Australian Newsstand Edition

AUS Price Variants (Australian Newsstand Editions)

By Benjamin Nobel, May 17, 2017

Australian newsstand editions.

CGC denotes these Australian newsstand comics as “Australian Edition” on census and on their labels. [ May 2019 UPDATE: this article was written in 2017 but readers should be aware that CGC announced that as of May 6, 2019, they will label as “Australian Price Variant” going forward 🙂]

Welcome back! This is “Part II” of my look at Marvel’s 1990’s-era AUS price variants (Australian newsstand editions), a fascinating “class” of first-print, US-published cover price variants targeted to the Australian market — specifically to Australian newsstands. Before reading on, make sure you have read Part I, which introduced you to this “class” of comics using the mega-key that falls within the variant publication window: Part I: New Mutants #98 — $1.50 Cover Price Variant.

One of the interesting observations we explored in Part I, is how these comics are identical to the rest of the print run on the inside (including the all-important indicia page), but carry a different cover price — as well as a later cover month — on the outside. Because the batch of newsstand comics produced for the Australian market would likely have spent so much time traveling in a container (probably on a slow boat), the cover month for the 1990-1994-era AUS price variants was set three months later than their North American newsstand counter-parts — so for New Mutants #98, we saw that instead of February on the cover, the variants show May. And although the indicia of the variant copies still reads February, CGC catalogs the variants by the May cover month, resulting in a second census entry under a different issue date:

CGC opted to catalog the variant under 5/91 (what appears on the cover) for the issue date, rather than 2/91 as appears in the indicia page.

CGC opted to catalog the variant under 5/91 (what appears on the cover) for the issue date, rather than 2/91 as appears in the indicia page.

And then at the time of my Part I post, we saw how CGC did not indicate anywhere on the label of these variants, that the indicia month within was actually February. I mentioned how I was going to suggest an improvement to CGC when submitting my own copy, and I am pleased to be able to report that CGC has edited their Key Comments notes across New Mutants #98 and other AUS price variant examples as well, in order to include the indicia month information on the label. Public thanks to CGC for this great improvement — because it helps collectors who may be unfamiliar with this “class” of comics to grasp that they were indeed manufactured right along with the rest of the print run. Once encapsulated, that indicia information is then forever out of view and buried within the slab, so including it on the label is an important improvement.

Here is how the CGC census lookup for variant copies of New Mutants #98 looks today, which you can compare against the screenshot from my Part I post; notice how the Key Comments note now ends with “Indicia reads 2/91” and my copy has brought the total on record up to 6 from the previous 5:

New Mutants #98 variant CGC census entry.

New Mutants #98 variant CGC census entry now states “Indicia reads 2/91” within the Key Comments note.

Other Keys Beyond New Mutants #98

A 1990 population comparison for the USA, Canada, and Australia, shows Australia at 5.8%.

A 1990 population comparison for the USA, Canada, and Australia, shows Australia at 5.8%.

Although New Mutants #98 is the mega-key within the Type 1A AUS price variant window, many other interesting comics with AUS variants are confirmed to exist as well, including some other really important keys I’ll present below.

Confirming the existence of AUS price variants case-by-case from the 10/90 to 1/94 window (and the 2/96 to 11/96 window) is incredibly difficult: there are some which I expect should exist, such as Iron Man #282, but I’ve had my eyes peeled for going on six months and have yet to spot a single copy [10/26/2017 Update: Thank you to Paul Nicholls who confirmed the existence of the Iron Man #282 variant and supplied a photo!  Paul also mentioned Silver Surfer v3 #44 (1st appearance of the Infinity Gauntlet) as another critically important key to list as falling into this Type 1A Cover Price Variant window].

Estimated 1990 split for Marvel: 15% newsstand to 85% direct edition.

Estimated 1990 split for Marvel: 15% newsstand to 85% direct edition.

But it makes sense that these AUS cover price copies should be next-to-impossible to find as a “class” of variants, because Australia is such a small market by population, in contrast to North America. And that small population percentage is then applied only to the newsstand slice of Marvel’s comic books… where we see a 1990 newsstand rarity estimate of 15% and a BPA audit revealing 14% newsstand sales by the beginning of 1999.

So dividing up the newsstand pie slice by market size to reveal just the Australian newsstand copies within that already-small newsstand slice, we’d get to a minuscule percentage of total copies sold of a given issue being our AUS price variants — in the Part I post, I penciled out a range of 0.87% to 2.61%, before the high destruction rate that newsstand comics are notorious for.  That math makes for a huge number of “regular” copies you’d have to scroll through before you spot 1 AUS variant copy… and in so many cases, you can scroll completely through every single copy on eBay and find zero AUS variants.  Despite this extreme rarity level, through my own hunting and with the help of readers (thanks for all your help!!) I was able to confirm the existence of the following interesting keys and picture them here:

Amazing Spider-Man #344 (1st Cletus Kasady appearance)

Amazing Spider-Man #344, $1.50 AUS variant

Amazing Spider-Man #344, $1.50 AUS variant.  Cletus Kasady eventually becomes Carnage.

Amazing Spider-Man #360 (1st Carnage in cameo)

Amazing Spider-Man #360, $1.80 AUS variant

Amazing Spider-Man #360, $1.80 AUS variant

Amazing Spider-Man #361 (1st full Carnage appearance)

Amazing Spider-Man #362-363 (Carnage storyline)

Amazing Spider-Man #365 (1st appearance of Spider-Man 2099)

Amazing Spider-Man #365, $5.95 AUS variant

Amazing Spider-Man #365, $5.95 AUS variant; very high cover price; hologram cover.

Uncanny X-Men #282 (1st Bishop appearance)

Uncanny X-Men #282, $1.50 AUS variant

New Mutants #99 (1st appearance of Feral; X-Men #138 cover swipe)

New Mutants #99, $1.50 AUS variant

New Mutants #100 (1st appearance of X-Force)

New Mutants #100, $2.00 AUS Variant

New Mutants #100, $2.00 AUS Variant

Iron Man #281 (1st cameo appearance of War Machine)

Iron Man #281, $1.80 AUS variant

Iron Man #281, $1.80 AUS variant, 1st War Machine in cameo

Iron Man #282 (1st full appearance of War Machine)

Iron Man #282, $1.80 AUS Variant

Iron Man #282, $1.80 AUS Variant

X-Force #11 (1st appearance of “real” Domino)

X-Force #15 (Deadpool vs. Cable)

And here are a few other interesting comics, just to give you some more ideas…

I always find it interesting to compare and contrast different kinds of variant comics, when considering their relative value — and during the 90’s while this AUS price variant window was open on newsstands, there were meanwhile some well known X-Men variants that were sold in conjunction with an X-Men board game. Many buyers of these board games got a variant copy of X-Men #11 included, with a silver background on the cover; and there were other variant issues distributed with the board game as well: X-Men #’s 297, 303, and 307.

pressman-board-game

The X-Men #11 variants are not especially difficult to find out there as judged by eBay availability — for example at this particular moment in time, if I wanted to buy a nice NM-range copy of the silver/Pressman-board-game variant of X-Men #11, I could go onto eBay and I’d have eleven copies to choose from including three CGC graded copies above NM in grade:

x-men-11-pressmen-comps

Those are some high price tags!  Which goes to show how hungry collectors are to own variants… the variants they know about.  In the sold section of eBay I found two recent Pressman X-Men #11 listings, both of which described the offered copies as NM- and one of which had availability of two copies:

pressman-sales

The Pressman variants are indeed interesting for context here… because these X-Men issues with Pressman variants also fall within our AUS price variant window by publication date. So we have a nice contrast looking at market values for these Pressman variants that collectors are already aware of and out there looking for — i.e. we can think about the following question: if NM- Pressman variant copies of X-Men #11 are going for $30-40, what should AUS price variant copies of the issue go for?

