Silver age comics are getting harder and harder to invest as most of them have seen some form of price appreciation. When you are dealing with Silver age, you are not going to be spending USD10 as most of the investment will be in the regions of hundreds. Although that is not cheap, it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t make money. I thought I should make this clear instead of forcing you to read this whole article before realizing all the books mentioned here are not within your investment budget 🙂
On a side note, I am not doing the series for CBR’s top 10 Marvel and DC characters because that is no undervalued issues there. Rather than wasting your time to hear me say “Next” throughout the entire article, I thought it is better not to write it.
The key to predicting which books will be hot is to see what events will happen in 2016 and 2017. These events are usually the sparks needed to catalyst an increase in demand. With these in mind, these are the silver age books that I think still has plenty of room to grow, along with their exact numbers for growth.
Hawkman #4: First appearance of Zatanna
I first mention this book more than a year ago when I talked about undervalued pre 1965 silver age comics. If you bought this book then, you will have already enjoy some nice gains.
In 2016, I foresee there will be a confirmation of the Dark Universe movie after the success of Batman vs Superman. Zatanna will of course be one of the key members. That will lead to a rush for this book and given its limited supply, will result in a nice price appreciation.
The ceiling for this issue can be benchmarked using X-Men #4. Both books are produced in 1964 and both contains the first appearance of a female character. However, do note that Zatanna is more popular given her #23 ranking in the DC list of the recent CBR poll relative to Scarlet Witch’s #34 position in the Marvel list.
The only thing this book do not have is a nice book. It is on par with the likes of Strange Tales #110, Iron Man #55 etc for having the worst first appearance covers.
|Issue||Hawkman #4||X-Men #4||Difference|
|CGC 4.0||USD 200||USD 400||USD 200+|
|CGC 6.0||USD 380||USD 800||USD 420+|
|CGC 8.0||USD 800||USD 2,500||USD 1,700+|
The table has shown how undervalued Hawkman #4 is, doesn’t it? It has less supply in the census but is so much cheaper than X-Men #4. The good thing about the undervaluation is that it is universal across all grades. So, even if you are a budget investor, you can still buy a 4.0 and expect to at least double your money in 2016 when the news hits.
If you have more funds, getting mid to high grades will generate even better returns. My feeling is that due to the supply issue, the prices for Hawkman #4 may even exceed X-Men #4, which means the returns will be higher than what is projected here.
Definitely a key silver age book to watch in 2016.
Aquaman #11: First appearance of Mera
Aquaman #11 is a book that I talked about when I was discussing undervalued Aquaman issues. It has increased somewhat since that time but the increase is not as strong as Aquaman #29 so there will be room to grow. In fact, there is lots of room IMHO, especially when casting is announced near the end of 2016, similar to how the cast of Wonder Woman has been made known in 2015 even though the movie is scheduled for 2017.
For this book, I am using Tales to Astonish #44 as the benchmark since they are produced within the same year. Both characters are also the leading ladies for their respective movies so I think it is a fair comparison.
||Tales to Astonish #44
|CGC 4.0||USD 200||USD 400||USD 200+|
|CGC 6.0||USD 350||USD 1000||USD 650+|
|CGC 8.0||USD 800||USD 2,000||USD 1,200+|
The scary thing about this book’s potential is its low census count as it is even lower than both Hawkman #4 and Tales to Astonish #44. Part of the reason is probably due to a lack of incentives to slab but with prices so high, it is hard to imagine that this is the complete explanation. Another contributing factor should be the difficulty of finding this book in any presentable condition. Since I have started noticing this book in 2014, the number of graded copies in 7.0 condition coming up for sale on Ebay is few and far in between.
So we know the supply is limited, what about demand? With an Aquaman movie in 2018, we need a leading lady and nobody fits that bill better than Mera. She has been heavily involved in the New 52 series and I know some elements of that series will carry over to the movie. What’s more, with her power set of water telekinetic, expect to see some cool CG effects from Mera.
Aquaman #11 is the perfect book for a huge price jump when the right conditions are meet. It has a super limited supply and a strong potential for demand surge due to her importance in the Aquaman movie. Buy now!
Captain Atom #83: First appearance of 2nd Blue Beetle
This is a book that I don’t even dare to mention on this blog because it is already so hard to find without my readers trying to compete with me LOL. However, now that the cat is out of the bag, I want to stress why this book is going to see some serious jumps.
First of all, the supply is limited and that is not surprising given that Charlton comics wasn’t the best selling titles back in the 60s. Granted, the low census count is probably due to a lack of submissions but I am betting even with the current interest, there wouldn’t be a flood of CGC submissions.
Second, according to the CBR’s popularity poll, Ted Kord came in at a respectable #31 position, just one slot behind Supergirl. With a movie in development, the character’s exposure will only increase in the coming years and lead to more demand for this book.
|Issue||Captain Atom #83
||Fantastic Four #46
|CGC 4.0||USD 150||USD 120||USD 30-|
|CGC 6.0||USD 300||USD 250||USD 50-|
|CGC 8.0||USD 700||USD 700||0|
Since Captain Atom #83 is published in 1966, using Fantastic Four #46 as the benchmark seems ideal as it is also produced in the same year. Looking at the table, it is amazing that both books are around the same price even though supply is much larger for FF #46. This means when demand for Captain Atom #83 reaches the same level as FF #46, the prices will be exponentially higher. In other words, the current prices are very short of where the ceiling can be.
