME covers, just search a chronology of TIME magazine covers.  Sports Illustrated has a published a picture review of every cover since 1954 for those interested in knowing what’s out there in SI.

If the esthetics, continuity, respectability and relationship to SI haven’t convinced you of TIME’s relevance, consider “age”.  Some of these issues are approaching 100 years old and that’s old in magazine years.  Although a very few early submissions have graded in the 9.0’s (one before 1936), any grade above CGC 6.0 is a rare find to date.  More early TIME issues will surface but I’m betting the covers I have detailed above will grow in popularity and value exponentially compared to the rest of the market and as collectors scramble to own the highest grade of both mags.  Once Mom and Pop realize what they have in their attic, more submissions will emerge which will reinforce my assertion that early TIME issues above the CGC grade of 6.0 will be hard to find.

To all avid SI collectors, keep TIME magazine on your radar screen as a great way to best bridge the time and space of sports magazine collecting.

Next blog:  A review of TIME first appearance sports covers and why they are important.  Also, I will rank the top 25 covers to target.

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

Sports Illustrated Blog #14 – Should I Consider Having My Graded SI/TIME Magazines Signed?

Happy New Year to Everyone!  It’s going to be a great year for SI/TIME collectors.

Welcome to my 14th in a series of Sports Illustrated informational reviews.

Did you ever think about having your CGC graded, encapsulated SI’s signed?  It’s not as farfetched as it may seem.  And it could be very profitable too.  Hasn’t it always been about having something the other guy wants but doesn’t have?

If you are planning to attend a signing and you don’t already have a high quality, raw SI (or graded copy) for signing, make sure you take the time to buy/secure one.  So many of us are last minute planners and skip this step only to regret it later.  One way to secure a high quality SI is to buy one already graded.   You will appreciate the quality of your signed pieces for years to come so a little effort on the front end will be worth it over time.

Step 1:  In advance of the signing, secure a raw, high quality, unsigned SI (or buy one graded), and have it graded.

Step 2:  If it grades up to your expectations, break open the encapsulation, remove your SI, and protect it with a plastic sleeve and oversized cardboard on both sides.

Step 3:  Personally deliver your piece to the signing, have it signed, re-package as before and resubmit for grading.

Understand that grading is subjective and a new grade may return marginally higher or lower than the original.  Resubmitting for grading will cost $50 and is a risk/effort few collectors are willing to take which significantly reduces POP numbers.  Little risk, little reward.

If a certified signature potentially increases the value of a raw SI and a CGC grade potentially increases the value of a raw SI, how is the value impacted if the SI is signed AND graded?  Firsthand experience tells me signed/graded SI’s (especially top tier grades and signers) realize higher sell prices – 50-100% higher depending on the cover and signature.  If you believe your signed SI’s would return a high CGC grade, it makes investment sense to have it graded but remember, grading is a double edged sword – a low grade hurts the value as well.

The process of buying raw (or CGC graded) SIs, having them graded, breaking open the encapsulation, having them signed, and resubmitting for grade might seem like a risky proposition but if you are interested in collecting the highest grade, signed SI’s, this is one option to consider.  Lots of collectors have signed SI’s.  More and more collectors have graded SI’s.  Very few collectors have both in one package.  Think about it.

If you have further questions on this topic feel free to write at

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

Sports Illustrated Blog Lucky #13 – Be An Early Adaptor

Welcome to my lucky 13th in a series of Sports Illustrated informational reviews.

Remember those comic books you used to buy for a nickel, fold them in half and stick them in your back pocket?  You’d pull them out in study hall, read them, and then scrunch them up in the back of your locker for safe keeping?  The link below might make you wish you would have done that differently.

Click here.

Not that long ago, certainly in my lifetime, collectable vintage comic books were easily purchased (if you could find them before the internet) for a tiny fraction of the realized auction prices of today.  If you had done your homework and researched the right comics, the most responsible collection methods, and properly stored your purchases in preparation for the day to come, you would be sipping Mytai’s on a Polynesian Island now instead of regurgitating that depressing lament – “if only…..”

