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Breaking Up Yearly Runs of Sports Illustrated Magazines Can Hurt Value

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
August 28, 2005

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Dear Babe: When cleaning my home, preparing for my move, I came across my stash of all my old Sports Illustrated magazines, most being in excellent condition. I still have the first issue neatly tucked away in its original envelope. My Sports Illustrated collection began in 1954 and probably ended in the early 1970s. Since I was moving into a townhome with little or no storage, I discarded probably 800 to 1,000 of the magazines, keeping only those in better shape that interested me. I must have about 350 magazines with Mickey Mantle, Muhammad Ali, Ted Williams and other notables adorning the covers.
Bill Haas, Port Saint Lucie, Fla.

The issue here is the fact that you broke up the yearly full runs. Recently, I told a reader with the first five years worth of Sports Illustrated magazines that they were probably worth $1,800-$2,000. He had 122 magazines. You have nearly three times that many. Unfortunately, we don't know which ones you kept and which ones you discarded.

"If a person sells magazines as a lot with issues pulled, I would just quote them a common lot price: $1-$2 each wholesale and $3-$5 retail. I would buy a run of the 1950s with issues pulled at $1 each as a dealer," said Phil Regli of P&R Publications, a long-time magazine dealer. He's referring to the average person with a lot that is missing magazines with stars on the cover or others that might be valuable.

However, you may well have kept most of the good magazines and discarded the ones that are worth a buck or two at best.

"If a person had a handful of star cover issues, then we would base it upon the value and liquidity of the issues," Regli said. He and I agree that your best bet is to check completed eBay auctions for the specific magazines you have. "They would normally get 50 percent of that (eBay) price from a dealer who is looking for inventory," Regli said.

You probably have some magazines with value, but you are going to have to do a lot of work to sell them off. First, you have to do the research to determine value. Then, you have to scan each magazine cover and list it for sale on eBay or another Internet auction site.

Of course, the first two issues have value no matter what. I'd say top value for the Aug. 16, 1954, first issue is $250. That value takes into account the more recent find of original mint first issues in storage where they sat for nearly five decades. The second magazine, unissued copies of which have yet to be found in any warehouses, is worth $200-$300 thanks in part to the never-issued 1954 Topps Mickey Mantle card. The first two issues of the magazine had pages with replicas of 1954 Topps cards. The first issue had various stars, while the second had just Yankees. For players who were not under contract with Topps, S.I. fabricated black and white cards.

Dear Babe: I have a Louisville Slugger bat that says 40 PW on the label. It is "powerized" and "bone rubbed." It has Paul Waner's name on the barrel.
Terry Bookman, Marietta, Ga.

When it comes to bats, Da Babe usually turns to Dave Bushing, an authenticator and expert on hitting lumber. He said it's a store model bat from 1932 (the "bone rubbed" notation helps us date it) that is worth $150-$200.

BABE NOTES: With Barry Bonds only appearing on Topps cards, fans have not had a chance to pick up many this year. Collectors will have another card to chase thanks to a Topps-Emerald Nuts set that will be handed out to the first 20,000 fans through the gates at SBC Park on Sunday, Aug. 28. The 30-card set includes Bonds, Jason Schmidt and Lance Niekro among others. The set also includes Manager Felipe Alou and his coaching staff along with a number of players, who have since been traded or released. After dropping out of the players' contract with card companies, Bonds signed with Topps, which is the only company that can produce cards with his image.

- Young Dodgers fans will have another chance to pick up Upper Deck cards of their favorites on Labor Day, Sept. 5. That night, the first 10,000 fans 14 and under will receive a five-card pack that includes Jeff Kent, Cesar Izturis, Odalis Perez, Jeff Weaver and Yhency Brazoban. Earlier in the year, a pack that contained Eric Gagne, J.D. Drew, Derek Lowe, Milton Bradley, Jason Phillips and a U.S. Bank sponsor card were handed out.

About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs as well as answering questions on cards.

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