The Beckett Blog


Looks like Gina Carano’s ESPN Body Issue cover is a hit by Chris Olds

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If you’re not a fan of MMA, you’ve probably been beaten down a bit by how hot the Topps UFC cards have been in the hobby.

But there’s another sign that mixed martial arts are hot — Gina Carano‘s cover appearance on ESPN The Magazine‘s Body Issue.

Copies of the issue — which has several covers — featuring Carano have been a big hit online with sales as high as $57 for a single issue.

The 10 most-expensive sales of the issue on eBay are $57 (twice), $56, $55, $51 (twice), $46 (twice), $43 and $40.

And it appears that the demand for the issue hasn’t let up as current online auctions are pushing into top 10 territory and Buy It Now prices are right in range.

As for the other covers, here are the top prices paid so far:

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ESPN’s Body Issue — great for autographs? by Chris Olds

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ESPN The Magazine‘s “Body Issue” has been talked about for some time with its not-so-subtle approach to coverage of athletes.

We’ll make you guess what it is based on the cover above.

And now that it’s set to arrive on newsstands everywhere very, very soon (it has an Oct. 19, 2009, cover date), one more thing is apparent — whether it bombs as a concept or is widely praised and becomes an annual staple.

It should be great for autographs. (If they’ll sign them.)

Based on the clean and clear design of the six different covers, which are free of any blurbs and put the focus solely on the cover subjects — tennis star Serena Williams (above), NBA star Dwight Howard, MMA star Gina Carano, NASCAR star Carl Edwards, NFL star Adrian Peterson and triathlete Sarah Reinertsen.

As with all ESPN The Magazine covers, there already are prints available for $24.95 and up ($109.95 for a 30×36 print) on ESPN.com.

See all of the covers after the jump.

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Collecting Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover models’ autographs not so tough with certified trading cards by Chris Olds

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By Chris Olds

If you watched The Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night — or if you’ve been over to SI.com Tuesday morning, you know all about the model who appears on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Bar Refaeli.

siprices1While she’ll be busy doing signings and personal appearances to promote the magazine staple that has printed annually since 1964, our crack staff decided rather than examine the value of the issues to examine a different niche — certified autograph cards of the cover models.

(Besides, editor Chris Olds already wrote a column on the collectible aspects of the swimsuit issue way back in 2003. The findings? Most magazine dealers say a few issues sell particularly well, but the demand is nothing like the first appearances of prominent athletes like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods — and we won’t mention that it’s one of SI‘s most overproduced issues of the year. A list of going rates back then appears right here — values likely haven’t changed much.)

For the models, the cover is an iconic achievement that may lead to movie roles and added stardom, but that doesn’t guarantee an appearance on cardboard. In fact, only nine cover models have appeared on trading cards which they then signed for inclusion in packs (certified autographs).

In fact, only two of those nine have cards that weren’t produced for a Sports Illustrated trading card set, meaning they made it enough mainstream to appear in something beyond the four Swimsuit Issue sets made by Stellar Collectibles from 2003 to 2006.

Who are the two?

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Sneak preview: Donruss Sports Legends autographs by Chris Olds

Here’s a look at some autographed cards from the upcoming Donruss Sports Legends set that arrives in shops later this month …

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.