Auction Highlights #55 – ComicLink

ComicLink May 2011 Featured Auction

The ComicLink May Featured Auction has just ended. Of the top 50 sales 35 were Timely/Marvel while 13 were DC and there was also the Holy Grail of underground comics Zap #1 (a CGC 9.6 sold for $18,100.00) and there was a Warren Magazine Vamperella #1 (a CGC 9.8 sold for $16,727.00).

Of the top 50 sales 11 were Golden Age comics and boy were there heavy hitters available. Batman #1, Captain America #1, Marvel Comics #1, Flash Comics #1 and Detective Comics #28 were some of the Golden Age highlights that sold.

I’ve chosen comment on several results that were of interest to me. Here we go.

Action Comics #10, DC Comics, (March/1939) Graded by CGC at 3.0 with Cream to Off White pages sold for $20,351.00 on ComicLink on May 24th. Overstreet price guide value for this comic at 3.0 is $4,909.00.

Only 11 unrestored Universal CGC graded copies exist of this book and the highest grade is a CGC 7.0! The third Superman cover is the next, next best thing for those unable to afford solid copies of Action #1 and Action #7 (2nd Superman cover). So the guide seems out of whack here does it not? Any time a low grade copy of a comic gets over 4 times guide its time to reassess. The thing with books like these is that hardly any ever make market (the GPA tracking site only has a record of 2 Universal graded copies trading in the last 10 years) and their sales results can fluctuate wildly from one sale to the next. I’m going to take a firm stance and say that $20 K is too much to pay for a low grade 10th appearance of Superman (in Action Comics).

Action Comics #1 is safe but subsequent Superman issues will slowly loose their draw over time as the character gets slowly pushed down the relevance list. Advantage Seller.

Green Lantern #76, DC Comics (April/1970) Graded by CGC at 9.8 with Off White to White pages sold for $15,750.00 on ComicLink on May 25th. Overstreet price guide value for this comic at 9.2 is $2,000.00.

This is a very disappointing result for this comic book since the last CGC 9.8 fetched $37,000.00 only a year ago. A major and much needed correction is taking place with this comic, a CGC 9.6 within this same auction sold for over $10,000.00 but a CGC 9.6 once sold for $30,000. It’s a great book to have but a little patience will get you one of these nice grades for a lot less than you ever would have thought. Is Green Lantern #76 as important a comic as Incredible Hulk #181 (1st Wolverine)? Probably not but its stature has risen over the years. It has a lot of supporters placing it as the key and true launch of the Bronze Age. Hulk 181s consistently trade in the $15 K range and there are 40 of them with a 9.9 looming large overhead! There are only 2 CGC 9.8s for Green Lantern #76.

I don’t see the book falling much lower and the buyer has some strong bragging rights. True scarcity in grade and importance of book should keep it safely within this sales range. Advantage Buyer.

X-Men #94, Marvel Comics (AAugust/1975) Graded by CGC at 9.8 with Off White to White pages sold on ComicLink for $10,000.00 on May 26th. Overstreet price guide value for this comic at 9.2 is $1,200.00.

Here is a super classic example of why we should not rush into buying up the first high grade copies of relatively modern comic books. We (Big B Comics) were lucky to get a CGC 9.8 copy of this book early last year. We saw that a copy has sold for $29,589.00 just a few months before and we were debating what to do with the book keep it as an investment or let it go. I believe ours was only the 5th graded 9.8 so the scarcity was still there but I knew the crazy $29+ K result would get collectors digging out their nice copies and submitting them (after a trip to the dry cleaners of course). We decided to sell it and posted it on ComicConnect. To our surprise the book fetched $26,500.00, we were elated.

Subsequent sales were $20,200.00, $16,700.00, $12,500 and now $10,000. There have been 3 more CGC 9.8s added to the census and each new one has driven the price of the book down.

Sometimes its hard to predict the future but when it comes to assuming there are more really nice copies of mid 1970s books out there still ungraded it really isn’t that hard at all. I was talking about this 2 years ago.

Playing the paying the premium game because it’s so scarce at this grade is risky even when dealing with comics like Amazing Fantasy #15. I know a CGC 9.6 recently sold for over $1 million but I’m just wondering whether that buyer logs into CGC each morning holding his breath while the census figures load. Advantage Seller.

Pep Comics #46, MLJ Pub. (February/1944) Graded by CGC at 8.0 with Cream to Off White pages sold for $3,443.00 on ComicLink on Mayy 25th. Overstreet price guide value for this comic at 8.0 is $371.00.

Just a few short years ago you couldn’t give these books away. I remember I had a solid copy of Archie #20 and the thing just sat until I through it into a half price box. But again mine wasn’t the highest graded copy, heck it wasn’t graded at all.

The grade on its own is nice but certainly not spectacular, the page quality is on the poorer side and nothing much important happens in what is just a basic run book. So why almost 10 times guide? All things Archie are hot these days, not many early Archie books are making market coupled with this being the nicest copy known to date created a perfect little storm.

There are a lot of old Archie books out there. The guy that may have looked in the Guide and figured his $370 comic may not be worth getting graded is going to start thinking differently. Advantage Seller.

Another interesting ComicLink auction. I like some of the corrections I’m seeing.

Walter Durajlija Written by:

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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  1. Charlie
    May 27, 2011

    Wow, you’re right on top of this one… the auction  ended just a few hours ago.

