Sports Illustrated Blog #49 – New Highest CGC Grade Star SI Covers Hit the Market.

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

Each month, one or two new CGC Highest Graded Star Sports Illustrated Covers find their way into the hobby census.  Such are the dynamics of our growing, evolving graded magazine hobby.  

Three years ago, new highest grades for SI’s entering the market were a common ordinary occurrence but as the census has grown from less than 100 graded SI’s to several thousand, eclipsing an old, highest grade star cover has become less and less frequent.  Currently the hobby is absorbing, on average, approximately one or two per month, at best. 

In fact, I predict that, with extreme few exceptions, the grade on 99% of pre-1980, CGC 9.4 star covers will NEVER be beaten. These issues are so rare that CGC 9.0 and CGC 9.2 star covers for this era (especially those printed in the “dark era” – mid 56 thru 69) have become accepted as the gold standard for condition.  Eclipsing a CGC 9.0 or 9.2 today is a significant find.

Just like the graded card hobby, as the graded magazine hobby organizes and actual off-line buy prices become public, more highest grade submissions will surface.  However, the rate of new highest grade submissions will be just up to the level that attracts the supply and demand competition so healthy for a growing hobby.

One comment on off-line buy prices – currently off-line buy prices have not leaked to the public as of yet because investors are still enjoying artificially low buy prices and want to keep it that way as long as possible.  Rarely, if ever, does one see any auction house selling a highest grade star SI cover.  Same characteristic in the card market – rarely does one of the top cards come to auction.  I know this about off-line SI investing because I’m the market seller.

When the actual off-line buy prices become documented, it is then that the graded magazine hobby will heat up exponentially and you’ll be very glad you bought in early.  There will be more buyers than sellers and in collectibles that phenomenon is what drives the hobby to the next level.

As a graded SI collector and investor, I find this stuff sooo exciting – operating within an almost untapped frontier.  How many times in life does this kind of opportunity come along?  Even now, my readers tell me they wished they’d have joined the party when they first started reading this blog. 

Every day is a new adventure.  These old SI’s are so colorful they just jump out at you from inside the professionally designed CGC presentation case.  They tell a story, a history and chronology of events we saw with our own eyes. 

Sports Illustrated is the TOPPS of sports publications – it’s a Cadillac.   That’s why it’s is so popular – it has the tangibles AND the intangibles.  What a journey in just three short years!

 Here are a few of the new, highest grade, star covers joining the census in the past two months.

In the top ten for most coveted SI cover. I’ve been waiting for this one for over 20 years. Previous high grade CGC 8.5 – mine. Four sharp corners and nice cover finish. Dark Era Print. Most copies could not stand the test of time. This one is a GEM.
Gail Sayers’ only SI cover. Previous high grade CGC 9.0. Dark Era Print. Most newsstands, if you can find one, feature poor quality. Cover scratches and wears quickly. Staples tend to pull out as the issue is twice as thick as normal issues.
Al Rosen. One of four SI issues with baseball card prints. Previous high grade – CGC 9.2. If you want to own the the registry of the four highest issues with baseball cards, you need this one.
Joe Montana Super Bowl 1982. Previous high CGC 8.0. TIME magazines seem to have a tendency to wear quicker than SI. This is a tough find as seen by previous highs.
Rod Carew. Ted Williams called him the best hitter in baseball. I saw him play and I agree. Previous high CGC 8.5. Most covers do not hold up well. That’s the reason for the large jump in grade.
The leader of the Broad Street Bullies. Three time league MVP. Previous high 9.4 – mine. Originated from the same find.
The G.O.A.T – Back in the day, Nicklaus was on a quest to own all four majors. Where have we heard that before?
The Tyler Texas Cyclone. Earl Campbell epitomized the bruising running back. He’s now paying the price.
Roger Bannister. Tough issue to find in nice condition because it was the first issue, front copy, of the year. Many copies suffered as a result. Previous high – CGC 8.0.

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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