The 44th Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide

The 44th edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide came out several weeks back and I’d like to take this a bit tardy opportunity to chime in with some thoughts. For comic book collectors the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is the one resource that is needed above all others. It remains the “Bible” of collecting. I’ve done a few comic cons this year and I’m happy to report that I see the Guide carried around by lots of collectors, those that don’t carry one often ask me if they could look at a guide while considering a purchase.

Overstreet 44th Edition Batman coverThe 44th edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide came out several weeks back and I’d like to take this a bit tardy opportunity to chime in with some thoughts.

For comic book collectors the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is the one resource that is needed above all others. It remains the “Bible” of collecting.

I’ve done a few comic cons this year and I’m happy to report that I see the Guide carried around by lots of collectors, those that don’t carry one often ask me if they could look at a guide while considering a purchase.

While it remains an indispensable tool for collectors I’d like to point out that the Guide could be much more. The fact is your Overstreet Guide can open doors of opportunity. Imagine you are sitting in a high end restaurant leafing through your Guide and you spot a Fortune 500 CEO at the table next to you leafing through his. Yes the Guide can lead you to the water, the rest is up to you.

So the Guide can open doors, but did you know it can keep those doors open? The Guide is getting so big and thick these days it conveniently doubles as a door stop.

When I get my copy the first thing I do is look for the Big B Comics ad, and this year it is on page 247. We share the spread with Dan Gallo, Hi Dan! Hope your ad brings you lots of comic art business. Please note the ComicBookDaily spread at the bottom of the Big B ad.

This year the Walt Award for Best Guide Ad goes to Ted VanLiew of Superworld Comics, page 41. I always thought Ted had rocks in his head, turns out it was comics. Anyway it explains a lot.

The market reports this year were full of great insights most of us advisors took the time to report what we saw and felt. Publisher Robert Overstreet was 1st up on page #89, you are preaching to the choir Bob.

The Big B Comics report by Marc and me can be found on page 160.

This year I was smart, I made sure I had a good night’s sleep and enjoyed a hardy breakfast before reading Doug Sulipa’s report, this way I didn’t have to break for food or rest. Doug comes in this year with almost 11 epic pages.

My favorite part is always the Top Comics section of the Guide (Page #170). Here are some thoughts on what I saw;

  • Superman #1 is overvalued and still forging ahead
  • The most valuable non hero comic is Pep #22 at #11 worth $175,000
  • The most valuable non character based comic is Detective #1at #24 $94,000 in VF
  • A thirds of the top 100, 32 comics actually owe their value to Superman or Batman
  • Action Comics appears 15 times, the most of any title
  • Why is Suspense #3 worth so much?
  • There are only 3 Funny Animal books left on the top 100 list, only WDC&S #1 cracked the top 50 at #46.
  • Early comic books continue to do poorly; I think there will be a re-found interest is the early books like Famous Funnies as we start to see the 100th anniversary of the modern comic format appearing on the distant radar.
  • What on earth are we going to do with books like More Fun #52, 53, Adventure #40, 48?
  • Why are books like New Fun #2, All Star #1, Detective #3 and Superman #3 even on the list?
  • Hey people of Overstreet, please expand the Silver Age to 50 books, these things control most of the back issue market after all.
  • AF #15, $200,000 – nice!
  • Showcase #4 still too much.
  • Showcase #9 has to go, I thought it would be gone by now but it continues to annoy me.
  • Do you think Detective #27 will eventually overtake Action Comics #1? Poor showing by books like Famous Funnies shows that symbolic books can only go so far, in the end it’s really about the character.
  • FYI Amazing Fantasy #15 is still the 9th most expensive book just ahead of Detective #31 but behind Action Comics #7.
  • I still think Fantastic Four #1 should be worth more than Hulk #1.
  • Journey into Mystery #83 shot up 25% and I thought it was overvalued last year. As I’ve mentioned before, Thor is an adaptation into Comics of an existing character. Yes he is done the “Marvel Way” but still…
  • Bronze Age should go to the top 20, it really should be Top 20.
  • I hate the Star Wars #1 and Iron fist #14 price variants and yet they were the 2 biggest winners in the Bronze Age! I mean one cover says 30 cents and the other says 35 cents. This mental block has probably cost me thousands of dollars as I keep avoiding investing in these on the assumption that the stupidity will end.
  • Hulk #181 should be worth more than Green Lantern #76 and why is Amazing Spider-Man #129 still not worth as much as DC 100 Page Super Spectacular #5? Is it the power of love?
  • House of Secrets #92 does not belong in the Top 10.
  • Which of the books on the Copper Age list is an actual regular release comic book in the comic book format?
  • Platinum Age? What’s that?
  • Can something be deader than dead? Try Westerns.
  • We need a top 10 Magazine format section.
  • How about a Current – 21st Century top 10 list? Or perhaps it could be the post 90s crash era when comics came back from the brink. The Phoenix Era?

