ComicLink Whites Auction

The latest ComicLink online auction finished last night and on offer were three dozen slabbed Canadian comics with all but two of them WECA books. The biggest irony of the final tally for me was that the highest prices were commanded by essentially reprint material.

The latest ComicLink online auction finished last night, check Walt’s Auction Highlights on the event right here.

On offer were three dozen slabbed Canadian comics with all but two of them WECA books. The biggest irony of the final tally for me was that the highest prices were commanded by essentially reprint material.

 

nelvana

 

The top book was a 1945 unnumbered Nelvana compilation reprint of stories from Triumph Comics that reached a new recorded online high for a WECA book of that has original albeit Canadian content. It went for $13,750 . Next came the unnumbered 1943 reprint and slight redraw of Pep Comics 22 called Super Comics. It went for $7100.

 

super

 

The value of this book has always been driven by Archie/MLJ collectors south of the border. Rounding out the top three was a reprint of EC’s Crime SuspenStories  3 with the title changed to Weird SuspenStories  because of a societal and governmental  attack on “crime comics” in Canada during the late forties to early fifties.  It fetched $2122.

 

weirdsuspensestories

 

The top non-reprint books were Triumph Comics 17 with a Ted Steele Speed Savage cover, then two first issues, Wow Comics No. 1 and Active Comics No. 1. Also popular were the two Joke Comics, issues 14 and 18 because of their Wing covers.

 

triumph17

 

joke14

 

The final total for all 36 books was $45,465 for the 36 issues on offer  so that the average final price of each book was about $1260.

Here are the complete results of the Canadian golden age books.

Comic

CGC grade

Winning Bid

Nelvana nn.

6.5

13,750

Super Comics nn.

4.5

7100

Weird SuspenStories 3

5.5

2122

Triumph Comics 17

4.0

1750

Wow Comics 1

3.0

1650

Active Comics 1

3.5

1452

Joke Comics 14

3.5

1200

Joke Comics 18

5.5

1200

Dime Comics 5

4.5

900

Better Comics V. 1 No. 10

5.5

885

Dime Comics 8

4.5

850

Lucky Comics  V. 2 No. 4

6.5

808

Better Comics V. 3 No. 5

6.5

752

Dime Comics 20

5.0

675

Jumbo Comics 1

6.5

658

Lucky Comics V. 1 No. 3

2.5

650

Joke Comics 12

3.5

625

Dime Comics 9

4.5

605

Active Comics 11

5.0

600

Commando Comics 8

6.0

600

Joke Comics 21

5.5

565

Atomic Comics 1

6.5

562

Active Comics 24

7.0

555

Rocket Comics V. 1 No. 13

6.5

555

Wow Comics 22

4.0

545

Bing Bang Comics V. 2 No. 1

5.0

480

Phantom Rider nn.

5.0

465

Better Comics V. 5 No. 10

4.5

450

Joke Comics 17

4.0

425

Scooter Comics 1

7.5

375

Dime Comics 13

3.0

350

Weekender V. 2 No. 1

6.0

350

Active Comics 22

2.0

340

(New) Dime Comics 30

8.0

241

Zor The Mighty 1

5.5

205

Three Aces 52

8.0

170

45465

The evidence seems to be in front of our eyes and the market forces have spoken. Ladies and gentlemen we have now entered a new universe when it comes to the pricing of Canadian golden age books.  Trouble is, this may be considered cheap a year from now.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this auction. Please comment below.

wow1

 

active1

Ivan Kocmarek
Ivan Kocmarek

Grew up in Hamilton's North End. Comic collector for over 50 yrs. Recent interest in Canadian WECA era comics.

Articles: 176
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Stephen Lipson
Stephen Lipson
10 years ago

I was absolutely floored with the prices realized. I do believe this auction may be an anomaly, based on the pretext that many believe that this was a ONE TIME offering of such a number of great books by CLINK. However, there will be at least one more offering by CLINK, if not two. A premium was definately paid. I would maintain that perhaps the prices realized were too aggressive. Hopefully, more books will come out as a result of this auction in the marketplace in general.

