Mystery in Space #1, DC Comics, April/May 1951.
This week’s Undervalued Spotlight has been on my radar for a while, two recent sales results have convinced me it was time to dust off and shine this week’s Spotlight on Mystery in Space #1.
Mystery in Space #1 brings a lot to the table, it features the 1st appearance of the Knights of the Galaxy, an interplanetary police force from the 25th century. The team features Korvo, Commander Artho, Prof Vorko and the two characters featured on the cover – Lyle and Ora. 25th century? Wouldn’t a cross over with contemporary Buck Rogers be the coolest thing ever!
Mystery in Space #1 also features 8 pages of Frank Frazetta art, the legend and the weight of Frazetta will only grow and comics with his art inside will continue to have healthy demand.
Check out Carmine Infantino’s really strong cover featuring a jet black background making higher grade, high gloss copies coveted then add some well drawn GGA with a damsel in distress and you have a winning cover. That’s a good looking book right there.
Something I have not focused on or alluded to enough over the last bunch of Spotlights is the enduring demand for #1 covers, 1st appearances are good and #1’s are good, having a 1st appearance in a #1 is even better.
Mystery in Space #1 was also published in those scarce years for comics, by 1951 most of the super heroes had come and gone, crime and horror ruled the stands. DC’s from this era are tough finds so any uptick in demand can affect pricing quite dramatically.
The recent sales I mentioned above included a CGC 8.0 selling for $2,600 in september and a CGC 7.0 selling for $1,440 last month. Both results were about 20% below previous sales.
Mystery in Space #1 is relatively scare with only 91 copies Universally graded, the book does trade though, there where two graded copies available on line as of this post.
Mystery in Space #1 is a strong Golden Age #1 of a long running and popular anthology series, I’d love jump into this book with a strong glossy CGC 6.0.
The 48th Overstreet price breaks for this book are $756/$2079/$4690/$7300 in the 6.0/8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.
Strengths that make this comic a good long-term investment are:
- First appearance Knights of the Galaxy
- Deep black cover making higher grade higher gloss covers coveted
- GGA damsel in distress cover
Thrre was one for sale locally in the late 80s for $400. In about VG. I should have bought it as I never saw another one since.
The White Mountain 9.2 copy is for sale right now on Heritage. Gorgeous looking copy.
A solid VG is a keeper on this one Klaus..
I did see that White Mountain copy, what do you think it goes for ?? $10,000 – over or under ??
In my looking for late golden age comics I have noticed some bargain prices on DC sci-fi books in comparison to the high prices on EC books and others. I’m willing to throw some love in DC’s direction!
The first answer is: far more than $10,000. It seems unlikely to me that another 9.2 or better will emerge given how populations have developed historically. Even at $20k it would be at a big discount relative to the price implied by 7.0 to 8.5 sales.
I love everything about this book but I am not on board with the “undervalued” call. As usual I am taking this purely in price terms. I think the key issue is: DC. This book sits with a bunch of other dusty #1’s: Big Town, Danger Trail, My Greatest Adventure. Let’s not even get into Bob Hope or A Date With Judy.
The same month this came out, Tales From The Crypt #23 came out, sporting a true classic cover of a zombie emerging from a coffin to (presumably) torment a guy trapped in the mausoleum. Now that is what people are looking for from April 1950. Or a year earlier: Phantom Lady #23. Zow! DC’s family friendly, good guy, no code necessary stuff is b-o-o-ring. The damsel here is not going to get really interesting until Superhorse comes along.
Price action has been generally uninspiring. I think some folks thought it was time in late 2017 and early 2018, but recently this seems to have been disproved by the sales you note. That 8.0 is worse than your comment suggests – the same that sold for $4.1k in February 2018 sold for $2.6k in September of this year. Arrgh!
If I was going to get involved I would not go for a 6.0 as you suggest. I would be looking for a top ten copy at a bargain. That translates into a 8.5 copy selling for about double the 2002 price, or $2.6k. (Yes I realize that’s the last 8.0 level.) The only hope for this book is amongst wealthy aesthetes, not the semi-unwashed 6.0 buyers.
If I was a “true” collector and had money to burn I would be after that White Mountain copy, but as an investment-directed collector whose money is already burnt, I am looking elsewhere (did someone say Planet???).
Verdict: Musty in Space
Oops, my dates above a bit confused – Tales From The Crypt #23 was indeed from the same month/year, but that should have been 1951. Phantom Lady #23 was two years earlier (1949).
I’ve just been called a semi-unwashed 6.0 buyer, good thing I didn’t say I’d be happy just to have a copy at 2.0…
Call me dirty and point me in the direction of the 2.0!