The common belief is that late stage bronze age books are plentiful in supply and hence wouldn’t make a good investment, especially in this period of speculative run. I tend to let the numbers do the talking so I went in depth to a couple of mid to late stage Marvel keys. Interestingly, I found some observations to take note of. The main one being that there is actually room for some of the current keys to grow to in the future. Read on to see what these observations are.
First of all, let take’s a look at the table. I am using ASM #129 as the benchmark. I am using this, rather than Hulk #181 because we all know that is an outliner and pricing will be severely skewed.
Using ASM #129 as the benchmarks does not mean that I think the other books can reach this level. I see it as the ceiling that limits how high most bronze books can go in the best possible scenario. Majority will never reach it but it can let us see the gap in pricing which is the more important thing in identifying undervalued books.
|Issue||CCG 9.6 Copies
(9.8 as reference)
|Amazing Spider Man #129 (1974)||285 (95)||USD 3100||290k|
|Marvel Premiere #15 (1974)||155 (45)||USD 1500||178k|
|Nova #1 (1976)||507 (186)||USD 180||NA|
|Ms Marvel #1 (1977)||380 (129)||USD 450||NA|
|Marvel Spotlight #32 (1977)||244 (74)||USD 370||NA|
|Marvel Premiere #47(1979)||229 (108)||USD 300||150k|
Observation #1: Supply is limited in high grades
The second column lists the supply of the books in 9.6 and 9.8 (in brackets). The reason for focusing on the high grades is to eliminate the high supply issue that plagues many late Bronze age books. It is true that dealers were hoarding many of the comics above but how many survive to become 9.6 and 9.8? Looking at the numbers below, it is not many in comparison to modern/copper keys like BA #12 or NM #98. What this means is that given the limited supply, there is a potential for a spike in prices when demand suddenly increases, either from TV/movie news or some speculative talks.
Remember, ASM #129 doesn’t have a rare supply base either if you look at its number. Despite this, a 9.6 can still fetch $3k, which tells you a lot of the kind of prices people are willing to pay. Bear this in mind when dealing in Bronze age comics.
Observation #2: Gap in popularity vs gap in pricing
The key to spotting undervalued books is to judge whether the gaps in popularity and pricing are in line with each other. In this case, we know the Punisher is king of the hill among all the characters featured above so we don’t expect any of the other books in 9.6 to be worth $3k. However, does any of them has the chance to move CLOSER to $3k due to the character’s rising popularity?
Let’s use Ms Marvel #1 as an example. She is not as well liked as the Punisher for sure. However, the pricing gap between Ms Marvel #1 9.6 is huge i.e. $3k vs $400. In this case, I feel the gap in popularity vs gap in pricing is too big. This is especially so when you consider the supply of both books in 9.6 and even 9.8 to be pretty similar. On the other hand, MP#15’s $1.5k value seems about right given his popularity and supply.
When the gap in pricing is too big even after accounting for gaps in popularity, it is an opportunity for some shrew investments.
Observation #3: Ceiling for 9.6 Bronze age key is high
If a B- or C+ tier character like Iron Fist can fetch more than $1k in 9.6, it shows how high the Bronze age ceiling really is. For those who think only top characters like Punisher can fetch beyond 1k pricing, this should make you think again.
Of course, the supply of MP #15 plays a part since it has the lowest census numbers relative to the other books. However, the difference between them can be rather small for books such as Marvel Spotlight #32 or even Marvel Premiere #47. Even if the difference is bigger like for Ms Marvel #1, do you think it justifies the pricing gap of almost $1k for 9.6, considering that she will spearheading her own movie in 2019?
Best late stage Bronze age to invest in?
Based on the above observations, here is how I rank the above books in terms of investment potential.
- Ms Marvel #1: Carol is just going to get bigger and bigger, in both comics and MCU. With a sole movie in 2019, the current 9.6 pricing represents a big investment opportunity. In total, the census only has 500+ copies in 9.6 and 9.8. That is a pretty small number, comparable to many of the current so called rare variants. A $800 ceiling for a 9.6 is not out of the question.
- Nova #1: This book has the largest supply among the 6 books comparable. However, its low price point makes this book a really attractive investment. While Nova might not be coming to MCU within the next 4 years, he is already making a comeback in the comics. I would say a $400-$500 price tag for a 9.6 is doable under the right conditions.
- Marvel Spotlight #32: A character that has no movie rumors whatsoever and yet is seeing good price appreciation for her first appearance. This is a good sign for the book as it signals a strong fan base that can support a higher price ceiling. Added to this fact that MS #32 has a low census count of high grade books, and it makes this a pretty comfortable book to invest in.
- Marvel Premiere #47: I put this book as the last due to 2 reasons. One is the dilution effect of TTA #27 and #35 on this book. If these 2 books didn’t exist, MP #47 might well be a much bigger book than it is. Unfortunately, comic fans tend to focus more on the very first appearance of a character so demand might be soft for this book. The second reason is that the movie hype has already affected this book and a second movie tends not to have strong effects on secondary prices.