By Benjamin Nobel, June 22, 2016
Readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of 75 cent variants for their relative value and incredibly low distribution numbers. As a “class” of comics, I consider their main comps to be the 30 and 35 cent variants. (And then much later, the 3.99 newsstand edition price variants, but those really are much later, occurring in 2008-2010).
The 35 cent variants really are the best comps — the closest “peer group” if you will — existing closest in time chronologically, coming into existence 5 years before the 75 cent variants began. So, understanding how 35 cent variants “took off” is an important consideration for our 75 cent variants.
Why Are 35 Cent Variants So Highly Valued While 75 Cent Variants Are Still “Under The Radar”?
I have only two possible answers to this question:
- Either collectors don’t know the facts about 75 cent variants, or,
- Collectors don’t care about the facts about 75 cent variants.
My experience has been that collectors absolutely do care about these 75 cent variants once they know about them and understand the facts. So the answer in my view must be #1… that, widely, collectors simply don’t know the facts about them as a “class” of comics. But 35 cent variants took off after initially being under-the-radar themselves, so this raises the obvious question:
What Caused 35 Cent Variants To Take Off?
One very important factor to notice is that Overstreet specifically breaks out 35 cent variants in the price guide… while 75 cent variants are not listed. So anybody looking up the value of a comic published during the 75 cent variant window would have no ‘cue’ from the guide to make them realize that copies even exist with a higher cover price (let alone that they are more rare).
Was Overstreet proactive in adding 35 cent variants to the guide as a separate entry, or reactive? From the comments I have seen, reactive. It might very well take a notable market price difference between 75 cent variants and their regularly priced counterparts, before Overstreet decides the situation warrants breaking them out. But if they do not break them out, how will collectors discover them and notice they are rare, in the first place?
A blog post I found from a google search — I wanted to know where the test markets were while researching information for my post about Star Wars 35 cent variants — had this interesting quote:
Except for Iron Fist 14 and Star Wars 1, for twenty years no one noticed the price variants until Jon McClure published an article about them in Comic Book Marketplace #55. — Found in this blog post
Wow, two decades before those variants got noticed… I looked for Comic Book Marketplace #55 and found it was published in 1998. Other collectors also credit that one article for the awareness among collectors about these price variants of the 1970s:
“CBM 55 with Jon McClure’s article on 30 cent variants is pretty much Ground Zero for 30 cent variant nuttiness.” — Found in this message board thread
So this one 1998 article was the catalyst for 30 and 35 cent variants getting discovered by the masses. I’m trying to remember what speed dial-up modem I was using in 1998? My point is: We live in a different era now — this is the Internet era of instant communication, and it should be much easier for collectors to share and spread important information. So, waiting for a prominent article in a prominent publication might not be necessary… perhaps all it will take for 75 cent variants to “get noticed” the way 35 cent variants have, is for collectors to share knowledge about them. If you find these price variants as interesting as I do (and $3.99 price variants of 2008-2010 too), then collect some yourself but also tell other collectors! Because I simply have to believe: once they know, they will care.
Posts about 75 cent variants to read and share:
Posts about newsstand editions to read and share:
Other posts about Rare Comics