Then and Now, Slight Return

[reposted from the old site, originally posted June 12, 2003]

Then and now, slight return
I picked up another old OS guide recently. Volume 12. While old Overstreets are always an interesting read, this one is notable for mentioning the Edgar Church collection in the market reports for what I believe to be the first time.

What was also immediately notable (and serves as the topic for today's post) was a couple of crazy entries on the "Top Twenty Silver Age" books list. The top five is made up of the "Usual Suspects," after that it gets interesting:

Book Rank in Vol 12 Value in Vol 12
of the OS Guide
Rank in Vol 33 Value
in Vol 33
Fantastic Four #1 1 1100 4 32,000
Amazing Fantasy #15 2 1000 1 48,000
Showcase #4 3 1000 2 38,000
Amazing Spider-Man #1 4 600 3 32,000
Incredible Hulk #1 5 600 5 19,000
If the Devil Would Talk nn 6 600 NR 850
Journey Into Mystery #83 7 420 11 7,000
Fantastic Four #2 8 400 17 5,500
Richie Rich #1 9 375 NR 2,100
Adventures of the Big Boy #1 10 350 NR 975
Adventure #247 11 12 6,800
Brave and the Bold #1 12 320 NR* 4,200
Showcase #1 13 320 NR* 4,500
Showcase #8 14 320 6 16,000
Avengers #1 15 300 23 4,200
Detective #225 16 300 NR* 7,000
Fantastic Four #3 17 300 NR 3,500
Jimmy Olsen #1


300 NR* 7,500
Tales to Astonish #27 19 300 22 5,000
Flash #105 20 275 9 7,500
NR= Not Ranked. * denotes a book that is no longer considered
"Silver Age"

The biggest one is obviously "If the Devil Would Talk" coming in at number 6. It's a pretty cool book. I remember seeing one on eBay recently and being covetous of it's lurid lunacy (that bit of alliteration is dedicated to Stan "The Man" Lee,) but to think of it being more valuable than JIM 83, TOS 39, X-Men 1, Showcase 22 or any of the other Marvel/ DC keys is just preposterous. I know that it's scarce, but to the tune of being one of the most valuable Silver Age books? It makes me wonder about the long-term viability of DC 100 Page Super-Spectacular #5, another book whose value is solely tied to it being difficult to find (then again Suspense 3 rode that schtick to the $19,000 mark, so what do I know…)

A couple of other ones deserve special mention: "Adventures of the Big Boy?" I've honestly never even heard of that book before today so its inclusion in the list is a real mystery (anyone have the story on this book? Maybe a scan?) Richie Rich #1 is a reasonably sane choice (being a pop culture figure of some renown helps) but the idea that that book was worth more than every issue of Showcase but #4** is just crazy.

What was also interesting was three books in the current top ten that didn't even make the top twenty cut back then.

  1. Brave & the Bold #28 was actually tied for 20th, booking at $275, but got the shaft in favor of Flash 105.
  2. Showcase #9 (Lois Lane tryout for all you Marvel Zombies) booked at $140 and wasn't even ready to sniff at the top twenty.
  3. And, as an object lesson for everyone that assumes that the way things are now is the way that things have always been: X-Men #1 fell short of the top 20 booking at a not-so-robust $225.

**13 issues surpass it in the 2003 guide

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