Archive for the ‘Marketcom Sports Illustrated White-Borders (1978-87)’ category

Marketcom Sports Illustrated HOCKEY Posters (White Borders, 1978-87)

March 23, 2008

They were the posters a generation of sports fans grew up with – the old white-bordered action posters that were sold through those old checklist-style advertisements in Sports Illustrated for the decade 1978-87. Fans of NBA Basketball, NFL Football, and MLB Baseball always had a great selection to choose from ; however, hockey fans will remember well: the selection of NHL posters ranged from limited to non-existent! It seems the publisher of the posters, Marketcom Inc. of St. Louis, Missouri (which went out of business in 1993) never saw it necessary to add an NHL license to its portfolio of sports.

As far as we can tell, there were only two NHL hockey posters published in the history of Marketcom SI posters. First, there was this poster of the legendary Phil Esposito, who was winding down his Hall of Fame career as a member of the New York Rangers at the time this poster was published (1980):

Phil Esposito 1980 Sports Illustrated Marketcom Poster

You can see the small New York Rangers team logo at bottom-right, which indicates that this was produced on a limited team-direct license, not an NHL license. This is certainly one of the tougher white-border SI posters to find; I can only recall seeing this one available online once, and in 10 years in business, we’ve never had one in stock!

Another nearly impossible-to-find SI poster is the one-and-only Wayne Gretzky release in the series:

Wayne Gretzky 1982 Edmonton Oilers Marketcom SI Poster

This one was published under license from Gretzky himself. Throughout the 1980s, Gretzky battled with the NHL and NHLPA regarding merchandising rights, and often went out on his own to make some extra cash. This was one of his side-deals, which, it seems, did not last for more than a year or two, and for this one single poster design. It is one of the most sought-after SI posters of the white-border era, and will always get better than $150 in decent condition.

(Note: there were several “White-border” New York Islanders posters published in the late-1970s and early-1980s, which included Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Denis Potvin, and Pat Flatley. However, these were published by Long Island, NY -based Starline Inc., the design is slightly different, and these were not part of the Sports Illustrated collection.)

Tough Find – 1985 Tony Perez SI Poster

June 30, 2007

Every once in awhile I’m going to upload some of the tougher classic Sports Illustrated and Studio One posters to find.  Today I’m featuring a rare Tony Perez white border from approximately 1985. 

1985 Tony Perez SI poster

SI did not date the majority of their posters, thus the date is a best guess estimate (Perez played for the Reds until 1976 and then back again from 1984-86.)

As with many Sports Illustrated posters, they would release regional stars in their specific trading area.  I believe this was the case with Perez, primarily based upon his absence in most SI poster advertisements of that era.  I’ve viewed literally hundreds of vintage print ads for SI posters and have never seen a Perez listed.  This may indicate a couple of points; 1.  People who ordered SI posters via print ad didn’t even know Perez was available and 2.  He was likely a low print variation with limited distribution. 

Again, SI and their printer/licensee (Marketcom) never released print quantities for these posters, so it’s really impossible to be absolutely sure.  That said, I rarely see this beauty up for sale and when available (three times in the last 8 years by my count) it went between $50 and $80.

 Another Great example of that super rare poster collectible.

Charles Barkley’s Earliest Marketcom Sports Illustrated SI Posters

June 20, 2007

A customer called today, and was wondering if Charles Barkley had a white-bordered SI poster release in the 1980s. I wasn’t sure, so I went back to browse our permanent collection (not for sale…), and lo-and-behold, here’s what I found:

Charles Barkley 1985 Sports Illustrated Poster by Marketcom

This is Marketcom/SI Poster #4457, featuring a very young Charles unloading a monster dunk on Don Nelson’s Milwaukee Bucks at the old MECCA. There are no other players or identifying details in the frame to help precisely date the photograph, but I’d guess it was taken either late in Charles’ rookie year (1984-85), or early in his second NBA season (1985-86).

Not sure if there are any other Barkley images or variations in the white-bordered series, which ended in 1987; but this is one of the earliest releases in the “color bar” series that replaced the white borders in late 1987:

Charles Barkley 1987 Sports Illustrated Marketcom Poster

(Marketcom/SI Poster #7457). Although this poster is also undated (Marketcom often failed to place copyright dates on their posters, presumably to extend the selling life of a design by hiding from the customer the fact that the poster was an old design), this is certainly from the first group of color bar releases – note that the color bar does not extend all the way to the bottom or side edges of the poster. After the initial run of releases, this color bar went right to the edges. Not sure why they made that change – I think I like it better this way!

Barkley fans, these are two of the toughest Charles posters to find. In my ten years in this business, I don’t recall ever seeing the white-border for sale again, and the ’87 color bar rarely comes around, either.

For some great Charles posters that are easier to find, but still highly collectible, check out our Charles Barkley Collection. And for serious collectors, here’s a look at another very rare one – “Uncivil Defense” from Nike as part of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team collection (Nike #5205):

Charles Barkley Uncivil Defense USA Dream Team 1992 Nike Poster #5205


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