ComicLink’s January Focused Auction.
This is my first Auction Highlight of 2012 and I think it’s a good time to try to take stock of the market, to see where some of the most heavily traded “blue chip” comic books stand. Perhaps these results are barometers of what’s to come?
By no means is this a comprehensive assessment of the market, it’s just one auction and I’m only picking a handful of books but again, perhaps we can fish out a trend or a wave or an inkling or a something that will help us navigate the mined waters of the 2012 back issue market.
ComicLink’s January Focused Auction looks a little bit different. This time they’ve put three major lots of books up for auction. A late Bronze Age to Modern lot was on offer as was a Golden Age lot and the lot this Auction Highlight is covering, the Silver to Early Bronze Age lot, was first to go up.
This Silver Bronze lot of books was once again dominated by Marvel. Of the top 50 comics by value 47 were Marvel (well 44 plus 3 pre-Marvel Atlas books). The only 3 DC comics to make the top 50 were high grade copies of Showcase #30 (33rd), Aquaman #1 (40th) and a stunning CGC 9.8 copy of Batman #200 (46th).
Top dog for the auction was a very nice CGC 9.6 copy of Avengers #4. The $50k it got pales in comparison to the $90k plus one got last year. Oddly enough the second biggest book of this auction was another Avengers #4, a CGC 9.4 copy that fetched $17,615.
So let’s have a quick peep at some of the results.
2 copies of Amazing Fantasy #15, Marvel Comics, (August, 1962) One graded by CGC at 4.0 with Off-White pages sold on January 24th for $8233. The Overstreet Guide value for this book at 4.0 is $7,000. Another copy graded at CGC 3.0 with Cream to Off-White pages sold on January 24th for $4637. The Overstreet Guide value for a 3.0 is $5,250.
In essense Spider-Man is the Silver Age market and this being the most important Spider-Man book it’s hard to overstate just how important Amazing Fantasy #15 is to the back issue market at large.
OK so what gives? We have a 4.0 getting almost 118% of guide while the 3.0 gets only 88% of guide. As far as I’m concerned this is another example of what I’ve been trying to say this past year. The CGC 4.0 copy looks like a 4.0 if not better (it’s got that 4.5 look to me), it has the visual appeal that backs the grade on the CGC label. Scroll down and have a look at the CGC 3.0, I’m sorry but that book does not look 1 grade point worse than the one above it, I think bidders saw the page quality and the aesthitics, compared it with the 4.0 and came up with their own judgement. Bidders have graded with their wallet.
Advantage Buyer on both books though, a 4.0 AF #15 that looks that good is a deal and the price paid on the 3.0 is less than what the last CGC 2.5 got.
2 copies of Amazing Spider-Man #129, Marvel Comics, (February, 1974) One graded by CGC at 9.4 with White pages sold on January 24th for $913. The Overstreet Guide value for this book at 9.2 is $925. Another copy graded at CGC 9.2 with Off-White to White pages sold on January 24th for $695. The Overstreet Guide value for a 9.2 is $925.
These results don’t seem right! I was busy Tuesday night and I could not participate in the bidding but I would not have let these books go so cheap. I mean a solid looking 9.2 copy of this book going for only 75% of guide? And a 9.4 White pages copy selling for less than the 9.2 price? Somebody got a deal. The great thing about Amazing Spider-Man #129 is that it is a book that sells well locally, the book still sells at guide or over at any comic shop lucky enough to have one and try heading down to your town’s comic con and picking a high grade copy up for 75% of guide, it won’t happen.
Advantage buyer on both copies!
Batman #232, DC Comics, (June, 1971) Graded by CGC at 9.0 with White pages sold for $305 on January 24th. The Overstreet Guide value for this book at 9.0 is, oddly enough, $232.
This is a very healthy 31% above guide for a 9.0. I wouldn’t start calling a Batman #232 high grade until 9.2 (you are not going to believe this but there are, you guessed it, 232 graded at 9.2 or better as of this post).
What makes things worse for this book is that it has a pretty bad mis-crop. I think 2 buyers needed a solid copy and both got a bit carried away.
Green Lantern #76, DC Comics, (April, 1970) Graded by CGC at 8.0 with Off-White to White pages sold for $700 on January 24th. The Overstreet Guide value for this book at 8.0 is $816.
OK so this book gets 86% of guide and it looks like a solid copy on the scan. Granted that as of this post there are 210 copies graded nicer but the market just doesn’t seem to be reacting too favorably to this book in this grade in relation to the guide anyway. Perhaps the book has shot up too quickly over the past few years; perhaps the grade price splits are wrong. The good thing for the buyer is that like the ASM #129, this book does well locally. There’s always someone looking for a nice copy of this book and the local markets can always bring guide values.