Thanks and praise to Mr. Overstreet, Mark Huesman,  J.C. Vaughn and their team. A personal thanks to them for believing in the WECA (Canadian Golden Age comics) essay my colleague and fellow comicbookdaily.com writer Ivan Kocmarek submitted. Praise is due to all the special contributors including Ivan Kocmarek for his great aforementioned WECA essay at the back of the book. The 44th edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is available at fine comic shops everywhere.

The covers!

guide 44 hero initiative

   guide 44 batmanguide 44 vampguide 44 archie giant

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.
Articles: 1589

24 Comments

  1. Walt, just to tag on to what you’ve started…

    • I think FF#1 should be worth more than AF#15. Okay, PP is a teen age kid with angst but what’s more important than the 1st appearance of… the Marvel Universe! We all know it’s all about the 1st appearances… right.

    • JIM #83 is up 25%… awesome. At least Thor isn’t an adaptation of a Bat or Spider or Jekyll and Hyde. Hmmm… come to think of it… Superman is a strong man, Black Panther is a panther, the Thing is a rock… Captain America is a soldier. Hey, wait a minute… you almost had me going there Walt ^_^

    • I hate the Star Wars #1 and Iron fist #14 price variants. It’s not like they’re Canadian variants or anything… because that’s where the real money is at. 60¢ or 75¢? 310 million Americans versus 35 million Canadians. We’re more rare… the choice is clear. Make mine Canadian.

    • Golden Age? What’s that? Oh, you mean Action 1 and Det 27… got it.

    I use my Overstreet to press my books. My 9.2’s look like 9.6’s now.

    ^_^

  2. though i get – sigh- irritated with Marvel SA obsessiveness. And Charlie your cynical comments on Marvel Variants i totally concur. But one can go Fetal over real biggie worries about what happened on 9/ll, Pam Am 103, Jonestown, the SLA, whittle things like that. Why worry about all that plus all the other Boogymen out there. Time for a Bilderburger. Make mine Raw. I hope we all feel a little better now. Luv with sprinkles!

  3. You know what Clint Eastwood used to say about opinions…

    Here’s my opinion – Say what you will about Spider-Man and Batman but I’ll always argue that they are original fictional creations. Coming up with the Spidey premise took some thought and it required a good read on the society of the day.

    Thor is… Thor just Marvelized!!!

    I’ve been pressing my books with the Guide for years, 4 years worth can flatten out the worst of spine rolls.

  4. Walt
    I like your comments, especially about the Top Comics section. It’s too bad they weren’t in your dealer report in the guide.

    While I know a lot of your points are personal preferences and some meant to be humourous it does make me wonder how they come up with these standings.

    Some of these books have plenty of sales data and some have hardly any ,or possibly none, year over year.

    Would you say they are a good representation of what they sell for or would sell for if someone was about to buy one?

    Is there a lot of “guesstimation” that goes into the making of the Top Comics list and does owner bias of some of the books perhaps factor in?
    For example, some of these books like Suspense 3 , More Fun 2 you mentioned if they have scarcity can the lack of sales (perhaps due to asking prices of the few that are out there) contribute to them staying on the list.

    The description of how they derive these tables is vague on details and leaves me wondering about the process, especially with their last paragraph.
    Can you shed any light on that?

    I do agree that a Top 10 Magazine format is long overdue.

    I don’t agree that Western is deader than dead, but if it is perhaps they should combine it with Horror or Romance until its eventual Ghostly resurrection or Romantic re-conception?
    If you can look beyond the “guys on horses recklessly shooting guns” that is something frowned upon in present day there is something there in the stories that will find a place in the collecting world along side stories like Robin Hood or any of the books that involve some shirtless guy wielding a sword named Conan.
    Wait, who am I kidding? I need to start selling all my westerns (and Conans & Robin Hoods)

    I hate price variants too and I’m happy with just owning the 30cent copy of Star Wars #1 I bought off the newstand.

    I hate funny animal books but they still seem to find there way into my collection.

  5. Glad to hear I’m not the only one amassing Funny Animal books while actually trying to get rid of them.

    Maybe I should say photo cover westerns with middle aged guys with colorful shirts with pistols in their hands on the cover – deader than dead.

    Guides are notorious for not making aggressive adjustments downward. Maybe the philosophy is that other books will eventually pass them and push them off all the lists. Perhaps them holding the book value but losing relative value compared to all the others is still losing value?

    The vast majority of books are still traded raw and since using something like GPA can be tricky when looking at a raw comic that is not often traded a trusted source like the Guide can come in real handy.

