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.
|Issue||CCG Copies (5.0)||Reprint Prices (5.0)||First Print Prices (5.0)||Percentage|
|Fantastic Four #1 Golden Record Reprint||21/595||USD 350||USD 20,000||1.5%|
|Amazing Spider-Man #1 Golden Record Reprint||26/666||USD 550||USD 15,000||3.5%|
|Journey Into Mystery #83 Golden Record Reprint||11/581||USD 200||USD 8,000||2.5%|
|Avengers #4 Golden Record Reprint||10/356||USD 200||USD 1,400||14%|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.