The 48th Overstreet Price Guide

The 48th Overstreet Price Guide arrived at comic shops a week and a half ago, and I finally had a chance to dive into my copy this weekend. I know I am probably known here as one of Comicbookdaily’s bigger critics of this book, but I do love going through it and reading the market reports, columns, trends, and price changes in our industry from the dealer perspective. So here is a brief overview of what jumped out at me on my first brief reading of the book.

The overall health of the comic book market seems to be quite healthy from a dealer standpoint. New comics are still being led by stalwarts Batman & Spider-Man. Female characters like Captain Marvel, Catwoman, Spider-Gwen, Harley Quinn, and Wonder Woman have seen a big boost. Wonder Woman’s successful movie gets a lot of the credit for this. I am certain this is a trend that will continue and current and future movies are going to keep this momentum going forward. Most dealers gave DC the edge over Marvel on current comics. The back-issue market was much stronger than new issue sales and was the reason for most of the optimism. Way too many dealer reports to cover here.

Increased interest in back-issue niches were reported in Canadian variant prices, UK 9d pence copies – which years ago dealers couldn’t give away for half of guide, and one of my favourites – double covers. Canadian Whites are in here too with a lack of supply of books being the biggest hindrance to the market.

The Market Report with individual sales reported by Bob Overstreet always blows me away in terms of prices realized. Suspense Comics Mile High 9.2 $262,000 (as Chris Meli had previously pointed out) got my vote for the most over the top book for price realized in a sale. Other highlights Amazing Spider-Man #1 9.4 $131,450, Showcase #4 8.5 $155,350, and Batman #1 7.0 $334,600. My gag reflex is kicking in I have to go out buy a lottery ticket…. All joking aside some really mind-blowing prices reported once again in this year’s sales of high-end books.

My favourite part of the reports are the annual lists of the top books by Age or Genre. I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of changes, puzzled by another, and continued being disappointed by another. Positive first.

This year’s guide now contains a new Modern Age (20) list of its priciest books. Three cheers for Overstreet! This was way overdue and I am certain dealers have been clamouring for this for ages. It was on my Christmas wish list for Overstreet in a post I made last December, so sometimes wishes do come true. There is also expanded lists for the Bronze and Copper age sections from 10 to 25 books. No other genres were changed or deleted.

A second, but for me, a positive change was one book decreasing in price in the Bronze age. It was a small change ($50) but it happened to a former star comic Amazing Spider-Man #122 featuring the death of the Green Goblin. The Green Goblin’s death was ret-conned in 1996 and Norman Osborn has been helping sell Amazing Spider-Man comics since then. The Green Goblin is now known for killing Gwen Stacey, but he did that in Amazing Spider-Man #121 which continues to distance itself from #122 in value. Good for Overstreet. I hope this is a move to showing more reduced prices where they are warranted in the future.

A puzzling book for me was Fantastic Four #5 whose value remained unchanged at $20,000. There were only 5 silver age books with no change in value, and it was the highest ranked at #20. I know changes this year will make next years guide valuations higher. My puzzle was that Bob Overstreet reported a sale of Fantastic Four #5 9.0 at $29,916! Wouldn’t a sale like that move the dial on this book up a little?

Finally, the Horror section is still a train-wreck. Still no Tales of Suspense #1. All the books mixed in order last year and they remain mixed up this year.

The War Report celebrated its 10th anniversary and as always it was entertaining and informative. All ten of the previous war report highlights are reviewed. The 4th war report with the change in status of Our Army at War #81 and #83 was interesting. They changed the price information section to a ranking exercise like the military which was pretty cute and maybe they should leave it this way going forward.

Lots of other columns to read one of my favourites was the 1968 Marvel Age of expansion by Charles S. Noviskie. The John Verzyl Overstreet Advisor Award seems like a worthwhile exercise, honouring a very dedicated former Overstreet Advisor, dealer and collector who recently passed away.