I think GL #76 will continue to entrench itself as one of the must have books of the Bronze Age, I think over time we’ll see less and less of this comic.
2 copies of Incredible Hulk #181, Marvel Comics, (November, 1974) One graded by CGC at 9.8 with Off-White to White pages sold on January 25th for $12,000. The Overstreet Guide value for this book at 9.2 is $1,700. Another copy graded at CGC 9.6 with White pages sold on January 25th for $4,000. The Overstreet Guide value for a 9.2 is $1,700.
This book is an excellent market indicator, there are just so many of these on the market at any given time.
The CGC 9.8 realizing $12 K is a bit of a pleasant surprise. I remember a few Auction Highlights ago one sold for below $10 K and I called Advantage Buyer, I knew the book had a few more sales above the $10 K mark though I do think the book will settle at just below $10 K eventually. This particular 9.8 copy has a bit too much white showing on the spine for my liking and I think the page quality will have to be White for best results in the future.
The 9.6 copy on the other hand has perfect page quality and it is almost perfectly square. I like this copy long term because though the book seems to have settled at about $4 K at 9.6 this particular example is most likely one of the better examples, something that will play a bigger role in the years to come..
Advantage seller on the 9.8 and advantage buyer on the 9.6!
Tales of Suspense #39, Marvel Comics, (March, 1963) Graded by CGC at 8.0 with Cream to Off-White pages sold for $8,060 on January 25th. The Overstreet Guide value for this book at 8.0 is $8,100.
Of all the Marvel Keys I think Tales of Suspense #39 has the best long term potential. Iron Man is the perfect character for the coming century and Disney/Marvel know this. Look for Iron Man’s star to keep rising and by extension look for the value of Tales of Suspense #39 to keep rising too! Though I do not like the Cream to Off-White page quality it’s hard to argue with a book that is among the top 100 graded copies available and that falls into the top 13.5% of the available graded copies (there are 781 Universally graded as of this post and 98 are 8.0 or better).
Picking up an 8.0 at below guide is a good deal.
Well there you have a quick look at some of the more marquee books that went up on ComicLink for their January Focused Auction. There were some very nice books available, it was a quality auction. I thought the Spidey #129s went for surprisingly low, I thought the AF #15s highlighted the way buyers are not necessarily buying solely based on the CGC grade itself and I thought Hulk #181 was doing a good job holding it’s own.
Did you win any books at this auction. Let me know in the comments field below and I will dispense my judgement on you!
The current trend seems to have shaken out the “impulsive” buyers. The buyers remaining are much more experienced and selective about their purchases. So, I agree with your assessment… despite the CGC grade, current buyers are demonstrating their understanding by rewarding the sharper books and buffering the questionable grades. And books with press-able potential are still going for big bucks.
To me, this says that CGC really needs to improve their consistency, otherwise risk diminishing the value of their service.
Walt, I know you think I’m paranoid because I believe that 911 was just another Bilderberg agenda… but have read through this:
CGC supporters will claim that it never happens at CGC… but to quote Shakespeare: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh…?”
Great job Walt on Auction Highlights!
I really enjoy this article and adding the pics of the comic takes the cake!
You hit the nail on the head with the amazing spiderman 129’s. This is a major major key with strong long term blue chip investment potential. Everybody seems to want one at any grade at any given point in time. One of the most actively traded comics over the last 2 decades. I personally have sold over 20 copies and buyers seem to love this comic. The Punisher has always been Ultra Cool and firmly embedded in the marvel universe with toys, video games, movies. Whenever the Punisher appears as a guest appearance sales skyrocket!
Hi Walter, Thanks for these articles, they are informative and a pleasure to read. I had a question about the TMNT #1 CGC 9.8 that sold in January on ComicLink. I see the total was for $14001. Considering one sold last July for over $20k (when there were only 2 on census) and now there are 5, was this a good purchase price? Do you see this grade climbing steeper in the future? I’m asking because with 5 out there I am 5 times more likely to be able to purchase one in the future…if I am ever fortunate enough…
Hi Richard, this is the classic case of buyers taking the CGC Census scarcity to mean actual scarcity. There are most likely even more 9.8s out there still to be slabbed which would drive the price for 9.8s even lower, well below $10k in my mind (just my call).
What I’d recommend is looking at the CGC 9.4s and 9.6s that come up for auction and really have a close look at them, are they perfectly square, are they over wrapped or under wrapped, what is their page quality, their gloss, their overall eye appeal. You might find you like a CGC 9.4 copy better than a CGC 9.6 copy and think of all the money you’ll be saving.