Graded Periodicals – Comics vs Magazines

Once grading became an accepted method of valuing comics, investors immediately realized that collectors would want the best.  The highest graded, hardest to find issues, set new sales records at every auction.  Comic books routinely began to bring 4-5 figures at every auction.  And 20 years later, the trend continues but it was the early adaptors who invested first and benefitted the most.  Looking back, there are too many similarities to ignore between the early comic BOOM of the past 20 years and the state of the current Sports Illustrated/TIME market development.

I predict the graded magazine market will follow the same path as the graded comic book market and shame on us if history repeats itself and we miss a second opportunity.  Values will escalate quickly and early rewarding early investors and leaving those who waited wondering why.  You will not be able to negotiate last year’s prices today.  This is not one of those events where supply catches up with demand and the market implodes like 87 Topps.  Supply has shown to be difficult at best and impossible at worst – and they’re not printing anymore of this vintage stuff.  This is the stuff of dreams and the typical barriers of penetration are non-existent.  You don’t need machinery and gobs of money to get started.  You need timing.  Timing is the investor’s best friend. 

The good news is – you are reading this blog – and I have already done the leg work, the internet has already organized all kinds of availability for you, and properly preserving your purchases is a no brainer today.  But as we all have the same advantages, the timing window is small.  You have in front of you the tip of the iceberg but with every blog I write, the iceberg has melted a bit more.

As promised, the opportunities of six months ago are becoming harder and harder to find.  Be an early adaptor and beat the crowd.  You will be glad you did.

I say again, if you only get one thing out of this blog, recognize the movement.  My goal is to bring light to my readers and reward them with the knowledge of current trends.  The rest is up to the beholder.

Great collecting to you and Skyward with Sports Illustrated/TIME!

Sports Illustrated Blog #12 – Update on the current SI Magazine Graded Market

Welcome to my 12th in a series of Sports Illustrated informational reviews.

First, please let me thank all of you for your support and enthusiasm with regard to the current Sports Illustrated graded magazine Boom.  Those of you that have read my blogs and have taken some of it to heart, I believe, are already more than satisfied with their collection value growth as well as their upward position in the market.  My blogs are written in an effort to expose early market trends and reward dedicated SI collectors for their persistence and love of the magazine – the greatest sports writing and illustrated magazine ever published.

The reward is value equity.  I have been interested in high grade SIs for several decades.  Any time I could find a high grade, newsstand copy, I bought it.  Approximately three years ago, the option of grading my collection became a reality with the advent of CGC expanding into the SI magazine arena.  It was at that point I realized the only way I could prove my mag collection superior to all others (and establish a creditable value) was to have them graded.  There’s no argument when CGC says it’s a 9.8!  And 9.8 is superior to 9.6 – no debate.  That’s what collectors want.  They want certainty.  They want no debate.  They want no Yeah buts…..  For those of you that are not familiar with a “yeah but” – that is when you show your buddy or prospective buyer your prized magazine and you say – “this thing is just beautiful, look at it” – and the your buddy says – “yeah but it’s a bit off center or yeah but the binding is loose”   There are no “yeah buts….” with certified graded products.

That’s the way we all like it and that’s the standard by which all value is determined.  And that is why buying the most recognized graded magazines in as high a grade as possible is the ticket collectors, like me, want to own.  As more collectors “get it”, it only makes sense that the first into the Boom will increase their value equity the most.  Here are some private and public transactions executed over the past year that are keeping my readers happy.  BTW, much of this information is not public so you are reading it here first.