Stephen Lipson
Stephen Lipson
10 years ago

I would be very curious as to who won the Nelvana at such an exhorbitant price. The frightening thing is that there were at least TWO people willing to put out that kind of money, if you include the underbidder! I possess the other copy of Nelvana in CGC 6.5 Universal, as well as the other copy of the Super Comics CGC 4.5 Universal, and I can tell you that based on what I paid for my copies, it is a far cry for the prices realized at CLINK.

Walter Durajlija
Admin
10 years ago

This is all your fault Ivan. The tremendous work you’ve done over the past year surely added to the allure of these offerings.

I’m not convinced this is a one off, I’m more inclined to take Ivan’s comments at the bottom of his post to heart. A year from now these prices may look cheap.

These are great results.

Stephen Lipson
Stephen Lipson
10 years ago

YIKES!! Should I consider early retirement? LOL

Stephen Lipson
Stephen Lipson
10 years ago

OK. The reason the Triumph 17 went for obscene money is due to the little name on the bottom right hand corner of the cover: NELVANA. The iconic Speed Savage cover dosen’t hurt either. Yes, The Superhero covers will always most certainly garner top dollar. That is a given. What surprised me was the fabulous amounts bid for the mediocre mid-run and in many canses lower grade unremarkable books. This speaks to the sheer rarity and desirability that are Canadian Whites. However, this is also very disconcerting, as many collectors will now be priced out of the Whites market. Food for thought!

Stephen Lipson
Stephen Lipson
10 years ago

Check out the LAST story in the Nelvana One-Shot. It is entitled the Death-Dealing Double. It tells the tale of somebody impersonating Nelvana, in order to exploit the First Nations people that are indigineous to Nunavut. This story was written and illustrated by Adiran Dingle SPECIFICALLY for the Nelvana One-Shot. This would suggest that the Nelvana One-Shot is not entirely comprised of only reprint material from Triumph Comics. It is also a little known fact, but one worth educating others about.

Frank Bergdoll
10 years ago

A new market is a volatile market. While there has been a core group of Canadian White collectors for some time, it would appear that there is a new interest in these books amongst a broader base. Especially as prices such as these start being realized.

These prices also seem high to me, but what do I know? I guess they are more than I would pay – but if others decide that they are willing to pay these values, then that is the market.

My thought is that there is a huge pent-up demand for these books and the prevailing attitude is: “get them when you can at whatever price”. Driven exclusively by the infrequent appearance of them.

Here’s the challenge. At these prices – will we see them in the Price Guide? Will we see them start to appear out of collections, basements, and from those that have them, but were unwilling to sell them until the “knew” the value? My thought is we will see this market grow and more material will appear. After all, at $13,000 – people will be looking harder 🙂

A truth of these books is they have little to zero appeal within a broader cultural context. Ask 100 people who Batman is, ask 100 people who Archie is, ask 100 people who Freelance is.

This is an isolated market. So, the prices all come from within that market.

The price that shocked me was the $170 for the Three Aces 52. I feel sorry for the person that put out that much money for what is a pretty common book.

Stephen Lipson
Stephen Lipson
10 years ago

The Death-Dealing Double WILL absolutely be publlished in their upcoming Nelvana tome. It was MY copy of the Nelvana One-Shot from which the aforementioned story was scanned by Rachel for that express purpose.

Frank Bergdoll
10 years ago

Also, I look at other markets that have had similar rushes – philately, numismatics. In these hobbies, I have developed a “2-penny” theory of the markets. I look at them in four segments:

1) Top Tier
2) Specialty (including situational value)
3) Common
4) Consumer (marketed collectability)

Each has value, but the question is – do they have value that will stand the test of time?

To clarify these in terms of comics:

1) Batman #1, ASM #1, Action#1 and other keys are examples of these books. They hold and seem to increase in value to a point. In some cases, demand is so high and supply so limited that they increase value on every offer. Fine art is an example of this in the extreme. Age and maturity of the collectible increases stability. For example, there is exactly ONE Mona Lisa, there is a high probability that we have a stable understanding of how many Detective 27’s there are (although some could be found), ASM #1 has more volatility as we still imagine that more could be found/released as prices rise)

2) Specialty. More volatile. Only a subset of collectors want these. Prices tend to rise quickly at times and slowly at others. I include Canadian Whites in this category. Examples of these abound in comics. The best example are two area I love – Duck books and EC’s. (and Canadian Whites, of course). These have had ups and downs. You can get both Ducks and EC’s at well below “guide” if you aren’t looking for 9.0+ books)

3) Common. Welcome to the dollar bin. When I buy the latest issue of Flash – I have no expectation that I’m getting anything but a story.

