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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Rare Variant Comics Watch Part 3

Alright, I am back from my family reunion of sorts. It was a good trip.

Mentally I'm renewed...sort of. All I need is for my lagging body to catch up here.

So I'm gonna dish this one off real quick since I've had about half done by the time I left and I can finish this one a lot quicker than starting another post from scratch. I will be getting to other stuff and requests shortly after.

This is Part 3 to this rare variant comics series, and we will take a look at how some variants have done over the years. Two I've been keeping track of since they came out, and keep in mind that those two are newer comics. The other is a Copper Age goodie that I grew up with and haven't really discussed as of yet.

So, we're off!

Death of Peter Parker

The buzz on this variant was pretty huge when it was first released. After all, it's Steve Ditko art back in the day and was actually unused art for Spidey's first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 so it's old, good stuff sorta.

This art was published prior to this cover though. It was used in Marvel Tales #137.

Pretty sought out when it was first hit the market for sure. 9.8 copies were selling at an already hefty price range when slabbed copies began hitting ole eBay, and this 1:200 variant over-all also has an estimated 800 to 1,000 print run.

Stan Lee CGC Birthday labels were going in the $2,000 and somtimes $3,000 range when 9.8 slabs first hit the market. The Special 90th Birthday CGC label is estimated at around 99 and there are 91st commemorative labels as well.

Alright, let's take a look at how this variant has done in the last few years, and it's one that hasn't done badly. Well, it seems like it's been sustaining so far and we'll look at the regular Universal Label and then the Signature Series.

Although not shown, the earliest recorded CGC 9.8 slabbed sale on GoCollect was in October of 2013 for the regular Universal label and that was a $512 sale via bidding auction. The very next auction of a CGC 9.8 in later October sold for $705, and it was a bidding auction as well.

December of 2013 also saw a sale of CGC 9.8 Universal in the $700 range, but by February of 2014, the slabbed grade got bumped into the $800 range. It hit the $1,000 mark on eBay for the 1st time in July of 2014.

As you can see, there are slumps concerning sales of this variant at 9.8s, and they are here and there and all over the place. September of 2014 are the first months that saw a pretty big fizzle for this comic at 9.8s, and although not shown, September 1st and the 15th saw sales of $645.69 and then $511.

By October and December of 2014, it went back up and then slumped from February of 2015 to around August of 2015. By November of 2015, this grade did pick back up again and seemed to sustain mostly in the $800 range. 

2016 has seemed like a pretty good year for this comic variant at 9.8s, but let's see about 9.6s and 9.4s.

A bit of oddness that the last 9.4 sale did better than the last 9.6 sales. At least, the last recorded sale by GoCollect. There is an August CGC 9.6 sale that hasn't been recorded by GoCollect yet and it was a Best Offer with the original price at $595. I have no idea what the offer was accepted at, but you can assume it was lower. 

In short, 9.6s are still just banging around the $500 and $600 ranges for the most part. Nothing overly exciting concerning that grade.

Let's take a look at Signature Series and the Special Stan Lee Birthday labels for this variant cover.

The most recent sales in the $1,000 range are normal Signature Series, not the Stan Lee 90th or 91st Birthday labels. Actually, I think most of the $1,000 sales are just regular Signature Series from February of this year.

The April 23 sale of $1,009.99 in 2015 is a Stan Lee 90th Birthday label sale, so I don't think that's an all-too-great sign considering that the Birthday labels were selling in the $2000 range back in October and December of 2014 and mostly around the $1,500 range before this year.

Then again, I don't think there's been a sale of the Birthday label this year at 9.8 or GoCollect has yet to record one. What is clear is that the regular Signature Series are selling in the $1,000 range more on average than previous years.

There is a single CGC 9.8 Dikto variant Stan Lee 90th Birthday label on eBay currently at $4,000 with a Best Offer option and 11 people watching, so that special label just might get a nice bump in the near future. We shall have to see.

Concerning the recent $760 sale back in June of this year, I don't think it's a Stan Lee 90th Birthday label. The $1500 sale back in June of 2015 is a Birthday label sale but it's of Stan Lee's 91st Birthday instead of 90th Birthday.

The $878.88 just below that $1,500 is a regular Signature Series double signed by Stan Lee and Humberto Ramos. The $973.01 sale of December 14, 2014 was a Stan Lee 91st Birthday label Signature Series.

The March 8th and February 1st 2014 sales are both Stan Lee 91st Birthday Labels. The November 2013 Signature Series sale is just a regular one.

When it comes to Signature Series of this Ditko variant, there aren't any 2015 or 2016 sales for 9.4s. With 9.2s the most recent recorded sale on GoCollect is in 2015.

However, after looking up eBay's sold page, there was a sale of a CGC 9.4 recently this month and it sold for $380. That August 4th sale in 2014 was not a Stan Lee Birthday label, so it has dipped in value since August 4th of 2014 and there hasn't been any recent sales of slabbed 9.2s on eBay at least.

