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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Comic Investing and The Speculator Market

Make no mistake: We are in a Speculator driven market. For those selling, this looks to be a good thing. For those buying and actually looking at the market, it doesn't look so good.

This isn't to scare you. It's to warn you. Fluke buys, over-bloated prices, and speculators being fooled and driving up prices to ridiculous amounts has become common in this market.

The most recent case of this is DC Super Stars #17 CGC 9.8, the first appearance of Earth Two Huntress, Helena Wayne, that just sold over the $1,000 mark on eBay. This is no Buy It Now, mind you. This was an auction.

What's the cause for this? The comic came out in 1977, but there's no hype to drive up this comic to such a ridiculous degree nor is it a low print run.

As I stated in the Giant-Size X-Men #1 vs. X-Men #94 post, numbers can be misleading at first glance. Let's look at the CGC Census once again but for the comic in question.

Oh my, God! There's only 7 CGC 9.8s! This comic is hugely rare at that grade, right? Right?

Once again, numbers at first glance can be misleading. Look at the total submitted at the lower right hand corner. Only 122 copies have been submitted so far.

This is a Bronze Age key issue and doesn't have low distribution. Do you think there are plenty other 9.8 copies in collections that are still raw and for some reason the owners have yet to submit them?

There's a good chance there is. This comic sale just may be a lack of common sense and an extreme sense of false rarity.

I gave you the example of X-Men #94 in my last posting. If you didn't read the Giant-Size X-Men #1 vs. X-Men 94, I really urge you to click the link and read it.

However, what's even worse is that the other first appearance, now considered a first appearance cameo, of Helena Wayne as Huntress in All Star Comics #69 has also seen a fluke buy as well this year. According to Go Collect, a 9.8 of this copy sold for $1,136, and this also was no Buy It Now. It was actually an auction that had a whopping 56 bids on it. Huh?

Last I checked the version of Huntress on Arrow was Helena Bertinelli, the Modern Age Huntress. Helena Wayne is the Bronze Age Huntress, so I'm not sure why all the sudden demand to drive All Star Comics #69 into the ludicrous zone.

Once again, we can take a look at the CGC Census for this book that also came out in 1977.

Wow, same friggin' thing. 21 9.8 copies registered, but the comic only has a total of 85 copies submitted. Once again, this comic at a closer look seems to be anything but super rare with a low submission total like that.

Why am I making such a big deal out this? If you haven't noticed, these fluke buys are also driving up the prices for 9.6s as well. These fluke buys create false values, and a lot of people aren't questioning them and just blindly going a long with it.

Don't tell me you haven't noticed that when a comic sells on eBay for a high amount, probably because some speculator doesn't know what he's doing and overpays significantly, you see all the prices magically inflate past that recent sale price. Copy sells for $300, you see new listings putting it at $350 and some even more ridiculous like $700 and up.

As I've said quite a few times on here, just because the latest sale is a certain amount doesn't mean that's the value of the comic. It's the averages of sales for a period. I don't care if it's one month, two months, 3 months, or the sales average of the year. It's not one friggin' sale and that's the value, unless there's an extremely limited amount of copies of that grade in existence, like one to four, and the comic is already extremely rare like an Action Comics #1.
So, others with a CGC 9.8 copy of DC Super Stars #17 or All Star Comics #69 may see these massive recent sale and try to sell their copies for close to a grand as well. Can you blame them? Hell, if you have a 9.8 of either of these two comics, I say sell it now for a grand or close to it. It's not your fault if speculators or comic collectors haven't found this site or just read the key issues lists or aren't using common sense in researching comic investment buys.

Also, what do you think will happen when more copies get submitted and more 9.8s are in the market? Well, the truth will come out - This comic isn't really rare and the demand isn't strong enough to hold the over-inflated values. In short, the values could very well dip pretty noticeably. 

See how this can be bad for the market over-all and in the near future? This is common sense, and there's quite a few buyers out there not using it and falling for these over-bloated prices, sometimes being the cause for them as well. Then again, Go Collect has not been in the market for long, and that will revolutionize the CGC market I'm predicting.

But let's see one more example, shall we?

Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 8.0, first appearance of Wolverine. I bought this earlier this year for $1300.

Look at the sales in December alone. The averages of those 3 sales, not including the most recent fluke buy, is $1,591 roughly.

That best offer listing sold at $1625, which Go Collect can show you. So with an average of the three prior sales of $1,591, then BOOM! A very odd $309 increase. 

Now look at some of the listings on eBay currently. We got a CGC 8.0 auction with 27 bids on it around $1500 and about 2 days left. 

I seriously doubt that will be bid up to $1900 dollars, but if it does, it's a blatant case of most in the market just following the last sale. Still if it drops at $1600 or even $1700, will that make any of the other sellers with listings at $1950, $2150 or $2200 change them to reflect more fair market values?