4) Special covers, special “events”, and product tie-ins. Especially if the cover “tells” you that it’s a collectors edition! 🙂 Anyone looking for the zombie covers of the Marvel books? Ultimate Spider-man #1 White Cover? At the prices “listed”?

I look at the YoY for books such as Hulk #181 and Uncanny #94 in mid-grade. They are very stable at the moment – not rising. IF you got them at 25 cents – you made money. If you bought them at $1000 four years ago?… not so much. It’s a long game at best.

Canadian Whites just don’t have the same impact as FF#1 (which is also not generating huge value increases). So, these prices cannot be maintained. Unless they are 🙂

I should say – the last thing I buy my comics for is as an investment. Even as an after-though. I LIKE the ducks, ECs, and Canadian Whites. If they ever did a series of hard-cover, deluxe reprints of the Canadian books – I would just buy THOSE and call it a day. I have a complete collection of Marvel Silver-Age. All via Marvel Masterworks.

Frank Bergdoll
10 years ago

I also wanted to mention books like Archie Comics, Flash Comics, Justice Society, and even the Wonder Woman, Green Lantern golden-age books. They are much more volatile than people think. I haven’t checked, but to my experience, the price guide is faster in raising prices published than in lowering them to markets.

We’ve all been to conventions where a dealer has a $5,000 book for 10 shows.

Tony
Tony
10 years ago

Not since 2003/2004 on Heritage Auctions have this many Canadian whites been offered in one go.Back then the average collector was stumped looking at the Rockford pedigree copies of Wow Comics by Bell Features and publications wondering where Mary Marvel and Commando Yank were and why wer’nt they on the cover. Fast forward 9 years and Comic link presents the next big batch of Canadian Whites to hit the scene and collector’s were obviously WOWED. The prices achieved were beyond most collectors expectations and I believe will cool a bit during the next round and after that I feel we will be looking at a steady climb in both availability (as more will soon surface) and prices according to grade. Nelvana 6.5 cgc reaching a staggering $13,750.00 puts it higher in price than both Fantastic Four#1 and Amazing Spider-man #1 according to present O.P.G values. Nelvana is a lot scarcer to boot. Does this mean these prices are here to stay I guess only time will tell and of course several more auctions to give enough data to sustain these prices. I can only hope!!!!!

Dan Maresca
Dan Maresca
10 years ago

I have several thoughts swirling on all of this but in the interest of letting you all read something other than disjointed ramblings let me attempt to give it some structure.

1) On the Nelvana Price

13k is much higher than anyone myself included expected, but let’s face it, this is a top copy of one of the very best Cdn whites. The #1 character, classic cover, ONLY all Nelvana book, one of the only single character books, and with an original death dealing double story to go with the reprints.

Now think about how little 13k gets you in terms of golden or silver age US comics. A mid grade marvel key perhaps. A single nice (but not too nice) timely. Those things are nice, and they are in broad based and desirable categories, but they are ultimately unremarkable. A top Nelvana may appeal to a smaller base, but its one of the very top books for that smaller base.

In that light, the only way that the price really seems that outrageous is in comparison to historical sales…. but… what data points? When is the last time there has been a copy available at a major or even minor auction house?

I don’t mean to sound biased, having just acquired my copy and having paid a record price at the time. But if I didn’t think it wasn’t a great book, and if I didn’t think the price really wasn’t that bad for one of the best books, I wouldn’t have offered it.

2) On the top tier results in the CLINK auction

The top four books were:
– the Nelvana o/s
– the Super Comics (archie 1st appearance)
– the Weird Suspenstories (Cdn EC)
– Triumph 17 (Nelvana appearance)

What I take out of that is that the books that did best were the ones with the broadest base of appeal. Interest in Nelvana seems to be a little broader now, so two of those books are no surprise.

