New York World’s Fair 1939, DC Comics, April 1939.

My pal Mike and I were talking Superman the other day, we’d just picked up a nice run of Sups from #1 to #11 almost complete to sell on our I.C.E. website and were marveling at how cool these old books were. That’s when Mike hit me with a flash quiz – quick – how many Superman appearances are there in the 1930s? Gah! I know the 19 Actions and Superman #1 and #2 so I blurted out 21. Wrong! I’d forgotten about this week’s Undervalued Spotlight pick, New York World’s Fair 1939.

New York World’s Fair 1939 features the aforementioned coveted 1930s Superman appearance and a cover appearance as well making it the 6th cover appearance for the Man of Steel, NYWF 1939 hit the streets a week after Action Comics #13 did.

Perhaps, more importantly, NYWF 1939 features the first published appearance of the Sandman. The Sandman showed up in Adventure Comics #40 a month and a half later and while the Adventure Comics story was written first it is the NYWF 1939 comic that is his technical first appearance. Sandman thus becomes another 1930s superhero to appear in this key issue. I think Mike and I added up around 45 some odd 1930s superhero appearances, Sups, Bats, Sandman, Torch, Subby, the Flame, Blue Beetle, Wonderman … who am I forgetting?

Doh, back to my pick. I honestly have no idea why this book isn’t three times the monster it is today. The market treats it with indifference at best. Of the 6 blue label Universal CGC copies that have sold (GPA tracked) since 2018 5 have sold at below Overstreet Guide while a CGC 6.0 sold for 10% above Guide. A CGC 7.0, with only two copies out there better, sold for $7,768 last May, that’s 15% below Guide! Even a nice entry level CGC 2.0 just sold in January for a below guide $1700, considering how the floor has risen on all the keys this has to be a disappointing result.

What’s holding this book back? The bland cover? I’d ignore the cover and look at the books fundamentals, this is a smart pick up at anything close to Guide.

The 48th Overstreet price breaks for this book are $1800/$3600/$5400/$13000 in the 2.0/4.0/6.0/8.0 grade splits.

Strengths that make this comic a good long-term investment are:

  • First appearance of Sandman, street date April 30, 1939 (Adventure Comics #40 story was written before NYWF 1939 but was published after, street date June 10, 1939)
  • A 1939 appearance of Superman, one of only 22 Superman appearances in the 1930s, came out a week after Action Comics #13
  • Sixth Superman cover appearance