Judge not lest ye…

money to burnRecently a CGC graded 9.9 copy of New Mutants #98 (1st appearance of Deadpool) sold for an astounding $12,250.00. The collecting community’s message boards lit up the net, most of the comments questioned the sanity of the buyer.

Did the person overpay?

Let’s address the grade first. I can’t tell the difference between a 9.8 and a 9.9, most of us can’t. Apparently CGC can and more importantly at least a couple of buyers that bid the comic up believe CGC can. Of the 400 or so copies of New Mutants #98 that are graded CGC 9.8 how many are ‘real’ 9.8s? What is a ‘real’ 9.8? The point is if you asked 100 different people you’d get 100 different answers and we’d be back to where we were pre CGC (nobody trusting nobody and web commerce grinding to a halt). The market is totally dependant on everyone buying into the infallibility of CGC as a third party grader. Are they infallible? Of course not! Are they competent enough and consistent enough to earn the trust of the vast majority of collectors? Yes they are!

OK so we now buy into the fact that the lone 9.9 out there can freely trade as the lone 9.9 (no more talk of ‘I’m sure at least 5 of the 9.8s are just as nice’ etc, etc).

The market has been driven by grade scarcity for a while now and things are just heating up (check out my Market Trends report on the subject). Deadpool is an immensely popular comic book character. There is 1 copy that is known to be the finest copy in existence. You cannot get scarcer than 1 and few characters can match today’s popularity of Deadpool. What would you pay to have the best of the best?

How bad would it be for the buyer if a second CGC 9.9 appeared on the census? Many of us thought the $19,000.00 paid for the CGC 9.8 Hulk #181 back in 2003 was lost money especially after more 9.8s started appearing on the census. To everyone’s surprise a copy sold for over $26,000.00 in 2009 when the census showed well over two dozen of them (9.8 Hulk 181s have consistently traded in the $15,000 to $26,000 range).

My tip for the week is to not rush to judgment.  Common sense may tell you that the person overpaid for the New Mutants #98 but I’ll argue that the market is not fueled by common sense. The Market is fueled by supply and demand with a healthy dose of speculation.

History can be the only judge.

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