This article makes a case for investing in bronze age comics in the very fine range (8.0 to 9.0). It shows the kind of returns you can expect and provides trend analysis and data to back up these claims.
Analysis in the 8.0 to 9.0 grade are often missing in the community. What is often discussed is the highest grade like 9.6 or 9.8. That is because this is where money flows to first: the best possible grades that are still cheap.
However, with the high grades pulling the whole bronze age market up, it is creating the conditions for the very fine grades to grow.
I initially made this case in my article on bronze comics to invest in for 2020. This follow on article expands on this investment thesis and adds more evidence that the market is moving in this direction.
$1000 bronze age comics are no longer reserve for high grades
Everyone now knows that the major Bronze age first appearance comics command large sums of money in high grade. However, that is not always the case, even 10 years ago .
Below is what the Overstreet report from the Comiclink guys in 2017-18 had to say about the rise of Bronze age books
Josh Nathanson, Douglas Gillock and Rick Hirsch of ComiclinkIt was not that many years ago that there were only a handful of valuable comics from 1970 and beyond that would sell for $1000 or more. In recent years that number has increased exponentially, thanks to the impact of Hollywood and the realization that books from these era ……are not as plentiful in high grade as once thought
This statement was given in the context of high grade (9.6 and 9.8) bronze age comics crossing the $1000 mark. It was meant to show that what was previously thought unlikely is now happening at a fast pace.
Fast forward 3 years later, the $1000 threshold is no longer something that only 9.8 and 9.8 bronze age comics can obtain. As the table below shows, bronze age keys in 9.0 and even 8.0 are breaking this price point.
|Issues||CCG Copies in 9.0 (8.0) and above|| Price Value (8.0)|
|Price Value (9.0)|
|Hulk 181 (1974)||2,789|
|Giant Size X-Men #1 (1975)||2,325|
|Marvel Spotlight #5 (1972)||532|
|Werewolf by Night #32 (1975)||873|
|Amazing Spider-Man #129 (1975)||3,356|
|Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973)||888|
|Hulk #180 (1974)||1,241|
|Iron Man #55 (1973)||1,163|
|X-Men #94 (1975)||1,446|
|Amazing Spider-Man #101 (1971)||667|
If the trend a few years ago was for 9.6 and 9.8 bronze age comics to break the $1000 mark, the trend forward seems to be that very fine grades are also able to break the same price point
This is not because books in these grade are particularly scarce. Rather it is because a combination of the following:
- More collectors now buying bronze age books due to Hollywood, thus increasing the demand necessary to power the price up for these very fine grade books
- The high grade bronze books are out of reach of the average collector, hence leading to increase demand for the next level of grades.
As MCU starts its Phase 4, I expect this trend to continue, thus exposing a different set of investment opportunities.
Further evidence – comparison with 2017 values
From where we are currently, these 9.0 grade books at above $1000 seems like such a natural position. However, 3 years ago, it wasn’t that case.
In the below table, I compare those values I used in 2016/17 against their 2020 values. These numbers were taken from my articles on Tomb Of Dracula #10 value and the hottest bronze age books part one and part two.
|Issues||CCG Copies in 9.0 and above||2016/17 Price Value (9.0)||2020 Price Value (9.0)|
|Hulk 181 (1974)||2,789||Did not track||USD 5000|
|Giant Size X-Men #1 (1975)||2,325||USD 1100||USD 3000|
|Marvel Spotlight #5 (1972)||532||USD 800||USD 3000|
|Werewolf by Night #32 (1975)||873||USD 1100||USD 3000|
|Amazing Spider-Man #129 (1975)||1,241||USD 1150||USD 1900|
|Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973)||888||USD 450||USD 1300|
|Hulk #180 (1974)||1,241||Did not track||USD 1100|
|Iron Man #55 (1973)||1,163||USD 920||USD 1100|
|X-Men #94 (1975)||1,446||Did not track||USD 1000|
|Amazing Spider-Man #101 (1971)||667||USD 300*||USD 1000|
-Links above are to Ebay. If you buy something, I will get a commission from Ebay as part of its affiliate program. If you want to support my research, using my links to buy from Ebay will be the best way.
