First Issue of Sports Illustrated Sold for Thousands of Dollars

Highest-Graded Copy Known Sold through Heritage Auctions
  • September 29, 2021


Image provided by Heritage Auctions,

The highest-graded copy of the very first issue of Sports Illustrated was just sold through Heritage Auctions, and you'll be amazed at the final sale price.  After the hammer dropped, the price for this iconic magazine reached thousands of dollars!
Magazine grading is rising in popularity. One of the top companies that grades magazines is Certified Guarantee Company (CGC), and they have been around since 2000. Mostly known for grading comic books, CGC also provides grades for cards, posters, magazines, and more. A magazine that CGC graded recently sold at Heritage Auctions.

Evidence of the every-growing popularity of graded magazines can be seen in the September Showcase Auction held by Heritage and their sale of the first issue ever produced of Sports Illustrated. Remember getting SI in the mail each month?  Before the Internet, cell phones, and instant updates via social media, you got all the coolest sports news from Sports Illustrated. You were the king of school if you got your hands on the Swimsuit edition first, and all of your friends envied you for the free football phone you got with your SI subscription. 


Today, the magazines we loved as a kid could be worth BIG dollars! The very first SI came out on August 16h, 1954. The cover featured future baseball Hall of Famer, Eddie Matthews, at the plate in a game with his  Milwaukee Braves taking on the New York Giants on June 9th, 1954. The Giants bested Matthews' Braves that day 4-0. Impressive feat given the Braves had three legends on their squad for the game in Matthews, Hank Aaron, and Warren Spahn. 

If you love RARE cards, check out the 1915 Cracker Jack Collection with Shoeless Joe Jackson collection we recently proudly purchased! We are always buying vintage cards. If you have vintage cards along with your SI magazine you're interested in selling, see how you can get a free appraisal below!

Few of us actually held onto our magazines, right? You probably cut out pictures of your favorite players to tape on the wall or your locker. Rolled the magazine up and put it in your pocket.  Growing up in the 80's, I would hide mine in the Lamborghini Trapper Keeper so teachers didn't know I was looking at SI and not my notes.  Looking back, you and I should have safely stored magazines like we stored our sports cards; prices for high-graded SI magazines are in the thousands now!

CGC graded a copy of the original August 16th, 1954 Sports Illustrated and provided a grade of a 9.8.  That copy, the highest-known graded version, sold at Heritage Auctions for $8,700.00

What a price! Looking at the same auction results, there are a handful of CGC-graded SI magazines that brought in top dollar. The issue with Patrick Mahomes gracing the cover for the first time sold for even MORE than issue number one!  You can see how much these graded magazines brought in HERE

Make sure you start checking for old Sports Illustrated magazines you may have kept!  You could look in the same Unexpected Places you might find baseball cards.


Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace. Check out the Just Collect buy list blog here


We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 25 years. Although Just Collect is known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage baseball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, we understand the feelings that you're going through and will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.


Whether you have vintage cards or modern wax you want to sell, you can reach out to us any time! 


Recent Posts

Learn about 1909-1911 T206 Back Rarities on Vintage Spotlight Podcast

Just Collect is Buying and Selling Collections at Fanatics Fest in NYC

1967 Topps Baseball Rack Pack Break at the 2024 National with Just Collect