    Again its a matter of market trust, up to this point for the most part the people at cons and in comic shops are referencing the Guide for value, current market conditions may mean above guide or below guide but most still reference the Guide.

  6. Many characters have their influences in varying degrees. The only difference with Thor is that they kept the name. Would Star Wars be any less of a movie if it was called Medieval Knights in Space?

    Even if what you say is correct, it’s still a matter of perspective, ie; All the other characters were just pulled out of thin air… but Thor transcends myth into modern day culture. So if that’s the case, not only is Thor the most successful character to do this but he also predates Superman!

    Up 25%? What a bargain!

    … hey wait a minute. Did Walt just call me an a-hole? **scratches head**

  7. the biggest problem with comics is liquidity. how fast can you sell them to get your money out? as good a book as one might have, you simply can not sell it in an instant. it takes time. and the right buyer. the right market, etc etc. the overstreet price guide is not a mark to market mechanism like stocks, or bonds. billions traded every day at a price. so, if i try and sell my ASM #2 at guide, but it takes me 9 months to find a buyer, what does that mean? can you sell your whole collection at what overstreet says it’s worth? not a chance. even if your books are 9.2+ … what about the ones that aren’t .. say are 5.0’s or 6.0’s? will you get anything resembling guide if they are not absolute key books?

    what about the guy that paid $327,000 for a Hulk #1 CGC 9.2? last month? is that what the book is worth? Guide lists it at only $120,000. how many buyers are out there that will purchase the next Hulk at a new high price? what if you have one? and you want to sell it at $327,000, since that’s what the last price was? will you get it? what if you can only find a buyer that pays $140,000? has the Hulk #1 lost 60% of it’s value?

  8. You’re wrong Nestor, you can sell it in an instant as long as it’s a quality book. What you describe only applies to quick flippers.

    The elusive goal is to try and get the max value which is a different story. But a lot depends on…
    • the book
    • the price you paid for it, and
    • how long you’ve hung on to it.

    If you purchased a Hulk#1 off the news stand 12¢, I can guaranteed you’ll get that 12¢ back… in an instant! Yeah, I know, it’s not quite the illustration you were thinking… but you get my point.

  9. i think you completely missed MY point. you can’t sell your whole collection in an instant like you can a portfolio of stocks. comics lack liquidity….

    are you interested in a Hulk #1 CGC 9.2 Charlie? if i had one for sale, would you give me $340,000? in cash, in an instant?
    i think not

  10. I got your point Nestor but I think you’ve missed mine. If you try to flip that Hulk#1 9.2 within a month of it’s purchase, it may be difficult because that’s a quick flip. Hold on to it for at least 5 years… let’s see what happens then.

    I repeat: What you describe only applies to quick flippers.

    Were you not watching the Action#1 auction?

  11. There are many different strains of books. You don’t market a low end Fiat in the same way as you would high end Bently. Even dollar books from the 90’s have a value so depending on what you hold, there are ways to sell it. Quality books like Hulk#1 in nice condition will move.

    Case in point: This was newly listed a few week back and as I was reading the description, someone came in and scooped it from me. Sold instantly:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Incredible-Hulk-1-Marvel-May-1962-Not-CGC-Graded-Complete-Book-/121424688907?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2047675.l2557&nma=true&si=6ltRxO1oRdYrJkutR106KJhWYxo%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

    It’s just a matter of what you need out of your books which is why smart collectors haggle and pick up books under guide.

  12. investing in comic books is an art, where upon decades experience can never be Gamed. What is truly lasting in posterity can never be taught! No crash course!

  13. Charlie, obviously, you don’t understand the definition of “liquidity”. you’re making my point for me.

  14. Not really. Most things you auction off will sell. I think what you’re talking about is making a profit which is a different issue that depend on the variables I mentioned.

    If you can be more precise and define the scenario, it would help. That is… are you talking about a “whole collection” or are you talking about a high end “Hulk #1”? If you ask $10k for a Hulk#1 CGC 9.2, it will sell… yes, instantly. If you ask $340k, you’ll need to make some effort.

    Different tiers of books require different methods. I don’t have the resources, the contacts or the inclination to deal in these types of books. But guys like Roy do this full time.

    Not knowing how to do something doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I don’t know how to fix a transmission but there are many people who do.

    It’s very easy to get emotional about these books but I would never purchase a book like Hulk #1 without an exit strategy.

  15. Brilliant write up… Due to online auctions ect… I think the Overstreet Price guide continues to become more an more irrelevant every year!

  16. I believe you are correct and that the Overstreet Price Guide is completely irrelevant today for many of the reasons you just stated.