Looking today on the CGC census, there are 53 Pressman copies of X-Men #11 on record, but zero AUS variant copies.  Looking today on eBay, I find only one AUS price variant copy of the issue in the “sold” section (and only one currently-active listing); the sold copy was described as VF+, and take a look at the price the seller decided to ask for their copy on a buy-it-now — you can really see the relative value here (even with overseas shipping cost we’re talking about a fraction of the cost of a Pressman variant):

x-men-11-aus-variant-sale

And VF+ is actually a very strong grade in the context of these variants as newsstand exclusives (and with the associated typical poor handling and high destruction rate that newsstand comics are notorious for). The more typical condition you’ll find out there among AUS variants is more like this:

x-men-11-aus-vs-pressman

Finding stickers affixed to the front covers of AUS price variants is a very common occurrence and is reflective of how the comics were treated — as something to read, with no thought given to preservation of collectible condition.   Another common occurrence you’ll see out there is a newsstand marking in the upper left corner of the front cover in pen (the number portion of these markings appears to have to do with the month) — here are a few examples below with such markings (when submitted to CGC, the following showed up as Grader Notes: “small writing top left of front cover“):

aus-newsstand-markings

I haven’t been able to confirm sightings of AUS variants for all of the other X-Men issues that also have Pressman variants, but based on the AUS variant publication window they likely do all indeed exist for each of the issues that have Pressman variants; here below is confirmation of the existence of an AUS price variant for one of the others, X-Men #307:

x-men-307-aus-variant

Similar to Pressman variants as a simultaneously-existing variant “type” that we can use for value comparison, another “type” of 1990’s variant has to do with the common use of holograms on comic book covers during the 90’s: sometimes, these holograms took on different shades of color when they were manufactured. Collectors, being ever eager to seek out rare variant versions of a given comic, have identified blue holograms as more desirable and rare. For example, consider X-Force #25:

x-force-25-hologram

As you can see above, these “rare blue” hologram copies are asking quite a bit (and that first listing also touts an orange tinted version). And toggling over to the “sold” listings, we can see that such copies described as having blue holograms are indeed finding buyers willing to pay a considerable premium over what the “regular” copies sell for:

blue-hologram-sales

And as you already guessed, these blue holograms aren’t the only variant version out there of the issue… because there indeed exists an AUS price variant for this hologram issue as well (and check out the high cover price Australians were asked to pay to get their hands on one of these cool hologram covers, at a whopping $5.60):

x-force-25-aus-5.60-variant

And X-Force #25 isn’t the only hologram example; one of those sold eBay listings we saw earlier mentioned “Like Wolverine 75” in the title, and indeed, that’s another one where collectors are paying a premium for blue hologram copies.  And it is also an example where an AUS price variant exists (and look what a high cover price Australians were asked to pay for this one!):

wolverine-75-aus-hologram-v

And AUS price variants exist for other hologram issues as well, including Amazing Spider-Man #365 which we saw earlier (first appearance of Spider-Man 2099 — and yes, the 2099 titles also have AUS price variants), and Spectacular Spider-Man #189 (and once again, an abnormally high cover price associated with the hologram cover; and once again a sticker affixed to the cover of this particular example):

spectacular-spider-man-189-

Hologram covers are arguably a big piece of “1990s comic book memorabilia” and it is interesting to consider the little-known AUS cover price variant hologram copies in contrast to the blue hologram versions that collectors are already out there looking for today and paying premiums for as rare variants — because between the tiny percentage of total copies that the Australian newsstand market represented, the notorious high newsstand destruction rate, and the abnormally high per-issue cover price these hologram issues were consistently given (potentially deterring a lot of would-be buyers from opening their wallets), finding these surviving AUS cover price variant hologram covers in high grade is beyond challenging… and there are several other hologram issues I haven’t included here simply because after nearly six months of looking, I’ve yet to see a single copy come up for sale (not even a beaten-up reader copy which would at least confirm their existence).

A similar category to holograms (in the sense of sometimes creating variant versions known to collectors today) was “foil” covers with known manufacturing errors; one example being Silver Surfer #50:

silver-surfer-50-foil-error

Here’s a recent sale of a Silver Surfer #50 error copy in the “sold” section of eBay:

silver-surfer-50-error-sale

In the context of this “known variant” that collectors are already out there looking for, it is interesting to consider the little-known AUS price variant of the same issue:

Silver Surfer #50, $1.50 AUS cover price.

Between Pressman variants, blue hologram copies, and foil errors, these other 1990s variants help calibrate a sense of what kind of potential the AUS price variants have as a “class” of variant comics if collectors broadly start to become aware of their existence (and their extreme rarity) and begin actively looking for them.  Today, the awareness of their existence has got to be extremely low out there…  I count myself among those who until recently had no idea whatsoever that AUS price variant newsstand comics even existed.

Even with the current low level of awareness of this “class” of variants, a recent sale of the “mega-key” example (New Mutants #98) shows their market value potential…  Since the time of my “Part I” post, we have seen one New Mutants #98 copy described as the AUS price variant hit the “sold” section of eBay, with an impressive price result.  The one sale was this one screen-captured below, described as VG/FN, and I can tell from the sold listings section sorted by order of highest to lowest sale price, that this variant copy fetched a higher sale price than the three books pictured below it in the following screenshot, which are: (runner-up-#1) a CBCS 9.0 copy signed by Rob Liefeld; (runner-up-#2) a CBCS 9.4 Direct Edition copy; (runner-up-#3) a CGC 9.4 Direct Edition copy.

new-mutants-98-aus-value

A dramatic price difference for sure, when a raw VG/FN AUS price variant copy of New Mutants #98 beats out these slabbed Near-Mint-range direct edition comps… Which prompts one to wonder: what would a Near Mint variant have sold for?  What would the one single CGC 9.4 variant copy presently in existence today have sold for (as of today, 9.4 is the top grade)?

And what would a near mint AUS variant copy of New Mutants #98 sell for in the future if more collectors begin to realize they actually exist and then come to comprehend their rarity as newsstand exclusives targeted to the relatively-tiny-by-population Australian market?  I can’t imagine knowledge of these variants is currently very widespread… the tiny numbers and the principle of “out of sight, out of mind” has kept them nearly-invisible (the current grand-total six CGC graded copies of the New Mutants #98 AUS variant stands in stark contrast against the 12,611 CGC graded “regular” copies presently in existence… in fact, 765 “regular” copies of New Mutants #98 have been graded since year-end 2016 alone).

And if that’s true that awareness of these AUS price variants is indeed on the low side today, then that means we presently have a nice window of opportunity to hunt for AUS price variants while they are still broadly under the radar and can sometimes be found out there for “regular price” listed on eBay.

Hopefully the example comics I’ve talked about today give you some other good ideas for AUS price variant comics to collect beyond the mega-key presented in Part I.  And although I’ve only focused on the first “window” (1990-1994) in this post, there are also confirmed 1996 AUS price variants out there too. Below is a list a reader shared with me, of Amazing Spider-Man Australian newsstand comics they had personally collected and verified to date:

Confirmed Amazing Spider-Man Australian Newsstand Editions
Issue No. Indicia Date Cover Price (AUS) Cover Date
341 Nov-90 $1.50 Feb
342 Dec-90 $1.50 Mar
343 Jan-91 $1.50 Apr
344 Feb-91 $1.50 May
345 Mar-91 $1.50 Jun
346 Apr-91 $1.50 Jul
347 May-91 $1.50 Aug
348 Jun-91 $1.50 Sep
349 Jul-91 $1.50 Oct
350 Aug-91 $1.50 Nov
351 Sep-91 $1.50 Dec
352 Oct-91 $1.50 Jan
353 Nov-91 $1.50 Early Feb
354 Nov-91 $1.50 Late Feb
355 Dec-91 $1.50 Early Mar
356 Dec-91 $1.50 Late Mar
357 Jan-92 $1.50 Early Apr
358 Jan-92 $1.50 Late Apr
359 Feb-92 $1.80 May
360 Mar-92 $1.80 Jun
361 Apr-92 $1.80 Jul
362 May-92 $1.80 Aug
363 Jun-92 $1.80 Sep
364 Jul-92 $1.80 Oct
365 Aug-92 $5.95 Nov
366 Sep-92 $1.80 Dec
367 Oct-92 $1.80 Jan
368 Nov-92 $1.80 Early Feb
369 Nov-92 $1.80 Late Feb
370 Dec-92 $1.80 Early Mar
371 Dec-92 $1.80 Late Mar
372 Jan-93 $1.80 Early Apr
373 Jan-93 $1.80 Late Apr
374 Feb-93 $1.80 May
375 Mar-93 $5.95 Jun
376 Apr-93 $1.95 Jul
377 May-93 $1.95 Aug
378 Jun-93 $1.95 Sep
379 Jul-93 $1.95 Oct
380 Aug-93 $1.95 Nov
381 Sep-93 $1.95 Dec
382 Oct-93 $1.95 Jan
383 Nov-93 $1.95 Feb
384 Dec-93 $1.95 Mar
408 Feb-96 $2.50 Feb
410 Apr-96 $2.50 Apr
411 May-96 $2.50 May
412 Jun-96 $2.50 Jun
413 Jul-96 $2.50 Jul
414 Aug-96 $2.50 Aug
415 Sep-96 $2.50 Sep
416 Oct-96 $2.50 Oct
417 Nov-96 $2.00 Nov

[Thank-you to the reader who contacted me and shared the above!]  These are their confirmed hits, and it is possible others exist outside of this list, for example Amazing Spider-Man #340 seems like it should fit into the window.  Here’s a picture of one of the AUS price variant ASM examples from 1996 ($2.00 AUS price in UPC code box):

amazing-spider-man-417-aus

And I’ll end this post with a few more example AUS variants just to give you a further sampling of what’s out there.  Happy Collecting! 🙂

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69 thoughts on “AUS Price Variants (Australian Newsstand Editions)

  1. Paul Nicholls says:

    Great acticle
    I have been collecting these since 1990 and today I picked up a possible 9.8 for $500 of NM 98 on Gumtree in Aus
    I’m gonna press it and.submit it to CGC next year
    My brother has a copy of Ironman 282 1st war machine
    I can send you a photo if you like
    I can send you a photo of my NM98 too it’s near mint plus

    Like

    • Hi Paul, photos would be great! 🙂 I’d sent you an email after receiving your initial comment, did that email message make it through to you? Best way to send me photos would be to reply to that email.