Some summary statistics:
- In 2016/17, only 4 books in the list crossed the USD 1000 price point. Most of them are crossing that number in very borderline manner. Only Hulk #181 crossed the USD 1000 convincingly.
- In 2020, we have 10 books crossing the USD 1000 price point. That is an increase of 250%. In addition, 5 of 10 surpassed the USD 1000 convincingly.
- Characters who are not Tier A are able to break the USD 1000 price point with relative lower supply. These include characters like Ghost Rider, Moon Knight, Blade, Morbius. All their first appearance comics have less than 1,000 copies in 9.0 and above grades.
- 4 books (Hulk #180 and X-Men #94 are estimated) are below the USD 500 mark in 2016/17. By reaching the USD 1000 mark in 2020, they have doubled the investment returns of the holders.
- Only one book stay stagnant and it happens to be the first appearance of a villain
So, the trend is very clear. More bronze age books in the very fine condition are breaking out. In addition, some are breaking to pretty high levels thought to be impossible.
Also, if you are investing into non Tier A characters, make sure the supply is comparatively lower.
2 Investment strategies
If you believed in this thesis that now is the right time to invest in very fine condition bronze age blue chip keys, there are 2 strategies you can adopt.
#A: Invest in books that can reach beyond USD 1000
The first strategy is to pick books from the list above that have just reached USD 1000. Going by the trend, some of them will join the USD 2000 – USD 3000 ranks.
If you find this hard to believe, just remember that Werewolf by Night #32 went from USD 1100 to USD 3000 in less than 3 years. This book is not exceptionally rare nor is Moon Knight the most popular charter around.
Tomb of Dracula #10 might have a chance if his sole movie does well.
The least likely will be Amazing Spider-Man #101 as Morbius is not part of MCU. Hence, there is no telling if the character can take off after the movie.
#B: Pick the next USD 1000 books
The opportunity here is then to look for bronze age keys in very fine condition that have yet to cross the $1000 mark but have potential to. Right now, most are at or below the $500 mark. If the $1000 is the target, that is a very lucrative 2X or more returns.
I have already highlighted Savage Tales #1 and Marvel Spotlight #2 in the previous article. Here are more candidates.
|Issue||CCG Copies in 9.0 (8.0) and above||Prices (8.0)||Prices (9.0)|
|Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (1972)||510|
|USD 400||USD 800|
|Marvel Premiere #15 (1974)||1,391|
|USD 250||USD 350|
|Marvel Feature #1 (1971)||490|
|USD 250||USD 350|
|Amazing Adventures #11 (1972)||309|
|USD 200||USD 250|
|Iron Fist #14 (1977)||2,329|
|USD 300||USD 400|
Looking at the table, most of the the characters here are not Tier A. From what we have learnt in the summary statistics, we should pick books that have supply numbers below the 1,000 thereshold.
That leaves out Marvel Premiere #15 and Iron Fist #14 , leaving only Luke Cage #1, Marvel Feature #1 and Amazing Adventures #11.
Among these 3, only Luke Cage #1 has the cleanest first appearance. Marvel Feature #1 is a first appearance of a team while Amazing Adventures #11 is about a major character change, rather than a true first appearance.
If you find Luke Cage #1 9.0 to be too expensive a book to invest, you can consider a 8.0. The first table has shown that books with the same supple as Luke Cage #1 has the potential to hit USD 1000 even for a 8.0.
As the bronze age market matures, new investment opportunities are opening up. By recognizing what are these new price levels and analyzing books that could hit them, we can potentially uncover solid undervalued blue chip comic books in the 8.0 to 9.0 grade.