Awesome books. I couldn't be happier with the grades.
Awesome books. I couldn't be happier with the grades.
The big news this month is the fact that there's a Detective Comics #27 CGC 9.2 in the CGC Census.
And… officially, that's all we know about the book.
What a tantalizing single digit- the "1" in the 9.2 column.
Since we don't know anything, it's time to speculate.
After some discussion, I think there are three reasonable possibilities for this book.
I've actually heard about this book from a few people and… I've gotten conflicting stories about the origin of the book. Which is rare. Normally, someone knows something, even if I can't talk about it. This time… no one is sure.
We've been expecting the book to surface for auction but it looks like it's not coming up for air any time soon. It appears this will remain a tantalizing mystery.
As for the question of value… If this book were to come up for auction it would be the new record holder. This is the most valuable CGC graded comic right now.
The ComicLink summer auction closed with a Brave and the Bold 28 CGC 9.2 selling for $120,000, which feels like a pretty fair number for that book. Two 9.2s have sold for more than $100,000 this year.
What are the 9.4s worth now? One of them sold for "over $100,000" privately in 2009. Depending on how far "over" that book has probably doubled in five years. Which is basically what it had done in the previous five years, selling for around $60k in 2004.
Silver Age DCs are crazy books. They're tough as hell and the collector pool isn't what it is for Silver Age Marvels so there's less activity. That makes them hard to value and makes it difficult to predict where they'll end up price-wise when they do surface. See this book on the upside and the disappointing recent history of high grade Showcase #4s for evidence on the downside.
The most interesting lot for sale at the upcoming Heritage auction is the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #300. There's not much art on the board, most of it is a stat, but it's an iconic cover to a key issue so it's still a crazy piece which will have a lot of interest when it comes up for auction. On the CGC forum it was reported to have sold for $125,000 to a collector in China 2-3 years ago. It will go for more now, I would think. There are a lot of people who will be interested in this cover up to a point. What that point is ($200k?) and how many people are "in it to win it" will determine if it surprises or underwhelms at auction.
That's it for this month. I'll be back the first Wednesday in November with more comics and original art news to BLOW YOUR MIND.
Check it out: The Million Year Picnic
The story one of the world’s oldest comic book stores and how it continues to be a place where generations of fans gather.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada Film
Very little is known about the wonderful places we buy comics from and the assortment of characters that run them. In the mid 80s I was the manager of The Million Year Picnic, a staple destination of hardcore fans of the medium for over 40 years. Many amazing artists, writers and film makers have either been inspired by, worked for, shopped in or have been promoted by the store over its history. In 2011, Jerry Weist, the founder of the store, died of cancer and I was faced with the terrible fact that time was running out to talk to those responsible for the store’s story.
I have been working on MillionYear Picnic for over 4 years now, buying equipment with my own resources, finding contacts and setting up interviews but I am at the point I need more than my own meagre savings account to make this documentary happen in a way that will touch and inform people. I need you.
I hate to think one day the MYP might close and even the memory of the store will be lost forever. I really want – not just to document the store’s history – but remind people how important these sort of small independent places are to our lives.
Where the project is at:
1: I’ve already done 6 of roughly 12 interviews but I need:
2: Travel to get to the rest (Michigan, Minneapolis, Boston, and more).
3: Collect photos and documents from near and far.
4: Get original music and clear rights to some materials.
5: Post production and storage disks for the film.
6: Get the film to the public!
What you can do to help me get this film done:
Give money, of course. I am about as small and independent as you can get so every cent counts and makes the film better.
If you have information, photos anything… pass them along and I’ll make sure you get credit for it in the film.
If you have talent with music, post production, publicity skills or ideas – feel free to offer them!
If you are in the comics or genre field and have an MYP connection…I need to talk to you!
There's no better time to launch a new feature here on the blog than in the heady afterglow of a new world record price for a comic book. As you probably know if you're reading this blog, Pristine Comics auctioned off a CGC 9.0 copy of Action Comics #1 on August 24, 2014. It sold for a staggering $3,207,852.00.