  1.  Year 2015 – Ungraded 1963 Cassius Clay SI’s in near mint condition sold many times over for $100 – $500. Last year, a graded SI Clay CGC graded 9.6 sold for $5,000 in a public listing on Ebay.  I recently asked the owner what would be his price to sell – his reply was “there isn’t one.”
  2. Last year the CGC 9.8’s of the – 81 Gretzky, 74 Aaron, 54 #2 (9.4), 55 Mays, 55 Williams, all passed hands at 5 figures or above. And TIME magazine issues, Pre 1954 (and with a few newer exceptions Clay, Mays, Secretariat, Aaron), also joined in the Boom but they deserve a blog all their own (coming soon).  Just be aware that TIME magazine Pre 1954 and all newer exceptions, are trending to meet and in some cases even surpass later SI compliments.  Owning a vignette of two rookie issues of the highest known grade – one Sports Illustrated and one TIME (or Newsweek) has become an early favorite pursuit of the avid investor/collector.  When you consider current pop numbers of 1 at the highest grade level, you can safely use the word “scarce” to describe the difficulty of owning such a duet.
  3. 30-40 Graded magazines, sold thru the prestigious auction house of Huggins and Scott in August and November this year (and another scheduled for Feb 2018), routinely surpassed $2000 and in some cases, double that figure. Bill Huggins, a man ahead of the curve, is the pioneer whose auction house is currently the only one to grace their listing lineup with graded SI’s.  I highly suggest taking a look at their next offering as these prices, if trends continue, will pale in comparison to 2019 offerings.  Think back what your Topps baseball cards were worth before you could get them graded and compare their worth today.  That’s value equity!

If you only get one thing out of this blog, recognize the movement here.  As I stated in my opening remarks, my goal is to bring light to my readers and reward them with the knowledge of current trends.  The rest is up to the beholder.

Great collecting to you and Skyward with Sports Illustrated!

Sports Illustrated Blog #11 – Early Swimsuits – Diamonds in the Rough!

  Sports Illustrated Blog #11 – Early Swimsuits – Diamonds in the Rough!


Welcome to my 11th in a series of Sports Illustrated informational reviews.

Recently I mentioned early SI swimsuits to an investor and his response was “I only do athletes”.  Now it is perfectly acceptable to define your portfolio by what you know and understand best but I think limiting your options limits your potential.  So today my friends it is Swimsuits.

I have ranked early SI swimsuits at #16 and #20 on my list of most difficult and collectable SI’s and for good reason.  THEY ARE TOUGH TO FIND!!!  The SI swimsuit feature comes in several parts – quite by accident I presume.  First, there are the swimsuits of the 50’s which are really a precursor to the later versions which became an annual event approx. 10 years later.  Included in this series is a 54, 55 and 57 swimsuit appearance – a collection within themselves.  They are not as rare or esthetic as later covers and are not accepted as part of the swimsuit series we know today but they are definitely unique and should not be omitted from any collection.  I think in time, these three issues will increase in demand as swimsuit collectors will want to avoid any possible omissions in completing their sets.

Second, there is a 1963 swimsuit/water cover appearing one year prior to Babette March, the formally accepted first swimsuit cover.  Even though not as well known, no swimsuit collection is complete without the 63 version either.

In 1964, with a modestly clad model and a three page cover story, SI humbly began perhaps the most iconic and collectable series of yearly issues – the Jan/Feb tropical island Swimsuit series.  SI has built upon its first cover every year since and to take in the evolution from beginning to present is quite a visionary trip.  I’m old school – I like the early issues!  Surprisingly however, it is not the cover or its position in the series that creates the value.  Yes they are popular, yes they are cool and yes they are a series but more than all that – they are HARD TO FIND in high grade newsstand condition.  The combination of popular, cool and hard to find adds up to your Diamonds in the Rough.  Swimsuit covers from 1964 thru 1979 began a run of remarkable photography with world class models (esp Tiegs) often imitated but never duplicated.  The colorful solid borders, rainbow stripes, prime colored suits and tropical ocean back drops are rarely well preserved.  In most cases, they are thoroughly read adding to potential wear.  If you can find even one of these issues, let alone two or three or maybe a complete set (although I doubt many exist) you are a lucky collector – it’s a great registry.  I predict that as collectors become aware of the scarcity and potential value here, swimsuit covers will rival and in some cases surpass the values of your favorite athletes.  That is why I advise not to limit your collection and I hope this inside information serves you well.

High grade, newsstand issues from the 80’s are also fairly tough but nowhere near as hard as earlier swimsuits.  After the 25th year commemorative swimsuit issue in 1989, swimsuit covers became relatively common.

