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Sports Illustrated Cover Rankings

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Sports Illustrated Blog #9

Welcome to my 9th installment of Sports Illustrated reviews. In this blog, I will provide my thoughts on the top 50 collectible SI covers, discussing entries #41 to #50. Additionally, I will include the ranking list for covers #51 to #100, along with their respective scoring. As always, I encourage my readers to share their opinions and even create their own lists.

It’s worth noting that while compiling my top 100 rankings, I had an additional 100 collectible covers that didn’t make the cut. Sports Illustrated’s unparalleled mastery of quality writing and sports photography since 1954 has solidified their position as the leading sports publication. The iconic pictures featured on SI covers vividly depict the highs and lows of sports history since August 16, 1954. These images have become ingrained in our minds and are now part of our everyday lives. Since 1954, Sports Illustrated has been the most sought-after sports publication for collectors, with TIME magazine, the publisher of SI, being highly regarded for the pre-1954 era. In the future, I will delve into the relationship between TIME magazine and SI in another blog. Stay tuned for that!

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Now, let’s explore covers #41 to #50, accompanied by a graded picture that you can click on for a more detailed description.

##41. 1967 Yaz

This cover is aesthetically one of the most beautiful of all time. Despite not being the strongest or the biggest, Yaz gave his all in everything he did. A true master of the Green Wall. Finding this particular dark era print in quality newsstand condition is quite challenging. The initial cover may be underrated, but don’t hesitate to add it to your collection if you’re lucky enough to come across one.

1967 Yaz

##42. 1957 Mantle

Among the less common issues from 1957, this cover marks the beginning of the dark era. Most copies of this issue exhibit stress marks and excessive wear. As the second full Mantle cover, it’s recommended to keep this one high on your list of overlooked gems.

1957 Mantle

##43. 1965 Swimsuit

While I included the 60s swimsuits as #16 on my top 100 list, this particular cover is hard to find in newsstands. I don’t have circulation numbers available, but Sue Peterson is a rarity. This dark era and aesthetically pleasing cover is as elusive as it gets.

1965 Swimsuit

##44. 1967 Orr

Bobby Orr, the greatest defenseman of all time, moves across the ice like poetry in motion. With blood on his face and intensity in his eyes, Orr’s highlights are a sight to behold. This dark era print is scarce to find in quality newsstand condition. It’s one of the most sought-after covers from the 60s.

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##45. 1965 Oliva

Tony Oliva, one of the most underrated hitters of all time, showcases his classic swing on this cover. A perennial .300 hitter, Oliva is a dark era print that is rarely seen in high grade. While it may not be highly collectible at the moment, it’s only a matter of time before word spreads about its scarcity. Don’t miss out on this one!

1965 Oliva

##46. 1962 Gifford

During the heart of the SI dark era from 1959 to 1964, the Gifford cover stands out as one of the most difficult prints to find. The solid dark blue background wrinkles, creases, and scratches easily. Gifford, a Hall of Famer, is especially beloved by fans of the New York Giants.

1962 Gifford

##47. 1973 Secretariat

Considered by many as the greatest horse of all time, Secretariat is highly sought-after by major sports collectors. Obtaining top-grade copies of this issue is incredibly challenging due to the solid green background, which tends to highlight even the slightest handling or age flaws. Only three grades in the 9s exist, with just one at 9.8!

1973 Secretariat

##48. 1970 Butkus

This cover captures the menacing aura that defines Dick Butkus, known for his intimidating playing style. If you appreciate aesthetically appealing covers, this one is near the top of the list. Consider getting a copy and having it signed. Who would win in a duel between Ditka and Butkus? Bears fans absolutely love them!

##49. 1959 Willie Mays

The scarcity of high-grade newsstand copies for the 1959 and 1962 Mays covers is due to the quality of materials used during that era. Additionally, the 1959 issue is a “Fat” issue, further limiting high-quality copies due to increased stress on the binding. Finding a newsstand copy, let alone one that grades above 7.0, is a stroke of luck. These two covers hold special significance as they contribute to the chronology of Mays, which was lacking for other black athletes during the 50s and 60s, specifically Aaron and Clemente.

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1959 Willie Mays

##50. 1962 Willie Mays

Continuing from the previous entry, this cover complements the 1959 Mays cover. Collecting all ten high-grade SI Mays covers allows you to create a quality registry and chronology of one of the greatest athletes of all time.

1962 Willie Mays

Please keep in mind that the above covers rank between #41 to #50. Now, let’s move on to the complete ranking list for collectability, population scarcity, and investment potential of SI covers.


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