I’ve been wondering lately; is the old price guide model of valuing comics based on where they fit in the numerical sequence out of date?

Don’t tell me the guide doesn’t matter, most of us still buy off guide values, we feel all giddy when picking up that nice early issue off auction sites at 47% of guide. Maybe 47% guide is still too much?

If a comic has no major differentiating features, like major guest artist, introduction of a new character etc, should that #6 be worth more than that #7 just because?

Comics are very visual, what if the cover to #7 was way cooler than the cover to #6 but both were just run books?

What would be wrong with the a price guide pricing a #7 more than a #6 just because the cover looks cooler? I’m sure online CGC sales histories would show the #7 to be worth more, all other things being equal.

Let’s take it one step further. Should say a #6 be worth more than a #17 where the #6 is a run book while the #17 introduces a major new character. The #6 by its sheer number-ness trumps the #17 even though the #17 brings a major new character to the table. Here I’d like to use the example of Fantastic Four #29 vs Fantastic Four #45. Yes the #29 is a year and a bit earlier but it’s basically a run book while issue #45 introduces the Inhumans! Compare the Inhumans issue #45 guide value of $575 to the #29 guide value of $625 (all the example I’ll use may not be the best ones out there but at least you get the gist of what I’m trying to say).

  

Comic book collecting is changing. The current high cost of collectible comics means fewer comics are attainable for the average collector. This fact is forcing collectors to make choices, forcing them  into collecting strains like keys, arcs, artists, covers, eras etc, each strain catered to the collectors tastes and pocket-book, these collecting strains are all gaining while the hardcore, in the trenches completist list is waning.

Covers, I sell Amazing Spider-Man #43 in nice mid grade shape all day at full guide yet an issue like Amazing Spider-Man #24 which is listed at almost 2.5 times the #43 value at a 7.0 grade never moves at guide, I have to discount it. Amazing Spider-Man #24 gets much of its guide value from the antiquated values system based on the sequence # on its cover.

  

Eras are a very interesting point. I find it next to impossible to sell Detectives from say #150 to #250 in the mid grades, save a few special issues, mostly because of the value assigned to them in the guide, but Detectives from #350 to #450 move briskly out of the bins. There is a generational disconnect with the older issues yet the guide and indeed the public perception is that these late Golden Age/early Silver Age books must be worth 3 to 4 times more than the currently much more popular and much more collected late Silver/early Bronze Age because they are earlier #s.

  

Here are some other quick examples;

  • Why is Daredevil #9 worth more than Daredevil #18?
  • Why is X-Men #6 worth more than X-Men #12?
  • Why is Superman #5 worth more than Superman #14?
  • Why is Fantastic Four #2 worth more than Fantastic Four #4?

So with less and less collectors interested in a generic numbered run book and more and more collectors interested in say a 1st appearance it would seem that issue # alone should not be as important a determinant of value as it has been in the past, and as it still is today.