So start collecting high grade, newsstand, early SI swimsuit issues and you’ll have something your other collector friends don’t have – and that’s a nice positon.

Great collecting to you and up with Sports Illustrated!

Sports Illustrated Blog #10 – Huggins and Scott Early Opportunity

Welcome to my 10th in a series of Sports Illustrated informational reviews.  This timely edition is of particular importance because I want you all to be aware that, as predicted, the graded magazine market is taking off – right now!  Taking off???  Yes, right on schedule, popularity increases in graded magazines are carving giant shares out of the current graded collector market – and Sports Illustrated is leading the way.

Currently open for bidding until Thursday, November 9th, at 10 PM EST, Huggins and Scott Premier Auction House is featuring their second Graded Sports Illustrated Auction series.  This season, H&S has decided to feature a Graded 9.8 Sports Illustrated #1 Inaugural Edition, none higher, on the COVER of their prestigious auction catalog.  As predicted, in less than a year, graded magazines have jumped from the back burner of collector awareness to the cover of a major action house catalog presentation.  What a wonderful time to be ahead of the curve in graded collecting as this new concept explodes onto the market.  And you have knowledge ahead of the curve!

Forward thinking collectors and investors alike have correctly predicted and are continuing to take advantage of this upward movement and I hope for investment sake, you are joining them.  Below I have illustrated a few of the items being featured in this auction.  By clicking on the link below, you will be taken to the auction item and a complete set of details on each including item description and current bid.  If you are a collector or an investor, this is another early opportunity to capitalize on the next big thing!

Click Right Here

“Sports Illustrated Blog #9 – Top 100 SI Cover Ranking for Most Collectable – Commentary on #’s 41 thru 50.

Sports Illustrated Blog #9 –

Welcome to my 9th in a series of Sports Illustrated informational reviews.  In this blog, I will finish my individual commentary on the top 50 ranked collectable SI’s with a brief dialogue on each cover entry #’s 41 thru 50 and include the follow up ranking list #’s 51 thru 100 with their ranking scores.  As always, I invite my readers to comment on my assertions and perhaps add a list of their own.

It’s interesting to note that in compiling my top 100 rankings, I actually had an additional 100 collectable covers that didn’t make the cut.  Over the years (since 1954) Sports Illustrated’s mastery/monopoly over quality writing and sports photography, has left no other sports publication in the conversation.  SI covers really tell a story on the highs and lows of sports chronology since 8-16-1954 and when they say “Illustrated” in their name, their iconic pictures are not only etched into our brains but have become commonplace in our everyday lives.  They are by far the most collected sports publication since 1954, with SI publisher TIME magazine most highly regarded by collectors for the pre-1954 era.  TIME magazine and its sister relationship with SI, will be the subject of a future blog.  Stay tuned for that one.

Please find below cover ranking #’s 41 thru 50 with a graded picture you can click on to link to a more detailed description.


41.  1967 Yaz – One of the most esthetic covers of all time. This guy wasn’t the strongest or the biggest – he just put his all into everything he did. A Master of the Green Wall.  A dark era print, this one is very very difficult to find in quality newsstand condition.  This first cover is a sleeper.  Don’t be shy about adding this one to your collection if you are lucky enough to find one.

42.  1957 Mantle – One of the few non-common issues from 1957. The start of the dark era, most occurrences of this issue are filled with stress marks and excessive wear. The second full Mantle cover, keep this one high on your list of overlooked diamonds in the rough.

43.  1965 Swimsuit – I included the 60’s swimsuits as #16 on my top 100 list but this one in particular is elusive in newsstand. I don’t know the circulation numbers but Sue Peterson is rare. Dark era and esthetic.  It doesn’t get any better or harder to find than this one.                                                                  44.  1967 Orr – The greatest defenseman of all time. Watching Bobby Orr on the highlight films is like watching poetry in motion. Blood on his face, intensity in his eyes – another dark era print which is scarce in quality newsstand condition.  One of the most collectable of the 60’s.

