The 2021 Guide

The 51st Overstreet Price Guide hit the stands last week and I’m having fun perusing my copy. I think everything I said in my report ended up being wrong so remember that next time I recommend a book.

I like looking at the Top Comics from the eras and I like making random observations, some of which I’m about to share with you.

  • Of the top 100 Golden Age books Detective Comics has the most entries at 17 and is followed closely by Action Comics at 16
  • Action and Detective account for 1/3 of the top 100 Golden Age books
  • Detective Comics #27 had the highest Guide value jump in the Golden Age at 20%
  • Should Vampirella #113 be on the Copper Age list? It’s a true magazine and not a comic
  • There at 2 funny animal books still hanging on to the list, Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #1 and Four Color #4, both of course went up 0%, how many more years before we see the Ducks go?
  • The Silver Age should be top 100 as well, lets get ahead of all the price increases still to come, give us the top a Silver Age top 100!
  • Fantastic Four #5 had the highest Guide value jump in the Silver Age at 79%
  • Only 5 Silver Age books posted a 0% increase in value and all 5 were DC, Brave Bold #28, Green Lantern #1, Showcase 14, Our Army at War #81 and Flash #123
  • Showcase has the most Silver Age entries at 8, followed by Fantastic Four at 6, the Showcase total sounds wrong but time will fix this
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles related books represent 20% of the Copper Age list
  • The Bronze Age should be top 50!
  • The overall percentage increases in the Golden Age were very small, almost all these top 100 are big key books, I wonder if the Promise Collection will make these increases all jump in the next Guide
  • The one book from the Modern Age I’d like to own that I don’t own now is Bone #1
  • The one book from the Bronze Age I’d like to own that I don’t own now is Scooby Doo #1
  • The Bronze Age is 20% made up of 35 cent price variants
  • Why is Uncle Scrooge #179 still on the list, we’d rather have that than say… X-Men #101?
  • Giant Size X-Men #1 had the highest Guide value jump in the Bronze Age at 117%
  • You have to get to book #10 in the Copper Age before you hit a traditional hero book in Amazing Spider-Man #300
  • Actually only 8 of the top 25 Copper Age books are traditional hero books
  • The Crow #1 had the highest Guide value jump in the Copper Age at 139%
  • There’s no way a Green Lantern #76 should be worth more than an Amazing Spider-Man #129
  • The Silver Age is more evenly split that it should be I think, 27 for Marvel and 22 for DC, plus Richie Rich, I’m thinking that should be 33 and 16 ish
  • Only 3 books out of the 25 in the Bronze Age had a 0% increase, Uncle Scrooge #179, Green Lantern #76 and Iron Man #55
  • They should up the Romance books to top 25, for me
  • Action Comics #1 is worth more than double the top 50 Silver Age comics in Guide value
  • Every single Western showed a 0% increase except 1, Western Picture Stories that went up 3%, I’m thinking that might have been a typo
  • Ditto for the Platinum Age with only 1 avoiding the goose egg with a 3% gain, again, probably a typo
  • The Modern Age saw some of the best returns ever! 9,900% for Spawn #175, 11,567% for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #9, 16,567% for Spawn #174 and how about a nice 23,233% return on a Star Wars: Clone Wars #1
  • I never look at the Top 10 Crime, Horror, Western and Science Fiction lists
  • Action Comics #242 at #15 is the 1st DC Silver Age to introduce a new character, the villain Braniac
  • I’m pretty confident there are people out there that own all 50 of the Silver Age books but I don’t know if there is anybody that owns all 100 Golden Age comics, in any grade
  • Showcase #4 is now 4th in the Silver Age as it continues its fall, it will be caught by X-Men #1, Spider-Man #1 and Journey #83 in the coming few years
  • I like Bone #1 being at the top of the Modern Age
  • I like the Turtles being #1 in the Copper Age
  • I don’t like Star Wars 35 cent Variant being #1 in the Bronze Age, I think it should be Hulk #181
  • I like Amazing Fantasy #15 being #1 in the Silver Age
  • I can’t argue with Action #1 being #1 in the Golden Age, but I think it eventually could be Detective Comics #27

I’d like to hear some of your random and casual observations in the comments below.

Last night we closed out another weekly internationalcollectiblesexchange auction on eBay. We went light this week as we had some people on holiday but we still produced some great results. Our very tight and crisp copy of Amazing Spider-Man #101 sold for $1,410. It was a CGC 8.0 with Off White to White pages and the book had nice gloss and was perfectly centered. We just beat the 90-day average and were well above the last sale recorded for the book. Advantage buyer on this one, such perfect centering, great page quality and a key issue that will just see more and more demand in the years to come.

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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.
Articles: 1578

16 Comments

  1. Hey Walt
    Since you are obviously a huge Bone fan, if you haven’t already, you should check out a documentary called The Cartoonist, all about Jeff Smith and the creation of Bone. It’s a very good look at the character and the guy behind him. I’ve been diving into a few of these kinds of films during the pandemic, also including the Mindscape of Alan Moore (I could listen to that rich, deep Northampton accent for hours) and Crumb (yep, he’s just as strange as you thought, and his brothers are stranger still!). Anyway…sorry, only slightly off topic.

