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

Default image
Ivan Kocmarek
Grew up in Hamilton's North End. Comic collector for over 50 yrs. Recent interest in Canadian WECA era comics.
Articles: 170

65 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. You maybe right,Stephen. I wonder if we’ll ever find out who got the Nelvana book. I know if I had the money to pay for those top three reprint books, which was just about half the auction profits, I would have preferred to spend it on acquiring all the other books in the auction instead… but the market has spoken… maybe in this case it has yelled.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Yeah, Stephen, I’d like to find out the back story behind the bid on the Nelvana. When I think of it, what would I rather have… the Nelvana reprint at almost $14,000 or an Amazing Fantasy 15 in 5.0 to 6.0 or so for the same price. Makes you think…

  6. Does anybody see a pattern in the bidding? The only thing that I can see is that the super hero covers such as Speed Savage and The Wing, seemed to do well along with the number ones, of course.

  7. Hmm… maybe I should kill the column so that I can go out and pick up some more WECA books while I can afford them and before it gets any worse…

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. That’s a great piece of detective work, Stephen. I didn’t know this and this must certainly add to the value of the book. I hope Hope (that sounded weird) and Rachel get this one into their upcoming reprint book of Nelvana stories.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!!!!!

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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

  20. Frank, I think we will see a section on these 750 or so books in Overstreet within the next few years. Bob and the gang a long article on these books that I wrote last year and plan to publish it in this coming edition. What I’d like to see is that some of the non-reprint (that is genuine Canadian material) books start passing the ones like the Super Comics above and the Captain America and Marvel Mystery annuals which are now in the guide and have traditionally been the highest grossing Canadian printed comics because their prices have been driven by American collectors. Triumph Comics No. 1 and Better Comics No. 1 should eventually out price the Timely Canadian annuals, in my humble opinion and a few other books should also come close.

  21. There is so much truth to what you say Frank, especially that comics shouldn’t be bought for speculation. I bought my complete run of Silver age Marvel superhero books off the news stand in the sixties and held on to them through thick and thin when my parents wanted to throw them out a few times and dragging around thirty to forty long boxes around with every move is not fun I’ll tell ya. It took a long time (decades) before they gained any value but that’s not the reason I held onto them and now that they strangely have some worth it’s kinda nice.
    To the Canadian collector the Whites are of course top tier books. I collect them and buy them because I want to see what’s in side them and because their part of what I can genuinely call my own as a Canadian. I don’t have the same feeling for my copy of AF 15 or FF as I do to my copy of Wow Comics 1 for example. The American collectors who swim in the big bucks seas will never get into this market and to try and compare them in value doesn’t go anywhere in the end, but it’d be cool to see a Canadian comic creep into an Overstreet list of 100 most valuable golden age books

  22. Tony, I wonder if the fact that Nelvana is the first female super hero in comics anywhere will have an impact on American collector’s once they find out?

  23. 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?

  24. I’m not sure the documentary will have as big an effect as the new Nelvana reprint comic, Jim, but we’ll have to see. There are supposed to be a couple of more offerings of Canadian whites coming up so let’s see if the trend holds or loses steam.

  25. 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

  26. 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!

  27. 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/

  28. 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…

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

  30. Some great points on the psychology of collecting, Dan, but I must say that thinking about books in a “market” is a bit foreign to me. Let me explain myself a little…
    I don’t really understand the world of collecting comics these, and what the word “collecting” means in relation to it. I’ve been collecting comics for over fifty years and it was only in the last five years that I spent more than a $100 on a single book. When I got interest in Canadian Whites about a 18 months ago, I began to pay a little more and the most I have paid for a single comic was $585 for a Wow Comics No. 1 a year ago and it came back a 6.5 from CGC.
    When I read a column like Walt’s cool Undervalued Spotlight I think that collecting may mean finding that item nobody’s really clued into yet and being ahead of everybody else in terms of a market trend. When I was collecting in the sixties I had to fill in every hole in my Marvel Silver Age (which was the Modern Age at that point) runs and DC Silver Age runs so at that time collecting meant being a completist and in conjunction with this it meant having bragging rights that you had a book (e.g. Hulk 1) that hardly anybody else had (this completism and bragging rights thing I think is a particularly male phenomenon).
    Now, being interested in Whites I collect because I want to read relatively inaccessible books, because I want to participate in a true piece of Canadian history and culture, and because I want to do research in the area and share these books with the Canadian public and anybody involved in comics whatsoever.
    I know of at least three very large collections of Whites by fairly elderly collectors who have told me that they are not going to sell their collections but that they are going into library archives in the parts of the country that they live when the time comes. What does that tell you about the word “collecting.”
    I’ve never been able to really get my head around the monetary side of collecting (though it can’t be ignored). In one way I glad that the maelstrom of hype and glitz that surrounds collecting these days and really hits you head on if you attend a con these days and it’s great to finally have CGI-ed movies that really show off comic worlds the way that they should be imagined.
    Anyway, I don’t want to ramble any more.
    My name is Ivan, and I’m a comicaholic.

