Sports Illustrated Blog #17 – Dead or Alive? Get Them signed!

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

Mays, Aaron, Lucas, Groat, Hornung, Jackson, Bench, Rose, Carew, Taylor, Fisk, Bird, Jordan, Brown, Gretzky, Montana, Marino, Elway, Kaline, Oliva, Yaz, Namath, Gwynn, Morgan, Havlicek, Tarkenton, Player, Nicklaus, Jabbar, McDowell, Koufax, Dawson, Cousy, Ryun, Brett, Schmidt, and Yount.

What do they all have in common?

They are all living.

Why is this important?  More important to them but also important to entrepreneurs interested in capitalizing on a burgeoning opportunity – Getting your mags signed NOW!  Autographs are fun, signed mags are better, signed high grade (or graded) mags are best.

I could have named hundreds more stars and recognizable names above but think of the names missing from that list – Ali, Mantle, DiMaggio, Williams, Maravich, Hogan, Starr, Lombardi, Chamberlain, Drysdale, and Musial to name a few.  No more autographs of these guys.  That finality always inspires an urgency among collectors to add any of these to their collection when the opportunity arises.

With a little planning and a stick-to-it determination, anyone can build a formidable collection in a relatively short period of time.  Here is my recommended steps for building a high/highest grade, one of a kind autograph collection.

  1. Signatures are very popular but getting them on the right medium is key to maximizing value and presentation. In my opinion, cards, envelops, tee shirts are all fine but high grade magazines are best and TIME and Sports Illustrated covers (esp graded) are meant for signatures.  If placed cosmetically with the appropriate marker (think about this in advance so when asked you are ready) it’s like apple pie and ice cream – meant for each other.
  2. Obtain, buy, trade, for high grade SI and TIME covers of stars, athletes well in advance. I like to buy my high grade covers on a ten year plan – sometime in the next ten years I plan to cross paths with every signer in my collection.  This allows time for keeping everything to a plan.  For example, if I had a very high quality, raw, 1974 SI Henry Aaron 715, I might either send to his signing desk, attend a signing show, or better yet, travel to his office, mag in hand, to obtain a great signature while safeguarding the condition of my mag.  Then I would get it graded and have a real trophy.
  3. Contact a reputable seller and buy a few raw mags at first to test the quality of the mags. Some sellers have consistent, really nice stuff with honest evaluations while others not so much.   If your purchases are up to your standards, check into the price and availability of more of the same.
  4. I like to have multiples of my favorites, if possible (newer raw mags can be purchased for $10-$20, pre 1980 will average between $50-$100 depending cover and condition), and 40-50 different covers ready for signing at all times.
  5. It’s your option to have your mag graded before AND after signing, or just after. It costs a bit more to do both but grading your mags in advance lessens the risk of a surprise grade later on.  You can also just buy a graded mag that is ready for a signature.  Again, you’ll pay a bit more for a CGC high grade magazine, but you’ve removed the risk of future surprises.

So don’t put off until tomorrow what you can get signed today.  Tomorrow may be too late.


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

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