Undervalued comics #17 – More undervalued silver age DC comics for 2016

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I recently joined a Facebook group focusing on collecting and investing in Gold, Silver and Bronze age comics. On one of their posts, they did a poll and came with a Top 5 comic books that are likely to increase in prices in the near future. Interestingly, all the picks are DC related except for one but I am not sure if that is intentional. Also, none of their picks coincidence with what I wrote about 2 weeks in my piece of the best undervalued DC comics to invest for 2016.  So, I am going to use this article and apply the same methodology I have used to see if these 5 other picks should have been included in my original list. Away we go!

 

Batman #181: First appearance of Poison Ivy

batman 181 first appearance of poison ivy

Poison Ivy is one of those gray area villains. She is not completely evil but she does have her own agenda. I never picked this book because I always go for heroes first. Poison Ivy might be an exception as she can be a sort of anti-hero type of hero LOL.

Currently, this book is gaining steam without too much movie or TV hype. This is good as it means the ratio of collectors to speculators is slanting towards the former and that is always healthy.

The ceiling for this book can be benchmarked against the likes of Detective Comics #359. Both are Batman titles and have fairly high print runs relative to others. Both books also feature the first appearance of female characters and are produced in 1966 and 67 respectively.  Batgirl will always be more popular so what her first appearance is worth now is something that Poison Ivy probably cannot exceed and hence serves as a solid benchmark.

Issue Batman #181
Detective Comics #359
Difference
Prices
CGC 4.0 USD 200 USD 270 USD 70
CGC 6.0 USD 380 USD 450 USD 70
CGC 8.0 USD 800 USD 850 USD 50
Census
CGC 4.0 35 48 13+
CGC 6.0 36 45 9+
CGC 8.0 35 34 1-

Looking at the census, there is not much difference in terms of supply especially in the higher grades. Prices wise,  the 2 books are pretty close with Detective #359 coming slightly ahead. Given Batgirl’s popularity, this is to be expected. However, it also means the current prices of Batman #181 is very near its current ceiling. Unless Detective #359 experiences a surge in its pricing, Batman #181 wouldn’t move too much above its current pricing.

Edited – 3 Dec 2015: Patrick (see below) left a fantastic comment about the poster removal from Batman #181. That will definitely impact the supply and might push this book beyond #359 if demand for Poison Ivy increases. Where will that increase come from? How about a partnership with fan favourite Harley Quinn. If that happens on screen, I agree with Patrick that #181 might break #359’s ceiling.

Check Ebay listings here

 

Batman #121: First appearance of Mister Zero (Mr Freeze)

batman 121 first appearance of mr freeze

It took me some time to figure out which benchmark is the correct one for Batman #121. Initially, I used Action Comics #242. However, the year wasn’t the same (which means a lot in the pre-1965 era) and Brainic seems a higher level villain compared to Mr Freeze. Finally, I decided on Flash #106 for being the first appearance of Grodd, which I felt was more comparable to Freeze.

Issue Batman #121
Flash #106
Difference
Prices
CGC 4.0 USD 700 USD 600 USD 100-
CGC 6.0 USD 1400 USD 1500 USD 100+
CGC 8.0 USD 800 NA NA
Census
CGC 4.0 21 23 2+
CGC 6.0 30 13 17-
CGC 8.0 5 6 1+

Similar to Batman #181, there doesn’t seems to be much difference in terms of prices between the 2 books. If Grodd, with its appearance on the Flash TV show, can only achieve its current value, then Mr Freeze is probably in the same ballpark as well.

Supply is also similar. In fact, it seems there are more graded copies of Batman #121, relative to Flash #106. In order words, there might be some signs of overvaluation here unless you believe Mr Freeze is really more popular than Grodd.

Check Ebay listings here

 

Justice League of America #21

justice league of america 21

This book is a controversial book because there is no clear consensus on whether this should be regards as the first Silver Age appearances of Golden Age characters such as Black Canary, Hawkman etc as Flash #129 or #137 are possible contenders (although not for characters like Doctor Fate, Hourman et al who clearly appeared in this issue). In this regard, there is really very little benchmark that we can consider. The most famous of such Silver age appearance is of course Avengers #4 as well as Fantastic Four #4 but I don’t think any of the JSA golden age characters can really match up to Captain America or Namor.  However, for completeness sake, let’s just compare FF #4 against JSA #21 to see the kind of difference these 2 books currently have between them.

Issue JSA #21
Fantastic Four #4
Difference
Prices
CGC 4.0 USD 100 USD 700 USD 600+
CGC 6.0 USD 200 USD 1200 USD 1000+
CGC 8.0 USD 550 NA NA
Census
CGC 4.0 13 26 13+
CGC 6.0 20 20
CGC 8.0 21 13 8-

As expected, the gaps in pricing between these 2 are huge despite having not too much difference in terms of graded supply. How can we interpret the data? One view is that the DC GA characters are really not well collected so their SA appearance do not carry the same weight as Namor. In other words, they are not apples to apples.

Another view is that there is massive undervaluation here. If some of the characters can be rewritten to make them more popular, like the current Doctor Fate series, then it is possible that this book might see an appreciation way beyond what they are commanding now.

Check out Ebay listings here

And that concludes the research today. How about the other 2 books you might asked. One is House of Secrets #92, which is not really silver age. The other is Chamber of Chills #19 which I have no idea what is it about. So, rather than pretending that I know this book, I will just leave it to my readers to fill in the blanks.

 

Conclusion

Among the 3 books highlighted here,  I feel the JSA #21 has the most room for improvement. Both Batman #121 and #181 has already seen tremendous growth that are comparable to their peers. Unless something drastic happens, I don’t see them continuing their past price growth.

5 thoughts on “Undervalued comics #17 – More undervalued silver age DC comics for 2016

  1. I really enjoy reading your perspectives and the time you put into researching the books you are commenting on.

    I feel as though you missed two points on the Batman 181 / Detective 359 comparison.

    First I think the poster needs to be taken into consideration. Many of the 181’s had their poster removed. it may not be reflected in the census but the poster is a key factor in the collectibility for this book.

    Secondly I think the Poison Ivy / Harley Quinn relationship needs to be raised as well. I think there is a possibility that if that relationship is done correctly the ceiling for Poison Ivy could surpass Bat Girl. Who would have thought HQ and BA 12 would surpass Detective 359?

    1. Well said! Fully agree with your points.
      In your view, what book can then serve as a better benchmark for Batman 181?

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