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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Are CGC Signature Series Worth Investing In?

Alrighty, I'm about to discuss the subject of CGC Signature Series comics as comic investments. As I've stated before, collecting is collecting what you like and love. There's no wrong way to do it and it's all based on personal preference.

When you are worrying about the monetary value of comics, you're in the realm of comic investing, and this is the realm I'll touch up on the most. However, I will talk about it in a straight up comic collecting sense, because that element is definitely a huge factor as well. 

So, in order to submit under the yellow label Signature Series service, a CGC representative must be present during the signing of the actual comic. Usually, they have the artist, creator, writer, whoever, do the signing right at their CGC booth.

Then you fill out the form, fork over the cash, and wait on pins and needles for what seems like a ba-zillion years for it to come back. Before I talk about some actual sales of Signature Series comics, I must talk a little bit about the aspect of comic fandom.

We're all fans of someone in the comic industry, despite whether you are straight up comic collecting or comic investing. For instance, I'm a fan of the artwork of Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Ron Lim, Jack Kirby, Marc Silvestri, and a wide array of comic artists. I'm a fan of Chris Claremont, Stan Lee, and Dennis O'Neil, just to note a few writers.

If you're not a fan of comics to begin with and just straight in it for the dough, you're gonna have a rough journey, because you need to know the mindset of comic fans. It helps to be one.

Comic fans will wait in line to get a signature from their favorite comic artists and writers. A lot will even pay to get their signature. At Big Wow and Wizard World, you had to pay in order to get an item signed by Stan Lee. It was not cheap either.

Neal Adams had the same thing going on, and he was charging $20 bucks for just a photo with him. I shook my head on that. I can get a signature and photo from Ron Lim free. The dude is one of the nicest comic artists I've met in the business so far, along with Angel Medina and Chris Marrinan.

Now onto the comic investing side.

So, let's say you got Amazing Spider-Man #50, first appearance of King Pin signed by Stan Lee, and it comes back a CGC Signature Series 9.0. How does the Signature Series fair against its Amazing Spider-Man #50 Universal counterpart?

On February 26th, an SS copy at that grade sold for $1,500. On February 14th, a regular CGC 9.0 Universal label sold for $1,200. I should also point out that on February 2nd another Universal labeled 9.0 copy sold for $1,281.90.

Let's take an X-Men #121, first Alpha Flight, CGC 9.4 and compare it with an SS label signed by Stan Lee. One sold on February 24rth for $425. Three regular Universal copies sold in January for $100, $124.99, and $125. That averages the value out to $116.66 for that grade in the month of January. Sorry, the only 9.4 copy that sold in February was the SS labeled copy, but it did sell significantly higher than the ones in January.

An Amazing Spider-Man #300 Signature Series 9.8 signed by Todd McFarlane sold on March 8th on eBay for $1,125.00. It's regular Universal counterpart sold for $885 and $899.99 on March 7th. 

Let's take two famous signatures. Okay, in this example we have Chris Claremont and Stan Lee signatures on an X-Men #141 9.8 SS Series. It sold for a whopping $799.99. Compared to its Universal counterparts, this is an even bigger gap. On March 9th a CGC Universal 9.8 X-Men #141 sold for $360, and a day before that one sold for $418. The SS copy sold March 7th.  

Just to remind you that there is no other way to submit a comic under the CGC Signature Series label unless a CGC representative is present. You cannot just mail them a signed copy or bring a signed copy from home to the booth and submit it under SS Series. If you do it either of those ways, you'll get a green Qualified label instead.


Signature Series comics usually sell higher than their Universal counterparts. Not always, but mostly. It depends.

So, if we are talking about whether or not it's worth investing in Signature Series CGC comics, I think it's safe to say they are for now. However, over all, it really depends on whose signature we're talking about, how many signatures, and the cost of those signatures if there is one. Fans are willing to pay extra for comics signed by highly popular comic artists and creators. 

Is it a good comic investment to just buy Signature Series CGC graded comics in the market instead of actually submitting them yourself? Once again, I'd have to say yes for now. In all honesty, I do want at least one Signature Series Stan Lee copy just to have it, but that's the fanboy speaking more than the investment comic side of me. 

