The old adage that "sex sells" is not only true, but prevalant in the collectibles industry. A magazine that has an attractive celebrity or sports figure on the cover is likely to sell 5x better than your average magazine of that circulation. Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issues sold as collectibles, sell at double the price of covers with sports figures. While most of these sports figures are or soon will be inducted into the hall of fame of their respective sports, that uknown model in a bikini spread out on the white sands will garner the higher price.
But swim suit models are not the only popular sex icons, as covers of ESPN the Magazine include recent issues featuring Danica Patrick, Maria Sharapova, and Gretchen Bleiler. While these ladies are authentic athletes, they are involved in sports that usually do not get much mainstream attention. So why does ESPN make a point to showcase them on their covers? You got it... Sex Sells.
Of course you can use this knowledge to better serve you as you decide to source your sale items or your collection. On a side note, the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue is on sale this month.