      – Ben

      Like

      • Hi Paul, thanks for sharing those photos, I really appreciate it! 🙂 I’ve had Iron Man #282 on my watch list this entire time and your photo marks the very first one I’ve ever seen.

        I want to mention something, since you said you’ll be submitting your New Mutants #98 to CGC next year… A reader recently brought to my attention that they were looking up New Mutants #98 on the CGC census and noticed that CGC appears to have made another change: whereas before they had classified the AUS variant for New Mutants #98 under 5/91, and then after my suggestion they placed a key comments note about the 2/91 indicia into that census entry, now they appear to be classifying new submissions of the variant as a 2/91 entry, i.e. right below the “regular” New Mutants #98 copies. (See screenshot below taken just now). [10/29 follow-up: someone let me know that they checked with CGC and the 2/91 entry that presently appears on the census for the New Mutants #98 variant is actually just a one-off mistake and they plan to correct the census at its next release, at which time it will be removed and only the 5/91 entry will remain.]

        I haven’t personally verified that this new census entry isn’t a one-off because I’ve only yet acquired my one AUS variant copy (I’d have bought 10 had I actually found more mis-listed copies but to date I’ve only landed the one). But if I’m fortunate to successfully land another in time, I will submit it to CGC with 2/91 as the date to confirm their new treatment; and when you submit yours, I’d suggest you do the same and put down 2/91 for the month.

        Thanks again Paul! 🙂

        Best,
        – Ben

        New Mutants #98 Updated Census Organization

        high-grade-nm-98

        New Mutants #100, $2.00 AUS Variant

        Iron Man #282, $1.80 AUS Variant

        Like

  2. As a follow-up, someone let me know that they checked with CGC and the 2/91 entry that presently appears on the census for the New Mutants #98 variant is actually just a one-off mistake and they plan to correct the census at its next release, at which time it will be removed and only the 5/91 entry will remain.

    Also, a reader shared with me today that they landed the below as an example 10/90 issue:

    fantastic-four-345-aus

    – Ben

    Like

  3. Paul Nicholls says:

    Ben i have been buying some more Aus Variant Keys
    This week I got Gambit 1 miniseries and Venom 1 Lethal Protector that I have never seen before.

    Like

    • Hi Paul, great new finds! I’m especially excited for you on the Venom Lethal Protector #1, because it is another case where collectors are already keenly aware of a highly-valued variant that can be looked to for contrast as a “comp” of sorts: the copies which were manufactured without the foil, in error; a CGC census lookup shows 180 copies currently denoted “Black Cover/Printing Error”… Meanwhile I have to imagine very few owners of that variant are even aware of the existence of the $4.50 AUS variant!

      – Ben 🙂

      venom-1-aus

      Like

  4. Mr. cover price variant says:

    Hi Ben,

    I did some research with the Marvel Australian Type 1A price variants and came to an interesting conclusion in one area.

    I found that there are TWO not ONE beginning indicia dates found for Marvel Australian price variant books for different Marvel titles and the dates are 10/90 and 11/90. The two different indicia dates explains why there is no Australian cover price variant Amazing Spider-Man #340 10/90 indicia dated issue known to exist. I used the Marvel New Mutants title and Fantastic Four titles to prove that two starting dates exist. New Mutants Australian cover price variant books began with issue #95 and the book has a 11/90 dated indicia. The Fantastic Four Australian cover price variant books began with issue #345 and the book has a 10/90 dated indicia. I concluded that Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four Australian cover price variants actually began with different indicia dates and that some Marvel Australian cover price variant titles ceased with a 12/93 dated indicia and some titles ceased with a 1/94 dated indicia. The second wave of Marvel Australian cover price variants published 2/96-11/96 all have the same beginning indicia date which is 2/96.

    Like

    • Paul Nicholls says:

      Great info mate thanks
      Yeah I have never seen ASM 340 Aus before but have seen a asm 341
      Are you from Australia??
      I have a huge collection of these Australian Price Variants and am up to 4 copies of ASZm 361 and 3 copies of New Mutants 100
      Trying to confirm the existence of some of these Variants to very hard
      Do you know if there is a Wolverine 80 Aus and Incredile Hulk 377 Aus
      Thanks Paul
      P.S feel free to Email me about any questions on these comics because I love talking about them and they Fasinate me

      Like

  5. Mr. cover price variant says:

    Hi Paul,
    I live here in the USA. In regards to your question of do Wolverine and Incredible Hulk 377 exist as AUS cover price variants I would have to say that there is a very good chance that they do as well as Marvels Infinity Gauntlet #1. I truly believe ALL the Marvel 10/90-1/94 AUS cover price variants were published, but they are extremely scarce and seldom seen or found out there, even on Australian eBay!. Also one might note that an Amazing Spider-Man 361 CGC 9.8!!! Australian cover price variant sold on eBay about 5 years ago. Can one imagine the value of that 9.8 copy today being that a CGC 9.4 copy went for $1,200.00 on eBay in 2017. Wow! it is truly amazing that you say you have a raw NM raw grade copy of New Mutants #98 AUS that you feel will grade a 9.4 or higher by CGC and I look forward to seeing what it grades out at.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul Nicholls says:

      I live in Australia and have been collecting these since I was a kid and now I’m 42
      I can tell you I’m 99% sure there is NO infinity Gauntlet 1-6 Aus but there is a Infinity War 1-6 Aus and Infinity Crusade 1-6 Aus
      Silver Surfer didn’t start till about issue 40 in Aus Variants
      New mutants started at issue 94
      I’m pretty sure there was no Darkhawk Quasar
      The Venom Lethal Protector 1-6 are Very Rare and seriously under the Radar
      I have only seen 1 copy on eBay in years and it cost me $20
      But getting these Variants in Near Mint Condition is a another story
      That’s what fascinates me about them
      I finally found Web Of Spiderman 97,98,99,100 in a Set in Aus Ebay for $45
      They where not close to near mint at all but still pulled the trigger
      What Australian Price Variants do you have ??

      Like

  6. Hi Paul, Hulk 377 is one I’ve been trying to find too (ever since learning about AUS variants), without even a hint of success (I haven’t even sighted one, let alone a high grade copy).

    My latest AUS variant acquisition was Spectacular Spider-Man #189 — I feel such nostalgia looking at that awesome hologram cover 🙂 — and this particular copy was a stunner compared to any others I’d seen. It is now back from CGC (first one on census for the issue) and achieved a 9.0! Yes!


    By the way, we should all mentally subtract one 9.6 copy for ASM 361 versus whatever the census shows — because I learned something today, on account of an eBay alert being triggered. The alert brought me to this new listing (titled “AMAZING SPIDERMAN #361 9.6 CGC ULTRA RARE AUSTRALIAN EDITION 1ST CARNAGE”): https://www.ebay.com/itm/173265969239

    Only problem is that the copy inside that “Australian Edition” labeled slab is a plain old direct edition… What a blunder, wow! The new(ish) CGC online submission entry system auto-suggests with a drop-down when you begin to enter a book, and I wonder if the original submitter of that copy simply selected the Australian Edition census date by accident, and then it slipped through CGC’s QA department unnoticed? I’ve seen mis-labeled Canadian Edition comics before (i.e. the label read Canadian Edition when the book inside was not), but this marks the first mis-labeled Australian Edition book I’ve seen; here’s the main listing picture just to capture it here for posterity:

    Yikes!

    – Ben

    Like

    • Paul Nicholls says:

      Awesome info Ben thanks
      I have been going through my old comics and the Earliest Hulk Australian Variant I have found is Hulk 379
      I have never seen a Hulk 377 in 25 years but who knows it might exist
      The Amazing Spiderman Hologram Cover is also a Beast in these Aus Variants and has a very high price of $5.95 so I’m not sure many were printed
      In a nut shell I have found with these Australian Variants is that they absolutely the opposite of the U.S Editions From the 90s as far as print run go
      X-men 1 and X-force 1 has HUGE printings but the Australian are almost the rarest out of them all
      There was 4 different Editions Of x-men 1 Released and they are very very hard to track down and in Near Mint nearly impossible
      Let the Hunt continue

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A reader came across this find, a Fantastic Four #1 AUS variant (November 1996):

    Published 11/1996, with cover price of $3.95 AUS! Also interesting about this issue is that direct editions carry a cover price of $2.95 US ($4.15 CAN) whereas the batch of newsstand copies cover priced for US and CAN carry a cover price of $2.99 US ($4.05 CAN). Take a look:

    So the regular newsstand copies are a cover price variant of the issue number too! 🙂 Here’s a zoom-in of the three price boxes side by side:

    – Ben

    Like

    • Awesome, Jace! Is the below your copy? It is probably not a coincidence that someone emailed the below to me today 😉 — I’m so pleased to see that this variant exists! Wow would I love to own one of these! Congrats on having one in your collection, Jace! 🙂

      – Ben

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi everyone, big news regarding our AUS price variants: CBCS is overhauling their labeling of Type 1A price variants across the board… you can see an example new 75¢ Canadian Price Variant label here (replacing the old labeling of “Canadian Edition”)… but the labeling improvement will extend beyond Canadian price variants; Tim Bildhauser of CBCS said, quote, “We will be carrying this change in notation over to both the Australian newsstand comics from the early 1990s as well as the various U.K. price variants as well.”