    There’s been a lot of hype over the GL#76, obviously due in part to the movie but also Overstreet has been propping up this book. Some people don’t consider it to be key (I wont mention any names like Frank ^_^) but personally, I’ve always loved this book for the art… it’s Neal Adams in his prime! Perhaps the hardcore affluent collectors also don’t consider this to be key without any first appearances but the mid to hi-mid range remains hot and is one of the few books that are currently trending upwards. As an advisor yourself… can you shed any light as to why Overstreet like this book so much?

    The X#94 is another one of my favs and one that I’ve been watching closely. This book was at $10k last night and I had a feeling it wouldn’t go much higher (it didn’t budge). I was very tempted to put in a bid myself but I don’t like the trend for this book (I own 3 GSX#1s and this book has also taken a nose dive). Everyone I talk to about it references the growing number in the census but I don’t buy this rationale. Consider this, the top bronze age keys in 9.8 grades:

    • ASM#129, 33 books currently trading around $5.5k
    • Hulk#181, 40 books currently trading around $15k
    • GSX#1, 57 books currently trading around $6k
    • X#94, 12 books… too few to gage but 12 month avg is at $14k

    If census means so much, shouldn’t the X#94 be worth the most… way above the Hulk#181 based on 12 books vs 40? Obviously it’s more about demand due to Wolverines popularity but demand is anecdotal and difficult to quantify. But I try… and equation I’ve formulated is this:

    (popularity x hype) = demand / census – economy = $$

    This equation also explains why books like New Mutants#98 have any value at all… considering there are 671 books at 9.8… trading between $200 to $400 for a 90s book is ridiculous. $6.6k for a 9.9 and $12.2k for a perfect 10.0? No thank you.

    The seller of this particular X#94 actually paid $12500 earlier this year. It ended for $10k, less 10% commission, so he’s realizing a loss of -$3.5k… ouch! You made a good call predicting the trend but by “advantage seller” I’ll assume you mean it could have been worse if he hung on to it. But who knows… with 3 GSX#1s myself, I’m hoping that the market will bounce back along with the economy.

    I picked up this Daredevil#7… 1st red costume. I know… it’s “cream to off white” but I’m not as particular about the page quality as I am with the registration and the overall eye appeal.

    I was also bidding on this Sub#1 but next bid would have been over $900 and I just couldn’t justify that price tag. Still, a very sharp looking book!

    It’s all good fun so long as we don’t have to take a $3500 loss. Nice write up Walter as usual. Two things I’m looking forward to… Scotts write up on “flipping” and your Undervalued X pick. I’ve got a few of contenders in mind so it’d be interesting to see how close I am.

  2. May 27, 2011

    (popularity x hype) = demand / census – economy = $$

    Not since Drake’s equation on the probability on extraterrestrial life N = R^{\ast} \cdot f_p \cdot n_e \cdot f_{\ell} \cdot f_i \cdot f_c \cdot L \!

    has an equation excited me so! I’m going to be testing your equation out ASAP and try to come up with more defined values for the variables. Good stuff!

    As I said GL #76 is looked at by many as an important book that ushered in the Bronze Age. It predated Conan #1 (another candidate) and it also a marker for comics becoming more socially relevant etc. etc. Neil Adams at his peak also helps. I think this is one of those books that the community as a whole is just buying into. At some point someone recognized the book as somewhat important and slowly this stature has grown to a point where perhaps it is made out to be more important than it really is but if everyone thinks its so important then maybe it is? It is often a subtle or fickle difference that over time gets blown out of proportion but becomes embedded in the culture. Same can apply to music, paintings etc. and should be in the realm of physiological discussions.

    The 9.8 examples do kind of make sense. Wolverine is the obvious star and 40 copies can demand the premium because the demand is there. X-Men #94 is the lesser of the 3 X books and its price close to the Hulk #181 is solely a reflection of its relative scarcity. Punisher not as big as Wolverine thus not worth as much. The Giant Size #1 does seem a bit out of whack but there are 57 of them and it is Wolverine that drives the price so the fact that it should be compared more to X-Men #94 and not Hulk #181 may explain its seemingly weak performance. Key point here is we need a few more years of populating the census before we can establish hard values. Unfortunately for those that scooped up the second CGC 9.8 or even the 12th CGC 9.8 the coming increase in supply will not be kind. There are other forces at work of course, demand will increase and decrease as books take their place in the hierarchy of the community of the time.

    DD is a character that could easily see a resurgence. I like #1 long term. I won the ASM #129 White pages for $775 but unfortunately could not find any other deals to help with shipping etc. I’ll be lucky to break even!!

    My X-Men undervalued pick will wait another week. I’ve been Marvel heavy lately and plan on featuring another publisher later today.



  3. Charlie
    May 27, 2011

    Feel free to modify that equation as you see fit. Consider it my gift to humanity… just don’t come after me if it ends up working against you.
    I don’t mind CL making money off shipping but $65 for 1-3 books is just plain gouging, especially since they get corporate rates. It’s not considered theft or robbery because society has been brainwashed to follow laws that favour… yes, corporations… but, whatever. That’s just the how the system works.
    I also suspect there might me something more sinister going on over there as I’ve noticed something very peculiar about my final end prices recently that just doesn’t jive… For example, if a book is at $250 with incremental bids of $10 and I put in a max of $273… I should have lost that auction at $280 or won it at $270… but how in the heck could I win it at my max $273, unless someone put in a bid of $272. Maybe it could happen once by pure coincidence but 3, 4, 5 times… in the same auction period?? No freaking way! So, I recommend using their bid increments, 1 minimum bid at a time and do not put in a predetermined max.
    And in case your wondering… yes I do believe that 9/11 was orchestrated by select members of the Bush administration most likely spurred on by economic decisions made at the annual Bilderberg conference.
    Gotta go… a dark limousine with tinted windows just pulled up…!

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