The Super Comics and Weird Suspenstories I’m not personally a big fan of as they are both basically just US books slightly retooled for Canada. To me, if I want those books, I want the real deal (Pep 22, US ECs, etc).

I feel like the potential on % growth in value for those books is actually more limited than on the original content Cdn books as for at least some people like myself, they simply appeal for the purpose of being cheap alternatives for the US books. No disrespect to those that enjoy them.

3) On the CLINK results generally

Seems like a good amount of money was thrown around at everything. I think that just goes to show the power of listing a large batch in one place, at one time. The poster on CBD that said this was the first big batch in nearly 10 years is right on point IMO. They were all graded, all up for a fair fight, all at one place, at one time, and that’s what helped the results be strong. I’ve seen it over and over again with other scarce material that a big set of auctions will do better than the same items in isolated sales. There is definitely some synergy there.

I think it also speaks to a) there being some new blood (I guess myself included) and b) that new blood trying to wrap its head what’s desirable. (Stephen saved me from a costly mistake actually!).

IMO, these results will be a mixed bag. In a year or five some of these results will look cheap, and some will look expensive, as the new blood figures out what it wants to pursue aggressively vs what it has already pursued too agressively. There’s also the possibility that some may withdraw if there are no more publicly available batches (beyond the next clink offering I guess). Searching for these on ebay and other avenues can take time that many can’t spare when you’re dealing with needles in haystacks.

4) On Triumph Adventure 1

The first Nelvana story looks to be glorious and many thanks to Stephen for selling me his coverless copy, I can’t wait to pick it up from the post office and read it. I guess I got lucky with the timing on that one buying it before this sale.

Stephen – I don’t think I’ve ever asked you how many copies exist outside of institutions but I think I read on one of Walter’s posts on CBD that yours was the only complete copy? Is that right? Are there other incomplete copies besides my own?

Stephen Lipson
Stephen Lipson
10 years ago

Fascinating insight Dan and thank you!

To answer your earlier question about how may copies of Triumph-Adventure Comics # 1 are intact, I belive there are seven (7). I also sold a coverless copy with the first wrap missing I sold some seven years ago.

Dan Maresca
Dan Maresca
10 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Lipson

Thx Stephen! More than I would have guessed. Can you break that down any? How many in institutions from those seven copies? How many incomplete?

Stephen Lipson
Stephen Lipson
10 years ago

1 complete copy in LAC (Library and Archives Canada)
1 complete copy in the collection of Stephen Lipson
1 complete copy in the collection of Robert MacMillian
1 complete copy n the collection of a person wishing to retain anonymity, but confirmed by myself
1 complete copy in the Vancouver Archives in British Columbia
1 incomplete copy on the collection of Dan Maresca
1 incomplete copy in the collection of Stanford Brown

5 complete and two incomplete copies, of which two complete copies are housed in various archives.

I hope this helps!

Stephen

Dan Maresca
Dan Maresca
10 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Lipson

Outstanding, kind thx!

jim b.
jim b.
10 years ago

What really amazes me is the timing of the high prices paid here for these Canadian books.

I wonder what would have happened if the auction ended a week or so later, after the Lost Heroes documentary gets shown to the public? Would they have gone even higher? Or not been affected at all?

Walter Durajlija
Admin
10 years ago

Yeah or in July, once Ivan’s gorgeous “Whites” article gets published in the Overstreet Guide…

tony
tony
10 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Kocmarek

Ivan I really hope it does regardless of if it was a Canadian or American comic. It is still a comic book it is still the first female super-heroine and deserves more attention from collectors all around the world

tony
tony
10 years ago

That would be wonderful timing indeed

tony
tony
10 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Kocmarek

Ivan I think the next offering will be a little more reserved than this one but I have a feeling if there are enough books for a third go-around that prices will be sense’s shattering again, or maybe I am wrong and its all just going to go through the roof!

Jim Finlay
10 years ago

I too blame Ivan for all this.
The articles are what are getting people interested in these books.

