Collectors looking for Joe DiMaggio cards often have a tough time finding 1940s issues at an affordable price. For one thing, World War II helped to halt baseball card production in that decade. That means the number of DiMaggio cards (and cards of other players, for that matter) are just pretty scarce. And for another, the Hall of Famer continues to be a wildly popular target for collectors — Yankees fans and non-Yankees fans alike.
His cards from that era are often among the most expensive cards in any given set and collecting DiMaggio is not necessarily a cheap endeavor. He is one of the more popular stars from that era and his name does not usually jive well with the term ‘bargain collecting.’
However, there are a number of affordable DiMaggio items out there and one of the better buys is probably his 1947 Sport Magazine Premium.
About the 1947 Joe DiMaggio Sport Premium
Many collectors probably could not tell you much about this issue or even identify it if they came across it in person. Even experienced dealers may scratch their heads if encountering one. It is not entirely scarce but is not seen all that often, either. I imagine that, like many premiums, a great many were ultimately discarded.
Sport Magazine is believed to be the issuer of this premium. The magazine was popular with fans, included some terrific photography and had a good run lasting for decades. It was initially printed in 1946 and lasted until 2000. While many identify Sports Illustrated as the premium sports-related magazine of the 20th century, Sport actually began several years earlier.
At 8 1/2″ x 11″ in size, the DiMaggio premium isn’t a traditional baseball card but definitely falls in the category of a photographic player collectible.
It can be dated not only to 1947 but actually to March of that year. We know that because that date is printed in the lower left hand corner in the thick white border that surrounds DiMaggio’s image. ‘Sport 15’ is also printed over in the right side border area. Some have attributed that to a page number while others have not made that leap.
Taking a closer look, you might immediately think of Wheaties. That’s thanks to the bright orange background on the photograph — a staple of the Wheaties boxes and their cutouts on them. DiMaggio was featured on Wheaties boxes numerous times early in his career.
To the image itself, we’ve got a smiling DiMaggio in a portrait format wearing his customary Yankees jersey. His name does not appear anywhere on the item and the back is blank.
One thing contributing to the difficulty in finding these premiums could be an identification issue. My guess is that they can easily be sold without proper identification.
For example, while ‘Sport’ does appear on them in the border area, it isn’t a logo and it doesn’t indicate they were from Sport Magazine. Some collectors may take term to be a generic one as opposed to identifying it with that particular publication, not associate them with Sport Magazine. Further, no other identifying marks are on them and seeing these sold as “Joe DiMaggio photograph” or some iteration of is probably not too uncommon.
Rarity and Pricing
These premiums are not the easiest to find. They do exist but often are not found for sale on eBay. They do surface there, however, from time to time and two sold there late last year.
Many times, less common items will appear in auction houses. However, finding these for sale from the larger auction houses doesn’t happen too often unless they are part of a lot. That’s simply because their value is not very high.
The good news is that while the premium may be difficult to locate, it generally does not sell for a ton of money when it turns up. One sold last year from Bagger’s Auctions for only $50 and the price range on these is generally in the $50-$75 range, give or take. Those aforementioned eBay listings were sold for best offers under $50 and under $125, respectively.
As stated, this baseball premium may not turn up for sale that often. However, if you’re able to locate one, this is one of DiMaggio’s cheaper 1940s collectibles.