I just received an email from ComicLink highlighting their inclusion of a CGC 9.9 copy of Iron Man #1 for their November auction. Wow, now that is an impressive book.
I jumped on their site to read up on the book and found some very interesting data.
According to the write up over 300,000 1960’s comics have been graded by CGC. They go on to say that only 27 of these have been graded CGC 9.9 (that’s less than one hundredth of one percent). The write up also says that CGC 9.9 copies exist of Captain America #100, Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1 and Nick Fury #1. Of these I’d pick Iron Man #1 first. Interestingly though there are actually 2 copies of Iron Man #1 at CGC 9.9 so I’ll change my mind and go for that solo Cap #100.
This is the first time any of these Marvel relaunch 9.9 copies has gone to auction so things should get interesting.
The 300,000 graded 1960’s comics was interesting and like any intrepid reporter I did some digging. I found some comic circulation figures from the 1960s and it seems that 300,000 would be about the average circulation for the top 50 comics published each month. So 50 titles times 12 months times 300,000 copies gets us somewhere around 180 million comics. Add to that the lesser titles and we may have close to a quarter of a billion comic books to deal with.
I should buy some CGC shares!!
I suspect this book is from High Grade Magic Cards who used have a banner that read “Home of the 9.9 Trio” on their eBay auctions. As you know, the 9.9 Cap was listed this past summer, asking price $150k… whew!
By comparison, a recent Cap 9.8 sold for $5200 and how can we forget the bronze age grail Hulk #181, also 9.9 that sold for $150k. Will IM#1 9.9 come in close to $150k or closer to $5200? I guess we’ll see in November.
If we were to take your circulation numbers of a quarter billion comics, what percentage are still around today? Out of those, how many are in decent condition to be grade worth? And how many still are “key” for it to have any value?
With Greece on the verge of defaulting and talks of the Chinese economy slowing down… on top of the US sub prime recovery, the world has never looked so gloomy. The DJ and the NASDAQ has been hammered these past couple of weeks and it shows in the recent auction prices. ComicConnect recently emailed me saying that they continue to have record sales but a few affluent buyers scooping up top key books skews the sales stats. Bronze age keys in particular have been hit hard and mid grades are not even worth the effort these days.
But what does all this mean 5 to 10 years down the road. Is this just part of the economic cycle or has the CGC bubble popped? Despite what CC claims, I know they, along with the other players, are bleeding. But as they say about any economic crisis… the shake up pushes out the weak so that only the strong are left standing, upon which the next run up will be built. Well… that’s the theory, anyways.
Ever the pessimist Charlie.
The quarter billion comics was more for effect. I think the number does mean that there are way more gradeable books out there than there are graded books!
If anything the high end comics market has actually been a beneficiary of past stock market turmoil.
I think the decline of Bronze Age books you mention over the past few years is more due to the foolish notion that the CGC grade scarcity at the time of purchase would be static. Lots of nice Bronze being graded every day and each new 9.6 drives the price of your copy down towards a level it should be based on actual scarcity.
I think you miss the point of demographics. A decade from now almost all the people that have healthy incomes and wealth will be in some way immersed into pop culture. Our grandfather’s generation sought status through Salvador Dali works while our kids generation will impress the heck out of each other by showing off their high grade 1st appearance of whoever!
I think the higher end market will stay healthy. Again, we’ll see price drops based on increases in supply, which aren’t really increases in supply but rather are initial misinterpretations of actual supply by the initial high value buyers.
Just for fun I’ll predict $54 k as sale price for the Iron Man #1 (there are 2 of them).
I prefer to think of myself as a realist. I like to think I have my emotions in check, but easier said then done.
I have to respectfully disagree Walt. Art and commercial art have coexisted for a long time and I suspect it will continue for a while longer. I don’t think it’s about one replacing the other. And I would say we are immersed in pop culture now. We live in an era where “creativity” is manufactured like an assembly line item based on all the information collected about us through Facebook and the like.
Quality will always have value, with or without CGC. I think the current shake up simply exposes all the duds.
There’s 2 Cap#100 9.9s listed on the census as well… I’m gonna predict IM#1 will soar past $54k. I think it’ll land somewhere between $75-$100. Probably around $85k.
Is that what pessimists are calling themselves these days? Realists?
I will disagree that only quality can have value, as we move into the future things like popularity, notoriety, the built in status of something passed down from the last generation etc can all trump quality. I think here you are actually being an optimist when judging the future world’s judgment!
Absolutely love the boldness of your $85 K call for the Iron Man #1, a solid number. Let’s bet! If my price is closer then you have to be a guest on Comic Culture podcast! If you win, well then you don’t have to be a guest.
Popularity and notoriety is the stuff of fashion… it comes and goes. Perhaps I’m jaded being around ad people and marketers all day but once you’ve had a peek behind the curtain, the magic is not as impressive.
Believe me Walt, you don’t want me on your Podcast. It’s one thing to sit back and type stuff… but if I could articulate as well as you, I’d have my own business and parlay that skill into big bucks instead of working for a hack with much less experience. I honestly think you guys are good enough for broadcast… but the topic of comics doesn’t have mass appeal. Perhaps you guys should switch over to critiquing movies or something more main stream and begin a new career. At least get it on YouTube and establish a following…
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