I do have an X-Men #121 CGC Signature Series signed by Chris Claremont. I straight out bought it on eBay, and yes, I'm a fan. And, yes, I bought it for slightly more than the regular Universal CGC 9.4 copies, but not by much. I'm talking a few dollars here.

Will it be more valuable than it's Universal counterparts at 9.4. Maybe. I haven't checked. If I had John Byrne's signature it would be way more valuable. If I had both, it would be even more valuable, and if I had both and Stan Lee's signature, it would be even more valuable.

I do have to note that some Signature Series comics can be restored copies also. You see, if you get it signed in CGC's presence, submit it, and the grader finds restoration, it will still be slabbed with a yellow label. However, the label will note restoration on it.

A CGC Signature Series is just icing on the cake for key issue comics. The key issue is already valuable and in demand just by itself, but the signatures just make it a bit more special. They usually sell better than their regular counterparts in the current market, but not always. It truly depends on the signature or signatures.

But Signature Series also lends to preference as well. Some don't care for them, even if the label does command a higher value in the market. Some do, and some just like them out of pure fandom.

However, when it comes to just pure fandom, there isn't really much to write about concerning Signature Series comics. If that's what you like and enjoy and are willing to spend the extra dough for them, then where's the discussion? If one doesn't care for the monetary element for that CGC series in a comic investing sense and just wants a piece of the creators he or she loves, then the discussion purely becomes preference.


24 comments:

  1. I'm glad i ran into this article. I am going to drive 2.5 hours to get a Stan Lee signature on my Spider-Man #52. Not a key issue but that cover is awesome (that is the comic fan in me talking), It is maybe a 6.0 grade but I'm thinking "do I want to go look for a near minty silver age key comic book because this is probably a once in a lifetime chance. The investor in me says that we are all babysitters of this collectibles and eventually this will need to be sold and hope that whichever family member inherits this will profit from it because it is my love and not theirs. The fan in me looks for $50.00 (or way less) on deals and refuse to pay crazy amounts on an issue. Am I over thinking this?

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    1. Yes, over thinking it because like you said, if your family member inherits it they're gonna profit from it regardless cause they got it for free. It is your love and not theirs, so usually when kids or family members inherit comics, they usually want to get the money quickly and not worry about researching what it's real value is (hence, why people still sell their valuable comics to comic shop dealers). Unless they have a love and interest in comics, nobody in my family inherits my comic investments.

      If you want to go the signed route, pick one of your favorite comics to have signed by Stan Lee. Signed books by Stan Lee are all over place anyways.

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    2. Great thanks for the reply. BTW it is issue #53 with "Doc Ock - Nuff SAID!" You're right about me over thinking. I don't get star struck but the guy introduced comics, characters and toys we grew up with along with the Star Wars craze.- it's crazy how seeing someone like Stan Lee can bring our childhood back and want to get prepare properly to meet him.

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    3. Completely understandable. Stan Lee and Marvel Comics have had a huge impact on most of our childhoods while growing up and you're right about this being a once in a lifetime opportunity right now. Just have fun meeting him and getting one of your favorite comics that he helped co-create signed by him and congrats on getting to finally meet him.

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  2. Great article as usual! One quick question: how important does grade play into the CGC signature series? Like for example, let's say I have a Walking Dead #1 signed but it is an 8.5 or an 8.0 instead of the modern-day 9.6 or 9.8. So the grade is way lower, but it is signed by the creators. Without the signature, an 8.5 or an 8.0 might not be considered investment-worthy. I guess what I am asking is... if you have an ASM #300 or a McFarlane Spawn #9 or some modern-day comic that is NOT a 9.6 or 9.8, would it be worth it to submit for the CGC signature (rather than the regular CGC) in order to "pump up the value"? Just wondering what the mind set is on this. I wonder how much the signature matters vs. the actual grade on these Signature Series Books. Keep up the great work! - Wiebes

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    1. Wiebes! How goes it? Good question. As for an 8.0 or 8.5 Walking Dead, the print run is pretty low and the Walking Dead #1 is the bad boy of the Modern Age. Maybe I'm going against the grain, but investment worthy is a bit subjective.