    I too find it hard to believe that Barks ducks are mostly languishing. I have a Canadian FECA period reprint of Luck of the North and have been offered stupid money for it (but I’m not selling, because it is probably one of the Duckman’s finest efforts ever).

    I’ll likely get in trouble for saying this, but I agree Detective Comics #27 should surely be worth more than a dumbass (can I say that without being labelled “belligerent?”) character like Superman. Batman is so much cooler and, I think, far more popular (except for the fact that Action #1 sells for crazy money, even though it looks like it might have been drawn by a ten-year-old).

    You really should look at the top ten horror, crime, western and science fiction! Don’t you like ECs at least? How about Frazetta Buck Rogers covers?

    One of the biggest disappointments of this guide is that it is still short on those introductory essays for each period of books. For their fabulous 50th issue, they urged all of their advisors to keep it brief and radically shortened all of those general histories in anticipation of their big 50th issue and it ended up being one of the worst guides I own, after I had so much looked forward to something special! What a dud! I could almost say the same for #51. Oh well. Maybe next year.

    so long for now, mel

  2. If I am not mistaken… the regular news covered the sale of a Detective 27 recently as to most paid for a comic… it was one million and something or other… anyone else hear that?

  3. Spoken like a true Leafs fan Mel, there’s always next year. I do like EC but somehow I still skip those genre lists, I’ll look at them next year…

    Gerald, one million seems light, the Action 1s have been going for 2 million ands 3 million.

  4. My thoughts as well… perhaps it was only do to the fact it was 1. something million it made tge news. I remember waaaaay back when when a teenager paid $1500 for an Action 1 it made the news as well! Those were the days!

  5. I have a question for the collected wisdom here: Are all Marvel Giant Size books ‘square bound’ or is there a year they convert to staples?

    Thank you in advance oracles of knowledge

    Man, I just got a copy yesterday of Walt’s Undervalued Comic recommendation: Hulk #171…and today he sets me another task, find a Bone #1!!!

  6. That is a good question Spider! I know when comics did their price fluctuation from 15-25-20 cents, most of the annuals came out stapled! All the Giant size I have…which don’t number many, are square bound! Good luck on the Bone#1… I am going to stick to the paperback series I have handed… errr…. Up to me from my youngest daughter when she was into Bone quite a number of years ago!

  7. Hey Walt
    What’s a Leaf? Is that some kind of sport? Horrors!!! You wouldn’t catch me within a mile of any sport. My jock buddies once asked me what my favourite sport is and I had to say chess. They all piped up that chess is not a sport but a game!!! Oh? Like a game of hockey, or a game of baseball or football? I didn’t even mention the game of hunting down back issues, because that too would undoubtedly go over their heads.

  8. Mel, Chess IS a sport. With covid, it’s been getting super coverage online with rapid tournaments, it has its superstars and I still follow them. I’ve been playing it for 55 years and have made scores of friends a few of whom have been comic collectors. I still try to collect comics with chess-themed covers but can’t think of a Canadian war time one with a chess-themed cover.

  9. I think I did this last year and can’t resist a second look with my own $$ lists, of course this can change on a dime. (pun intended)

    Of the top 100 Golden Age books Detective Comics has the most entries at 15 and is followed by Action Comics and Marvel Mystery at 7 – Marvel Mystery has 8 if you accept Marvel Comics 1 as being two issues. There are also 6 Captain America Comics

    Marvel Mystery Comics 4, the first Sub-Mariner cover, had the highest jump at 231%

    Four Color 16 is clinging to the end of the list and is the only funny animal book, does Four Color 16 still cap out at very fine in Overstreet as there are slabbed nm- and vf+ copies. They made that grade change decision in Overstreet 23 and it needs a fix

    Amazing Spider-Man 11 had the highest Guide value jump in the Silver Age at 96%. The highest 5 year change was Tales To Astonish 13 at 960%, but only in nm-, the grades from poor to vf increased much less at 200 to 300%

    The 5 Silver Age books with the lowest increase were Brave and Bold #29 at -15%, (yes, that is a minus) #28 -4%, Showcase 4 at -2%, Tales of Suspense 1 -1% and Action 242 at 0%

    Showcase has the most Silver Age entries at 7, followed by Fantastic Four and Amazing Spider-Man at 5, Tales to Astonish has 4.

    The biggest gains in the Golden Age were Cap 36 at 183%, 74 at 150%, Phantom Lady 17 at 117%. Promise included. The slightly negative gainers were Superman 1, Cap 1 and 2, Action 7, Whiz 2, Sub-Mariner 1, Human Torch 1, Tec 2, 35, 40, More Fun 53, Police 1, New Adventure 26, Wonder (Fox) 1. Cap 2 had the biggest decrease at -8%

    Cerebus the Aardvark #1 had the highest Guide value jump in the Bronze Age at 246%, followed by Marvel Spotlight 5 at 99% and G-S X-Men 96%.

