Bad Investment?

Last month quietly, without fanfare a second CGC 9.6 Amazing Fantasy #15 appeared on the CGC Census (CGC is of course the company that grades the comics out of 10, they keep a census on their website). What made this 2nd copy’s appearance even more noteworthy than it normally would have been is the fact that back March, 2011 the then only known CGC 9.6 copy of Amazing Fantasy # 15 sold for $1.1 million. It was the second highest sale ever for a comic book. For my post on that sale see Auction Highlights #52.

I noticed on November 9th that the CGC boards started discussing the 2nd copy and most took a wait and see approach. Some immediately assumed that the original $1.1 million dollar copy will take a big hit value wise.

The guys on the board did seem to figure out that this new CGC 9.6 copy was one of the old CGC 9.4 copies, opened, most likely pressed, and then re-submitted. The CGC Census now shows 5 graded at 9.4 while a month ago that figure was 6. These guys are Lieutenant Columbos in the making.

OK so now what? Now there are 2 “best” copies.

What I do not know is the page quality of each of these books. I’ll stick my neck out and say that if the old one has a better page quality designation it will retain its value since it will still technically be the “best” known copy. If the new one has better page quality than the older one then it does not bode so well for the person who shelled out $1.1 million.

Lately we’ve been talking about high end investors not necessarily agreeing with CGC’s grade on a particular book. Perhaps one of the 9.6 copies “looks” nicer than the other.

Can Spidey’s first appearance support 2 copies worth $1 million? Action Comics #1 can support 3 (most certainly 4 should the Mile High copy come to market). But Amazing Fantasy #15 is no Action Comics #1 now is it?

Anyway it will be very interesting to see how the market will react if and when one of these goes to market.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

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  1. Wow… to risk pressing a 9.4 must have been a coordinated effort. Possibly having a CGC grader standing by to witness the whole process. It’s the only way I’d want to do it. Also, the process couldn’t have been cheap…

    I had books pressed for the first time in the summer, partly as an experiment. I made detail notes of the flaws and it’s not the “magic” it’s made out to be. We are talking very subtle nuances which I personally don’t believe made enough of a difference to warrant a grade bump. And yet, 10 out of the 15 books came back higher, 5 remained the same.

    Every time I see the above image of AF#15 9.6 it gets me hot… damn that’s sharp! Possibly sharp enough to be pressed into… wait for it… a 9.8!

  2. Inside job? Ha, ha. No, that’s not what I was implying. Frank and I talked about this scenario plenty of times… and we both agree that a high grade book like this is not the type of book you’d just mail over to be pressed.

    First we’d get a consensus from CGC and the presser that the book would benefit. Then we’d hand deliver and be standing there as the book is being worked on. We’d also invite or pay to have a CGC rep witness the process. No disrespect to Joe or Matt but considering that the difference between a 9.4 and 9.6 could be a couple fine dimples along the spine, we’d wanna make sure it was being handled with extra care. All of which could be costly.

    But of course this is the point of view from someone living at the bottom of the 99%. I’m sure the perspective is much different as a 1%.

  3. hi guys, been in this scene(fandom)since ’61 and know
    there are at least dozens of AF15s in that range(9.6,9.8) in collections and being hoarded!
    Talk about scarce try a Showcase4!Hubba Hubba!.

  4. Pressing is restoration. You are “restoring” a book closer to it’s original condition whether you think adding or removing defects are right or not. IT’S RESTORATION, CGC! If it can be proven the book was pressed, the value should drop at least 20 percent: preferably more.

  5. There are so very many collectors who would disagree with you. Pressing is very hard to detect and thus cannot be graded by CGC. Simply by putting a raw copy in a longbox that is full you will be naturally pressing the book, is this restoration? too many variables to make it as clear cut as you seem to be able to do….

  6. No there are not a dozen Af15’s in collections that are 9.6/9.8 or they would have already been graded by now. In my opinion the 1.1 million was cheap for the best existing copy at the time. If we look at the housing market there are thousands of people in Toronto alone willing to pay an extra million on a resale home. Folks a million dollars is not alot of money anymore. There are alot of people in Toronto who pull in 500K plus in a year after tax. People from China bring 100 million cash in Toronto just to play with. So a mill is cheap relatively speaking for that AF15.

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