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There is a lively debate going on now in the CMSMT community about which of these 2 books are worth spending your dollars. I have a lot of say so rather than squeezing my thoughts into a few lines of comments, here is a full blown in depth look at the 2 issue.
(Disclaimer: I have multiple copies of both books so if any of them takes off, I win LOL. In fact, here are my articles on recommending you to buy undervalued Cable issues as well as Captain Marvel #17, 2nd print when they are still at cover price)
Leave emotions aside
One of the most difficult thing about comic book investing is separating your love for a character with your investment analysis. That tends to cloud your investing judgement and leads you to places where you aren’t suppose to be. You may love a book because you grew up with it but that doesn’t mean it is the best value for money book to buy. A lot of it still comes from analyzing demand and supply factors which is what this article and this blog is all what.
If you already decided that New Mutants #87 is the book to own because you love Cable, please don’t continue any further. You are buying for a different reason and all the numbers I am going to throw at all wouldn’t matter squat.
In terms of sheer supply, there is no arguments. CM #17 wins hands down. If you don’t agree, you are simply wrong. Sorry.
To prove my point, here are the numbers, as bright as day.
|Issue||New Mutants #87||Captain Marvel #17|
|Print run||182,000||Less than 5000|
Note: the print run for CM #17 is estimated. The book was published on Dec 2013 and did not even break into the top 439 sale chart. Based on this, we can assume its print run is lower than the #439 book for that month, which is Honey West & T.H.E. Cat #1 at 1,304 copies. This estimation is in line with Ebay listings. There is never more than 10 listings at any one time given how high this book is selling. If the high price happen to a book with a moderate print run, the listing will already be flooded.
With such a low print run, even if 100% of the books were sent for CGC submission, there will be no more than 700 copies of 9.8 and 9.6 based on current ratio. This number is still lower than the 922 copies of NM #87 in 9.8.
However, we all know this will not happen. On average, only 1-5% of the total books are slabbed. Even for New Mutants #98, which is one of the most slabbed books, only 8k copies were submitted for CGC grading, out of a universe of 220k copies. That is only 3%! So, I don’t expect CM #17 to even reach 700 copies in 9.8 and 9.6. Maybe 150-250 and that is about it.
Less high grade of NM #87 due to attrition?
A related point is the argument that NM #87 is a 25 year book and attrition will lead to less high grade copies being readily available. While I don’t disagree 100%, I think the extend of the attrition has been over estimated.
New Mutants #87 was never an unknown book even in the 90s. It got hot pretty quickly after publication and entered into the Wizards’ Top 10 hot list. This means that no comic collector will look at this book and think it is worthless.
On the contrary, collectors will bag and board this book regardless of its condition because they know it is worth something. So, the potential for high grade copies is still high for this issue, which adds to the over supply problem, relative to CM #17.
Raw copies availability
One supply factor that is seldom discussed is the impact of raw copies on the prices of high graded copies. When you have as much raw copies as NM #87, demand is being splintered into different segments.
Some are contended with just a raw VF while others might like only 9.8s. Hence, if a collector wants a copy of this book, he can choose the right price and condition for this budget.
Such segmentation is less pronounced for CM #17 because of the sheer limited number of copies. A collector who doesn’t mind a raw issue of the book might find himself with no or limited options to buy.
As a result, he is forced into the same category for folks who wants only graded copies. This bundling of demand creates strong price pressure on CM #17 graded copies and that will lead to greater price increases.
This is basic economics but one that is very important to our understanding of how the availability of raw copies can help or distract the prices of graded ones.
Demand is where things can get really tricky. A low print run book means nothing if there is zero demand and vice versa. A high print run book can still be worth a lot of money if demand is overwhelming like Hulk #181, NM #98 and even BA #12.
So let’s pull in some data to proxy for demand since we can’t really measure it objectively.
|Issue||Cable and X Force||Ms Marvel|
For Cable fans, you might be shocked to know that the last Cable series had a decline of 67% in sales from issue one to the last. You might argue that not all Cable fans will buy his book which is true but then again, are they real fans in this case?
In comparison, Ms Marvel had only a 36% decline from its first issue to the one published in June 2015 (no further data as of this writing). Remember, this is a brand new character with no established fan base. At the end of the day, Ms Marvel outsold Cable, as simple as that.
Longevity of Ms Marvel
The longevity is certainly room for worry. After all, May Parker was hot once and look where she is now. In this aspect, I do not disagree. However, I am confident that within the next 3 years, Kamala Khan will still be relevant and in this aspect, CM #17 will be the better book to own in this period.
If your investment horizon is 10 years and beyond, then this issue might be an important one. However, if you are looking to cash out on a shorter timer period, rest assure that KK is not going away anyway soon.
The best way to gauge both demand and supply factors are ebay prices and currently, CM #17 is leading. I believe supply is a big factor in this case and any movie announcements that spike demand will drives prices on the shorter supply book at a much faster rate. In my mind, NM #87 can be the next NM #98 while CM #17 can be the next Batman Adventures #12. Nuff said!