The Rise of Graded Magazines: A New Frontier in Collecting?

by Cassaundra Parham

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GoCollect just launched their magazine price guide, and I was too excited to wait! I had to dive into the numbers. Obviously, I had to write out my thoughts and share! I’ll review some background information and then dive into some of the findings I’ve made. Full transparency, I’m not familiar with this market. If you know all about it, please let me know in the comments your thoughts! If you don’t know much, learn along with me.

Crossover with Pop Culture and Art

Graded magazines aren’t just pieces of paper; they represent a snapshot of pop culture and artistic expression. The vintage advertisements, cover art, and editorial content they contain can make them even more valuable. As collectors appreciate the aesthetic and cultural elements, their investment potential could grow.

Some who collect pop culture “themes,” (I collect anything ‘Doctor Who’-themed), may find magazines in their collection. I know that in college, I grabbed a couple magazines featuring Matt Smith on the cover in celebration of the Doctor’s 50th anniversary. 

Let’s Look at Some Numbers

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Recent market trends suggest that graded magazines are gaining attention. Magazines featuring iconic covers, exclusive interviews, or historical moments are becoming highly sought after. As this niche market continues to develop, it has the potential to carve out a significant space within the broader collectibles and investment landscape.

So let’s look at some numbers, shall we? 


I looked at the hottest list and the chartbusters and saw a number of comic and video game-related magazines. Honestly, that shouldn’t surprise me, but it did. It makes sense that the popular items and most valuable would be linear with what’s dominating the collectible world.

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Based on the past 30 days, the current chart-topper is Nintendo Power #1. A 9.6 graded copy sold in July for just over $26k at Heritage Auctions. That was the first tracked 9.6 sale. The highest this magazine has seen was earlier this year in April which was a 98 for over $100k. GoCollect has about 93 currently tracked for sales. Let’s look at eBay. 

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Now, Terapeak, as lovely as it is, isn’t fully accurate. I used the phrase “Nintendo Power #1 Magazine” as the search, and scrolling through, there were a lot of magazines – but I did see some magnets and other similarly-named items. So, take this as a guide, not as full proof.

Now, with that being said, there is a clear jump in the sold price for this magazine. Let’s look at “CGC Graded Magazines” next. I tried just “Graded Magazine” first and had a lot of “mid-grade”-type results with average sales prices around $40. Once I added CGC in the search term it looked a bit more like what I was expecting. 

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There are a couple of clear jumps, but a relatively stable average sale is just under $500. 


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Playboy #V37 #3 is in the second spot, so I’m going to look at that one. With the tracked GoCollect sales, looks like roughly 11 sold within a 30-day period.

This magazine came out in 1990 and features Trump alongside Brandi Brandt. The price seems to stay under the $500 mark, excluding (1) sale of a 9.2 over $1k on eBay… which I’m not sure about. A few sales under that one was a Heritage sale of a 9.2 for under $300. Here’s what eBay’s Terapeak shows for “Playboy March 1990 Donald Trump CGC”. As you can see, the average price is under $400.

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Potential Risks and Considerations

Like any investment, graded magazines come with risks. Market volatility, changing collecting trends, and the challenge of finding magazines in pristine condition are factors that investors should be aware of. A cautious and informed approach is essential for those considering this new frontier.

Also, while I was searching eBay sales, I did see a number of suspect sales. Looks like there may be a lot of scammers trying to boost the value of their mags with fake sales. While that is true of every collectible market, with magazines being a newer fad, people may be more likely to fall for some of them. I recommend the magazine price guide through GoCollect. You can see side-by-side sales and spot some of those irregularities. 

Utilizing as many resources as you can will help on your journey if you are entering the world of Magazine Collecting. For now, I’m going to stick to the outside and watch to see what happens. 

Wrap Up

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The world of collecting and investing is evolving, and graded magazines may be the next chapter in this ongoing story, it certainly is for GoCollect! As these publications capture history, art, and culture, they also have the potential to capture the imagination of collectors and investors alike.

Whether for passion or profit, the rise of graded magazines presents an exciting opportunity to explore and invest in the intersection of nostalgia, culture, and value.

You tell me! Share your thoughts on the potential of graded magazines in the collecting and investing industries down in the comments! What trends do you foresee? What challenges do you anticipate?

Leave your comments and questions below and let’s explore this new frontier together!

AAA-graded-mag-footer The Rise of Graded Magazines: A New Frontier in Collecting?*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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