  31. 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.

  32. “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.

  33. 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’! 🙂

  34. Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Dan but my view on archives and collections is different. Yours is a very valid view and passionate one that is probably shared by most collectors. I guess collecting something means that you have to own it, that it has to be in your own grubby hands or, at least stored away somewhere in a Fortress of Solitude where it can readily be accessible.
    In the end, I suppose I don’t consider myself a collector of these books as much as a custodian of them. That is taking care of them for a while until I have to pass them on. I can assure you in my dealings with the National Archives in Ottawa has shown me that these people do care about these books and their accessibility to the public. John Bell who was a librarian/custodian there will tell you the same. I don’t think there are as many of the whites in archives across Canada as you think and the majority that are are the Bell Features books.
    I’m working on a book on the artists of the Whites and the best place for me to get a lot of my research material is at the archives though people like Stephen have been wonderfully generous with accessibility to their collections for people doing work on these books so that information can be shared about them.
    In this sense, the archives and private collectors can be the same and the only real difference may be that you can’t really ever own one of the archive’s books while you do have a chance at owning one of the collector’s books.
    Anyway, thanks for sparking these thoughts in me, Dan.

  35. 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.

  36. Looking at all the comments on this post after a couple of days, it gives me pause a bit. This post that took about 15 min. to create (a simple report on an auction result) in a throwaway fashion generated by far (by exponential far) the most response action. I’ve done over 50 posts that have dealt with the creators behind these comics, with the culture, history, and intricate innovation of these comics with healthy but comparatively way fewer responses than this and as soon as I throw dollar signs into a post responses explode.
    I guess to me that this is a sad commentary on what drives comic collecting these days. Collectors aren’t paying the same attention to what’s in the books or what’s behind the books but in the decimal place on the slab or the number of figures in a winning auction bid. What does success and accomplishment in comic collecting (in life?) mean now? Is it the craftiness of the dealing, is to have the very best copy and watch the stock value of your collection rise. I watch guys in stores picking up a book (even a slabbed book) and turning it this way and that in the light to check the spine and corners and I don’t get it. Are 9.6 or 9.8 numbers you can wear on your chest when you attend a con and is the point difference between the two that meaningful?
    Anyway, I should be happy that my post generated so much apparent interest and traffic but in some way I’m not.

  37. 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

  38. 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.

  39. Thanks for your encouraging reply, Dan. I don’t take this personally at all. It’s more of a bewilderment at the general state of things. I do the posts for my own benefit to understand these books and the times they were in better and to share that with anybody whose interested or cares and that’s enough.

  40. 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.

  41. I think i’m very much in the same position, Mel. I know you have some great books and I probably have to be content with the ones I have because if this market trend sticks moving and acquiring Whites will be only for the big boys. The sad thing is I really don’t want them as a completist. I just want to find out more about the artists and the characters. One thing interesting that Bud Plant said in a comment to my Edmond Good post a few weeks back was that these prices may flush more average to lower grade books out of the bushes from older individuals in their seventies and eighties and this might bring these prices back down to reality for those books. On the other hand, this may be the new reality.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. Walter, sorry if this may have come of as somewhat bitter. I meant no offense to the LIpsons of the world, yourself included, but I am curious as to how someone who has bee decrying these crazy prices just happens to have two of those books in exactly the same shape as the ones that just sold on ComiLink. Just curious.
    I’m also sorry, knowing that you have already shot yourself in the foot, that I also seem to have put your nose out of joint.
    I too think these books should finally be garnering some attention, but can’t help feeling them slipping out of reach at the same time. The few I have will be consigned to a museum or archives upon my demise and I seriously was wondering if Stephen has likewise made plans for his collection. Again just curious.
    I understand and appreciate the job you have been doing. The unexpected outcome is what worries me. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  45. Mel, I can assure you that Stephen had those books and had them slabbed long before the others were put up in that recent auction. Stephen is not the type of person that drove those prices up on that auction. I don’t know where that came from and we may never find out. What Stephen has done over the last decade or so is establish an efficient and aggressive method of searching out these books so that they can be preserved and studied and he has never, to my knowledge, paid an exorbitant price for any one of them. On top of this, when this method has afforded him duplicate copies he has shared these finds at reasonable prices or trades with those collectors around him. Our project research has relied heavily on books in his collection which he has shared freely and unselfishly with us, the upcoming Nelvana reprint is at least 80% based on his run of Triumphs. Mel, I know and enjoy your writing and share your love for Canadian comics. I must assure you that your criticism of Stephen is unwarranted and misdirected. He is not the cause of those high prices in this past auction and he is not the type of person to condone or do such a thing.