    So going forward one of the big two grading companies will be recognizing our AUS price variants with price variant labeling!

    – Ben 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul Nicholls says:

      This Information is Ground Breaking In Regards to these Australian Variants well Done
      I have Hundreds Of these Variants like I’ve said before
      Anyway a couple of titles left off List are Alf no idea how many issues but I’ve seen the later issues
      Clive Barkers Ecokid
      Clive Barkers Hokum and Hex
      I have Ghost Rider 23 Aus and I’m sure there’s a lot more before that.
      Please contact me if you have any questions
      Paul Nicholls

      Liked by 1 person

    • Woo hoo!! I’m so excited you’re taking this on! 🙂 Here are some pictures below to confirm some needed issues.

      – Ben p.s. Happy New Year! 🙂

      X-Factor #65

      X-Force #8

      X-Force #15

      X-Force #19

      X-Force #7, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Get Marwood & I says:

    Hi Paul, thanks for the encouragement. I found your Google site the other day and you’re clearly a man who loves his comics – and variants! Good to find another AUS fan.

    I’ve found another 10 AUS copies since the post so we’re over the 700 mark now. Would you mind posting pictures of the Alf / Clive Barkers if you have them? To preserve the integrity of the data I only list a book as confirmed when I have pictorial evidence, otherwise you lose track (and can’t prove the existence if / when challenged). I’m not sure how to contact you directly – is there a way?

    Thanks again for the kind words 🙂

    Like

    • Paul Nicholls says:

      Contact me by email. I have found some very high grade Copies Of Australian Price Variants such as Venom 1 and ASM 361-362-363 that have a Shot at 9.8 at CGC
      I have multiple copies too Of these

      Like

  10. Get Marwood & I says:

    Ha! I’ve found a raft of Clive Barker’s on eBay just now. The mistake I was making was putting ‘Barkers’ as the search. They only come up with ‘Barker’ for some reason. All good fun. I couldn’t find any Alf’s though….

    Like

  11. Get Marwood & I says:

    Excellent Mr Bond! We’re up to 734 confirmed copies now. I’ll post a revised title & number list on the CGC boards soon and link it here. If everyone keeps adding to it we’ll be well on our way to jointly create a definitive AUS issue list 🙂

    Happy New Year!

    Like

  12. Get Marwood & I says:

    Nice. We were only just talking about them in my CGC thread. Shame about the sellers price. I see that the Cover E (according to the GCD) in the lot is the US copy (price on the back). I wonder if that exists as an AUS too? If so, you’d have thought it would be an AUS copy, sitting next to the other four.

    Like

  13. varyant555 (formerly Mr. Cover Price Variant) forwarded me this and asked that I post the picture — it appears that CGC made at least one and possibly two changes to their labeling of AUS price variants: (1) They are now listing the variant cover price on the right-hand of the label just like they began doing with Canadian price variants last year, and (2) It appears they may have decided to re-think which month they categorize the variants under in their system and now go by the indicia month — I say “may” because I looked up a couple of other issues on census and still see the old entries categorized by the cover month, but it is possible they may be moving things around on a “piecemeal” basis as new submissions come in? But on this X-Men #1 below, you can see they used 10/91 (indicia month) versus using the cover month and then placing a note about the indicia month as they had been doing before…

    p.s. Seeing the above makes me wonder — they now place the variant cover price on the right-hand side of the labels for AUS price variants and Canadian price variants, which is two of the three known instances of Type 1A variants that Marvel published… so has CGC also now started to note the variant cover price on the right-hand side of the label for pence price variants as well?

    – Ben

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Get Marwood & I says:

    Whilst I don’t know if they are, I wouldn’t see a need for CGC to put the pence price on the CGC label as it is clearly in a different currency. The CAD and AUS copies could be mistaken for US prices given that they are all in dollars. A pence symbol / price can’t be.

    The country designation is enough in my view (“UK Edition”, “Australian Edition”, “Canadian Edition”) although I would personally like to see “first printing” added to that to remove any doubt that the book was so produced.

    Only if there were price variants within price variants, for example, two AUS copies of the same comic with different AUS prices, would it make sense to add that detail to the label. In all other cases where there is only one price, the AUS/Canadian/UK Edition designation is sufficient to identify the variance, and you can then see the price on the comic itself.

    Good spot on CGCs approach though.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi everyone, I just received a $1.80 AUS Iron Man #282 variant back from CGC and wanted to follow-up on the observation on the X-Men #1 variant from a couple of months back, where it appeared that CGC changed their treatment of our AUS variants in two ways: listing the variant cover price on the right-hand of the label, and, re-thinking which month they categorize the variants under in their system to now go by the indicia month.

    I thought my Iron Man #282 variant was going to be the first one to hit the census for this issue, but it looks like someone else beat me to the punch — there’s already one copy there in a lookup today, and, just like with the X-Men #1 example, CGC catalogued the book by its indicia month (under 7/92 instead of 10/92 cover month):

    The census hasn’t updated online yet to show my copy in the above results, but I can report that it too was given this treatment: it is labeled a 7/92 issue — going by the indicia month — and then on the right-hand side of the label they make a note about the $1.80 cover price:

    This is great: people looking up Iron Man #282 on census will see this variant right there in the “main” record which should be a longer-term incremental positive for AUS variant awareness among collectors.

    I like this treatment way better than the prior method of cataloging the issue by the cover month and then mentioning the indicia date on the right-hand side of the label, but, I notice that CGC has not (yet) “ported over” prior AUS variants to this new treatment. For example, New Mutants #98 still has two census entries — 2/91 and 5/91 — and all the AUS variants are over in the 5/91 entry (which then has the label note “Indicia reads 2/91” on the right-hand side). Similar with ASM #361.

    So this leaves me wondering: does CGC plan on “fixing” the old census entries for AUS variants on a “piecemeal” basis (i.e. next time a New Mutants #98 variant comes through their doors they’ll change the census), or what? Will it take a collector actively asking them for us to see a change to the census for other issues with AUS variants previously catalogued?

    Next time someone submits one of the variants with an older census entry, I hope you’ll take a moment to contact CGC and request they apply the “new treatment” as given to X-Men #1 and Iron Man #282, and port over the old entry to use the indicia month as the issue date!

    – Ben 🙂

    Like

    • Paul Nicholls says:

      Awesome Ben Beautiful Comic wow
      This CGC Labelling is Confusing.I got some comics back like 4 weeks ago from CGC and ASM 361 9.8 Venom Lethal Protector 1 9.8 and New Mutants 100 9.6 all are the Highest on Census
      Anyway NM 100 on Label has 2.00 on Label but ASM and Venom doesn’t just the indica month and they were submitted at same time
      I have some massive massive news too that I know you will appreciate
      Drum Roll
      On Sunday I Bought the First ever Double Cover Of These Australian Price Variants that I have ever seen.
      I never Dreamt they existed
      I Bought a Amazing Spiderman 345 Double Cover for $200 Australian on EBay
      It’s definitely going to CGC this Year
      On a Different Note I would really Like your Feedback and Knowledge on Comics on CBSI Market Trends on Our MeWe site
      Your Knowledge would be invaluable
      Again that iron man in Sick
      Well Done Brother

      Like

  16. Hi Paul, awesome news on your double cover find (also your ASM #361 and Venom #1 in 9.8 [WOW!], and New Mutants #100 in 9.6!).

    That’s interesting to hear that those were submitted to CGC at the same time and yet CGC applied their old AUS variant census treatment to the ASM and Venom, but their new census treatment to the New Mutants 100. Here’s a screenshot of the New Mutants #100 census entry for others to see — cataloged under 4/1991 together with the regular copies:

    That they treated your books differently within the same submission suggests to me that CGC might not have a plan to automatically “port over” their old entries for the AUS variants they had cataloged prior to this new treatment… Hopefully they would still do so upon request if a customer asks them either on a new submission or a reholder? It would definitely be nice to have some consistency so I hope at some point those older entries get updated to the new treatment!

