Collector or Businessman?

I often find myself arguing between Dennis the Collector and Dennis the businessman. The good part of this argument is Dennis always wins, one way or the other. But seriously, it is difficult sometimes to pick and choose what to buy on a limited budget.

Take this week for instance. I came across a couple of raw Fantastic Four issues: number 3 at around 6.5/7.0 and a number 5 at around 5.0. The number 3 was a particularly nice looking copy. Now this is an issue I have never owned and always wanted to. The FF appear for the first time in costume and the Fantasticar ( or the flying bathtub ) also appears for the very first time. The Jack Kirby cover is one of my favorites: the FF in all their glory. To say Jack Kirby had a way of designing dynamic covers is an understatement, but this is a great example of how much of a vision he had for his characters.

The second issue, number 5, is the first appearance of Dr.Doom and the only issue Joe Sinnott inked before his legendary run that started in issue #44, several years later.

Neither of these issues comes cheap, in the $2000 per issue range. Now whenever you are looking at spending that kind of money the inevitable thought of restoration, colour touch and trimming rears its head. Fortunately the dealer that has it is reputable and therefore that is mostly eliminated from the equation.

Fantastic Four 3 CGC 7.0I usually like to buy raw at less than CGC slabbed prices so I figured I would look around and see what was out there. I came across a few issue #3’s from CGC 5.0 to 7.0 and the prices were around $750 for the 5.0 to $1700 for the 7.0. All in US dollars.

I haven’t pulled the trigger yet on either but the CGC 7.0 is a sweet copy and certainly has my attention.

Being on a limited budget, the collector in me says go for the CGC 7.0 but the businessman reminds me that it would probably be much more profitable to save that $1700 and put it towards an FF #1 or other key Silver Age titles and repeat the process a couple of times to make the $1700 up to get that FF#3 CGC 7.0.

FF#3 even with the first FF in costume and the Fantasticar will never be as valuable as FF#1. So I think it is a necessary fact that you have to be able to separate the collector from the businessman and vice versa.

Collecting on a budget certainly does have its challenges, but the hardest to live with for me is the separation of collector/businessman.

Which way would you go? Continued Happy Collecting !

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Dennis De Pues
Dennis is an admitted "Son of the Silver Age", having grown up with the influences of Silver Age greats: Kirby, Colan, Romita and Buscema.Three decades later, he is the creator of Crash!! and Galloway Park. More is definitely on the way.
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6 Comments

  1. Fantastic Four #3 was the very first book I spent $1000 to obtain. I bought it raw and it turned out to be a 6.5 grade and the first book I also had CGC’d. I tossed and turned in my head a million times about the very things you mention in your piece. It was the first time I had spent that much money for a book and I had thought about the many different ways I could/should /would/ and how I would spend the cash. I did trade the book eventually, funny thing this I can’t remember what I traded it for! I just remember the excitement of buying the book and the agonizing prior to purchase and afterwards.

    The business man in me says buy the FF#5 now or FF#1 later, both have better upsides than FF#3. The collector in me says buy what you like most and can afford.

  2. clearly, if you’re going to spend good money, buy the key issue. FF#5 definitely is the one to own, and with the most upside.

  3. The rule for me that trumps every other, `Buy what you like and you won`t be disappointed.

  4. You’ve answered your own question Dennis. As a hobby, comics are to be enjoyed. If you’re in it for the money, there are better ways to achieve wealth… like why not become a basketball star? All you have to do is throw a ball into a hoop… what’s so hard about that? Or perhaps get into acting? It worked for Brad Pitt. And you gotta love the fringe benefits like… babes!

    Having said that however, you still wanna make wise choices. FF#3 may not be as “key” as some of the other books but it still has value. The trick is to snag it at the right price. If you’re only focused on profit… you’ll never own one.

  5. About 8 years ago I had to stop collecting because I found myself pilfering the best stuff from collections bought by my shop for the purpose of resale. It was tough to do being a collector all my life but at the end of the day the health of my business is what helps pay the bills.

    What I did was find another strain of comics I enjoyed and focused my collecting there. Always a Charlton fan I found collecting the cheesy Charlton Romance comics satisfied my collecting needs. This way the Amazing Spider-Man #121 can go out on the sales floor and I Love You #121 can go into my personal stash.

    Dennis I like the FF #3 at the 7.0 grade, I think it could be bought at a “non key discount” , the trip will be to sell it during a surge in FF demand that I’m sure will come about at some point in the future.

  6. I agree on the FF#3 7.0 as well Walt. The FF#5 raw is easier to find than a 7.0 #3.Either way they are both great books and hopefully the upcoming relaunch of the Movie franchise will be done right and garner some serious attention on the First Family of Marvel Comics. Just an aside to the Romance books. I too have a penchant for grabbing up those as well. Some of the finest comic book art is in the early DC and the Bronze Age Marvel books and they are tough in high grade. Steller copies of My Love #1 and the My Love #1 King Size Special are hard to find and fetch a pretty good dollar.I will have to post my John Romita prelim that Is in my collection of My Love #3 cover!It’s a beauty.You can also see it on my website under My Personal Collection at comicdenn.com

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