Of the many interesting threads surrounding the book, the one that has dominated discussion in comic book circles is the fact that Metropolis Comics was the winner of the auction. We were able to spot their entry into bidding on the final day by matching their feedback score (2501 at the time) to the feedback score of the "anonymous" bidder listed on eBay. The discussion of what it meant for Metro to got after the book started almost immediately.
Since they're the biggest comic dealers on the planet and the biggest comic auction house that has a true public face, Metropolis can be polarizing. Don't get me wrong, Heritage can be polarizing too, it's just people don't seem to take the things they do personally. Whether it's giving or not giving a discount, pricing books too high or winning the most expensive comic book ever sold it's sometimes tough to separate the real discussion from the stuff fueled by the fact that it's Metro.
Cutting through the undercurrent of "Stephen drank my milkshake" (at one point they got compared to the Yankees) and getting to the heart of people's reactions, folks seemed divided into two camps: those that saw it as a natural action of a market-maker and/or a shrewd marketing/business decision; and those that worried that the perception of the sale was lessened because the book went to a dealer and not a "real" collector.
Personally, I fall into the former camp. I thought it was a brilliant move on Metropolis' part and am looking forward to the inevitable circus they will generate when they sell the book at one of their Comic Connect auctions. To be able to seize the conversation like that was almost worth the price of the book alone. The conversation immediately turned from the book and Pristine Comics back to the guys whose record Pristine Comics was breaking. The story-line, in a nutshell, is now that it's just a matter of time until the Metro guys get the record back and, Pristine Comics gets turned into a footnote in the Metro/Comic Connect story.
Which is pretty crazy.
As for the final price, I thought it was a great result. Lots of people were fantasizing about oligarchs and software tycoons coming out of the woodwork to buy this book for $5,000,000. That would have been nice, but I saw $3,000,000 as the real target and the fact that it broke that barrier was all I needed to see to consider the auction a runaway success.
Speaking of Metro/Comic Connect… They just sold another Hulk #1 in 9.2 for over $320k. $326,000 to be exact.
This sale and a parallel discussion of Tom Brulato's world-beating Silver Age Marvel collection got me thinking… is his Hulk #1 in 9.4 a seven figure book? If it is, is it the single most valuable Silver Age Marvel right now? It's crowded at the top of the census for Amazing Fantasy 15 with three copies now tied at 9.6, so it's open for discussion as far as I'm concerned.
The more I think about it, the more I think that at least one, if not both of those facts might be true.
Why? There are plenty of reasons. For one, Hulk is super popular. He's second or third in popularity to Spider-Man in the Marvel canon (he's a movie Avenger, after all) and Iron Man doesn't have the decades long track record of crossover popularity that the Hulk does.
Additionally, and this is the important note, Hulk #1 is a super tough book (for a Silver Age Marvel.) Brulato's #1 is the top census copy at 9.4, with three copies tied for 2nd at 9.2. Two of those at 9.2 are pedigree copies with the rest of the pedigree copies ending up in the 8.0 range- so there are no known hidden gems out there. Compare that to the relatively crowded Amazing Fantasy 15 census with three copies at 9.6 and another four at 9.4. You can theoretically replace an Amazing Fantasy #15 in 9.6. Hulk #1 in 9.4? Not so much. It's a beast of a book. To paraphrase one of my favorite cynical sports quotes, Larry Bird is not walking through that door holding a stack of Hulk #1s in 9.4.
The prices for second best copies are competitive. With these two sales at around $320,000 the two Hulks #1s in 9.2 compare favorably to the last 9.4 Amazing Fantasy 15 sale at $325,000 in 2011. Extrapolating those results and adding a little bit of juice for the Hulk #1 being one of one in the census and I could convince myself that on a good day it's a seven figure book. Conversely, the fact that Amazing Fantasy 15 in CGC 9.6 is now three of three makes me wonder if it would still sell for seven figures.
Would this last if there was another one of one at the top of the Amazing Fantasy 15 census? No, but the combination of scarcity and the Hulk's own popularity make this a two horse race right now where one wouldn't be expected.
That's it for now, I'll be back next month to recap whatever awesome things happen in the comic book hobby in September. I know I'll have as much info as I can muster on the new Detective #27 CGC 9.2, but we'll have to see what else shakes out. See you on the first Wednesday in October!