    – Ben p.s. I haven’t signed up to access MeWe but I heard that a lot of Google+ sites were moving there. I find it very interesting that Google+ was deemed a failure and that they elected to shut it down.

    Like

  17. Paul Nicholls says:

    Hey Ben I’m really for Part 3 of this Australian Price Variant Blog you have Started
    I have Heaps of new information on random things but I think Grading Labeling is the Biggest
    Contact me on [email]
    I would love to help in part 3
    The info on CGC Boards is very helpful too
    Cheers Mate

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Paul, thanks for sharing the X-Force #2 and ASM #345 pictures, I wanted to post them here for others to see too —

    Amazing Spider-Man #345 $1.50 AUS variant with double cover!!! (Awesome find, Paul!!):

    X-Force #2 Direct Edition with AUS Price/Month Sticker suggesting that a printed price variant version of the issue may not exist (they may have just used direct edition copies and slapped these stickers on them…)

    Like

  19. There has been a lot of misinformation about these US Marvel comics printed specifically for the Australian newsstand market in the early nineties. They have been described as 1A variants (which applies to some other editions printed for other countries), but this is not accurate. The 1A status was simply arrived at with the limited information available at the time. The information presented here was obtained by us, first hand, from the Australian Marvel Sales rep, whose job was to increase Marvel comic newsstand sales.

    Click link to see the full article: http://www.alternateworlds.com.au/news-events/australian-premiere-editions-ape

    It is a bit long for a standard post here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Joseph, thanks for sharing your article! In reply, I first want to address the commonality we have in finding these variants to be incredibly interesting and highly collectable. We are “on the same team” in that regard, and I for one certainly want to learn as much about them as possible from you (I’ll have some questions later in this reply that I hope you will answer for me), and so I find no reason for any “adversarial” approach to be taken corresponding with me (or with Bill or others). My initial reading of both your comment above and the beginning/intro of your linked article read to me as having an adversarial tone focusing on disagreement; with the main point of contention seemingly being whether our AUS variants really fall under the Type 1A definition or not… that ole “what to call them” question… And with regard to that subject, I feel that I can actually help bridge any disagreement you have, with what I will share next.

      While I was working with Steve Cranch on our pence price variant issue guide, we came upon certain early pence variants which did not appear to fall under the Type 1A definition (as written in 2010) under a “strict” interpretation of that definition — i.e. with the definition apparently requiring that the indicia and all aspects of the book “except for the cover price and sometimes the company logo” be identical to regular copies. Certain very-early pence issues were identified which actually drop the cover month entirely and/or have an indicia difference compared to their cents counterparts! We approached Jon McClure about this, bringing up in our discussion both the pence issues identified and the AUS variant issues as well, with their different cover month, where the differences on the variant copies might not seem to be “allowed” under a “strict” interpretation of his Type 1A variant definition.

      As the author and maintainer of the Type 1 / Type 1A definitions, Jon himself is really the authority to be turned to on the matter after all and we didn’t want to proceed with our pence guide until he had settled the question for us — and it seemed he was faced with a decision: either Jon could revise/enlarge his definition to encompass these other differences identified since his 2010 article was published, or, he could come up with new definitions for such outlier variants, to find an alternate home for them. I can tell you first hand the discussion was thorough and extensive, and after all the points had been debated we were in suspense for awhile wondering what Jon would decide to do…

      I’ll tell you what Jon decided in a moment, but first, I want to remark how this situation as I described above relates to how you started your article by quoting Bill Alexander (who called them Type 1A variants in his Overstreet report) and then starting your article by telling Bill in your very first sentence: “you are wrong.” The way I see it, because of the situation Steve and I brought to Jon for consideration, and what happened next (which I’ll share in a moment), it kind of makes both of you “right” in a way: you, Joseph, have strong grounds for having argued that the AUS variants are not Type 1A on account of the cover month differing, because that cover month difference was not “strictly allowed” if we’re reading Jon’s 2010 Type 1A definition as a set of strict “rules”.

      But on the other hand, Bill is “also right” having approached it from a fairly unique perspective: having been one of the researchers that contributed to Jon’s 2010 article. This first-hand insider’s perspective that Bill had on the “spirit” of the Type 1A definition meant that for Bill, Jon’s Type 1A definition was intended as being descriptive of a certain group of identified comics — and Bill recognized that the AUS variants belonged to that group. Although the AUS variants were not specifically mentioned in the 2010 article and may not have been known to Jon at the time, Bill took the spirit of the Type 1A definition and in his discussion you quoted Bill basically approached them as being Type 1A at their “core” and then describing “the except part” of the definition (“indicia and all other aspects except“) afterwards: resulting in his describing them as Type 1A cover price and cover month variants. (Joseph, consider from Bill’s perspective as well, that using the information known at the time in 2010, Jon’s definition had already allowed the company logo to differ and not just the cover price alone; so understanding the spirit of what Jon was doing as a comic book historian describing a group of comics, it is reasonable that Bill could conclude that had Jon known of the other minor differences documented later, he would have described them as well back in 2010).

      So now I’ll tell you the result of Jon’s decision after Steve and I approached him: would he enlarge the Type 1A definition to encompass these other differences beyond the cover price and-sometimes-company-logo? Or would he introduce new type(s)? In the newest edition of the Overstreet guide which comes out later this month, you will find that Jon has published a revision to his definition that encompasses these other differences. I know this because Jon gave us permission to publish his newly revised definition in advance of Overstreet, as part of our pence guide, which you can find here (his new Type 1A definition is part way down the main page).

      Joseph, in your article you describe certain of our AUS variants as “Australian Premiere Editions (APE)” and your disagreement over referring to them as Type 1A is actually two-part: (1) the differing cover month, which I’ve talked about up to this point, and (2) you state in your article that the AUS variants were actually collated/assembled first, before any of the other types.

      This bullet point #2 above is certainly highly interesting to me, and I’d like to discuss it further, because indeed one of the hallmarks of the Type 1A variants is that we don’t know for certain the publication order of the different types and so we deem them all 1st print copies. Having studied these AUS variants myself I have seen no indication anywhere on the different types as to what the publication order might have been — with the indicia and interiors fully identical (as far as I can tell) there is no physical evidence I have seen within the books to tell us whether one batch came before another. So instead, I’ve been considering them as having been “published simultaneously” with the other types (with printing order — or whether they alternated them — unknown/unknowable) which is indeed a hallmark of the Type 1A definition, i.e. that “simultaneously published” aspect. But you appear to argue that our AUS variants do not fall under Type 1A because they are known to you to have been published first.

      I am highly interested in learning more about this. As a general source, you cite that there was an Australian Marvel Sales representative whose job was to increase Marvel comic newsstand sales, and that the information in your article is drawn from that source. Are you able to name this representative? Can you put them in touch with me? I’d love to be able to quote them directly in a future article — as a named source. Please let me know if that is possible. Is your information about the printing order drawn solely from this source or do you possess any other information (such as some clue in the physical comics themselves that myself or others have missed) that reveal the printing order? I ask because you wrote, “…in any case, they can be identified as the first of the print run” and that “as soon as this fact came out and Marvel head office realized that some pencil pusher down the line had effectively made all their comics “second” editions, they took immediate action.” So I’d really like to learn from you how they can be identified as the first of the print run? Please elaborate on what I’ve missed and point me to where to look?

      Another piece of information that I’d love to get more details about, is your citing, “Print runs for APE for the Australian newsstand market was 2000-4000 per book.” Did this information come from the Australian Marvel Sales representative? (If so, I’d love to be able to quote them directly in an article as a named source if you can put them in touch with me!) If there are any documents out of Marvel that spell out the print run numbers, that would be great to see too. It seems to me that practically every single time I’ve seen any comic book expert lay out estimates for rarity, there are those who immediately take issue with those estimates. I myself made some estimates for the AUS variants using New Mutants #98 as an example — you probably saw this from my Part I article — where I had penciled out an estimate of “2,400 to 7,200 copies with the variant $1.50 AUS cover price” … and Bill Alexander had done his own independent exercise of estimation and I quoted him as estimating 3,225 copies as his middle estimate. So your stated range feels right in line with what I’d already been thinking, but I’d really like to better understand where your numbers came from (i.e. directly from the mouth of the Australian Marvel Sales representative, and/or some documents you have seen?), and if from that representative I’d really like to be able to quote them as a named source.

      Joseph, another question I have is really one of clarification, as I’m not sure I understood what you wrote: You wrote, “3. Not all Marvel titles were distributed on the newsstand in Australia, but all books that were, were from 1991 cover date.” What I’m not clear about is: are you indicating that only the books from the 1991 cover date are known to you to have been 1st in the printing order and thus APE’s in your view, while those that came after 1991 are not? (If so, repeating my question from earlier, can you teach us how you know the printing order for such certain copies?)

