One Good Reason

Nothing beats good data. Good data analyzed properly can provide opportunities, if not for profit then at least it might stop you from doing something stupid. Speaking of doing something stupid, I’ve done a quick analysis of five Amazing Spider-Man keys in hopes of spotting a pattern. While good data is great, no data is probably the second best for you, that way you know enough not to make any rash decisions. What I’m about to provide is very limited, perhaps even out-of-context data and that is the most dangerous of all. It’s just a fun little exercise and I’m afraid it may not be enough to base any decisions on, though it could be the start of a deeper dive that might bear fruit. I’ll leave that to you.

The five key issues of Amazing Spider-Men I looked at were #1, 14, 50, 129 and 194. I chose these because everybody wants these issues and they are all heavily traded so the data should be more accurate. I chose the highest grades that had fresh 2023 sales, then I took the last sale result and compared it against the historic high (set during the pandemic price spikes). Here’s what I found:

Amazing Spider-Man #1, CGC 7.0

  • High – $44,862
  • Last Sale – $30,000
  • Drop Off – 33.1%

Amazing Spider-Man #14, CGC 7.5

  • High – $7,212
  • Last Sale – $5,280
  • Drop Off – 26.8%

Amazing Spider-Man #50, CGC 8.5

  • High – $7,865
  • Last Sale – $4,440
  • Drop Off – 43.6%

Amazing Spider-Man #129, CGC 9.8

  • High – $57,000
  • Last Sale – $31,200
  • Drop Off – 45.3%

Amazing Spider-Man #194, CGC 9.8

  • High – $5,760
  • Last Sale – $3,157
  • Drop Off – 45.2%

So these Spidey keys have given back quite a bit of their gains: the question is have they bottomed out? I noticed the almost exact drop-off for issues #50, 129 and 194. I’d like to revisit these same issues in the fall and see where they will be.

I’ve attacked a new pile of books headed for our weekly icecollectibles eBay auction. This half-splash from Avengers #59 caught my eye. Forget Stan the Man, in 1968 John Buscema was the Man! Buscema was a monster in this time period, producing his best work and impressing the hell out of me. I love the line from Hawkeye – give me one good reason not to drop this chump! Love, Hawkeye, love is the good reason.

Less is more sometimes and that’s why my cover of the week goes to Sy Barry’s The Phantom #27, (December 1967). The redhead, the gun, the black cover with the yellow flashlight circle: it works and I like it.

Do kids still go fishing? Are there still little Opies running around? Would an ad like this even make sense today? This ad comes from the back of Magnus Robot Fighter #15 from August 1966. This was a different time when kids would leave the house on a Saturday morning and not come back ’til dark! I went fishing once but never took to it but when I was younger I knew a bunch of kids that would walk down to the harbour with their fishing rods, maybe they got the rods from ads like this one.

Last night’s icecollectibles weekly eBay auction ended with raw books looking very strong: a copy of X-Men #3 I graded as a 4.5 fetched $480 USD. I always used to get this book mixed up with X-Men #1 at first glance until my eyes caught sight of the Blob. The Blob never made it as any kind of villain of note; maybe if they put a t-shirt on him…

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

Articles: 1701

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for this analysis, Walt. These declines across the board on Spider-Man keys are quite telling. Given the current economic uncertainty and the apparent bubble across collectibles markets, it pays to be cautious right now. If the investors/collectors who were paying peak prices find themselves overleveraged we could see a glut of keys hit the market in the months ahead. It will be interesting to see where prices are in six to eight months.

  2. Pretty soon those old coots will come out of the woodwork and complain about investment analysis and voice their hopes that everyone craps out, so I had better get my comments in fast (lucky for the holiday in the states!).

    Yes the market is down. My quick rule of thumb is that today’s prices are about March-end 2021 prices, and the top of the market was March-end 2022. But of course the devil is in the details.

    (ASM #129 9.8 at 29k last night, so still looking for a bottom there.)

    The main detail is that these are very common books in those grades. This means that there is no extra incentive for a collector in a declining market to take a risk and buy at a premium to what they see as the market level – there are plenty out there to be had.

    The second detail is that these are in Marvel’s most popular title. It was easy to see that the main feature of the runup into March 2022 was Marvel, especially the core Marvel titles that were seen to have legs (e.g not Avengers). For better or worse, DC didn’t react this way for the most part. So at least if you liked DC and bought in March 2022, you weren’t as likely to lose so much money.