  17. I think you make a valid point about the liquidity of some comics however I think your point also further supports the idea that the Overstreet Price Guide has become completely irrelevant. As all the factors you just mentioned such as the way you choose to sell a book, how long you’ve held onto it and what you need to get out of it and how fast you need to move it will determine the price and what you get for a comic book more than any price guide.

  18. Graded comics are the tip of the comic trading iceberg when we look at units trading hands.
    Lots of collectors still use the guide and I encourage new collectors coming on board to pick up a copy.
    The Guide is a guide. For a vast majority of comics using tracked sales data doesn’t make sense, the market needs a trusted point that buyer and seller can start from. Above Guide? Below Guide? Setting a price becomes a bit less complicated with a trusted starting point. The Guide has always been a trusted starting point for the most part and the collecting and investing community for the most part has bought into this function for the Guide.

  19. I agree that the Guide is just that …a guide. Not written in stone, not the law, but a guide. One thing I have learned is that when it comes to collectables of any kind, not just comics, it all depends on how bad you want it .Logic and emotion rarely go hand in hand. Ask any Vulcan!

  20. Liquidity is defined as the degree which a security or asset can be bought or sold in the market without affecting it’s price.

    by definition, comics are NOT LIQUID. Art, Paintings, Baseball Cards, Vintage cigars, wine, ceramic vases…. these are all NOT LIQUID investments. if you have to HAGGLE, wait months on end, market or otherwise advertise an asset (real estate) by definition are NOT LIQUID investments … that something can EVENTUALLY be sold at SOME price, is again, by definition NOT LIQUID.

    Walt is right. 3rd party grading has been a boon to the industry. So have online auction houses. but the information needs to be gathered and disseminated.

    however, the fact remains, and always will remain, that comics as ILLIQUID investments, and it’s irrelevant what the book is, what you paid for it and when.

  21. To touch on another thread above, Atlas westerns and many DC GA and SA weterns, and some others, are far from dead. I think they are often bargains so I love upgrading mine. But high grade copies often go for guide or more.

    Subject for an undervalued column? Alex Toth, Infantino, Gil Kane, etc at DC. Severin, Jack Davis, Maneely, Kirby, Russ Heath at Atlas. I and a few othes think these are small gems. Thank goodness speculation and quick flipping doesn’t apply to books like these. For me, finding comics I consider undervalued is really rewarding. Its not about their future value. It’s the value the content offers me, in artwork and story, for what I oaid.

    Don’t get me started about some Quality group titles…Reed Crandall and Paul Gustavson westerns, early Feature with Lou Fibe and Reed Crandall Dollman, early Military with Crandall, Dave Berg, Al McWilliams, even Eisner….

    I am told Big Little Books went down 20% across the board in the latest Guide. I know that as a collector and dealer in them, accurately graded FINE or better copies are undepriced ar the new Guides values like $20, $30 and $40…even if they are lesser charcters. Nice condition BLBs are not common. Low grade ones ARE comon AND getting harder and harder to sell. But nice copies at new Guide prices are often in the silly cheap range as far as I am concerned. Overstreet is way off the mark but I don’t think they really care, just as they very often ignore data corrections from collectors.

    Compared to Golden Age comics, top demand BLBs in VF, like Flash Gordon, Green Hornet, The Shadow, Buck Rogers, Betty Boop can be incredible bargains at Guide…if only you could find them.

  22. Nice post. I really liked this year’s guide but would have liked to have seen the “Top Comics” section for Bronze and Cooper age comics expanded more than just the top 10. The guide lists 100 Golden Age, 20 Silver Age and 10 for the rest (aside from the little big books which is 20). Plus a ‘Modern Age’ list would be cool to see.

    It would be nice too if the guide introduced assigned values for 9.4 or 9.6, but as one of the other comments mentioned, often there’s a big difference to ‘estimated value’ and how much one is willing to pay – especially if a particular issue is hard to find in higher grades.

    The iron fist and star wars price variants (among others) tick me off – especially the star wars price variant.

    As for the Overstreet Market Report, I think it could be expanded significantly than just a handful of pages for being an annual edition. It would be nice to see price comparisons with previous years, and have some sort of mini-compilation of hot comics and where they’ve been trending.

    Anyway, just a few beefs I thought I’d throw out there, but overall the guide is great.

  23. Enjoy this article every year! Overstreet as a price guide can never become obsolete. In fact all books listed on ebay and all other auction sites use ebay for historical information and a reference to value. While yes you can definitely find a million sales below guide or above guide that is because smart collectors know how to hunt for deals under guide OR know the market to appreciate a rare or hot book may need to pay over guide to obtain it. All sales prices are about comparing to the Overstreet guide value. Its reference point is absolutely useful especially for indexing and researching golden age era comics of all genres.

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