Thank you to one of my blog readers, Bill Alexander, who is an advisor to the Overstreet Price Guide, for agreeing to forward them my letter below.
To Whom It May Concern:
I have an ethical dilemma, and it is your fault.
I have come to understand how, mathematically, Marvel and D.C. Canadian cover price variant newsstand comics from the 1980’s have a rarity percentage to rival that of the 35 cent variants of the 1970’s.
As a collector, my instinct is to seek out these rare 75 cent (and other price) variant copies, as my preference. They are identical on the inside to the rest of the print run, and were printed in the USA right alongside the other copies. Collecting these should be a fun and happy experience, free of any ethical dilemma.
Yet, I have such a dilemma:
Excepting a select few sellers, nobody in Canada seems to know their rare 1980’s newsstand copies are any different from the rest of the print run… Because when the typical Canadian citizen goes to list their comic for sale and wants to know what it is worth, they open their Overstreet to the guide page for that issue, to look up its value — and they see no separate entry for the rare cover price variant they own!
Unaware they have anything different or special in their hands, they next proceed to list their rare treasure for sale at “regular” prices, simply following your guide value for the issue number broadly. I know for certain they are unaware their copy is special, because I then find their listings online, and I observe that neither their listing title nor their listing description makes any mention of the variant cover price on their pictured copy.
If I buy such a person’s listing, am I, in a way, “stealing” their highly rare comic by paying an objectively-unfairly-low price that doesn’t come close to reflecting the true mathematical rarity as a minuscule percentage of the total copies in existence for that issue? Or, is it perfectly fair because it is their price — their ask — and I’m simply meeting that price when I hit the buy button? This is my dilemma, and it bugs me every time.
With this letter I hereby shift this emotional burden, onto YOU. If you fail to break out these variants in your guide, and Canadians continue losing out on their upside from owning demonstrably-incredibly-rare — and CGC-recognized — variants, that’s your fault, not mine.
– Benjamin Nobel
To My Fellow Collectors: If you agree that by omitting these variants that Overstreet is presently doing an unfair disservice to Canadians — and the collecting community at large — and should rectify that wrong on a go-forward basis and “break out” 1980’s Canadian newsstand price variants (not to mention the rare $3.99 newsstand comics and other CGC-recognized newsstand variants that exist), SHARE this letter with others, even if you’re reading it long after it was written.
4 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Overstreet”
The idea that all newsstand variants should be recognized by Overstreet is long overdue. I fully support this idea.
I think it would be great if Overstreet could at least do a feature article on this long overlooked area. There’s so much information out there, yet so little reference to it in the official guide. Here’s hoping….
this is long overdue ive been selling newsstand variants on ebay for years now (thecomicnewsstand) the market is big and deserves some attention
The Overstreet Guide is nearly extinct. It’s usefulness, as it stands, has been eclipsed by free websites easily checked by phone. The real time pricing of eBay makes the actual “pricing” part a joke. The only good it still serves is for reference, as in how many volumes of that title, what year and how many issues did they have? When you begin to look at it in encyclopedic terms, it would make sense (and be more competitive) to include useful information not easily found on the internet. Here are some suggestions: Canadian price variants, international editions of American comics (i.e. golden and silver age Mexican DC & Marvel!), a comprehensive list of ratio variants (with the ratio numbers, which are tough to find. 1:10, 1:20 etc.), print run numbers. Anyone one of these suggestions are more useful than Big Little Books and Platinum Age books whose prices have barely moved in years. Imagine collectors’ excitement to see new data features every year in the newest volume. I have had no need or desire to buy that book in years.