I'm not truly that impressed with this variant even though 9.8s have pushed back up and are nestling into the $1,000 mark more consistently for Signature Series copies and the regular Universal copies moved back up into the $800 and $900 ranges.

However, they haven't really made any significant movements upward beyond those ranges, except for a 2016 sale slightly past $1,000 mark in April of this year. Keep in mind that when I first spoke of this issue back in 2014, some folks in the CGC comic forums were reporting that raw copies were initially selling in the $700 range.

We will still continue to see how this one keeps doing, and the cover date is January, 2013 for this comic.

eBay | Amazon | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st appearance of Magna
1st appearance of Luke, Yumiko, & Kelly
1st appearance of Annie, Connie, & Siddiq

Estimated 800 to 1000, this isn't the first time I talked about this comic. I did so back in 2014 right when this issue and variant came out, so this is revisiting this rare variant to see how it's been doing since then.

This variant was talked about a lot back when it came out. There was a lot of initial hype at first as Walking Dead is a very hot comic series of modern times. 

Alright, onto CGC 9.8s and how they've been doing on eBay.

Alright, so the image to the left I've featured because I wanted to show you how hype was during initial release and when CGC 9.8s started to hit the market. Cover date is June 2014 for this comic so it most likely was released around that time or a little before that month.

So as you can see during July of 2014 to around November 2014, this comic at this grade on average sold in the $200 range. Later July of 2014 saw this grade selling in the higher $200 range for a few days and even almost hit the $400 mark in early July.

By December of 2015, this comic hit a consistent slump that lasted through January. By February, it picked back up again somewhat but bounces in-between the $100 and $200 range. 

To be fair, there has been 7 sales of this grade that were in the $200 range and 5 in the $100 range. In 2015, there were 7 sales in the $100 range and only three in the $200 range.

2016 is seeing this variant pick up again, but currently, it's still struggling to nestle into the $200 range. Will it ever near the $400 mark again?

CGC 9.6s of this comic doesn't have that many sales, but at least, it has bounced back into the $100 range this year. To be fair, 9.6s don't make it to eBay all that often.

Currently there are none up for sale at the time of this writing for 9.6s, and there's only one CGC 9.8 up on there. The 9.8 is selling for $249.99, so we'll see if that one sells or not.

Once again, this signals that more people are at least willing to hold onto this comic presently instead of flooding the market with copies, but there have been more 2016 sales than 2015 sales for 9.8s. 2014 had a whopping 17 sales of 9.8s, so I don't think demand for this comic is all that high.

It's only been two years, so who knows how this one will continue to do in the future or during the rest of this year in fact.

eBay | mycomicshop | Amazon | ComicConnect

1st issue to new Spider-Man series

A comic that I grew up on and when Todd McFarlane was king. The regular cover of this comic series was definitely over-printed (2 million) and hot back in the day, and even this Platinum variant isn't what I would call exactly rare.

Low print or low distribution is more like it, and the estimated print run is around 10,000 for this variant. The variant covers were hot also back in the day, but not that widely known that they were printed substantially less than the regular cover.

This did come out in 1990 and I was 15 years old at the time. The comic is 26 years old, almost hitting the 30 year mark.

So, aside from this being a #1 issue and an awesome McFarlane cover, I don't think there is much else to this comic in terms of key significance to be honest.

However, this variant has done somewhat well over the years, and out of the other variants for this comic, this one seems like the most sought after or valuable currently. Unlike the other variant comics in this part, this one does have a more visible track period of growth obviously.

It is an older comic and has been talked about for quite a bit longer than the other two variants above it. I'll give those other two variants preceding this one that much. They are newer and the Ditko variant is on par with this Platinum variant in terms of value at 9.8s at least.

However, the Ditko variant is a lot more rare than this one here. Anyway, let's see how this one has grew or not, and the first up are 9.8s of course.

CGC 9.8s have seemed to settle in the $800 range, but did have two $900 range sales this year. One was actually a bidding auction.

However, this comic has been on the move upward from the August sales of 2013 on eBay. GoCollect's earliest records of sales start in August.

As you can see this comic completely bypassed the $600 range for some reason and consistently sold in the $700 range throughout 2014 and 2015. This year, this Platinum variant has seen some heat for some reason at CGC 9.8 grades, and I believe they are inching upward.

No copies on eBay for this Universal regular grade, but there is a Signature Series currently. The most recent CGC Census at the time of this writing only has 121 9.8s so far, 34 of them are Signature Series and 2 are restored.

To me, that is a good sign as it says that more are actually willing to hold onto this comic as investment than as something to flip and constantly throw back into the market en mass. Well, at least, for 9.8s. Unlike some of the other variants for this comic, there is no 9.9 or higher grade than a 9.8 currently.

Heritage has archives that report that 9.8s of the Platinum variant were selling in the $400 to $500 range back in 2011, so this grade has had noticeable growth in 5 years.

