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An Early 2002 Market Report

December 21st Comic Buyer's Guide reported the below chart which indicates that older comics in upper grades often obtain higher prices than more recent 90's comics. We note the 9.8 and 9.9 grades are much higher for the pre-90 comics. A likely reason for this is that the older comics are rare in this condition while 90's comics are more common place. Most buyers and sellers realize that it is fairly likely that 90's comics could have more issues jump into the market, while the older comics will not. CLICK HERE FOR APRIL UPDATE

CGC Premiums Over Guide by Age and Grade

This chart compares median prices based upon CGG guide prices.

Grade                 Pre-90 Comics           Comics 1990+
10.0                      +2502%                      +2425%
9.9                       +1,500%                      + 896%
9.8                       + 800%                        +550%
9.6                       +433%                         +400%
9.4                       +300%                         +231%
9.2                       +125%                         +180%
9.0                       + 49%                          +154%
8.5                         -4%                            +65%
8.0                       -28%                            +208%

It's likely that the pre-90 comics will be a bit more stable with the values presented here, while the post 90's issues will fluctuate according to current supply and demand with specific issues.

The reverse phenomenon that begins with 9.2 shows that 90-'s issues actually fetch higher prices. Our guess is that this is due more to the low prices of many of these issues. It's not uncommon for a $3 comic to obtain $15-$20 simply because the comic is fairly popular and many collectors want a 9.2 low-priced copy. As comics drop below the $25 mark wild fluctuations come into play.

Back Issue Comics plans to rely on the above figures for pricing many issues. Issues that are thinly traded can be traded at fair prices using the above chart. Comics that have become over-abundant (heavily traded) often trade at lower prices than the averages and fall well below the median.

Heavily VS Thinly Traded CGC Comics

It should never be a goal of any collector to make huge profits while trading in a hobby. However, most would agree that losing money can be detrimental to one's collecting activities. If you have collected heavily traded CGC issues in the last year , it's unlikely that you could sell at a big profit as prices have dropped forl nearly all. Prices will soon stabilize as the low prices are really bargains for any collector who has been patient.

To guard against this, an astute collector could purchase items that are nearly one-of-a kind and likely to remain so. Imagine the value of the Mona Lisa as opposed to limited editions lithographs of the Mona Lisa.

Prices for the limited editions would be subject to current supply and demand, while the owner of the original can charge any price he wishes.

Where do these gems reside for CGC comics? Very often , it will lie in the none-key issues that are ignored by many collectors and in titles that are popular only to select collectors. Take a look at the 10 most graded issues:

Title                                      November 2001
                                              Issues on market
GIANT SIZE X-MEN 1 ...............      517
INCREDIBLE HULK 181 .............     505
WOLVERINE #1 ...........................     415
X-MEN 94 .......................................   398
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 300 ...   340
SPIDER-MAN #1 SILVER ED ....    314
FANTASTIC 4 48 ........................     307

This could also be represented as a list of comics in which to lose money in 2001. These are all very desirable comics, of course, however any one wanting to sell an issue today is competing with others who also own issues that are exactly the same. If too many want to sell today , or not many buyers are in the wings, the price could be very weak. It doesn't matter that your issue is a 9.8 either as several dozen may be available. If your issue is the only 9.8, ( and none higher, or one of several ) only then you are in control of reaching a target price. You need to be patient until a serious buyer comes along and agrees to pay a fair price.

Plenty of opportunity exists to purchase comics that won't take a beating. Examining the list above it's just a wild guess, but Wolverine looks fairly popular with CGC comic collectors in that 2 issues appear on the top ten list. None of The Limited Series qualify as a lightly traded issue, however issues 2-9 from the regular series hasn't had much action. Certainly there are collectors who like to own a run of issues and would eventually want to obtain these. The issues are not expensive and most anyone owning high grades on these would not be subject to the whims of the more popular issues. If you owned a #6 ($9guide) regular series Wolverine 9.6- 9.9 you would own a nice collectible comic and easily obtain $50-$100 or more on the day you might wish to sell. It could easily sell for more than the #1!

If you don't want to get beaten-up in the CGC market place, you have come to the right place. You will see many LIGHTLY TRADED issues for sale in high grades that make for smart purchases. You can complete a run of issues that you will enjoy for many years and eventually sell without losing half your money. Comics published in the 70's and early 80's with high CGC grades of 9.6 and up are always going to be rare and will continue to command the multiples in the chart above. Whenever Overstreet raises the price a dollar or two on your issue your comic will very likely rise in value with the chart.

Back Issue Comix is dedicated to providing comics of true value. The CGC data base provides you with information that will help you decide very quickly, if a comic has good value and belongs in your collection.

Note that we use the ^ mark in our listings to indicate highest grade ever on an issue. It's not an easy task to obtain a 9.6-9.8 on any older comic and for many issues , it is the highest grade that is likely to ever be achieved. These are run-of-the-mill cheaply printed comics that cannot obtain grades similar to multi-cover embossed holo-foil issues of the 90's. Over half of our offerings are WORLD RECORD SETTING ISSUES. Many are among the oldest mint ( 9.9-10.0 ) issues in the world.

Reynold's Rules For Not Getting Beaten -Up

1. Purchase a comic you truly enjoy.

Regardless of the price you sell it for eventually, you'll enjoy having it in your collection. If you truly enjoy the comic, you'll never feel an urgent need to sell at a low price.

2. Purchase pre-90's comics.

3. Purchase the highest grade you can afford.

4. Purchase lightly traded issues. Use the CGC data base and look for items with just a few available issues.

RJ doesn't expect everyone to follow these rules all the time. These are simple guidelines which may be helpful in decision making when making a purchase.

For example, RJ believes in Tomb Raider, a recent issue, and expects everyone to do well with that title. However, it doesn't fit the rules, (except for rule #1 and #5) and is LIKELY TO GO UP IN VALUE as it is a viable commercial enterprise with movies, video games etc.

5. Remember that comics are published to be read and enjoyed. 'Nuff said.  CLICK HERE FOR APRIL UPDATE



 Certified comics have been steadily rising for the 9.6 and up grades since the 1st of the year.
       January    April
9.6  X 5          X 7

9.8  X 9          X16
9.9  X 15        X49
       It's apparent that history is repeating itself ( Overstreet in the 80'S  with good and mint ratios)  with an ever widening gap between 9.6 and 9.8 and 9.9  . 9.6 seems to be a fairly stable benchmark and from there 9.8 and up grades are climbing as collector's scramble to obtain these gems for their collections. 9.8 seems headed toward  X 18 or three times the 9.6 prices. Will it stop there? Another possible point would be X 25 as that would be one-half of 9.9 prices.

Bear in mind that age of a comic is a factor in determining fair prices prices. Most would agree that a 9.9 for a 70's comic would probably be worth more than a 80 or 90's issue.

A trend I see at eBay is that there is a large group that will pay $15 or $30 for a CGC book  without much regard for the CGC grade. If the book is a rare 70's one-of-a-kind book valued around $100 , all bidding stops abruptly at $30 when the title is lightly traded. True buyers are not present so the book either is held back in reserve or the unlucky seller loses his investment. This same group would pay $30 for the book if it were 9.2. This group of collectors simply  has a $30 limit for nearly every comic.

When a comic is "stolen" from a naive collector in this manner, some perceive this as the new price at which the comic should be traded! The unfortunate part of this is that many collectors have a book certified simply because they want to sell it and instead of determining a fair market value and setting a reserve , they list it thinking it will settle a  fair price.                      

What can one do to keep from being beaten up in the auction market? Look at listings. You'll see the same book  being sold on the same day for  half the price of another. One collector set a price , or reserve at which it could be sold and received double the seller who didn't protect himself .

Part of this trend is the one bid auction.  A year ago most CGC auctions had 6-12 bids. Now 6-12 bids often means that the opening price was very low and scavenger buyers bid the item up in 25 cent installments. The smart seller sets his price , gets one or two fair bids and makes the sale.

Nothing is wrong with bargains at auction. In fact that is why many are shopping there. A seller wants quick cash and is willing to settle for 1/3 or 1/2 fair market price and knows a buyer will be found. Dealers and pro collectors can't do this however, and  need to sell their wares in the same arena as the amateur. Buyers should realize that some comics simply will not be available from amateurs and to build a respectable collection will require purchases from professional sellers who know how to obtain and market collectibles.

Strategies are changing in the auction market each month. If you are aware of trends and patterns, please write and we can print it here. RJ