Booster Gold #1, DC Comics, February 1986, Graded CGC 9.8 with White pages sold for $371 on eBay recently.
I was vaguely aware that there was a market for Canadian price variants from the 1982 to 1986 period where Marvel and DC printed the bulk of the issues showing the US/CDN/UK pricing while running a separate batch just for the Canadian market.
My pal Jay is well versed in these things and I was amazed at the price difference when he pointed out this sale.
Regular pricing covers are selling for less than half this result, one fetched $190 on April 12th while the one before that only got $144 on March 24th.
This is an area where I’m obviously out of tune with the market. My predictions on the coming correction to the prices that the 35 cent price variant Star Wars #1 has been getting continue to be dismally wrong. I’m obviously wrong here as well because Jay tells me this is a very active segment of the market.
So the book is the same, just the small window with the price differs a bit. I’m seeing the market looking for value in the wrong places with trends like these.
I think some people are starting to realize how hard High Grade Canadian Price Variants are to find in the market. There only going to pay a nice premium for them when its a good issue though. It’s all about rarity here.
I agree with Walt’s sentiments emotionally, but I think it is undeniable that some people will pay for scarcity regardless. In my mind this fits into the same category as the X-Men reprints (#67-#93) in high grade, or a lot 1950s issues that I see sold, particularly by Heritage Auctions. The title/issue might be nearly meaningless in any continuity, but simply by being unusual it sells for hundreds, or even thousands in the case of the X-Men reprints.
I think that you can even break down the “mainstream” and “variants” in this segment. One reason that I would not be with Walt re Star Wars #1 is that it is already a key (even if totally common), so it is the hallmark of the “mainstream” thirty-five cent Marvel variants, which are already scarce. There are web sites devoted to the thirty and thirty-five cent variants, which to me brings collecting these to the level of collecting individual titles. A similar argument could be made for the X-Men reprints. I think the Whitman variants and these Canadian price variants currently fall in the “variant” of the segment – they might be scarce, but there isn’t any well-organized force behind promoting their value, so their population extent (time, titles, possible numbers outstanding in grades, etc.) is poorly understood. Also by arriving in the eighties it seems likely that relatively many were preserved in higher grades.
In this particular case I agree with Walt’s assessment. There will be a cap on appreciation of this issue for a long time, if for no other reason that it is unlikely that many holders of such a common book would have had their copies graded. I think a much better use of the $371 would be to buy a really high grade copy of a mainstream book from the 1960s, say Avengers or Incredible Hulk. These are household names that should be easily resellable around the price paid if necessary. And if the market takes a turn such that this isn’t the case, good luck getting back anything for this price variant.
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