Time for Some Schoolin’

Ever notice how summer starts way before June 21st? I’m mostly speaking to North Americans that live north of the Mason Dixon line when I say this, we all understand that the weather kind of tells us summer is here more than the calendar does. It’s the opposite though for this time of year, most of us associate a long weekend holiday at the beginning of September (Labour Day where I am) with summer’s end, though we officially have almost three more weeks of L’Ete. It’s the back-to-school thing that really drives home the feeling that summer is over and it’s also the time most of us working folk make some sort of lame resolution to “really” start working, like we’ve been going through the motions these past couple of months. I’m one of those guys, I’m telling myself I’m gonna really start picking up the slack starting Tuesday! Of course, this whole spiel above was just a smoke screen as I try to give myself an out for this weekend’s post, you see the long weekend had me away from the shop so I don’t have the “auction pile” books to reference but I do want to take the time to go over a few things.

I’ve been doing some macro level thinking about the comic market in hopes of seeing some patterns I could use to make broad deductions, I’m not sure I’d act on these deductions as they are pretty vague but perhaps if a few of these deductions start aligning then maybe I’d have a better sense of the direction we’re heading in. Did you know that 8 CGC graded comics sold for over $1 Million in 2021, and that number rose to 9 CGC graded books selling for over $1 Million in 2022, I quickly checked the CGC news and am pretty sure only 5 CGC graded copies have passed the $1 Million plateau this year. I think this top end of the market is an important barometer for the overall market though I do understand that this end of the market is fickle and is totally dependent on how many quality offerings come up for sale. I do think the fact that we are behind the pace of the past two years tells us the people holding the big books might not have enough confidence in the market to cash out at the moment. The big money is relatively quiet at the moment, we need this segment to make news again, that confidence will trickle down is my view.

I can tell you that we are doing a second Canadiana auction on eBay in October/November – final date not nailed down yet. The last one we held in the late spring did great and it flushed out some very nice new consignments that the seller is not willing to wait until next spring for. Below are a couple of items trickling in. The Canadian Edition of Brick Bradford #6 features the classic robot cover, I think this book will enjoy some strong bidding.

The Canadian edition of Black Cat #14 features a great Halloween cover, good timing for an October auction if you ask me.

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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David Mackay
David Mackay
7 months ago

Arnold Richardson? Arnot Richardson? penciled on the cover Walt of Brick Bradford?
I wonder if he is still alive?
Have you ever bought a collection with a person’s name pencilled on the covers, only to meet them later?
Always intrigued me.

Chris Meli
Chris Meli
7 months ago

I agree that big sales are important for recognition, but these days I think more about the multimedia influence, particularly movies. The movie situation is pretty ugly right now (and Disney+ not good either), and I think a lot of people wonder what will happen to the value of comics if this continues. I hate the concept of “investment rotation”, but it still seems like we are seeing rotation out of the big superheroes (particularly Marvel superheroes) and into other kinds of books. I have been stung by a number of good Marvel books at “very low” prices, but I have tried to stay focused on scarce Golden Age books, particularly the war years and the early fifties. In decent condition these seem to be hanging in there well.

Agreed that GA + Robot + Canadian = $$$

activejim
activejim
7 months ago

I have only 1 sales data entry for each of the those books Walt and both are early 2000’s.
I suspect there were stealth sales over the years because the covers don’t shout “I’m a Canadian edition”
They are both due for a big bump in your auction and I’ll be bidding too.

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
7 months ago

Since I am now an active seller I can say for the past few weeks I agree with Mr. Meli’s assessment of the market. As I have said before most 90’s comics are dead unless there is an intro to a character. Silver Age sells but unless again there is a charter introduction then sales are relatively flat… they sell but not for a lot more then my beginning auction prices at 9-15 bucks each. The 1st intro’s do really well into the hundreds sometimes. Golden Age sells really well and some issues land into the 4 digit range. What I am truly amazed about are the readers and incomplete issues… they sell like hot cakes! I don’t know if people want cheap reads or if there are still completists out there filling holes but I have probably shipped 100 ragtag or missing page books over the last few months.

Spider
Spider
7 months ago

Gerald, my ebay sales page also gives me an insight into the market …and for me it’s very concerning! I do everything I can to amass really nice books, I’ll upgrade when I can, be patient and wait for those higher quality books, I’ve taught mysle clean and press, interleaving panels…and it’s becoming apparent that the readers/beaters seem to sell quickly, whilst the nicer high-grade books just sit there!

As an example: I’ve sold Avengers #144 (1st Hellcat) constantly as I upgrade (no, seriously, that book is beat-to-sh!t in most cases) and the worse the grade the easier they sell…my VF just sits there…whilst the Good, and Fine sell immediately!

Even the local facebook pages confirm that mid-grade is where all the sales seem to be, and on Instagram guys are saying that slab sales are way down – there may some separation between the investors (I must have a 9.8!) and readers (If I can read it, then that’s good enough)…whilst I sit in between the 2 with VF+ to VF/NM issues as my target. I may have made a mistake!!! (teasing, I love reading high grade books and they make me happy)