Sports Illustrated Blog #43 – Latest Update on CGC Grading Trends – Part 2.

Sports Illustrated Blog #43 – Latest Update on CGC Grading Trends – Part 2.

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?

Quick recap from blog #42.

  1. Pre-1980 SI grades of 9.0, 9.2, or 9.4 are very secure in their grading rank. 
  2. Magazines seem to have a condition factor after 40 years.
  3. The next pre-1980 9.8 with star magnitude (Mays, Williams, Gretzky, Aaron, Secretariat) sold publically will top $50,000 in sell price.
  4. CGC grades are the driving force behind the hobby growth momentum.

I’m going to offer some downright opinion here regarding CGC as a grader and what you should expect as a gradee.  As a customer of over 1000 graded SI’s, I have had the opportunity to become as familiar as possible with CGC’s customer group, their grading focus, and most importantly their grading philosophy. 

CGC is a very secretive group.   They only address selective questions with generic answers.  My favorite is “our lead times are only estimates” – as if after the 1000th phone call I didn’t know that. 

Here is my opinion on CGC’s grading philosophy as it relates to pre-1980 high grade issues.

  1. All magazines are graded equally without consideration for age.  That is why high grade older mags are so scarce.  No consideration is given to age.
  2. No downgrade is given for the existence of a mailing label.  It’s just a different category.
  3. If a mag has been gently read or even opened, it rarely will exceed a 9.0 grade.  The reason for this is spine stress.  With just the minimum of handling, little white stress lines begin to form on the binding.  It’s the kiss death for a wanna be high grade issue.  So if you’re looking for a 9.2 or 9.4 – there can be NO binding stress which translates to “never have been opened”. 
  4. Don’t restore your mag – they’ll find it.
  5. Finger bends – a common downgrade if the mag has been opened.  This one is hard to spot unless you are looking for it and most collectors just ignore the possibility because they don’t really understand it.  When you kink the magazine with one hand during handling, it leaves a mark on the cover.   Again, nothing over 9.0 with finger bends.
  6. Most common major downgrade – bumped corners.  The most difficult quality downgrade to avoid is bumped corners.  It happens when quantities of magazines are stored in a box.  Over time, the box is moved, shuffled, kicked etc etc, and the corners get bumped.  Happens in the best of situations – including shipping.  Nothing over an 8.0 with a bumped corner.
  7. Other major downgrades – stains, water marks, writing, restoration, cut pages, rusty staples, loose staples, loose pages, bends, and creases.  Any of these downgrades will result in a grade of 8.0 or lower even if everything else is high grade.
  8. There are also levels within each downgrade – major, medium and light.  Any major or medium, drops you below 7.0.

These opinions are mostly meant for collectors, not sellers.  Competing in the graded magazine market is not for the faint of heart.  You’ll likely acquire 49 graded mags for every one you sell.  And it is not about the price.  You can’t drop the price to garner interest.  Collectors buy when they’re interested and don’t when they’re not.  Not much you can say or do to change that.

The more informed you are, the better purchases you will make.  If you’re like me, it just feels great to have made an informed purchase.  It’s really what we’re all competing to do.  He who possesses the most information, wins.

Here’s a current price guide you can use for reference.

Price Guide
Never Read Top 10 Star 11-20 Star 21-100 Star
9.0 $2,500 $1,000 $500
9.2 $5,000 $2,000 $750
9.4 $10,000 $5,000 $1,500
9.6 unlimited $8,000 $3,000
9.8 unlimited unlimited $6,000

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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *