Weekend Update with Nico

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Without further ado,

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This is your Weekend Update! 

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First and foremost, I want to let all of our readers know that I will be live with our friend Gary Nusser Sunday morning at 10:00 am for Coffee and Comics on the ComicBookWars YouTube channel.  For those of you who are on the brink of losing your sanity as a result of the quarantine, we will not judge you for drinking a screwdriver and hope that you will find time to join us.

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We will be talking about mutants, the forthcoming Disney mutant revolution and X-Men books generally.  I think I should take this opportunity to tell people how I watch a lot of comic book related media. I screen shot books with my cell phone.  I suggest you do the same. It is sometimes too difficult to remember what every book looks like and this is an elegant solution to my less than perfect memory.  If I’m actually on a podcast I will generally have a paper and pen handy to write down the issue numbers of comics we discuss.

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The Corona Comic Market Continues … 

 

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The comic market continues to develop in a way that is as complex as any specialized market.  Major retailers including MyComicShop and NewKadia are closed and major brick and border retailers across the country are closed for the foreseeable future and the entire collecting community is waiting to hear from Steve Geppi and Diamond regarding the fate of new comics.  For some this is an opportunity. For many this is a crisis.

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Meanwhile, the Sarasota, Florida based Certified Guaranty Company  (CGC) has indicated that they will stay open.  According to a press release dated April 1, 2020 “CGC meets a number of criteria for essential services according to Florida Executive Order 20-91, issued on April 1 by Governor DeSantis.”  The Executive Order specifically defines “essential services” to include, among many others, businesses that interact with customers electronically or by telephone and deliver products through the mail, manufacturing facilities, businesses that supply other essential businesses, and businesses that provide access to financial services, including non-bank financial services.

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CGC has suspended all customer drop-offs and pick-ups at its Sarasota headquarters, including the recently implemented Contactless Curbside Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs.  Additionally, many employees have been identified as being able to do a substantial portion of their work from home and will be required to do so. Nevertheless, there are many vocal critics who find this decision to be irresponsible.  Obviously, it is easy to be critical of a business that is fighting to stay open and generate revenue during these troubled times. Our hearts are with all of the members of our community who are feeling the profound impact of COVID19 on their wallets.

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I will do my best to refrain from politics and critiques of members of our community.  I do want to take this opportunity to make one additional pitch for a spirit of civility and shared responsibility.  My friend is a certified comic genius. He recently remarked that sometimes our community feels less like a community and more like tribalism.  I concur. There is way too much of that stuff that goes on both online, on the convention floors and in shops around the country. If there was ever a time to put old grudges behind us and stand tall as a community who loves art and storytelling, now is the time.  If you have the ability to reach out to shop owners and spend some money, please do so. If you have the resources to remind others that we are a community and we all share responsibility for the health of our hobby, please now is the time to do just that.

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The Sky is Falling

Many collectors, retailers and talking heads are falling into these extreme camps when they begin to think about the health of the comic market in the wake of COVID19.

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Some are suggesting that there is nothing to be concerned about while others are too paralyzed with fear to begin the imminent liquidation of their collection/inventory.  I believe that I follow a middle path. On the one hand, there is legitimate cause for concern. Diamond is not shipping new books. The short lived Comic Hub digital plan was comparable to an airplane that crashed and burned before takeoff.  Many comic retailers run on shoestring budgets until convention season saving all of their pennies for show stock that they unload for cash on convention room floors. Many retailers rely upon their subscribers to put food on their tables. While the government has provided some relief for small businesses with SBA loans, it is less than a perfect solution.  If retail shops are forced to close their doors this can be catastrophic for the hobby. Meanwhile, online sales continue. There are thousands of auctions for big books that were taken off eBay when mycomicshop closed its doors. Arguably this makes room for a ton of books and will help stabilize prices as many Wednesday Warriors turn their attention to online sales to secure their fix.  Only time will tell, but I would encourage collectors to stay vigilant and self aware.

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Comic Link Golden Age Auctions

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The comic back issue market rolls on irrespective of new comics not being on store shelves.  I am going to do a deep dive into the Golden Age sales on comiclink. I will defer to our friend ETA Nick for his Silver Age analysis and encourage you to check out his YouTube channel if you are not already a fan.

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Captain America #46

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The first book I want to discuss is Captain America Comics #46.  This week a CGC 6.0 (FN) sold on comic link for $14,000. This book is in my opinion the most horrific comic in existence.  It was published in April of 1945 the same month that the allied troops closed in on Adolf Hitler causing him to take his own life.  The cover is ghastly and depicts holocaust survivors being rescued prior to their incineration. There are a total of 63 copies of this book on the CGC census.

.It is very difficult to gauge the value of this book as there are rarely copies that are sold and recorded on GPA.  I will give you some data about the book for reference and you can make your own conclusions. Any copy of this book is a legitimate historic artifact and my congratulations to the buyer on his auction win.

In September of 2019 a CGC 1.8 copy sold for $4204.

In June of 2019 a CGC 3.0 copy sold for $8500.

In August of 2019 a CGC 2.5 copy sold for $6900.

In November of 2019 a CGC 6.0 copy sold for $15600.

In December of 2019 a C restored cover in CGC 1.0 condition sold for $2800.

In March of 2020 a CGC 3.5 copy sold for $6900.

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Adventure Comics #44 (1939)

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The next book I want to think about is Adventure Comics #44 (1939).  This copy was has slight A apparent restoration and was in CGC 6.0 (FN).  It is the 3rd Sandman cover by Creig Flessel and it is beautiful. There are only 26 blue label copies of this book and an additional 12 restored copies on the CGC census.  GPA data is difficult because the sales are so infrequent. To give you some indication of how hard it is to value this book, a CGC 8.5 MP restored copy sold for $930 in January of 2004.  There is no other comparables to look at that really make much sense as far as restored sales go. Interestingly a few recent blue labels were recorded. In November of 2019 a CGC 7.0 sold for $4560.  This sale followed an August 2019 sale of a CGC 6.5 for $2640.

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Adventure Comics #61

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The next book I want to discuss is Adventure Comics #61.  A CGC 1.8 copy with apparent slight A restoration sold for $865.  This book is awesome because it is the first appearance of Ted Knight a/k/a Starman.  There are a few prior sales, but again it is difficult to gauge the price of these books that are profoundly rare particularly when there are very few sales and even less sales of restored copies.  Here’s the data: A CGC 1.8 with SA restored sold for $963 in August of 2014; a CGC 1.8 with C1 restoration sold for $1050 in January of 2018. There are only 30 blue label copies of this book on the census and 19 copies that have been restored.

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Detective Comics #40

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The next book I want to talk about is Detective Comics #40.  This is the 1st appearance of Clayface and the first cover appearance of the Joker.  A CGC 2.0 copy sold for $4911. There’s a mere 59 blue label copies of this book on the census in total and predictably very few GPA sales data.  There is no comparable data for this book. The last CGC 2.0 sold back in 2013 for a lackluster $710. By March of 2018 a CGC 1.8 copy sold for $4699.  There’s no recorded data for a CGC 2.5, but a CGC 3.0 sold in March of 2019 for $9,500.

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Detective Comics #168

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Detective Comics #168 (1951) is unquestionably my favorite Joker comic.  It tells the origin of the Joker as the Red Hood and for me, it is the book that got away.  Nearly a decade ago that I passed on a gorgeous copy and I will be kicking myself in the rear for the rest of my days for not jumping at the opportunity to buy that book.   118 blue label copies of this book are recorded on the census. There were two copies of this book in the comic link auction and I saw a ton of copies of this book sell in the weeks and months leading up to and following the release of The Joker at the box office.  A CGC 3.0 (GVG) copy sold for $6,200. A CGC 2.0 (GD) copy sold for $4,600. GPA recorded a sale of this book in CGC 2.0 condition for $7,000 in March of last year and the 2019 average sale price in CGC 3.0 condition was $10,024.

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Flash Comics #89

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Flash Comics #89 is the first appearance of Rose and the Thorn with cover art by the great Joe Kubert.  This book is scarce and it is amazing. A CGC 4.0 copy sold for $915. In January of last year a CGC 7.0 sold for $996.  Shame on those in our community that suggest that television and film don’t effect “Golden Age” or “established characters” or “key books” or some other such garbage.  And for those of you who are doing it and apologizing for yourselves by saying “I’m talking about established characters, look no further than the price tag of the first appearances of Wonder Woman and retract your statements.  Movies and TV deals inspire new money into the market and super charge characters in a way that is unprecedented.

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Wonder Woman #53

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Speaking of Wonder Woman.  This is a personal favorite of mine.  If you are familiar with the story of the creator of Wonder Woman and the documentary film that discussed what was going on behind the scenes then you already know why.  Wonder Woman #53 (1952) is the polygraph cover. This copy is the highest graded on the census and all bets are off when it comes to highest graded books. It sold for $5,166.  Congratulations to the buyer.

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Four Color #178

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A CGC 3.0 (GVG) copy of Four Color #178 sold for $228.  I love this book because it is the first appearance of Uncle Scrooge appearance and Carl Barks writes and illustrates.  This book sells in this range with a CGC 3.0 selling for $250 in October of 2019.

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Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 5.46.28 PM

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Archie Comics #50 (1951) is a classic Betty “headlights” cover that is beloved by Archie collectors.  This book always brings solid money. A CGC 6.5 copy sold for $1,800. The last recorded GPA sales was in June of 2019 and this book traded hands at $2040.

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Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 5.47.29 PM

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A book that has been super hot recently is Contact Comics #12 (1946).  I have been astonished at the price that it has commanded recently. There’s 41 blue labels on the census and this is the last issue of the run featuring an atomic explosion panel.  Without question, the driving force behind the price tag on this book is the LB Cole cover which for some is considered his finest work. A CGC 6.0 sold for $3,666. This is commensurate with a sale in February of 2019 when a CGC 6.0 sold for $3,120.

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Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 5.48.49 PM

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Arguably the most iconic pre-code horror comic of them all is Crime Suspenstories #22.  This book is not uncommon as far as Golden Age PCH books go, but it is gorgeous. A CGC 3.0 copy sold for $1,797 in November of 2019 with a CGC 3.5 selling for $1,958 in a live auction in February of 2020.

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Black Hood Comics #17

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The last book I want to talk about is Black Hood Comics #17.  It is a personal favorite and a book that I would like to get a copy of in the next few years.  I see this as what our friend DSComics calls Dark GA.  There were two recent sales.  A CGC 4.0 sold in January 2019 for $585 and a CGC 2.5 sold in March of 2020 for $198.

 

In the final analysis, I don’t profess to have a crystal ball and I certainly don’t believe we are in a situation where the comic market is crashing.  I do believe that there are opportunities.

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As always, I look forward to your comments and appreciate you spending time with me.  Stay safe my friends. Until next time, “Happy Hunting you bunch of Savages!” .

 

– Nico, Esq.

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