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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Old Sports Illustrated back issues are finding their way onto office walls

8/16/1954 - first SI issue
The month of December is always the biggest sales month of the year for old Sports Illustrated magazine back issues at DeansCards.com. The old Sports Illustrated covers and given as a gifts for the holidays. Quite a few guys like to decorate their offices and "man caves" with old SI covers that feature their heroes of yesteryear, but not every back issue of Sports Illustrated ends up in a frame. Some people simply enjoy reading the articles in the old Sport Illustrated back issues.

Sports-related newspapers and magazines have been around since the 1920’s, but no magazine encompassed all of the sports world. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, several publications called Sports Illustrated were started and quickly failed. Sport Magazine, which had limited success was the largest non-specific sports publication throughout the 1940’s and early 1950’s. Sport Magazine featured color covers and attractive photos along with their stories, but was issued on a monthly basis. Media giant Henry Luce had taken notice of Sport Magazine’s success, but wanted to change several aspects of the magazine. Luce wanted a weekly issue that focused on all aspects of the sports world and included opinion pieces or analysis of current athletic events.


5/26/1969 issue
After failing to negotiate the purchase of Sport Magazine, Luce bought the rights to the Sports Illustrated name and the first issue of Sports Illustrated was released on August 16, 1954. The first issue featured Eddie Mathews batting in Milwaukee County Stadium and included small set of paper baseball cards. Although Sports Illustrated started out with a mainstream sport, the goal of the magazine would be to cover all sports. Sports Illustrated would go on to feature hunting, bridge, diving, bowling, fencing, badminton, and even bullfighting on the cover. In fact, the second issue would have a set of golf clubs on the cover and is the considered the most valuable issue because the SI "baseball cards" inside of the Yankees, one of which was Mickey Mantle.


One of the milestone issues of Sports Illustrated was first printed on January 20, 1964. The very first annual swimsuit issue focused on skin diving, but it proved to be a wildly popular idea, especially because it was released when the entire country was firmly entrenched in the winter season. Although models in bathing suits had already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated prior to 1964, the editors at SI wanted it to become a yearly event. Currently, Sports Illustrated allows its customers to opt out of receiving the swimsuit issue, but only a small percentage of its customers actually do so.


Sports Illustrated also features important commentary and opinion pieces about sports. The “Point After” focuses on the personal stories of athletes, journalists’ analyses on the current sports events, and even humorous pieces.

In terms of our sales here at DeansCards.com, we have sold the most copies of the February 6, 1978 track issue featuring Dick Buerkle and Filbert Bayi. Carl Lewis is included in the popular “Faces in the Crowd” feature in this issue. The most expensive issue we have ever sold is the first annual swimsuit issue with model Babette March on the cover. As people uncover the old Sports Illustrated back issues in the basements around the country, those same issues continue to decorate walls of homes.

Please click here to browse Dean's Cards full inventory of Sports Illustrated back issues.