Finally a thank you to our own Comic Book Daily’s Walter Durajlija for his shout out to his team contributors here on the site in his Market report. Not required but appreciated just the same.

Mike Huddleston
Mike Huddleston

Mike was born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario. He has read and collected comics for over 40 years. A Marvel Zombie specializing in the Silver, bronze and early copper age of comics.

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5 years ago

Thanks for the report mike,i can’t wait to get mine next week when I pick up my John Byrne X-men Artists Edition.Looks like Mac & Cheese next week!

5 years ago

While I love the book and have bought it for 38 years they need to enter the 21st Century and stop reselling the same dinosaur format with incremental value bumps and small tweeks.
A real digital format that is more usable, searchable and with customization to your collection would provide a collectors input interface to help upgrade values better than just the way they do now relying on just tenured Advisors input, or lack of…
This year they are literally adding new content by going back in time to the 1500’s – present and declining new other price guide info claiming there is not enough room every year with all the new books adding to the page count of the Price Guide.
The solution is pretty simple if they want to be the Price Guide(s) of all comics and comic related materials:

Split the Guide and digitize the Guide further.

I would suggest they split along Ages and Foreign books,Promotional etc.
They could open up the Guide to other books and new Advisors by separating all the foreign books they fail to support starting with UK books , Canadian books, Australian, Promotional etc. in one book and free up more space in the main book for US Platinum,Golden,Silver, Bronze, Modern
and perhaps unify them all in a full featured digital format.

Alex Sorensen
Alex Sorensen
5 years ago

Great review.
ASM 122 did not fall in value if you look at the price inside the guide, it stayed the same.
Also, if you review the Top 100 Golden Age Comics list it is missing Detective Comics 168, 140 & 225 which are worth $38k, $35k and $30k, as well as New Adventure Comics 26 at $30k, and Phantom Lady 17, also at $30k. This is a common thread in most Overstreet lists.
Their genre lists are in need of work. The sci-if list appears to be Atomic Age? (Somehow limited) as it is missing Planet Comics, Startling Comics 49, Science Comics, Star Wars 1, Buck Rogers 1, even Tales of Suspense 1, which has astronauts on the front cover. Yes, it is horror as well.
The horror list is also missing TTA 13, Weird Mysteries 5, Venus 19, which even has the word horror on the title.
Why would Crime SuspenStories 22 not be on the crime list? An axe is a weapon of crime.
You are right about FF5. It should have been valued at $21,500 to 24,000 for year ending 2017. But this can be said for a number of issues.
Anyway, I have about 40 Overstreet issues on my shelf and have helped keep the book alive. Despite a few shortcomings it still is my favourite guide on any type of collecting. Still great work.

Alex Sorensen
Alex Sorensen
5 years ago

Hey Mike, thanks for your kind words.
I agree the guide is missing entire Titles that have gone through the roof in value, especially in the Atomic Age. Some of these titles have started increasing a couple years ago and are still not reflected except for the nominal yearly increases. The bigger issue, which you alluded to with your comment on ASM 122 is that the guide does not generally decrease values. There are many Comics that should have a correction, but continue to plod on.
I, too, have been fascinated with the Atomic Age and periodically put together a most valuable Atomic Age comics list based upon my own work. I am confident with the top 60. If interested let me know.
The problem with a list such as this is that the Atomic Age has so many great genres and any genre can skyrocket in value. For instance Matt Baker art and covers have flown through the roof, similarly LB Cole covers have increased, the Atlas/Marvel girl comics such as Millie the Model, Hedy Devine, Sherry the Showgirl have all increased dramatically. Peanuts has had a resurgence. The other issue is the scarcity of sales.
My definition of the Atomic Age is after the end of WWII (9/45) to Showcase 4 (8/56) but that can be argued indefinitely.
I too hope that Overstreet moves to, perhaps, digital updates, or the like. But we shall see.