There were two prices in the above results summary

Joke 14 went for $1400
Active 22 went for $340

As for who would bid that outrageously for the Nelvana one shot you only have to read the final paragraph here for the most obvious answer.

http://thewalrus.ca/can-com/

Walter Durajlija
Admin
10 years ago

I emailed Will this morning to tell him the post was up. He was shocked and bewildered at the result – something to the effect of – now I’ll never get one…

chris elliott
chris elliott
10 years ago

thanks for the well thought out and cogent article ,Dan , it’s making me think !

Dan Maresca
Dan Maresca
10 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Kocmarek

Hello Mr Comicaholic,

hehe, thanks for your post Ivan I enjoyed it. Congrats on the wonderful Wow 1.

I think the talk about markets and relative values and such is just a byproduct of how much it costs to collect the various shiny trinkets that we enjoy. I know if I had an extra $10m tomorrow I could literally blow it all on art and comics and other collectibles and still want more 🙂 So I guess thinking about relative values and all that is just a way for me to get the maximum amount of cool stuff, by my terms as opposed to anyone else’s values, as I can.

Besides that? Honestly, I just enjoy it. I think its just as much fun to get blown away by the result for a Nelvana one-shot and hash and rehash the tea leaves as it is to read the book itself!

I love the medium and the books but I also love talking to other collectors and trying to make sense of these markets that are always shifting and moving and absolutely never standing still. I guess I’ve been doing it so long that its just second nature.

I’m actually really disappointed to hear about the elderly people that you know that are planning to give their collections to institutions. Institutions already have such a disproportionately large representation of these comics that it just feels like the rich getting richer. I know these institutions supposed care for them “for all us” but what good are they doing anybody sitting in a drawer somewhere being “cared” for by someone who could utterly care less. When it comes to these books I truly believe (biased as I am) that the way to have the most people enjoy them is to put them in private collections of passionate collectors who will share their thoughts on them online and champion their cause. The institutions are already drowning in historical documents and frankly, are unlikely to care about comic books.

Dan Maresca
Dan Maresca
10 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Kocmarek

“Then who the heck could have been the competitive bidders putting this book into the clouds?”

Ivan all I can say is that there a lot of people out there that spend a ton of money on comics. As I said earlier, for a lot of people 13k on a comic book is really not that remarkable. Its just what they are used to paying for something they like quite a bit. Its entirely possible that a whale or two or heck even just a large fish or two took a shine to the books as a result of all of the promotional efforts, here by yourself, on the kickstarter, and by Stephen on the cgc boards the last few years. You’d think it would have to be somebody with a canadian connection.

However, at the 13k level, it could literally be anybody and not everyone is public about their purchases. I have to think that we will find out who it was before too long, but its entirely possible that we never find out. In which case we have to hack comiclink’s servers! lol

I am reminded in this of the battle over Dave Stewart’s Better run and the fact that I understand a dealer’s client was willing to pay a large premium on Walt’s purchase price, which I think was considered to be quite aggressive at the time.

You guys would know better than me, but I don’t believe the person ultimately making the offer, ie the client behind the dealer if I have my facts straight (questionable), ever came forward. Who’s to say it isn’t someone like that? That offer was sizable being well in excess of the Nelvana price. Why couldn’t the winner of the auction or the underbidder be the person in question?

Perhaps that person’s identity is known and I am mistaken in all this. But that seems to me to be one recent example of a large offer made on whites by someone who if I recall correctly was anonymous.

Dan Maresca
Dan Maresca
10 years ago
Reply to  chris elliott

Hi Chris, not sure if you are referring to my post or Ivan’s article but thx.

So is anybody else out there looking forward to watching the CLINK March preview and seeing what gets listed? There’s an Atomic Comics listed already, and one of the CLINK guys posted a blind dog of a Triumph 7 cgc 0.5 (missing the first three wraps – ie missing almost the entire Nelvana story).

