Are Comic Reprints Worth Anything – An Investigation

While it might not be obvious, comic reprints, especially from Marvel, are worth money. On average, they can be worth anything from 5-20% of what the original comics are selling.

This article attempts to quantify the value of Marvel comic reprints to seek out investment opportunities.

2nd prints are reprints

The modern market have seen a recent uprise in the prices of 2nd prints. I have try to develop a framework that one can use to evaluate which 2nd prints might have more long lasting value.

Reprints is just another word for 2nd prints except they mostly apply Silver and Bronze age book (I have no knowledge of Golden books). If the modern 2nd prints are getting more pricey, it makes no sense that reprints are as cheap as they are.

In fact, this might be the next area to purchase some solid spec books while they are still cheap.

(Editor’s note: this article was inspired by Smick and T.Ross from the Mewe community. They are the ones who pointed me in this direction so I merely just organized their discussion into a more coherent piece. Full credit to them).

Current value of Marvel comics reprint

Below is a table that shows what some of these reprints are fetching in the market. The most common are the Golden Record reprints, which have been commanding significant prices for some time now.

These reprints came out in 1966 but not all of them represent the first time the comic is reprinted. Journey into Mystery #83 is an example which had an earlier reprint before this Golden Record reprint.

IssueCCG Copies (5.0) Reprint Prices (5.0)First Print Prices (5.0)Percentage
Fantastic Four #1 Golden Record Reprint21/595USD 350USD 20,0001.5%
Amazing Spider-Man #1 Golden Record Reprint26/666USD 550USD 15,0003.5%
Journey Into Mystery #83 Golden Record Reprint11/581USD 200USD 8,0002.5%
Avengers #4 Golden Record Reprint10/356USD 200USD 1,40014%
Links above are to Ebay. If you buy something, I will get a commission from Ebay as part of its affiliate program. If you want to support my research, using my links to buy from Ebay will be the best way.

Based on the above table, here are some observations

  • Similar prices: At the 5.0 grade, prices are pretty much cluttered around the below $200-$500 mark. This is pretty interesting given that the first prints have way more deviation of prices.
  • No relationship to first print prices: A related observation is that absolute pricing seem to be more important than prices relative to first prints. The last column show the percentage of reprint prices vs first print. There seems to be no systematic pattern to be drawn
  • Reprints are not worthless: The final and most important observation is that the market do value reprints, especially when first prints are getting out of a normal collector’s price range. In fact, the value of these reprints are pretty significant to warrant a closer look at similar opportunities.

In terms of being undervalued, Fantastic Four #1 reprint seems to be lagging behind Amazing Spider-Man #1 reprint. This is despite the fact that the first print of the former is more expensive than the latter. That to me might be a sign of market mispricing.

Journey Into Mystery #83 reprint also seems undervalued relative to Avengers #4 reprint. The former is 5.5X more expensive in the first print than the latter but prices for the reprints are identical.

Non Golden Record reprints

Not all the pre 1965 materials are reprinted via the Golden Record structure. This is a good thing as Golden Record reprints do not have different cover art while the rest might.

Marvel Tales Vol 2, #1

Date of Publication: 1964
Census: 322 copies

Key strengths of this book
1. First reprint of Amazing Fantasy #15
2. First reprint of Incredible Hulk #1
3. First reprint of Tales to Astonish #35
4. First reprint of Tales of Suspense #39
5. First reprint of Journey Into Mystery #83
6. First reprint of Sgt Fury and His Howling Commandos #1
7. Different cover art

 

With so many first time reprints of Marvel key silver age comics, you would think that this book will command a higher value relative to the Golden Records. However, this is not the case.

A 5.0 of this book is only worth around $150. This is despite the fact this book has less number on the CGC census. In the 5.0 grade, it has 21 copies and a total of 322 submission.

Marvel Tales Vol 2, #2

Date of Publication: 1965
Census: 173 copies

Key strengths of this book
1. First reprint of X-Men #1
2. First reprint of Avengers #1
3. Different cover art

 

After #1, Marvel Tales Vol 2, #2 has the first reprint of X-Men #1 and Avengers #1. However, it has even less interest if you go by the CGC census number.

Needless to say, prices are even lower for this issue relative to #1. However, if you believe the reprints will command more attention and higher prices in the future, this is a under radar reprint to speculate on.

Currently, a 9.4 cgc copy only cost $500. A 7.0 is about $150. These prices leave a lot of room to grow, especially if you compare against the Golden Record reprint prices.

One to consider especially when the X-Men franchise is only going to get bigger, which means first print will be getting even more out of reach.

Marvel Superheroes #23

Date of Publication: 1969
Census: 28 copies

Key strengths of this book
1. First reprint of X-Men #4
2. First reprint of Daredevil #3

 

Another cool reprint to consider is Marvel Superheroes #23. It features a white background to X-Men #4 and looks good physically in your hands. This reprint is also pretty under followed if you go by the census numbers as well as its low price.

Below are 3 reasons why it is a good speculative book to consider

Reason #1: Scarlet Witch will be getting white hot

With Wanda and Vision about to be aired in Dec this year, X-Men #4 will be getting priced out for most collectors. Currently, a 1.8 is already a $500 book.

The other option is to go for X-Men #4 ‘s first silver age reprint, which is in Marvel Superheroes #23.

Reason #2: Undervalued relative to the Golden Record reprint

If you look at the prices listed in the table above, you will know the average prices of the Golden Record reprints ranges from $200 to $500 in CGC 5.0.

In comparison, a Marvel Superheroes #23 will cost you less than $10 in 5.0 raw. You can get VF raws for under $30.If this book reaches the average prices of the Golden Record reprints, the returns can range from 300% to 800%.

Reason #3: Scare in high grades due to being a square bound book

Like all Marvel Superheroes issues, #23 is a square book so high grades are tough to come with.

You can look at Marvel Superheroes #13 and #20 as examples of how tough high grade issues are for this series.

As a added bonus, this issue also contains the first reprint of Owl’s first appearance.

Where are the other opportunities

If you have noticed, these reprints I have mentioned are focused on materials published pre 1965. If we assume that the reprint interest will eventually affect books published after 1964, this is where we should start looking next.

If you think this is useful and you want to know more, please leave a comment to let me know.

6 thoughts on “Are Comic Reprints Worth Anything – An Investigation

      1. Hi Aaron, those Marvel Tales have Canadian editions that are rare… wouldn’t they fetch a much higher price than the US. editions?

        1. That will depend on whether these books catch fire.
          If nobody cares, then none of the editions, no matter how scarce will matter.
          If they do, then the editions that are the most scarce will probably be the most sought after.

  1. Hi, Interesting stuff. I think the major draw to the modern 2nd and 3rd printings is cgc and cbcs note 1st appearances and other key info. Marvel Tales, Super Heroes, and the others aren’t granted that status. I’m not sure the defining factor but the fact they’re printed much later, often years, after the original makes me think reprint and 2nd/3rd printing are not interchangable.

    1. Spawn Black and White was printed years after Spawn #1 and still got the market’s attention.
      So there is precedence of reprints being valuable even it is printed much later.

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