I was alerted to this change in the Census today by an eagle eyed board member.
The comic world shakes.
Is this the "other" high grade Detective 27 pulled out of the woodwork (the 5th most valuable comic book in the world) by the white page Action #1? Is it a new copy and therefore a new 4th or 5th most valuable comic? Who will be selling it? Did it get graded in Chicago? Who's seen it?
Can I get a scan, pretty please?
For me, a Batman fan and partisan for Detective 27, this is just about as exciting as it gets in the comic book realm.
I hope this will be brought to auction in short order so that we have another book to talk about for months…
[edited to add] There is some speculation that the book might be the missing Detective 27 sold at Mastro in the early years of CGC
This is that apparently undergraded book:
The closely watched auction ended tonight, topping out at $3,207,852.00, a new world record for a comic book.
In an interesting turn of events the book was bought by Metropolis Comics, the world's largest comic dealer and, through their Comic Connect brand the previous record holder for a comic book sale.
I'll obviously have more on this as the dust settles.
Here's the finale as it happened
Here are a few final updates before the auction kicks off.
Anyway, get your popcorn ready. Once this book sells, I'm going to bite the bullet and revamp my list of the world's most valuable comic books with new estimates. Should be fun.
This was FRIDAY
I've learned a couple of things since my last post and I thought I'd share an update.
And… it starts in 5 days!
The scan above is from a pull-out spread in the Overstreet Price Guide that came out around the same time. The timing of all these releases was aided by the fact that the book was hidden from the CGC Census after being graded in February.
Which is the first piece of interesting (and controversial) information about this book that came out over the past week.
The second is that the book was previously graded 8.0 four years ago when it last sold in a private sale. It never appeared in the census at that time and has remained hidden until now. This ability to keep books out of the census came as a surprise to people and was seen as a serious issue by a number of folks on the CGC Forum. While I'm not happy with it I'm also not so sure how much damage this practice can really do as anyone who's serious enough to buy an Action #1 has to have some sense that there's a hidden well of copies outside of the census. Still, I'd rather have as much transparency as possible, so I'd love to see CGC end the practice of keeping books out of the census. There are already enough problems in the census with ghost books living on well after they've gone on to live in a new, upgraded, holder.
Beyond that, it's crazy to me that this book sold that recently and was graded 8.0 at the time. Somewhere in the past four years the book got a one point bump and is now poised to break the record for the highest price paid for a comic book. I would love to know what the sale was for in 2010. Considering the timing it has to have been a pretty significant number.
Bump or no bump this is a beautiful copy of Action #1. It's got white pages and it's not a weak designation. Structurally it's also very sound. It presents really well. This is probably the coolest book in a CGC holder (in addition to being set to become the most valuable. )
This is clearly at least the second best known copy of Action #1. That's rarefied air right there.
It looks like the book will have an opening bid or a reserve of $3,000,000. That's the number that people have to prove they have in liquid assets in order to pre-qualify to bid. I think that's a realistic number to aim for, but it seems like an aggressive approach to selling the book. Maybe it won't matter here because this is a unique item, but I've never felt great about the performance of auctions on eBay that are either high reserve or start in with a minimum bid that's over GPA. This is 40% (give or take) over the previous record.
I want to see the book sell, so I'm hoping my misgivings about the format are misplaced.
My real hope is that this is somewhat staged in that there's a known entity ready to break the ice on the book who they know will be willing and able to buy the book. What I would really prefer would be a true auction, starting in at .99 and 100 bids later it breaks $3,000,000, but it's not my book to sell, so there it is.
I'm officially confused about eBay as a venue, by the way. I know that the fees on eBay are much lower on paper than any of the other auction houses, but I can't help but think that the flow of information around this book would have been more positive if the book was being auctioned in this month's Comic Connect Event Auction or at the current Heritage Signature Auction. Of course, with a $3,000,000 book, every percentage point counts, so maybe the low fees on eBay beat out any other concern.
Just a few days until it goes live. I'll be covering the book until it sells, so keep your eyes on the site to get my take on this historic auction.