Sports Illustrated Blog #61 – Grade vs Cover, Collectors Speak Out.

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

As our hobby evolves, new buying patterns of the largest and most avid collectors are beginning to emerge.  You will read about it here so you may take advantage of knowing where the deep pockets are trending. 

Initially graded collections were all about the most famous athletes in the highest grade.   The athlete on the cover and, of course, the year, were the most important value considerations.  The value would increase as the grade would increase but what happens when there are no more (or relatively few) 1956 SI Mickey Mantle, 1963 SI Cassius Clay or 1977 SI Larry Bird covers surfacing at any grade?  What do we buy?  Where do we look for the next value plateau?

The answer was high grade, second tier, first cover issues – Jeter, Brett, Schmidt, Henderson, Elway, Marino, Montana, and hundreds more.  These covers included our favorite players, our home team heroes, but most importantly, they were available.  This trend allowed the hobby just the right amount of availability to satisfy demand but not too much or too little to suppress interest.  

As demand increased so did value.  In the past year, a high grade of any one of these second tier first covers has conservatively doubled and often tripled in value.  (Value = recent sell prices.)

But also over the past year, even these second tier covers have become harder and harder to find and collectors are moving again into another value plateau.  This value plateau is driven by GRADE over cover athlete.  Buyers, and I know this first hand, have begun buying graded magazines that they know will be the highest grade into ad infinitum.  The thought process is – the highest grade of any issue has value – especially first covers and subsequent covers of popular athletes and major sports.  Jordan is a great example but all of the famous, popular athletes have followed this trend.

This new GRADE buying trend has really allowed the hobby to expand by appealing to a more diverse audience.  It has made more issues of interest, available, more often and on a sustained basis.  

The key to our hobby – Issues for everybody.

That is today’s update – high grades are hot.  Use this knowledge to your advantage.

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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