    The final detail I will point to is that I continue to see a lot of the market stable to up from June 2022. Clearly the inflation scare combined with Fed-driven rececession talk from this period was the main driver of the selloff – a lot of people were cash poor and decided to be first in line to liquidate. A lot of people like me are not interested in catching a falling knife, and as I’ve said in the past, this is a long-term hobby. Bid on a ton of books and lose most of them – and always keep your eyes open. I think the others in this mindset have stayed pretty safe, and on top of that the big money investors have not given up (probably the most encouraging sign). Take a look at the Iron Man 9.8 sales from last night if you need convincing – double my estimates in a number of cases.

    As I have been saying for months now, I think the market is quite healthy, and in many areas way above where it was in 2019. If you went crazy in late 2021 you are in a bad state, but if you have been building your collection for awhile it is of course hard to see the paper losses from 2022, but you are still in good shape.

    —–

    The Buscema page is great. I loved John (was not too big on Sal – appreciate him more now), but he still had too much of the Mary Worth Romita to him to ever be one of my great favorites. These days I appreciate his skill in the way I appreciate Swan’s – a wonderful “period” artist who never really gave me the “kick” that artists like Adams, Byrne, or Kane could.

    The Phantom can overpower a girl, woo-hoo. Nice spare composition and colors, but otherwise not a keeper.

    I saw and ignored that fishing ad a billion times. Most of what was pitched on back covers never held any interest for me. I suspect this was true for most kids. This was again middle-age men selling ads to other middle-aged men, who liked to go to the ol’ fishing hole in 1940. The interior Johnson Smith Company ads were where it was at for me, and later the tiny Howard G. Rogofsky and Bell ads.

    I see Bouncing Boy is in the new Legion of Super-Heroes animated movie. I think the time is right for a Bouncing Boy vs. Blob Treasury Edition.

  3. Thanks brian, I’m with you for being cautious but I’m also for Meli who eliquently points out the flaw in my “a little bit of data can be a lot of dangerous” statement. Chris easily debunked my trends with data showing the opposite so its all a lot more nuanced that most of us would like it to be. Enter the analysts, the guys who can see through the fog and get clear cause and effect pictures.

  4. Chris, I was with you when you said Buscema “still had too much of the Mary Worth Romita to him,” (very well said!) but then you describe John Byrne as an artist who gave you a “kick?!” Really? It’s not that I don’t believe you, but, seriously, John Byrne? And, Adams Batman from the early ’70s is a far cry from caca like Fantastic Four: Antithesis! The maestro was certainly in decline when he scribbled that drek! Can’t say much against Gil Kane, but, if it’s that dark under a nose, why not just go for black isntead ot those inane hash marks?! But, seriously, John Byrne?

  5. I went through the early results of the latest Heritage auction and yes comics are generally down. But there are some stars such as Crime SuspenStories 22 and Little Dot 1 both of which went up incredibly at this auction.

    But to believe that these past record sales could continue unabated makes no sense. “Free” cash from the government, no travel = savings and sitting around a computer screen all day led to a bit of insanity. It is healthy to get back to reality.

    That yellow spotlight circle shown in the Phantom cover above was a key element in many early Batman comics.

  6. Yep, I get it- all the high grade silver age & bronze age keys are down….way down, as they should be…as they have been the focal point of much absurd and mindless fiscal attention over the last couple of years. The golden age & fifties era, where I live, is not down…..it is sizzling & I am sitting here watching the latest Heritage auction play out it’s latest drama. This week’s auction has a good number of newspaper reprint comics available…good lots of ACE, POPULAR, THE FUNNIES & TIP TOP to name a few, all of which I was able to buy prior to covid for about guide or less, yet are now selling for very decent money, well above what I am prepared to pay for them! This is not a question of affordability- I do have a few hundred bucks to spend on a book…I am just not willing to do so on books that I was getting for $100.00 or less just a couple of years ago. I have noticed these things selling well on ebay too – a few weeks ago I was watching another favourite seller’s auction & was not able to win a single lot due to the heavy bidding!!! Unlike the nice, early Platinum age issues being offered by Heritage today , this seller’s books were low grade- fair to VG copies from the mid to late war years and all were selling significantly over guide!

    Your silver age & bronze age keys may be taking a hit, but the golden age & fifties era is roaring full steam ahead.

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