Showcase #37: First appearance of Metal Men
I actually didn’t want to put this book here because it is still far away from the Cyborg movie where Metal Men have a chance to appear. However, given the rate it is growing, I thought I better put it here now in case it becomes unattainable in 2018.
Similar to all pre 1965 DC books, it is really scarce in graded copies. This is why prices have been steadily climbing up in recent years. For this book, I can’t find a suitable benchmark. Brave and the Bold #28 is too high in statue to be used for Showcase #37. The closest team book that I can find is Brave and the Bold #25, which features the first Suicide Squad. However, that is a 1959 book so supply is even more limited.
||Brave and the Bold #25
|CGC 4.0||USD 300||USD1,000||USD 700+|
|CGC 6.0||USD 600||USD1,250||USD 650+|
|CGC 8.0||USD 1,400||NA||NA|
The supply on B&B #25 is actually very similar to Aquaman #11 numbers and is the sole reason why it can command such a high price premium. In fact, the total supply is so low that copies in 4.0 are being dragged upwards in pricing as collectors just want a copy in their collection. This will not happen to Showcase #37 as there are more high grade copies for collector to focus on.
So, given this scenario, will Showcase #37 still have room to grow? The answer is yes and that is due to the demand situation. B&B #25 features a Suicide Squad that is remarkable different from what is used in the movie. Despite this, the demand is still good enough to push the book to current prices. For Metal Men, there is no such confusion as this is their undisputed first appearance. There are no alternate teams that use this name so when they appear in the Cyborg movie, Showcase #37 will enjoy the full impact of the spike in demand.
I believe that is enough to pull the prices on this book to be close or slightly lower than B&B #25.
Strange Adventures #205: First appearance of Deadman
If Zatanna takes off due to the Dark Universe movie confirmation, then Deadman will not be far behind in terms of price gains. The degree of price appreciation will definitely not be in the same league due to the character’s popularity and book scarcity but it will rise nevertheless.
A good benchmark to used here is Avengers #57. Both are 1967-68 books and both characters are background types. They are also similar in being able to be intangible LOL.
|Issue||Strange Adventures #205
|CGC 6.0||USD 200||USD 200||USD 0|
|CGC 7.0||USD 280||USD 280||USD 0|
|CGC 8.0||USD 400||USD 500||USD 100+|
Similar to Zatanna, Deadman has a much smaller supply in terms of graded copies when compared to the benchmark. Prices however are currently the same for 7.0 and below while 8.0 is cheaper for Strange Adventures #205. This is a sign of undervaluation since books with smaller supply tend to command higher prices in general.
The smaller supply means that when demand spikes, the increase in price will probably be much higher for Strange Adventures #205 when compared to Avengers #57. In fact, I can easily see the CGC 7.0 and below doubling their prices while 8.0 will probably see a USD300 to USD400 increase.
Thor #165: Full appearance of Adam Warlock as Him
Thor 126 was the first batch of silver age comics I recommended wayyy back in 2013 along with FF45, 46 and 52 as well as Dr Strange #169. Among these comics, Thor 126 experienced the least among of growth due to lack of any confirmed movie roles. This means there is still room to grow, especially in 2016.
The big uncertainty is whether Adam Warlock will be Starlord’s father. If he is, then this book will see the same rise as FF46. Unfortunately, that is not a confirmed scenario and this is the risk you have to take.
I am already very happy with these investment as I was buying VF copies of these for USD30-40 in 2013. Any additional increase can only fuel my profits but the potential is there.
A good benchmark for Thor #165 will be Captain America #117. Both 1969 books featuring the first appearance of supporting characters. Whether Adam Warlock is more popular than Falcon is a personal opinion but I rather be more conservative when it comes to investments.
||Cap America #117
|CGC 6.0||USD 120||USD 150||USD 30+|
|CGC 7.0||USD 180||USD 250||USD 70+|
|CGC 8.0||USD 400||USD 450||USD 50+|
Unlike the Hawkman #4, the gains from this book will come mainly from grades in the 8.0 and higher condition. This is because supply in this grade have a significant difference that will impact on the prices if Adam Warlock was to appear in GOTG #2. The supply issue is due to Thor #165’s black cover which makes getting a high grade book more difficult relative to Captain America #117. The census correlates well with this theory as you can look at the numbers above.
Due to the supply difference, I can see prices of 8.0 Thor #165 going beyond the current USD400. The likely price will be in the region of USD600 to USD700 so there is still a nice return to be had.
As I said in the beginning, finding undervalued silver age comics is getting tougher by the years. There isn’t many books that are so called sleepers in this age especially for Marvel comics. This is why you can see the list here is slanted more towards DC comics because they aren’t as well collected as their Marvel counterparts. However, with the coming of DC’s movie empire, we might see this changing real soon.