45.  1965 Oliva – Tony Oliva is one of the most underrated hitters of all time. Our cover here shows that classic “hit it where they ain’t” swing.  Perennial .300 hitter.  Another dark era print, I’ve never seen a high grade 65 Oliva but I’m sure they’re out there.  Not the most collectable yet but when word gets out how hard this one is, you’ll be glad you bought one now!

46.  1962 Gifford – 1959 thru 1964 is the heart of the SI dark era and the Gifford cover is as difficult as any print during this period. Solid dark blue background wrinkles, creases and scratches easily.  Hall of Famer with a NYG following.

47.  1973 Secretariat – Arguably the greatest horse of all time. Very popular with even major sports collectors.  Top grades of this issue have proven to be incredibly difficult due to the solid green background which tends to highlight any minor handling or age flaws.  Only three grades in the 9’s with only one 9.8!

48.  1970 Butkus – Perhaps the most menacing cover picture of all SI’s. Butkus was always famous for his intimidating playing style and this cover captures the man and the moment perfectly.  If you like esthetic covers, this one ranks near the top.  Get one and get it signed.  Who would win in a duel between Ditka and Butkus???  Bears fans love ‘em.

49.  1959 Willie Mays – The population of the newsstand high grade 59 and 62 Mays covers has been significantly limited due to the quality of materials used during this era.  In addition, the 59 is a “Fat” issue which adds more stress to the binding further limiting high quality population.  You’ll be lucky to even find a newsstand copy let alone have it grade above 7.0.  I have a fondness for these two issues because they continue to update the Mays chronology which was missing for other black athletes during the 50’s and 60’s – Aaron and Clemente in particular.

50.  1962 Willie Mays – Also see #49 above.  If you can accumulate all the SI Mays covers (about 10) in high grade, you’ll have a quality registry as well as a chronology of one of the greatest of all time.


SI Covers Ranking – Top 100 for Collectability, Population Scarcity and Investment Potential.

Rank Year Newsstand Cover       Pop        Cond.  Cosmet   Collect    Invest  Total
                                                          Scarcity Scarcity  ics          ability     ment

