Since 1954, S.I. has become an iconic brand in American popular culture, but what were the most expensive Sports Illustrated magazines of all time? It was recently announced that nearly all employees of Sports Illustrated would be laid off. While the decline of print media is undoubtedly noticeable, it was still a shock to see an icon of American media first go from publishing weekly to bi-weekly in 2018, then monthly in 2020, and in 2024, the publishing license has now been revoked by current owner, Authentic Brands while they navigate how to proceed with licensee, the Arena Group.
Current negotiations aside, the millions of circulated copies left an indelible imprint on both sports media and American popular culture. While this might mark the end of an era, we believe that no matter how it plays out, S.I. will have an undying nostalgic impact for years to come. Physical media is being graded more and more by licensed companies who look to evaluate condition, as illustrated by our list of the most expensive trading cards ever sold. Because of this, many magazines, including S.I., have garnered immense popularity and secondary market value.
In honor of Sports Illustrated’s legacy, we are counting down the 10 most valuable copies of all time. Without further ado, let’s dive right in and take a glimpse through the last 70 years of sports!