    There’s no way a Green Lantern #76 ($2675) should be worth more than an Amazing Spider-Man #129 ($3890)!! Agreed.

    The Silver Age is led by Marvel at 28, 21 for DC, plus Hot Stuff 1 (Harvey). Richie Rich is just off the list.

    Bronzies – Iron-Fist 15 35c was negative and Star Wars 1 35c was flat.

    The Median Western-Frontier increase was at 16%. Tim Holt 17 was the only below 0 at -17%, Ghost Rider 5 (1951) was up 29% and Rawhide Kid 17 up 23%.

    Detective Comics 233 at #32 is the 1st DC Silver Age to introduce a new character, Batwoman, of course Bathound was earlier.

    Star Wars 35 cent Variant is #1 (242 slabbed) in the Bronze Age, followed by Cerebus #1 (234 slabbed) Hulk #181 (11,500+ slabbed). Cerebus has the highest upside

    A while back I wrote that Tec 27 was not doing well based on a lack of high(er) grade sales. That changed…..Tec 27 is now #1 at $3.2M, Action 1 at $2.9M. Still waiting for the Tec 27 Allentown nm to be sold.

  10. “Chess-themed covers.” I bet that’s a “collecting strain” Walt hasn’t come across! I’m sure you can find a million sports related covers, but I’m going to start looking for chess-themed covers just for Ivan. I once had a thing for comic covers depicting people reading comics and, trust me, there are a lot!

  11. I can’t understand why I continue to consort with these tiresome Marvel fanboys. Oh well.

    As Alex points out, you missed Four Color #16. Sold for 78k in 2020 thank you very much. Don’t tell me it is on its way out.

    BB #28 and Flash #123 might not have posted an increase but they are keepers. I do agree that the non-first appearance Showcases can go, but on the other hand Adam Strange is on the move. That is a not an easy book and his name is “Strange”. In the long game we are going to find out about the family tree.

    I predict if those gains from Silver/Bronze/Modern hold, you are going to see them reflected in the Golden Age in the future. Anything GA with Cap in it is on the move. #1 and #2 are just taking a breather.

    Scooby Doo #1 is stupid. I’m sorry. Up there with Werewolf By Night #32 in my fighting the tide.

    “There’s no way a Green Lantern #76 should be worth more than an Amazing Spider-Man #129.” This is such a bizarre statement that it almost doesn’t make grammatical sense. There are exactly two GL #76 9.8s, while there are 148 ASM #129s. Do you mean adjusted for scarcity? Then maybe from a pure market perspective. However I remain thrilled by any #76 in 9.2 or better, while I find even 9.8 #129s snorers. The original cover for #76 sold for $300k, and if I had that kind of money I would have bought it for that in a heartbeat – arguably the start of the Bronze age and one of the best covers in history. For shame. (I don’t have a guide yet – below Alex quotes prices – I guess maybe in that context there might be some sense to this – but still you will have to pry my #76 from my cold dead hands.)

    The key Westerns will have their day. The Frazetta Ghost Riders are on fire.

    I’ll bet those Clone Wars are really scarce, probably fewer than a bazillion out there.

    I think you are right about Hulk #181 vs. Star Wars #1 35cent. Everybody and his brother appreciates #181, but the price variant of non-MCU book is an acquired taste. And arguing for anything other than AF #15 for top SA is silly. The argument for Action #1 over Detective #27 is the same as for Hulk #181 over Star Wars #1 35cent – in this case everybody in the world knows Action #1, while you have to know something about comics to know Detective #27 vs. Batman #1.

    Alex:

    I sure hope TTA #13 in VF+ also was up 1000%. I don’t seem much point about estimating the single 9.4. and single 9.2 (no 9.0s), because I’m betting it will be ten years before they see the market.

    Thanks for the Detective #233 shout-out. Would you rather have a book that ostensibly has the first appearance of the Martian Manhunter (you sure can’t tell it from the cover), or a beautiful big first Batwoman cover?

  12. Thanks for your two cents Meli, I was comparing NM- Guide values only on the GL #76 vs. ASM #129 and do agree that it is impossible at 9.8. I also like your optimism on the Frazetta Westerns though I’m still negative on the Ducks. Scooby Do seems like an anomaly but go find one! Demand is very high and supply is very low, I think Scoob is a character that easily transfers over into younger generations, I think he’s here to stay.

  13. Walt and Chris. I wasn’t always a Scooby Doo fan. But in my teens I worked at an apple orchard for my farming neighbors the Fisher Brothers and their parents, who had many farms and were a wholesome family operation.
    Every day the apple picking operation came to a stand still, as the local school bus returned young Andrew age 6 home, at 3:30 pm , the brothers picked him up, and got him to their red brick farm house to watch The Scooby doo TV show.
    Every day, it was the talk of the apple picking crew, the delight and commitment of one child and his family to a cartoon show. For that reason alone, Scooby Doo remains a favorite for me.

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