Sports Illustrated Blog #115 on our way to #200 – Who’s Buying? Who’s Not?

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’ve all heard about our hobby’s recent record sales, but let’s take a look at just who’s doing the buying.

  1.  Category 1 – Graded magazines sold above $10,000 are purchased by the whales.  These are the folks that can buy and don’t need to sell.  They are speculators.  In my experience, whales are predictably consistent in their purchases – something new, generally the highest grade, and low POP.  When a mag checks each of these boxes, the whales take over the bidding.  This is a good thing because whales are the leading indicator of the hobby’s “perception” which drives prices either up or down.  Whales are generally not interested in raw mags, second highest grades, or second tier athletes.  Whales buy and hold.  If the market goes up, they want to own the best available and sellers find themselves at a distinct advantage – negotiations are rare.
  • Category 2 – Graded magazines sold between $1,000 – $9,999 are purchased by astute collectors that know today’s value and perceive tomorrow’s value will be higher.  They would like to buy at a discount so be prepared to negotiate.  In an upward, captivated market, this is the arena that attracts the most new, speculative buyers.  These are mags that have one or two minor flaws that keep them out of the “most” desirable class.  Interested stakeholders buy and sell instead of buy and hold.  This group eats tomorrow on what they sell today.  Given this tendency, negotiations are a necessary part of the deal.
  • Category 3 – Raw mags and lower graded – this is where the fun begins.  This category is open to everyone but be careful, it’s also the most risky.  Raw magazines have hidden flaws that can’t be detected ahead of grading which leaves you in no-man’s land with regard to returning your purchase, if necessary.  Inversely, this is where the diamonds in the rough are found.  It’s like panning for gold – the next shovel may strike gold.

Summary – Whales only buy the perceived best.  If you have it, don’t negotiate.  Astute collectors know the values and are looking for deals.  Negotiate.  Hobby new comers are looking to join the astute collectors group as they attempt to understand the hobby.  When you enter the room, be the most knowledgeable.  Be careful.

Hope this helps in understanding the interests and motivations of the different buying groups.

We’re going and we’re growing.  Come grow with us.

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and BASEBALL magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you in our second century of blogs and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT/BASEBALL magazines.

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