      My last question is also one of clarification, as I also did not follow what you meant in the section where you say: “Marvel head office let their reps do there thing and were unaware of this experiment until we broke the news in 1992 with our ads in the CGC selling these books and a prominent back issue dealer contacted Marvel about the books after buying some from us.” Where I was thrown into confusion is that you seem to be saying you had advertisements with CGC in 1992? But CGC didn’t launch until 2000, so I must be missing what you’re trying to explain; but it seems to have something to do with advertisements of yours? I’d love to see a picture of the advertisement (perhaps that would make me understand, to see a picture), or if you can explain further with words that would be great too, as I’m afraid I became lost in understanding your last #5 bullet point as written.

      In closing, I want to reiterate what I said in the beginning of this reply, by saying that it seems we absolutely share a common interest with these variants, and by saying how much I enjoy talking comics with those who share a common interest … except when communications turn adversarial. I see no reason for that here and I am eager to talk further and hear your responses to my questions above.

      Thanks and looking forward to hearing back from you! 🙂

      Best,
      – Ben

      Liked by 1 person

      • G’Day Ben, Firstly I would like to apologize if I came across aggressively, that was not my intent, I think perhaps I am just a little overly passionate.

        After Marvel contacted me and asked me to drop the whole thing, we did. We simply incorporated all the APE comics into our stock as regular editions. (We are currently go through our half million plus back issue trying to find these books). I did not maintain any contact with the original Marvel rep or distributor, (this was 28 years ago). The distributor at the time no longer exists. As the Marvel rep explained it to us. The only way to get the books to port in time to make the logistics schedule to get here, was to print them first. The “First print run” information came from both the Marvel rep and the NND Distributor themselves. From what I understand, it was part of the contract terms for NDD to distribute Marvel book here.The reason they can be identified as the first of the print run, is because they are APE “AUS” priced books. However, we also have another way to show they were printed first. (See attached picture of X-Factor 71, both editions). If compare both versions, you will note that the AUS version has brighter more intense colour.This is because of the way the books are printed. For those of you that do not know how the presses worked, I will explain. The presses are set up, and filled with the four ink colours. As the presses run, the amount of ink runs down and effectively less ink is printed on the paper. Towards the end of the run, the ink looks like it has been watered down. Although the books are still printed in 4 colour, you get a visible difference of colour intensity and brightness on the first books (when the ink trays are full), compared to when they are running down. This is visible physical evidence of the sequence of when the books when printed. (In addition to being told by both the Marvel rep and the distributor).

        The print run numbers came from both the Marvel rep and the Distributor. This is also supported by the fact that we bought the entire Australian print run for some issues. which were never distributed on the newsstand. To be honest, I am not sure which ones we did this for, apart from Wolverine #50 (we either bought the entire run or most of it). The reason I remember this book in particular is that when we moved locations 9 years ago and were cleaning up and throwing out the trash, the bulk of our copies of Wolverine #50 AUS were thrown out and destroyed. (Yes, this still hurts).

        My reference to 1991 cover dates, refers to the NDD distributed issue, which have the APE modification (which ran for more than one year). As you know, there was a break in the runs and then the AUS variants started again, but with a different Australian format. I suspect that when the initial contract ran its course with NDD, Marvel did not want to renew it. These were distributed by another local distributor and as far as I am aware were not APE issues, but just variants, probably 1A. Unfortunately, I can not confirm this, but based on Marvel reaction to the NDD deal, I doubt they would have done it again. The sales second run of AUS books, (1A) for the Australian variant books locally were probably not good enough, without us buying product. Almost all Australian collectors assumed the AUS books were either reprints or inferior to the US regular edition. Even when we had these on the stand, we had to constantly reassure our clients that these were first edition US books.

        Re our advertising in CGC. Opps, that was a typo that I have since corrected. We advertised the books in CBC, the Comics Buyers Guide. Again, I don’t have any records of this left.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Get Marwood & I says:

      Welcome Joseph!

      One of the reasons I post all my Price Variant findings on the CGC boards is to catch the attention of those in hiding who may have more information about them. And in the case of the Australian copies, it seems that you do! Fascinating stuff on your website link.

      Like Ben, I look forward to hearing more from you. Ben can take the lead debating any subsequent responses – he’s good at that and besides, I’m a confirmed hermit.

      So, again, welcome. And how on Earth did we all miss your website? Has it been in hiding or do I need to have words with the Head of the Googleation Team…. 😉

      Cheers, Steve 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Thanks so much for the great reply Joseph! 🙂 I appreciate the additional details! I reached out to you by email to see if you can send me the X-Factor pictures you wanted to attach (hopefully WordPress will make it easier to include pictures in comments in a future version – sorry it didn’t work when you tried – but meantime if you email them to me I can post them), so please expect an email from me.

    After reading your clarifications I then re-read your article as well, and I think I’ve now gotten an understanding of everything I was unsure about. I’ll summarize my understanding with bullet points (if there’s anything I’ve still misunderstood please let me know):

    – You are clearly quite an important player in comics in Australia (both then and now)!

    – We’re not going to be able to get anyone at NDD nor Marvel as a direct named source because NDD no longer exists and you lost contact with the rep decades ago

    – As the rep explained it to you back then, the AUS variants were printed/assembled first so that they could hurry them off to the boat and meet the logistics demands of getting them over to Australia as quickly as possible

    – This preferential treatment in the printing order may have even been part of a contract between Marvel and NDD (but I’m guessing there’s no possible way we could get hold of a copy of the actual contract to see what is spelled out there)

    – Books printed earlier in any run tend to have more rich coloration than books printed at the end, and you are pointing out how this is the case for the AUS variants, but beyond this “physical clue” about print run order there is nothing in the comics themselves to give away the print run order (no actual markings in the indicia or elsewhere that specify print run order)

    – The print run numbers for AUS variants that you cited of between 2000 and 4000 copies per book are based not only upon information received from your Marvel rep and NDD at the time, but also because there were certain issues where you yourself personally ordered the entire run (wow!), so thus you would be personally-1st-hand-knowledgeable about just how many AUS variant copies were shipped to Australia because for certain issues you bought them all! (Impressive!!)

    – Having learned the print run order from your contacts, you subsequently “broke the news” about it in 1992 that these were the first batch to be printed, breaking the news in an advertisement placed in Comics Buyers Guide (but unfortunately that was so long ago we don’t have the ad anymore to be able to share a picture of it)

    – Despite your efforts via the ad, almost all Australian collectors still assumed the AUS books were either reprints or somehow inferior to regular copies and they never caught on locally initially — interest in them as collectibles has only come later/now (from the wave of newsstand and Type 1A collector interest)

    – In reaction to your ad, via a buyer who then contacted Marvel about it, Marvel (corporate) denied everything about the print run order (perhaps concerned at the time that your ad would somehow disrupt their business / perhaps make the regular copies look like they were secondary in the eyes of collectors), and at that point you backed down

    – After this interaction happened, Marvel took some kind of internal action to address it (mixing up the printing order perhaps?)

    – But from the beginning of the existence of these AUS variants up until the time you published your CBG ad (and Marvel reacted to it), according to both your rep at Marvel and NDD these AUS books were the very first to be assembled in the print run order so as to be able to rush them off to the boat

    – Marvel corporate did not drive this whole Australian newsstand experiment as a corporate-sanctioned strategy from the top down, but rather, folks at Marvel further lower down the ladder (local agents) did all this under their own initiative without specific knowledge “at the top” — with part of the thinking/strategy being that with the AUS price and a date being part of the printed comic itself, local newsstands would not need to “deface” comics with Australian price modifications and return dates, and thus collectors would be more attracted to buying them, thus boosting newsstand sales

    Really interesting stuff, Joseph! Had you not shared your story, I see no way any of us who have studied these AUS variants could have possibly determined (for sure) from studying the comics themselves that the AUS copies were the first batch to be printed — the glossiness argument is supportive of print run order but not something that in my experience the “authorities” in the industry will go by as ‘standalone’ evidence [as an example, I once noticed certain copies of an ASM Index book where it looked like much of the print run had part of the artwork cut off but then certain copies had the artwork aligned perfectly but also had a stark difference in coloration (much more dark/rich) and I surmised that these might have been printed as their own separate batch after they were not happy with how the first batch came out… and I inquired of CGC as to whether they would treat these ‘super rich coloration’ copies as a variant in their catalog/census? I pointed out that PGX denoted such copies as ‘Green Print Variant’. But from CGC the answer was no, they would not break them out in their system: which taught me they do not consider basic differences in richness/coloration to have any bearing on how they catalog/treat a given book]. So I believe that from CGC’s perspective, books that ‘look’ like they might have sat in a certain tier of print run order would not matter to CGC’s viewpoint of cataloging the book if that order is otherwise ‘unremarked’ in the book itself or other records.