Of course not! They're hoping for some speculator who has little clue to come a long and buy their highly over-bloated comic. When I look at that sale, I don't get all excited and think my Hulk #181 at CGC 8.0 is now worth $1,900. Trust me, I'd love for it to be, but I know it may be someone jumping the gun and not researching a fair market price for that comic.

Careless buying, Fluke buys, false rarity, and over-inflated prices is becoming the norm in this market, and I'm trying my best to inform everyone to be wary of this trend before this beast heads into what a lot of people are already predicting it's going.

If the average of several auctions are ending at those prices, then that's fair. It's demand working. If regular auctions are consistently dropping past the $600 mark then that's the value for that book currently. 

I still look at Amazing Spider-Man #300 and how it went up to the $1,000 mark in a matter of a day and am conflicted about it. Sure, Venom was announced to be in a movie so that's a factor, but Venom had natural demand for the character before this.

Lots of Venom fans out there, but we should also know that speculators are the reason for the crazy value peak. Still, ASM #300 still does make a bit more sense than DC Super Stars #17 or All Star Comics #69. Sure, there are lots of Huntress fans out there also, but the amounts submitted to CGC is still pretty low. Those first appearances of the Huntress were bargain buys not even a year ago. 

ASM #300 definitely was not a bargain buy a year ago, and DC Super Stars #17 was on an Undervalued and Sleepers List not only months ago. Actually, someone who came across my site sent me the link to the latest eBay sale via email, suggesting I need to update that comic on here. 

Of course, it got my attention, because the sale did not make sense. So I simply looked up the CGC Census to find out what was going on. Then, I looked up any news hype for the character. Found nothing.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying these comics like DC Super Stars #17 or All Star Comics #69 or ASM #300 shouldn't be valuable. Sure, they should, but some of these enormous spikes are just crazy, dumbfounding, and make little sense if you actually dig into it a bit further. This market definitely requires more careful buying. 


  1. Great article again. I completely agree with you. I was at my local store picking up my weekly comics and I saw this dude buy Avengers 57 CGC 8.0 for $900. I mean thats crazy even if the movie is coming out lol. I get it that the price is high due to infrastructure, taxes etc lol but $900 is way way off the charts here lol.

    Ohh btw, I picked up Avengers 59 (1st yellowjacket) for $45. I feel its in VF- grade. Saw him in Marvel's artwork for Ant-man the other day so thought might be a good snag here. Hopefully, its worth.


    1. Wow $900 bucks? About $300 above the average sale on eBay. Cool Sid, I have yet to see the artwork yet. I must go give it a look see. Thanks for commenting.

  2. This makes me feel better about buying my raw, F/VF DC Super Stars #17 for $20 a month ago lol. I think I'm good with this instead of shelling out an extra grand...

    1. I'm with you on that one Tim...good call...and glad you didn't overpay at that high amount also.

  3. It's utter madness on uk ebay. people are buying utter crap like mid grade copper age non keys for $40. some body paid $120 for a nova 1 in a 8.0.

    bloody clown..


    1. Really? UK eBay is seeing the same madness also. Mid-grade Copper Age non keys for $40 bucks? Highly weird.

    2. yeah really compared too about 4,400 auctions a week on usa ebay. we have about 100. most of them are utter crap to be fair. so if any think decent comes up made people go mad for it. somebody payed £78 for a cracked 9.6 asm 361 about $ 120. pure madness. it would cost about $100 to get a book re slabbed in england .

      I just bought nova 3&4 in a cgc 9.8 for $150. some body on uk ebay payed $140 for a nova 4 9.6. bloddy fool and to make things worse he put back up straight away for auction.

      money to ne made thou :)))

  4. I enjoyed reading your articles. I have never commented or let you known but you have been very spot on this past year and i will usually learn about a book or two which i had no clue about it in the past. I plan to continue to use your advice to help reaffirm my own speculations. I do have a question for you however.
    Let's say an announcement involving Carnage is pending to be released to the public, when that happens, would it be safe to say ASM #361 will move into #300 territory,or do you find that unlikely?

    1. Hi Jay. Wow thanks for commenting and congrats on this being your first. Thanks I'm glad you enjoy reading the articles...often wonder who does besides just reading the key issues lists. Hmmm....about Amazing Spider-Man #361 and the first appearance of Carnage. I don't really see it rising to ASM #300 heights for 9.8s. I mean, even if Carnage is finally confirmed in a movie with either a release date or a casting confirmation, I see it rising to maybe around $500 $600 tops.

      Then again, this is just what I think and I could very well be wrong, but if you look at the CGC Census there's an extraordinary amount of high grade copies for ASM #361 compared to it's over submission total. We are, however, in a crazy comic market presently, so it could shoot up there.

      I personally think it would be a far stretch for it to happen on a consistent basis. If it does reach ASM #300 territory, I don't think it will sustain up there very long.

    2. Sales of ASM really boomed after the McFarlane era, so without looking at the numbers I would guess the print runs on #361 are higher than #300 despite that being an anniversary issue with a lot going on. It would be interesting to see the sales data from the speculator boom / bust years of the late-1980s to about 1995.