Sports Illustrated Blog #78 – Options for Storing Raw and Graded Magazines.

Sports Illustrated Blog #78 – Options for Storing Raw and Graded Magazines.

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

We love our mags – graded and not.  And we want to keep them preserved in their current condition, forever if possible.

I have a few suggestions on how to make that happen.

Storing raw mags long term:

One common question I hear is “should I store my raw mags flat or hanging – similar to a notebook or a file?”  The absolute best way to preserve your ungraded magazines is to bag them with a ridged board (making sure the board dimensions are longer and wider than the dimensions of the mag) and lay them flat in a container that is approximate in inside dimensions as your ridged board.  It’s perfectly fine to stack 20 or 30 copies, one on top of another but I wouldn’t go any higher than that.  Too much weight.

Keep your storage container in a climate controlled room and locate it where it’s not going to be moved every time you vacuum.  Ideally, you’ll only want to handle your mags when absolutely necessary.  Over time, this stuff will wear.

In 1988, I was trying to collect all the vintage SI covers featuring baseball players, back thru 1954, but I had no way of identifying the old covers.  This was before the internet and/or eBay.  I wrote a letter to SI and suggested they print a book of covers so guys like me could find what was actually printed.  Voila – the first book of covers was printed in 1989.  At the same time I also bought some back issues straight out of their inventory.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  I bought an 82 Henderson, 75 Ryan, several Gretzky’s (they didn’t have the 81), 85 Mantle and 80 Rose/Schmidt.   All arrived in really nice condition – no upc’s, no white label box and no address label.  I stored them in a notebook plastic and they had been kept that way til just recently when I found them. 

I recount this story here because I wanted to make mention of the fact that even thou these mags had been carefully stored in the best available materials of the time, they still had begun to show signs of wear.  These magazines, pre-1990, are getting old.  It’s almost impossible to protect them from the effects of aging over such a long period of time – let alone the mags from the 50’s and before.   

So when you see a well preserved magazine from the 80’s or 70’s, consider them to be the exception and no longer the rule.

Preserving your graded copies:

Keeping your graded mags well preserved is much easier and requires just a bit of common sense.  Never take them out of the sleeve unless photographing or bragging to your collector buddies.  They can be stored in the boxes in which you received them, in a display case, or on a book shelf.  I like the book shelf idea because they can be stored neatly, side by side, in chronological order, right in their sleeve and it’s easy to pull them out when bragging to your friends.  Typically you can get quite a few on each shelf.

Be careful not to pack them too tight – I separate all my graded stuff with cardboard – so the plastic sheath stays in nice condition.  If you ever want to sell them, the buyer will appreciate this effort.

Hope this helps and please feel free to email me with any storage questions you may have.

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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