Sports Illustrated Blog #21 – SI and TIME Grade Trends.

Sports Illustrated Blog #21 – SI and TIME Grade 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.

Congratulations!  We’ve come a long way in one year – we’ve established real creditability to our newest passion in collecting – Graded SI and TIME magazines.  As our collections have evolved in this short year, so have a number of very important trends in our hobby – trends effecting the very core of our collections and/or investments.  

 I have sent many raw SI and TIME newsstand issues for CGC grading over the past 24 months and I have noticed a consistent, changing trend in the grading process as well as the resulting grades themselves.  I have noticed that comparably conditioned magazines over the past two years seemed to be grading lower, and lower, and lower.  In the beginning, with a fair amount of accuracy, I could predict the grade results of my submissions within plus or minus one grade level.  The grading process has evolved to be so specific and detailed to date that I cannot accurately evaluate submission grade returns even within 2-3 full grade points.  As grade processes get more organized and incorporate more technical equipment, grades go down.

 Why am I blogging this and why do you care?  You care because the grading process can be expensive especially if you are submitting mags which will grade too low for your interests.  But thinking a bit outside the box, this phenomenon also is creating a unique opportunity for those who care to capitalize on the increasing difficulty of obtaining the highest grades.  Many of the highest grades in existence today have the potential to remain the highest or among the highest over the long term.   If this premises proves to be true, then current high grade issues are a bargain at today’s prices and….

 The longer a graded mag maintains the highest grade, the more likely it will always be the highest grade.

Some might think my advice on this subject could be self-serving because I am a seller, but I started this blog with the intention to “advise” regarding hobby trends and nuances and this fits the criteria.   I have asked several avid card collectors about any trends in card grades over the past decade or two.  The answer I received was that many (not all) of the highest graded cards on record over many 1000’s of submissions, were graded 10-20 years ago.  It seems that with mags as well as cards, as the grading process matures and evolves, the high grades get tougher and tougher.

In my next blog, I will detail two of the largest ever SI and TIME graded magazine auctions coming up in May but, for now, I want to draw attention to the opportunity created by these auctions.  Many of these graded mags (Huggins –SI, Heritage – TIME) are the highest or among the highest ever graded and may remain so long term (exactly what I am blogging about).  Most of these mags were graded 1-2 years ago (when CGC SI grading was just getting started and my TIME issues were the first ever graded by CGC) and represent very difficult, None Higher grades.  If you follow magazine auctions on ebay, you know it is extremely rare to find even one magazine which would challenge any one of these items.  There are 36 SI and 24 TIME mags in the upcoming May auctions.  In my professional opinion, these two auctions represent a rare opportunity, perhaps the last opportunity, to obtain one or more of these None Higher, POP 1, POP2, items in such a large variety at one time.  I believe future auctions with grades this high will be fewer in quantity and less opportunistic.

 Remember, only those reading this blog have this insight.  Visit these two sites and decide for yourself. 

In Heritage there are two links; and

In Huggins and Scott there is one link

Take a look at these auctions and try to remember any previous auctions, recent or long ago, where you have seen grades this high and best of luck bidding.

 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!

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