    Also interesting is that I’ve heard this same rich-coloration argument regarding the printing order with pence price variants as well (I know I’ve read it more than once out there online) — i.e. that if you compare side-by-side, the colors in the pence copies will appear more rich than the regular copies, suggesting the pence batch were the first printed. And in that case too, it would make sense as far as logistics that they’d want to hurry them off to the boat so by that logic they’d want to print them first! But as far as collector reaction to this argument regarding the probable printing order with pence copies, maybe Steve can comment too but personally I don’t think it has been persuasive in convincing collectors or authorities that pence copies are for-sure-the-first-batch-printed.

    In your article you even take the argument to the conclusion that not only were the AUS copies printed first, but, because they are known to you as having been the first batch printed, that effectively makes them “first editions” and then makes the rest of the print run “second editions” (…“Marvel head office realized that some pencil pusher down the line had effectively made all their comics “second” edition…).

    In general, I’m not sure collectors would feel that copy #2000 printed (say, the last of a given AUS batch) would have “more standing as a first print original” than, say, copy #2001 (the first of the next batch)? Joseph, as you make your 1st-print-APE argument to others in the hobby I’m curious to hear back from you how the argument is received. Please report back here from time to time, if you can!

    I try to picture what reaction I’d myself get if I was the one who tried to lay out that same argument — and I know I’m just a hobbyist with a blog whereas you are a prominent figure in comics in Australia with an actual store and real 1st-hand experience dealing with Marvel & NDD at the time these AUS variants were produced — but nonetheless I try to picture the reaction I’d get and the counter-arguments I’d receive to the main points of (1) that information you received from your Marvel rep & NDD says these were printed first before the other types, and (2) the richness-of-coloration/glossiness argument:

    I suspect the glossiness argument cannot “stand on its own” (i.e. is only a supportive argument), and I suspect the printing order argument might be hard for the hobby to embrace because of the lack of actual printing indication in the indicia itself (or indication elsewhere within the book). If I’m trying to “think like CGC” and if hypothetically I’m CGC and I was sent an AUS variant together with your information and I was asked to “break it out” in my system as the true 1st print and then move the other issues to a 2nd print designation, I’d respond that I need more proof about printing order… I’d want to be able to be pointed to specific words in the indicia or elsewhere on the book itself (or the other types) to show the printing order… Otherwise, the argument kind of comes down to a “he-said-she-said” where “Corporate Marvel’s” 1992 denial is weighted against your report of the word of local reps who we are no longer able to contact now that it is decades later.

    Because of this, I think it may turn out to be “a tough sell” as you try to convince people that the early AUS variants should not be considered Type 1A variations of the 1st printing, but rather, should be considered the first printing and that meanwhile all the other types should be considered variations of the second printing… I am not trying to be closed-minded to your information (I’m still open to persuasion and welcome any new information you can add — and I greatly appreciate hearing the information you’ve already shared), just sharing the hurdles I think you might face in laying out your case to the hobby. [Definitely if you can please report back from time to time to share how people are reacting to your article and argument, I’m super-curious!]

    Clearly these are an extreme relative rarity — Joseph, we absolutely share the same collectability conclusion and strong interest in these. And in my opinion any differences over the “what to call them” question are in the category of a-rose-by-any-other-name… These variants are just as sweet to those of us who collect them, whether we’d call them Type 1A Price Variants, or Australian Premiere Editions, or Australian Newsstand Editions, or Australian Price Variants, or something else.

    As far as I see, the term “Australian Price Variant” has — to date — emerged as the “winner” as far as terminology in the marketplace and probably is what the vast majority of collectors are searching for if they are interested in this niche. I just searched eBay on “Australian Price Variant” and as of this moment I get 85 results; I meanwhile searched “Australian Premiere Edition” and as of this moment get 0 results.

    I personally really like “Australian Price Variant” as a name, which is also the name CGC now applies when labeling them (a vast improvement over the former “Australian Edition” which was the identical name they would use for actual foreign-published later-reprints thereby conflating them). As a friendly-suggestion for your article, I noticed that the phrase “Australian Price Variant” does not appear anywhere on the page when I do a find-in-page in my browser — this absence of the phrase will make it more difficult for Google/etc to “connect the dots” to present your page to people who are searching for “Australian Price Variants.” Maybe adding a line within your article “They are also often called ‘Australian Price Variants’ by collectors” (or similar) just to get that text onto your page would be a good idea in this regard and ultimately attract more search traffic to your store.

    And with regard to coming across aggressively initially — no worries. Part of my own reaction may have been driven by the fact that in the past I’ve received adversarial communications from another person also happened to be named Joseph. But just the same, if I might offer a suggestion? In your article, the very first line is, “With respect to Bill Alexander, you are wrong.

    I know Bill from having worked together, and I feel that it is safe to say that he loves these variants, wants to learn as much about them as possible, and also that there’s no possible way he (or anyone else for that matter) could have known the print-run-order information you shared in your article… and so, a “more-friendly” approach to the article might be to change that first line, perhaps, to instead read: “With respect to Bill Alexander, I have information about the print run order that throws the characterization of these as Type 1A variants into question.” That way you make the same “splash” about adding your new information to the hobby, but without coming across as “putting down” someone who loves these variants and has done an incredible amount of research on them.

    If nothing else, I feel you’ve shared something extraordinarily important with AUS variant collectors in your article which comes directly from your first-hand experience of having purchased the entire print run for certain issues: the 2000 to 4000 print run number. Since it is not only the second-hand word of the unnamed rep, but your own first-hand knowledge having purchased the entire runs of certain issues like Wolverine #50, thus the number sent to Australia would be personally known to you, I find this information to be persuasive — especially since it is right in-line with my own estimation work (and also in-line with Bill’s independent estimation work).

    And if 2000-4000 is just the “starting point” number printed for each issue, then only some percentage of those were actually purchased and stored away by collectors. For the ones where you didn’t have a monopoly on the issue but they were instead distributed on newsstands, we’d have to subtract the percentage that didn’t sell and were pulped, and then from the survivors surely a very low percentage would remain in high grade. Thanks for giving that estimate of 5-10% survival rate from newsstands — if I apply that to the print run range, 5% of 2000 would be a mere 100 survivors at the low end of the range, and then at the high end of the range 10% of 4000 would be 400 survivors. So we land at a range of 100-400 survivors, an estimate which should catch any collector’s attention who cares about relative rarity!

    All the best,
    – Ben

    Like

    • Paul Nicholls AKA Chicka says:

      This is absolutely groundbreaking in regards to these Australian comics I said it Before and I’ll say it again these Aus Variants fascinate me as they are hard to find and even harder in high grade and they certainly are cool I have been buying these for 25 plus years now as I used to buy them of the Newsstand in the 90s and Joeseph has just Relit the fire Print runs 2000,4000 wow Thanks Heaps guys really appreciate all your info Paul Nicholls

      Like

    • varyant555 says:

      The new information on Marvel AUS variants that people are providing is truly great!. What I would like to know that baffles me to no end about the about Marvel AUS type 1a variants is why did the distributors write in pen “N6” on the front covers of many of the New Mutant 98 issues as well as (N-other numbers) that are seen on the front covers of other Marvel AUS type 1a variants? Perhaps Joseph Italiano or somebody out there might have some insight to this mystery.

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  21. Everyone should check out this newly revised article and link on Alternate Worlds:
    http://www.alternateworlds.com.au/news-events/australian-price-variants-apv

    Bravo to Joseph, I’m so happy to see that you took my suggestions!!! 🙂 It reads way more friendly now with that first line edited, and, I think the “Australian Price Variant” edits you made will help Google know to index your page for that search term (hopefully helping search traffic reach your site and ultimately reach your store).

    Echoing the two comments above, I too would love to know if you can answer the mystery of the meaning of common newsstand markings like “N6” and “N9” (I guess even with the price and month as part of the printed comic itself there were Australian newsstands that still found a reason to put their own markings on the books anyway!)

    Another mystery maybe you might be able to shed light on: in the Amazing Spider-Man title, we’ve noticed that at some point the month code in the bar code box advances three months beyond the cover month, e.g. ASM #361 has a July cover month (already three months from the 4/92 indicia month) but instead of “07” in the bar code as we would have expected it instead reads “10” — making the bar code six months ahead of the indicia when the bar code box on AUS variants was typically three months ahead to match the cover month… any insight on this “bar code weirdness” in the ASM title?

    Best,
    – Ben 🙂

    Like

    • G’Day all, the “N#” was not done by the distributor, but by the average newsagency (retailer). Australian newsstands sell US, UK and Australian magazines. Cover months are pretty much useless as an indicator as to when to return the books, since most foreign books come via sea (2 month journey). It was standard (before the Marvel price variants), for the newsgency to write a “return date” on cover of the magazines. The return date was a basic code. The letter “N” refers to the distributor the book is to be returned to,(NDD in this case), (there are multiple newsagency distributors) and the “number” was the month the book was to be returned. Old habits die hard. (FYI: Original Australian comics rarely had dates or even issue numbers. The newagency return code is one of the few ways to actually date a book)!

      Despite that fact that one of the major reasons the AUS variants changed the cover month and price to avoid newsagencies writing on the book, it usually did not work.