1 1961 Roger Maris 9 10 10 9 10 48
2 1956 Mickey Mantle (all pages) 10 8 10 10 10 48
3 1959 Johnny Unitas 9 10 8 10 10 47
4 1967 Roberto Clemente 8 10 8 10 10 46
5 1969 Reggie Jackson 8 10 10 8 9 45
6 1961 Fran Tarkenton 8 10 9 9 9 45
7 1968 Pete Rose 7 9 9 10 10 45
8 1969 Hank Aaron 8 10 7 10 10 45
9 1963 Cassuis Clay 7 10 8 10 10 45
10 1960 Jim Brown 8 10 7 10 10 45
11 1962 Mickey Mantle 7 9 10 10 8 44
12 1961 Bart Starr 8 10 10 8 8 44
13 1955 Ted Williams 8 8 9 10 9 44
14 1964 Swimsuit 9 9 7 10 9 44
15 1965 Joe Namath 8 10 8 9 9 44
16 1965 Swimsuits (1965-1969) 9 9 7 10 8 43
17 1974 Hank Aaron 715 5 10 10 10 8 43
18 1970 Swimsuit 9 10 7 9 8 43
19 1960 Jack Nicklaus 8 10 8 8 9 43
20 1971 Swimsuits (1970-1979) 9 9 8 9 7 42
21 2002 Tom Brady The Natural 5 8 10 10 9 42
22 1954 Issue #2 8 10 4 10 10 42
23 1956 Warren Spahn 7 8 10 9 7 41
24 1981 Wayne Gretzky 5 8 9 10 9 41
25 1977 Larry Bird 5 9 8 9 10 41
26 1970 Steve Prefontaine 9 7 10 7 7 40
27 1955 Yogi Berra 8 9 8 8 7 40
28 1980 Olympic Hockey 5 7 10 10 8 40
29 2002 Tom Brady Amazing 5 8 9 10 8 40
30 1955 Al Rosen 8 9 8 7 8 40
31 1956 AllStar Game 8 10 6 8 8 40
32 1955 Willie Mays 8 8 5 10 9 40
33 1983 Michael Jordan 7 9 5 10 9 40
34 1975 Ali Frazier 8 8 8 8 8 40
35 1974 Ali Foreman 8 8 8 8 8 40
36 1971 Ali Frazier 8 8 8 8 8 40
37 1955 Hogan 8 10 6 8 8 40
38 1956 Mantle WS 8 10 4 9 9 40
39 1996 Derek Jeter 7 6 9 10 8 40
40 1962 Tarkenton 8 10 7 6 9 40
41 1967 Yaz 8 8 8 8 8 40
42 1957 Mantle 8 9 7 9 7 40
43 1965 swimsuit 10 6 6 9 9 40
44 1967 Orr 9 7 6 9 9 40
45 1965 Oliva 9 9 8 7 7 40
46 1962 Gifford 8 8 8 8 8 40
47 1973 Secretariat 8 7 8 9 8 40
48 1970 Butkus 7 7 10 8 8 40
49 1959 Mays 8 9 7 7 8 39
50 1962 Mays 8 9 8 7 7 39
51 1976 Brett 9 10 5 7 8 39
52 1976 Schmidt 9 8 6 8 8 39
53 1968 Marivich 8 8 6 8 8 38
54 1966 Alworth 8 7 8 7 8 38
55 1962 Palmer 7 7 9 7 8 38
56 1970 Conigliaro 6 7 10 7 7 37
57 1960 Arnold Palmer 5 10 4 9 8 36
58 1956 Ford 7 9 5 8 7 36
59 1961 Chamberlain 8 9 5 7 7 36
60 1956 Cousy 8 7 6 8 7 36
61 1961 Palmer SOY 9 7 5 8 7 36
62 1967 McGee 7 8 7 7 7 36
63 1977 Munson 7 7 8 7 7 36
64 1959 Aparicio Fox 8 9 5 7 7 36
65 1961 Player 8 7 5 7 9 36
66 1974 Julius Irving 7 8 8 6 6 35
67 2002 LeBron James 3 5 10 10 7 35
68 1983 Dan Marino 5 6 8 8 8 35
69 1982 Joe Montana 5 6 8 8 8 35
70 1982 John Elway 5 6 8 8 8 35
71 1965 Mantle 7 7 7 7 7 35
72 1958 Mantle Berra Yankees 7 9 5 7 7 35
73 1966 Sayers 8 7 6 7 7 35
74 1974 Ali Foreman 7 7 7 7 7 35
75 1956 Hornung 7 8 5 7 7 34
76 1956 Kaline 7 8 5 7 7 34
77 1957 Musial Williams 8 7 5 7 7 34
78 1966 Robinson robinson 8 7 5 7 7 34
79 1966 Riley 7 7 6 7 7 34
80 1966 Morgan 8 7 5 7 7 34
81 1976 Payton 6 7 6 7 8 34
82 1996 Peyton Manning 5 6 6 8 8 33
83 1955 Marciano 7 7 5 7 7 33
84 1956 Martin 7 7 5 7 7 33
85 1970 Mays 7 7 5 7 7 33
86 1969 Lombardi 7 7 5 7 7 33
87 1956 St Louis 7 7 5 7 7 33
88 1964 Clay 7 7 5 7 7 33
89 1964 Clay 7 7 5 7 7 33
90 1966 Alcindor 9 7 3 7 7 33
91 1986 Tyson 7 7 5 7 7 33
92 1959 White Sox 7 9 4 5 7 32
93 1996 Bret Favre 5 5 8 8 5 31
94 1989 Jerry Rice 5 5 6 8 7 31
95 1954 Calvin Jones 8 7 4 7 5 31
96 1970 Manning 7 7 5 7 5 31
97 1955 Walker 7 7 5 7 5 31
98 1954 #1 Issue 1 3 10 10 5 29
99 1963 Rozelle 7 7 5 5 5 29
100 2007 Drew Brees 3 6 5 7 6 27

Sports Illustrated Blog #8 – Should I grade? What is the Cost? What Should I expect?

