This week’s Overvalued Spotlight is shining a long-running and much-loved Silver Age title Sugar and Spike. This title pretty much ran the entire length of the silver age of comics. March/April 1956 through November 1971. The first issue of Sugar and Spike has the misfortune of being published a few months before Showcase #4 (1st new Flash) and has had a bit of an identity crisis in terms of what age the book belongs in. I have heard all three – late gold, atom, and silver ages applied to it. I see it as silver, Overstreet must see it as gold. Either that or it is missing from its 50 most valuable silver age books list, where it would be tied for 42nd place. Sorry I couldn’t resist that.
Sheldon Mayer is the creator, writer and artist for the entire run of this book. A mind-boggling accomplishment by any standard. Mr. Mayer is a Jack Kirby and Will Eisner Hall of Fame award winner as well. I am not going to get into to his many accomplishments with National/DC publications here, but a Google search will highlight many of them and it’s a fascinating read.
Sugar and Spike arrived on the scene to much critical acclaim as an intelligent, charming, comic book. The main thrust of the book revolves around the adventures of Sugar Plumm and Spike Wilson, two young children who communicate to each other in baby talk. Adults don’t understand it but the kids and their friends do. Even the dogs and cats get it. Sugar and Spike managed to get into all kinds of trouble each and every issue.
Before I get into why I this book is overvalued now let’s look at Overstreet values for the books.
The 48th Overstreet Price Guide values for the top twenty issues are listed below.
|Sugar and Spike #1||$918||$1377||#3350||$5925||$8500|
|Sugar and Spike #2||$304||$456||$965||$1658||$2350|
|Sugar and Spike #3-5||$168||$252||$538||$919||$1300|
|Sugar and Spike #6-10||$100||$150||$315||$533||$750|
|Sugar and Spike #11-20||$78||$117||$271||$378||$525|
A quick 9.2 rundown for the balance of the run.
Sugar and Spike #21-30 $350, #31-40 $260, #41-60 $150, #61-80 $115, #81-98 $85.
There were some giant-size and first appearances that had $10-20 premiums in this group.
So why do I think these books are overvalued?
I have been watching these books for some time now. They are by all indications difficult to find in grade, especially the early issues. This makes sense. Comic books were just coming off of a low point in popularity in the mid-fifties, and kid’s books weren’t likely going to stand up to well if they were read by them. They were likely kept and read, coloured with crayons until destruction. Hence “scarce” and “rare” tags are often applied to them. There are not tonnes of these books in grade in the CGC census or on auction.
ComicLink’s July auction had three low grade (average 4.0) early books #6,9, & 11 that got about 70% of guide. They also have some later issues in higher grade in their “for sale” section, but they don’t have any offers. I have watched others come and go the same way. I checked E-Bay. There are lots of copies of this title for sale there. Of the 400 or so copies of Sugar and Spike for sale, almost all of them are valued below $100 and most are raw copies. Not much turnover there either. In both the auctions and eBay sales they were struggling to get guide prices and most often sold for less. I checked with five different brick and mortar stores. Most of the owners said they didn’t see much of the book and had no one coming into the store looking for them. The demand for these books now seems low.
If you look at the issues of Sugar and Spike in the Overstreet prices listed above, they are pretty close to Batman “run book” prices for the same time periods. It is hard for me to think of Batman and Sugar and Spike comics sharing a similar value in price today. The title may have been very popular years ago but I think that popularity has waned and Overstreet prices are not reflecting this.
Rare and scarce don’t count without demand.
You will notice I did not count #1 in the title above. I have no doubt that if a 9.0 Sugar and Spike #1 hit the market it would fetch a bundle. I think the low-grade collectors of this book are happy to have the 2002 reprint of Sugar and Spike #1 in their collection and would leave it at that. A high-grade #1 would definitely attract the investor crowd, I would be shocked if it didn’t get guide. All the rest of the books for me are suspect.
Time for an Overstreet brush cut in prices for Sugar and Spike.