Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.
Sports Illustrated has a best kept secret and it’s hiding right in plain sight. They are the issues we have been passing over for years in favor of Mickey and Willie and printed ball cards. Who cares about sailing, hunting dogs, steeple chasing, road trips, ocean fishing, and rodeos? Of course, the secret I’m referring to are the 20 issues comprising the subset of 1954 issues.
These 20 issues seem to take in the very heart of 1954 America starting right off with night baseball – the beginning of a new era in America’s pastime. Little did fans at that time envision how the sport and night baseball would evolve. In addition, there are 27 printed baseball cards included which have become highly collectable in their own right.
Issue # 2 and its 27 Yankee baseball cards, including the exclusive Mantle card missing from the TOPPS set of that year takes over where issue #1 leaves off. It’s coverage of the 1954 Masters was at least a decade ahead of its time.
Issue #3 – the first swimsuit from Jones Beach, New York – a far cry from the Seychelles or Maui.
Then it’s on to explore the real America which is where most of us HOF seekers dropped off. Rodeos, dogs, and football crowds aren’t what Mickey and Willie collectors are looking for and as a result, I think we really missed something important. This is the American of that era. This is who we were and it’s no surprise to me that within this insightful, encompassing subset are currently some of the most popular issues in the hobby today.
It’s a relatively easy subset to complete. Unless you’re looking to own the highest ranked registry in the census, the issues aren’t rare. And they tell a story. A story of the beginning of the most revered sports publication, before, during or, sadly, after its publication.
Recent public auction returned $11,200 for a Graded 9.8 #1 issue and the #2 9.4 gaveled at $6,900. The owner of the winner of the #2 is accepting bids of $12,075 on his new purchase. All the more common issues have seen public auction recently, returning between $500 and $1000 each, for mid-level grades. Pretty good for commons. Someone out there is going to want to own the #1 registry of this “best kept secret” subset, now growing in popularity and value. Is it you?
Below I have illustrated a picture of all 20 graded 1954 issues. This is 1954 America – the way we were. Many are the highest known on the census.
Message to my readers – don’t sleep on the 1954 subset. It’s just starting on its upward trajectory. You heard it here first.
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!