      As to why the cover month was advanced by 6 months, I am not 100% sure but there are two likely possibilities:

      1. In an effort to give the book a longer shelf life and stop the newsagencies writing codes on the books.
      2. Someone at Marvel production stuffed up! (Yes, I know, errors are unheard of ….not)!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi everyone, courtesy of varyant555, below are pictures of a slab with CGC’s new Australian Price Variant labeling!

    Awesome to see! 🙂 Although they changed the name of the census entry to “Australian Price Variant” (from the former “Australian Edition”), which is great, they meanwhile neglected to move the entry from 5/91 (cover month) to 2/91 (indicia month) which to me is surprising since we’d previously observed various examples of newer-entered census entries where they had decided to start cataloging the variants under the indicia month (Iron Man #282 as one such example, X-Men #1 as another)… I guess since they remark “Indicia reads 2/91” on the right-hand side of the New Mutants #98 label they figured they have the info ‘covered’ and don’t need to move the actual entry? Maybe it is a lot of work to move it?

    Like

  23. Here’s another, courtesy of varyant555, Amazing Spider-Man #361 with new Australian Price Variant labeling!

    And like the New Mutants #98 example CGC also left the census entry for this one under the 7/92 cover month instead of moving it to the 4/92 indicia month; and the right-hand side of the label says “Indicia reads 4/92”:

    Like

  24. Thanks Joseph for sending the X-Factor #71 scans — very stark contrast indeed between the direct edition copy and the APV, with the APV having much more rich colors. Here they are below for others to see:

    Like

    • Paul Nicholls says:

      i just went through a lot of my Direct U.S Vs Australian Price Variants of the same Comic for colour and they look exactly the same
      How do I post photos?? Ben
      I’ve seen some new Mutants 100 Directs look different from Direct NM 100

      Like

  25. The thing to remember here is that all Variants should have intense colour, whereas the regular US versions can range from intense to pale. Obviously printing 2000 copies and then changing the black plate will not have an immediate effect of the subsequent run, however as time goes on, the colours lighten.

    Like

  26. Hi everyone, we’ve talked a bunch about CGC’s new “Australian Price Variant” labeling but meanwhile over at CBCS they’ve made a labeling change too (and they announced the change before CGC!)… and today I have example pictures to share:

    Here’s a close-up on the variant name on the label:

    The naming pattern they use is $cover-price Australian Price Variant and they’ve cataloged the book by the cover month (July in this case) instead of the indicia (April in this case).

    Like

  27. My copy of the Overstreet guide #49 just arrived in the mail. I’ve only just started to look at it, but the first thing I wanted to do was snap a picture of Jon McClure’s newly-revised Type 1A definition and share it here, given the recent conversations. Here it is below, from page 175:

    Like

  28. The 2019-2020 Top 10 Australian Price Variants Are…

    Hi everyone, based on the universe of issues Steve has uncovered to date, I looked up all the corresponding OPG #49 “baseline values” in 9.2 to determine a list of the top most highly valued issues that have APVs (either confirmed or possible). Because I find that Overstreet isn’t always on the mark I next took those top identified issues and looked up two “second opinion” guide values for each issue as well, using both ComicsPriceGuide and ComicBase values in NM. Interestingly, the values sometimes varied widely — the 1st appearance of Infinity Gauntlet for example is valued in OPG #49 at $80 in 9.2 while ComicBase only has it worth $50 in NM. Given the range of opinions, I used the average of all three price guides to then rank the issues by highest to lowest baseline avg. guide value; here are the resulting Top 10 APVs for 2019-2020 from this exercise:

    #1: New Mutants #98 (1st appearance of Deadpool)
    #2: Amazing Spider-Man #361 (1st appearance of Carnage)
    #3: Transformers #80 (Scarcer final issue)
    #4: (UNCONFIRMED) Alf #48 (I hadn’t encountered this issue before but all guides are giving it a high value due to a “risque” cover of Alf holding a seal — one listing I saw called it the “seal love” issue; I have this one down as still UNCONFIRMED as having an existing APV… is that still the status or has anyone sighted this one yet?)
    #5: Silver Surfer #44 (1st appearance of the Infinity Gauntlet)
    #6: Iron Man #282 (1st appearance of War Machine)
    #7: Transformers #79 (2nd to last issue in title)
    #8: Transformers #78 (3rd to last issue in title)
    #9: Conan the Barbarian #275 (Scarcer final issue; Overstreet lists as Low Print)
    #10: Amazing Spider-Man #344 (1st appearance of Cletus Kasady)

    Selected Runners Up:
    — What If #49 (What If Silver Surfer Possessed The Infinity Gauntlet)
    — X-Force #11 (1st appearance of Neena Thurman as Domino)
    — Amazing Spider-Man #360 (Carnage cameo)
    — Amazing Spider-Man #345 (Cletus Kasady)
    — New Mutants #100 (1st X-Force)
    — Silver Surfer #45 (Origin of the Infinity Gems)
    — Uncanny X-Men #282 (1st appearance of Bishop)
    — Transformers #71-77 (Last issues in title; #76 still UNCONFIRMED)
    — G.I. Joe #139-144 (New Transformers; #144: Origin of Snake Eyes; 143-144 still UNCONFIRMED)
    — Amazing Spider-Man #362-363 (Carnage)
    — Amazing Spider-Man #365 (1st appearance of Spider-Man 2099)
    — X-Force #19 (1st Copycat)
    — Incredible Hulk #377 (1st all new Hulk)
    — Venom: Lethal Protector #1
    — Amazing Spider-Man #346-347, #375 (Venom)
    — Uncanny X-Men #183 (Bishop)
    — X-Force #15
    — Silver Surfer #50
    — Incredible Hulk #376 (Green vs Gray)

    The above runners-up list would have also included X-Force #2 (2nd Deadpool appearance) except that Paul’s find of the X-Force #2 with the price sticker suggests there may not have been printed price variant copies of that one.

    Like

  29. Hi everyone, in an email discussion with a reader responding to the Top 10 list I posted yesterday, the question came up of how much are the APV’s of these currently worth?? This is a great question — and I’d welcome everyone here to opine! I checked for recent eBay sales among the top 10 and found some examples:

    A Conan #275 APV in condition described as Fine+ sold for AU $175 (~$120 USD based on current exchange rate). A Transformers #80 APV in description described as VF sold for AU $200 (~$135 USD). An Amazing Spider-Man #361 APV in CGC 9.2 auctioned for $306. An Iron Man #282 CPV in condition described as VG auctioned for $10.51. A Silver Surfer #44 APV in condition described as VF sold on a best-offer (original ask $169.96). An Amazing Spider-Man #244 APV in undescribed condition sold for $65. A Transformers #79 APV in condition described as FN sold for AU $42 (~$29 USD).

    And finally, the “mega-key” of the variant window, New Mutants #98: while all the other issues above I only found one recent sale each in the eBay sold listings, for New Mutants #98 there were a bunch — the most recent APV was in condition described as VF-NM which sold on a best-offer (original ask $899.99); next was an APV in CGC 7.5 which sold at auction for $514; next was a raw APV in condition described as FN+ which sold on a buy-it-now at the asking price of AU $550 (~$374 USD), and finally an APV in CGC 8.0 sold for $842.

    Here are some screenshots:

    Conan #275 (awesome painted cover on this one!):

    Transformers #79:

    Transformers #80:

    Silver Surfer #44:

    New Mutants #98:

    Iron Man #282:

    Amazing Spider-Man #344:

    Amazing Spider-Man #361:

    So the above sales should give a sense of some of the market values APV’s have achieved as of late in different condition ranges. Something else to consider is just how quickly some of these sold… a too-fast sale can suggest that the seller left money on the table (maybe it wouldn’t have flown off the shelf if they had placed a higher asking price on it). Another thing we can consider when it comes to current value is what’s currently on the market and what we’d have to pay today if we wanted a copy — here are three examples, for the New Mutants #98 APV, the ASM #361 APV, and the Silver Surfer #44 APV:

    Right now if I search eBay on “New Mutants 98 Australian” I get two results, both of which are CGC Signature Series, one in 9.0 and the other in 9.4. The 9.4 copy is asking $2,325 and was signed by Stan Lee in September of 2018 (but unfortunately Stan’s Signature didn’t come out so great):

    There are no Silver Surfer #44 APV’s on eBay at the moment, but, I noticed that Joseph Italiano has one for sale on his site, in Halo 9.0, asking $900 AU:

    Finally, for Amazing Spider-Man #361, an eBay search on “Amazing Spider-Man 361 Australian” yields three results — a CGC 8.5 variant asking $970, a raw copy in condition described as NM- asking AU $400 (~$272 USD), and a listing for a set of #361-363:

    Hopefully all of the above helps give a sense of where the top APVs are currently valued in the comic book marketplace sitting here in August of 2019! 🙂

    Best,
    – Ben

    Like

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