Sports Illustrated Blog #8 – Should I grade? What is the Cost?  What Should I expect?


Sports Illustrated Collectors:

Welcome to my 8th in a series of Sports Illustrated informational reviews.  My 2nd installment of the grading Q and A session will wrap up this topic with the exception of any questions you may write me.  I continue to receive the same question over and over – Should I grade my mags?  Sounds simple but it’s not.  Cost, time, and expectations are the critical factors to consider when making this decision.  Let’s take these questions  one at a time.


If you have any additional SI questions, please feel free to send them along to

Thanks and I hope you enjoy!



Sports Illustrated Blog #8 – Should I grade? What is the Cost?  What Should I expect?


Should I have my magazine collection graded?

No one knows the condition, hidden gems, current value and potential value of your collection better than you.  Therefore, the decision whether or not to take the plunge is totally up to you – but there are two critical factors you will be happy you considered as part of your decision process – Cost and Expectation.

What are the costs of CGC grading?

CGC has a step costing program which is based on the length of time you are willing to wait for your graded mags to be returned.  The costs and times below are approximate:

Modern – post 1975 – 8 weeks minimum – $30 ea.

Standard – 5 weeks – $55 ea.

Walk Thru – 1day – $84 ea.

These prices can be reduced by 20% by becoming a dealer which is a simple process.  Contact the company for details and parameters.  Shipping costs/registered mail will add to the above.  Note that CGC may quote shorter lead times in their advertising but as their customer service group will be happy to inform you, their published terms are only estimates and are subject to change at any time and without notice.


If I decide to grade, what should be my expectations?

Answering this question for yourself is the most important consideration before you devote serious cash to the project.  Your personal evaluation of the condition (approx grade) of your ungraded magazines will help create the proper set of expectations of the actual grade results.  Until you do this a few times, your skill level in accurately predicting actual grade returns will be low/unskilled.  What I mean to say here is most collectors have a more optimistic view of their collection’s value and condition than a totally unbiased grader such as CGC.    White gloves, magnifying glasses, spectrometers etc etc. are their tools of the trade – not yours.  The first time you send out 20 magazines and actually read the CGC detail of defects/faults which they use to describe your prized pieces, you will very likely be disappointed at their findings.  But have faith, it gets better.  Getting better at actually assigning your own grades will make you a better shopper and will actually channel your purchases toward real, not assumed, value.  This is when the value of your collection will begin to escalate, sometimes exponentially.

Be careful here – grading is a two edged sword.  Just like high grades bring optimized value, low grades do what? – lower value!  Note at card shows that most dealers have both graded and ungraded cards.  The reason that all cards are not graded is that the dealer believes a grade on his ungraded cards would reduce the value.  Dealers do find it cost prohibitive to grade everything at once but for the most part they’ve decided the card is not worth the investment.  But once you become a skilled non-professional grader, ungraded merchandise can be a diamond in the rough and that adds value to your collection.

So the general rule on grading is, in my opinion, if you are a small, large or serious collector driven by the goal of increasing value, everything should be graded.  If you like owning stuff of interest to you and are not driven by selling at a profit, then don’t waste your money on grading.


Grading takes time – What grading level should I choose?

This answer is from my own personal perspective.  If you are like me, sending in a really nice, clean item that you feel will grade high, is exciting.  I want to have it graded immediately (walk thru) at the additional cost.  For other items, I chose the “Standard” grading level at a slightly lessor cost but still expensive in my view.  I almost never use “Modern” because two-three months is too long to wait.  At the end of three months I can’t even remember what I sent in!  When your expectations are properly set, getting grades back can be like Christmas in July all year long!!!

Great Luck To You!

Sports Illustrated Blog #7 – Why Grade and What Does a CGC Grade Actually Mean?

Sports Illustrated Collectors:

Welcome to my 7th in a series of Sports Illustrated informational reviews.  In this edition, I will answer two of the FAQ’s relating to CGC Graded Sports Illustrated and/or other graded magazines.  Why are collectors and investors grading their magazines?  What do the grades really mean?