When it comes to 9.6s, this Platinum edition or variant isn't all that impressive when it comes to growth for eBay data. There are currently 285 of this grade in the census at the time of this writing in which 74 are Signature Series and 4 are restored. 

This comic seems to banging around the higher $200 range and it doesn't look much different than that of 2015. It's hit the $300 range 4 times this year, and it hit that range the same amount of times in 2015 as well.

However, 2016 did have a sale in the $400 range for some odd reason and 2015 did not for 9.6 NM+s. So, this grade is a bit stagnant at the moment, but there is a disparity between 9.8 values and 9.6 values currently. 

There's only three copies up on eBay currently, but I really don't know if those are going to sell at those prices. Well, that is, if people actually research this grade first instead of buying on impulse.

Heritage's archives has the earliest CGC 9.6 sales date of back to 2007, and that copy sold for $191.20. By 2012, this grade was selling on average at Heritage in the $170 range.

We shall have to see, though, but onward to CGC 9.4s and 9.2s. 9.4s are not substantially higher in the CGC Census. There's only 291 currently with 7 of those restored copies and 54 Signature Series.

A bit odd that the three most recent sales of 9.4s of this Platinum ed sold in the $300 range. During mid 2015 to March of this year, this comic hit a slump. It sold more consistently in the $200 range from October 2014 to May of 2015.

GoCollect earliest records of CGC 9.4 sales on eBay in the $190 range back in 2011. Heritage's earliest records of sales for this slabbed grade is back in 2012, and that copy sold for $155.35.  

There is a CGC 9.4 currently on eBay for $275, so I'd expect that grade to drop slightly from the $300 range.

However, even at 9.4s, that's the only one currently up on eBay at the time of this writing, so there's still people who want this comic at high grade in there vaults. 9.2s have definitely seen growth considering that you could get slabbed copies for $70 to $80 bucks back in 2011.

Most recent sold for $240 but September 2014 did have a sale for $256. Both are the only two recorded eBay sales in the $200 range for 9.2s, and 2015 did see some come close but most that did were in the upper $100s.

Even though the Platinum ed is getting hotter as the years roll by, CGC 9.8s are consistently inching their way up with some outliers here and there. Still, the growth isn't remarkably impressive, but more slowly but surely instead of huge rapid increase like some of these recent variants do these days within just a few years.

eBay | mycomicshop | Amazon | ComicConnect

It's true that variants are here to stay, and I don't see comic publishers doing away with them anytime soon. The Copper Age really pushed and solidified the interest of variants in the minds of some comic collectors. 

However, I still can't deny that the Walking Dead #127 and the Ditko variants do seem to be bouncing back from slumps. At least, the Dikto variant has had auctions that have been bid up to the $800 range for regular Universals, so I have to at least hand it that much.
Like I keep saying, we'll have to see, though, and I'll let you decide for yourself. I'm just giving you sales data here, and perception of these comics can change in the future. That's always a possibility.
It's extremely difficult to talk about comics and comic investing without giving a sideways glance at rare or low print comic variants. I even admit that I am hard on them as comic investments, and that's why I decided to look at the Spider-Man #1 Platinum edition since it has two decades under it's belt and almost nearing three.

I will be looking at more variants from that era to see how they've been doing since more time has already passed on them. I'll also be covering more recent ones as well.

Recently, Gerry and I have talked to two comic dealers about the subject of variants and one has little faith in them and hopes they'll eventually go away and the other has zero faith in them and even stopped participating in variants all together. That's just two comic dealers though, and you can be sure I'll be asking more dealers about what they think of them in the near future.



  1. Great to have you back my man. A couple of hot variants you might look at to add here are the Harley Quinn Rebirth Del Otto Pink Variant and Moon Knight 1 1:75 Bill Sienkiewicz Variant from 2014.
    Some of my favorite older variants are the Marvel 30 and 35 cent price variants from the 1970's, a few of the Canadian price variants from the 1980's, the rare DC Whitman variants from 1980 and some others like Amazing Spider-Man 300 Chrome Variant, Incredible Hulk 377 3rd print variant, Spider-man 1 Gold UPC variant, X-Men Pressman Gold variants, and certain Mark Jewelers insert variants.

  2. Yo, family reunion part 2! Good to have you back, brotherman. Bring on the latest news!


  3. While the Spider-Man 1 Platinum is great, the more rare issue is the Gold Spider-Man 1 with the Barcode!

  4. Welcome back, Mayhem. Speakin' of Homecoming: the new villain for the next Spiderman flick is out. This may be a shock for you - it' s (drumroll):


    Be on the lookout for Piderman 46.

    Max Rebo

    1. Hey, this calls for a Shocker key issue list. Just an idea.


  5. I hear that Piderman 46 is a tough one to find lol. JK Max. Good call on that one

  6. Moon Knight #1 1:75 from 2014 is a good one. I'm glad I got mine when I did. Vengeance of Moon Knight #1 has a virgin variant that's thought to have a run of less than 300