      Personally, if I make a large enough return on a comic...I think that counts as an investment, but yes most Copper and Moderns should be in the 9.6 and 9.8 range to consider it investment worthy.

      A Signature Series of a Walking Dead #1 8.0 or 8.5 will add some umpth to the value of that comic. Maybe a hundred dollars or more. Stan Lee's signature usually commands about $200 to $300 more for CGC SS, but you do have to pay for his signature.

      If you can get the creators signatures free and CGC happens to be there at the time of the signing, I'd say it's well worth adding the value to it. But, if you have to pay and depending how much they charge, it may not be worth it from an investment standpoint.

      Usually, when it comes to signatures, I really advise to just base it on the fan aspect. Get comics signed of artists or creators you're a fan of. Some charge a lot for their signature, but a Walking Dead #1 8.0 and up is still high grade. A signature series copy at those grades would add value to the comic.

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  3. Hi TCM. I am trying to figure out how much it costs to submit a comic for cgc ss? I want to have Neal Adams sign my Marvel Feature #1 first defenders and am worried that it will cost too much.

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    1. It's about $5 more for economy and $5 more for standard service, so $40 and $65, not including shipping of course.

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  4. One more question. Do you happen to know if I can use my CGC coupon for 4 free comic submission for my CGC SS?

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    1. Not sure about that, but I don't see why it wouldn't count if you're using the Standard Service, which is what the 4 coupons are for. Probably best to drop them an email or give them a ring to be absolutely sure though.

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  5. Here is the response that I got from the CGC:

    The coupon applies to four regular service comics at the Standard level of service (books valued at $1000 or less) but does not cover anything Signature Series authenticated as that is a premium service.

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    1. Bummer, thanks for clearing that up and letting others know about it. Neal Adams does charge for his signature I believe, so that may be another added cost.

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  6. This was a great read, thanks you. What is your thoughts on a book 1st print and the same book but second print but signed? Both graded the same. Does the second print decrease the value?

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    1. 2nd prints are usually worth lower than 1st prints unless it's a pretty rare variant or something.

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  7. If i have a comic signed spawn issue 1 by McFarlane but its not professionally verified authentic where would be my best bet wanna keep but want to invest into making it more valuable

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  8. Great article, glad I came acrossed this.
    My question is what would be the best way to sell these? I'm assuming eBay, but do you risk the option on a book that you've now invested the extra $40 or more in(plus original purchase price) just to get the definite sale or do you list for BIN price and sit on them to try to get what you want?
    Is there another option out there I don't know about?

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  9. Great read, thanks
    What is the best way to sell your CGC signature series books? I've got quite a few. I'm a little afraid to auction them because I want to make sure I at least get my money back, but I also want to make sure they move once I list them. Any thoughts

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    1. Sorry for the double post. I thought the first one didn't take. It just vanished, no notification.

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    2. If you want to get your value back when selling, you can list them as a Fixed Price auction on eBay. You can also use ComicLink's exchange or ComicConnect with a set price.

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  10. Hi TCM, I went to NYCC 2015 and had Darwyn Cooke sign several books for me and CGC was present at the con, but I did not get it slabbed then, so if I go to the NYCC 2017 and get it slabbed they would not give me a signature series case?

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    1. The way I think it goes is that you have to submit it at the same con you got the signature. Also, it's probably best you visit the booth and ask for someone to accompany you when you get it signed by X author or artist and then after they witness the signage, go to the CGC booth and get all the paper work done for submission.

      Otherwise, I do not see any way that they can verify you got it signed when you got it signed. I suppose it will go to the Qualified label if you submit it NYCC 2017 but had it signed in 2015.

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  11. They have to accompany you to the line and witness the signatures or they will not give you the yellow label. Cbcs has a red label now for verified signatures, they compare the signatures to their database to verify and then grade. That's about the best you can get without a witnessed signature

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  12. Hello, I enjoy reading thrugh your post. I wanted to write a
    little comment to support you.

    ReplyDelete