Can’t wait to see what else gets listed! There’s a fresh batch of tea leaves brewin’! 🙂

Jim Finlay
10 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Kocmarek

Hope mentioned this to me last year in our discussions of Nelvana, and since I’ve never seen the interior of this book I’ve been trying to get since the first time I saw a Canadian White in 2006, I was aware of the story title from a previous sale a few years ago where I corresponded withe the seller but did not know it was the only original story in the Nelvana one shot reprint.
I look forward to the new reprint so the rest of us will have have an affordable way to enjoy Canadian Whites stories that have been denied to the rest of us by the few that own them.
Nelvana is something that should be shared with any proud Canadian.

Dan Maresca
Dan Maresca
10 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Kocmarek

Ivan I don’t think you should take it personally. For example I’ve commented once or twice before on CBD and then four or five times on this thread alone. I don’t watch CDB closely (although perhaps I should) and was invited to join the discussion by Stephen and Walter. Without their reminder my four or five comments here don’t happen because I don’t think to check CBD. Others may be in the same boat.

I think you have to accept that there’s a symbiotic relationship between values and interest. Yes, values drive interest but interest, just as crucially, also drives value.

To me it’s not a slight to your efforts that this particular post received a lot of comments but rather the fruit of the past labour of yourself and others

Walter Durajlija
Admin
10 years ago

I’ll choose to take the vindication approach. Fans of the Whites, and there are more now thanks to Ivan’s fantastic posts, are rightfully excited about seeing first hand proof that their passion is indeed shared by a lot more ‘others’ than we allowed ourselves to believe.

These are beautiful results, they say “hey look at us”.

Human nature is such, we enjoy being right, we comment on it.

mel taylor
mel taylor
9 years ago

This whole situation just makes me very sad. I suppose I could be thrilled to have already acquired some great Canadian “Whites” at a reasonalbe price, but this looks like the end of my WECA collecting. I can’t afford stupid prices. And the fact that all of these books are slabbed and may never be read again is just too depressing for words. I’ll stick to my research, but my collection is now officially complete such as it is.

mel taylor
mel taylor
9 years ago

One more great WECA fan almost bites the dust. These results have scared me right out of the market. When I began buying these lovely old books they seemed like a great opportunity to pick up some choice pop-cultural Canadiana at a reasonable price. The “new reality” is essentialy that these books are no longer for fans but investors. I would be very curious to know the circumstance under which Lipson managed to get a Nelvana and a Super Comics in exactly the same grade as the ones which just sold on ComicLink. I think the Lipsons of this world are the ones who will ensure that we are frozen out of that market once and for all. I jsut hope his books are slated for some museum or archives in the event of his demise! Drop in Ivan if you’re ever down this way again. I have all the time in the world for researchers and genuine fans. Not so much the people who are hogging all the fun for profit.

Walter Durajlija
Admin
9 years ago
Reply to  mel taylor

My goodness Mel. Where in the heck is this coming from?

Ivan, Jim, Tony, Stephen and I have put in a good year and a half now promoting this Canadian Comic Book Heritage. Others have done great work before us and still others like Hope and Rachel are forging ahead of us all in the name of raising awareness for Canadian Whites.

We’ve discussed as a group the fact that our efforts are costing us! We are collectors like yourself and we are shooting ourselves in the foot in a way by increasing demand for the books we ourselves want to collect.

The group consensus is that the work is too important to put ahead of personal gain (being able to buy these books cheap).

– “I would be very curious to know the circumstance under which Lipson managed to get a Nelvana and a Super Comics in exactly the same grade as the ones which just sold on ComicLink” – What the hell does that even mean? What are you saying Mel?

Mr. Lipson is the most generous of us all. He has opened many of his books for research purposes risking damage to these very delicate items. Stephen has personally noted to me that his dream of collecting all the Whites is now pretty much shot due to this increase in demand he is helping us all create. I’ve even pried away a few doubles from him but I can assure you it was not easy. Price was not the issue, for Stephen letting them go was and I can guarantee you I got them for below market. Greed indeed!!

– “I think the Lipsons of this world are the ones who will ensure that we are frozen out of that market once and for all.” – I’m a Lipson of this world, I collect comics with passion, I get absolutely giddy then something cool comes my way. I wish there was a camera nearby when Stephen and I received our Better #1’s in the mail, we were like school girls with our giggles, and pure collecting joy is what it was.