  46. Ivan, thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t implying anything untoward on Stephen’s part, it just seemed like too much of a coincidence. Now I know. Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back again. Thank you. I’ll think about Walter’s feelings before I comment again.

  47. Mel, I’ll do you one better, both of the slabbed 6.5s have detached centerfolds. What are the chances? Its quite a coincidence, but it IS a coincidence and nothing more.

  48. thanks Dan. Shouldn’t detached centrefolds constitute a “qualified” label? Yet another reason to take slabbed books with a grain of salt. There’s also that nagging in the back of my mind tat tells me not being able to read a book is a bit of a deterent to enjoyment. Maybe one day all of these lovely gems will be slabbed and where will that get scholars like Ivan in trying to glean new info from them? My centrefold is attached, thankfully, but the real treaat is I can curl up in a comfy armchair and read the book, not just stare at the cover. I’m sure you’ll understand my trepidation at the prospect of no more reading.

  49. I used to feel the same way but ultimately the slab can be opened easily. If you want to read them, the slab is just a grade and resto check, nothing more. Pop the sucker open and read it.

  50. Hi Dan
    I get your point that these are just “grade and resto” checks, but I’ve been doing my own grade and resto checks for the last 54 years. The only reason I can see that anyone would want to slab is for the purposes of sale or to put a purchaser’s mind at ease. There is also the sad fact that as soon as these books are CGCed Overstreet prices go right out the window in a barrage of what I can only charitably call gouging. I hope I’m not stepping on any toes or putting any noses out of joint when I say that, but most people would willingly admit that such is the case. Now I’ll just duck for cover. : )

  51. Mel,
    a) Overstreet prices are made up – a fantasy.
    b) These books are not listed in Overstreet?

    🙂

    Dan

  52. Dan
    I should have guessed after all these years. Actually, now that I think about it, Overstreet does list the results of that shameless gouging at the beginning of the guide. And, while I know it’s only a guide, three or four times that guesstimate seems criminal. Neither of my local comic shops use CGC or, indeed, even recommend it and I hope they keep it that way so I can be the guy who checks the grade and decides if the price is reasonable. That’s how I’ve been buying comics since I weas six, and there was no such thing as an Overstreet guide or bags and boards or CGC when I started. I guess I’m just old-fashioned that way.

  53. Mel

    Being old-fashioned ain’t that bad when the subject is good old-fashioned Canadian Golden Age comics.

    I’m old enough to agree with you about putting great comics that should be read (and indexed) in plastic “coffins” (just as overpriced as all that timber and cushion) and making them less accessible.
    Hopefully our Canadian Comics project will address the accessible issue regardless of how many of them get slabbed in the meantime.
    That being said,I have more than 120 Canadian Whites of which about 25 are presently slabbed but that’s due to the fact that that is how they were sold and while I agree with Dan that slabbing books serves a function for some of us in the sale of a book, I prefer my books raw.

    If you ever want to host a Canadian Whites slab cracking get together I’ll bring a few of mine that I want cracked open, including from the ComicLink auctions.
    It would be worth the drive to the Kitchener-Waterloo area since I’ve yet to visit the comic stores in that area and to walk thru the pages of Growing Up With Comics and into Carry-On Comics is something I should do while we still have real comics in real stores.

    Growing Up With Comics is a great book that every collector should read if they want to know what it is like to actually collect comics as opposed to slabs with big numbers on them and the digital “rental” model for all print media that is being forced upon consumers these days.

    I say lets get cracking and start sharing stories.

  54. Hey Jim
    That sounds like a cracking good time. Feel free to visit K-W any time and we’ll probably even crack a few beers and then we’ll have a real party!

    Thanks too for the kind words about Growing Up With Comics. I can honestly say it was a real labour of love for all involved.

  55. When I met with Ivan and Wally at the recent Toronto comicon, we all agree the Canadian whites are being hoarded by about 20 principal collectors. I find it regretable that this prevents regular comic collectors like myself from getting into whites. They are simply not circulating. To buy some, I need wait for a present major collector to liquidate.

  56. I can echo the fact the Mel’s Growing Up With Comics is a pleasure to dream through again. It shows you what nostalgia really is–a longing for home. The best comics were always the ones that were out when you were twelve and sitting out on your porch steps reading them was when you were a real comic lover and collector not stacking long boxes in your basement. Thanks, Mel.

  57. It was nice to meet you and talk with you at the Con on Friday, Steve. I can’t say that the whites are being hoarded by these collectors it’s just that there are so very few of them out there to begin with and nobody wants to let go of them. The best way for you to get one is to probably contact Stephen through Walt. Stephen often ferrets out extra copies with his incredible search network and he does make them available. Other collectors I know who have doubles only want to trade them for other Whites. I began collecting them almost two years ago and have managed to get over a hundred. Walt only had a couple two years ago but now has around 70 so there are chances to get them if you start looking, it just sometimes takes a long wait before you come across one. Get the word out that you are looking for some and they will come.

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