If you have any SI questions, please feel free to send them along to

Next time, in Blog #8, I will continue on this subject and address the decision of having your personal collection graded, associated costs, and what should be your expectations.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy!



Sports Illustrated Blog 7     9-15-17

Q and A Session Relating to CGC Graded Sports Illustrated and Other Magazines.


Why are so many collectors and investors now grading their magazines, especially Sports Illustrated and TIME?

The answer on this one is simple and twofold.  Most collectors have that competitive nature to own the rarest, highest grade condition registry of items known to the industry.  He/she wants to go to bed at night with the assurance that their item or collection is recognized by the industry and its measurables as the best, rarest, high grade, etc.  The best way to define the “best” is to have a certified grading system that is widely recognized and accepted so there is no debate as to their published results (census) and final grade.  CGC currently is that institution.

Second, having a grade separates the many from the few and the very few and the very very few.  And of course, the rarer an item, the more a collector will pay to own it and the more bragging rights associated.  Did you ever hear someone say “I own a 1952 Topps Mantle Rookie card graded 8.5?”  What he is really bragging about is that he owns a card worth X number of dollars which has been established by the industry and the grade.  Can’t do that without a grade.

Sports Illustrated is almost universally recognized as the Cadillac of sports publications since 1954.  If you are going to grade a magazine, grade the best – SI.  If you are interested in pre-1954 magazine grading, the answer is TIME magazine.  SI’s owner since its inception, TIME Magazine, is the precursor extension of the SI product and sports some of the most iconic covers in all of pre-1954 sports publications.  Mantle, DiMaggio, Williams, Hogan, Musial, J. Robinson, Feller, Ott, Gehrig (the only SI, TIME or Newsweek issue to capture the Iron Man), Hubbell, Hornsby, Mays, Clay, Brown, Stengel and more.  These issues, many 70+ years old (really old in magazines years!), complement and in many cases surpass SI in their collector interest.  I know an investor who owns both, a CGC 9.8 Williams 1955 SI and a CGC 9.8 Williams 1950 TIME Magazine – an unbeatable combination.  He’s a happy camper.  Combinations like that haven’t reached an established value yet as there is only one and it has never sold publically.  I wish I owned it.


What does a CGC grade really mean?

A CGC grade is a value standard accepted by the industry, which allows collectors to rank their individual items and collections by rarity.  CGC publishes a census of all the magazines it has ever graded which allows the collector the assurance of knowing the exact population of every graded magazine, by issue, by grade.

With regard to grades and the challenge to always obtain the CGC 9.8 of each issue, I want to point out that magazine grading is a much different animal than card grading, esp. as we move our collections back in time.  Magazine populations (and I mainly speak to SI and TIME), are far less than even the rarest of TOPPS productions plus there are many more opportunities for faults in a magazine over a card.  In general, if a magazine has been read, its grade will typically drop under CGC 9.0.  There are just so many things that can accumulate to lower the overall grade.  The reason I point this out is that there are many graded magazines on the market right now that grade at CGC 8.0, CGC 7.0 and even CGC 6.0 that are the highest grade ever for that issue.  Not every issue has a recorded CGC 9.8 and in my opinion, some never will and I recommend that you be one of the few collectors recognizing this fact and be careful to not overlook some of these diamonds in the rough.  The grade itself isn’t always the only indicator of value.  You should consider the magazine publisher, the age, relative scarcity (census) as it compares to other issues, and printing quality factors which I have covered in earlier blogs, esp the “dark era print” issues.

As more issues are sent for grading, CGC grades will tend to climb higher and higher on most issues – but not all.  Some of the scarcer issues currently graded CGC 7.0 or 8.0 may remain the highest ever graded of that issue forever – and they can be purchased now at bargain prices because sellers and buyers are mistakenly valuing issues solely on the grade.  So as you embark on your next buying trip, be armed with this knowledge, be diligent in your grade evaluation, and always consider other factors mentioned.  You might come home with some real value at below market prices and isn’t that the goal?

Great Luck to you!