Australian Newsstand Edition, Canadian Newsstand Edition, Direct Edition vs. Newsstand Edition Comic Books, Growing Newsstand Awareness

Applause To CBCS’s New “75¢ Canadian Price Variant” Labeling

By Benjamin Nobel, October 9, 2018

The first type 1A cover price variant to be labeled “75¢ Canadian Price Variant” by CBCS.

My fellow price guide collaborator, Angelo Virone, has just received back the very first CBCS slab carrying their new labeling treatment for Type 1A cover price variant comics: instead of “Canadian Edition” in the variant field of the label, going forward CBCS will now use “75¢ Canadian Price Variant” (with the variant name beginning with the individual variant cover price for the particular issue, 75¢ or otherwise)!

This excellent improvement by CBCS demands our applause! Three cheers for CBCS!!! I have no doubt this change required a huge amount of effort to accomplish; if you had asked me a year ago when I discussed the “what to call these” question and encouraged grading companies to make an improvement, I would have said that the best we collectors should hope for would be that a grading company like CBCS would be able to do a “find/replace” and go from “Canadian Edition” to “Canadian Price Variant” — i.e. that having the variant cover price itself in the variant name seemed like too much to hope for because of the man hours necessary to input each individual cover price and change each census entry one by one…

Since then, as collector interest in Type 1A price variants has continued to build, pressure on the grading companies to make a labeling improvement has built as well; and earlier in the year we saw an incremental improvement to CGC’s labeling — although they retained the “Canadian Edition” variant name, they began to input the variant cover price for each issue onto the right-hand side of their labels on a piecemeal basis as new books are submitted.

Not to be outdone, CBCS decided to take on the workload necessary to input each cover price into the variant name itself in their census entries — and in doing so, CBCS has now leap-frogged CGC in appropriately labeling Type 1A cover price variant comics as cover price variants and with the individual cover price included in the variant name!

This move by CBCS is a milestone moment. When I first looked at the new label atop Angelo’s slab (shown below), it struck me that for all of us who work so hard to hunt down these rare variants, we’re going to want this new CBCS label (I for one am absolutely going to send my next submission of Type 1A variants to CBCS) because we will feel gratification when our comics are appropriately recognized as the 1st print US-published cover price variants that they are!

75¢ Canadian Price Variant - CBCS

In the past I had argued that the ideal label name for a comic like the above was “75¢ Cover Price Variant,” but I recognized how time-consuming a task it would be to accomplish inclusion of the price in the variant name itself (necessitating each variant cover price be individually inputted for each of the many variants already on census). Since 75¢ was the intended price for Canada, using the shortcut “Canadian Price Variant” would have been understandable and likely a heck of a lot easier — so it is wonderful that CBCS has taken the extra time and effort to place the cover price itself in the name.

At first it struck me that including both “75¢” and “Canadian” was redundant — either of those words tells us we’re looking at the Type 1A variant — but I think CBCS may be including both of those words because the labeling change they have made is larger than the newsstand cover price variants of the 1980’s… They are actually changing their labeling for all of the different “classes” of Type 1A variants, and the inclusion of “Canadian” or “Australian” or “U.K.” helps identify which “class” the given book belongs to — here below is a quote from CBCS’s International Comic Specialist, Tim Bildhauser, commenting on the labeling change:

“CBCS’s perspective on labeling comics submitted for grading has always been to do so as accurately as possible and providing as much information about the books on the label as we can fit. We had previously notated these as “Canadian Edition” and, while that’s not necessarily an incorrect classification, it also doesn’t do a clear enough explanation of the difference from the standard U.S. versions of these books. A more detailed notation was needed to not only make them more identifiable but also to help educate newer collectors that might not be familiar with these books.

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.”

— Tim Bildhauser, CBCS International Comic Specialist

So indeed, this is a milestone moment not just for the newsstand-exclusive 1980’s cover price variants but for all Type 1A price variants! The terms “Type 1” and “Type 1A” were coined by fellow price guide collaborator Jon McClure. Most collectors are familiar with the 30¢ and 35¢ price variants of the 1970’s — these are “Type 1” variants. Such price variants are true 1st print US-published copies, fully identical on the inside to the other first print copies but carrying a different cover price; and as far as their distribution, Type 1 variants were restricted to certain test markets. Type 1A variants are also true 1st print US-published copies, also fully identical on the inside to the rest of the print run, but carrying a different cover price and restricted in their distribution to a certain country as the target market.

I checked in with Jon to get his reaction to the new CBCS labeling change. He said as follows:

“How we categorize books, and especially what we name them, has a tremendous impact upon value and desirability. Calling any U.S. Published Cover Price Variants by the name “Canadian Edition” conflates them with foreign editions which is misleading to collectors. The new “75¢ Canadian Price Variant” CBCS labeling is a tremendous improvement! Type 1a variants are universally scarcer than regular editions, regardless of era, going all the way back to the Golden Age. Because scarcity and demand drive the market, CBCS’s new formal recognition of them as price variants ends the “Canadian Edition” (or UK or Australian edition) nonsense for U.S. published comics and provides accuracy for the fast growing market of Type 1a variant comics. CBCS has done the hobby a great service by properly identifying such books. I predict that the fast growing Type 1a variant market will reflect and embrace this important change with ever-increasing fervor, as collectors realize what they are actually looking at (for a change), and that they will pursue and invest in them accordingly.”

— Jon McClure, Senior Overstreet Advisor

CBCS is on a roll with their labeling improvements… Last year, CBCS began to “break out” newsstand comics broadly, from their direct edition counter-parts — recognizing what I would call a “mega-trend” in the hobby. On page 178 of this year’s Overstreet, Steve Ricketts of CBCS discusses this trend, stating as follows:

“Newsstand and Direct variants are quickly gaining popularity with the mainstream collectors. CBCS has seized the reins on this niche of the hobby, by being the only grading service to identify Newsstand and Direct Edition copies in the variant field of the label on books from 1977 through 2000. Once the CBCS census goes live, it will be interesting to see the numbers that have been submitted. In the late 1970’s, Direct Edition comics were less common than Newsstand Editions. As years progressed, Newsstand copies became more and more scarce, with the Newsstand copies of some comics being incredibly hard to find. The hobby will start to learn about the scarcity of each issue in the coming years. More information is better for everyone, especially involving something that was hiding right under our very noses.”

— Steve Ricketts, CBCS Head Presser

It is indeed an exciting time to be a collector of newsstand comics; and if we’ve already reached the conclusion that we should be hunting down the more-rare newsstand version of a given comic from the 1980’s-onward, instead of the prevalent direct edition version, then indeed if there’s an even-more-rare newsstand version — a Type 1A Cover Price Variant newsstand version — then shouldn’t that be the type we treasure the most? And after all of our hard work hunting down that most rare of all the types, do we not want our selected grading company to properly recognize our comic with appropriate labeling? My applause to CBCS for giving Type 1A cover price variant collectors that gift: the ability to now have a slab that dignifies our variants with a price variant label!

You can bet my next submission of Type 1A comics is headed to CBCS — I want that new label atop my Type 1A’s! 🙂 This change by CBCS has elevated their grading company to “top-of-mind” for Cover Price Variant (“CPV”) collectors. Fellow guide collaborator and CPV collector and historian Angelo Virone agrees and puts it this way:

“Eureka! C.B.C.S. has done it!

Being the “first mover” and correcting labels to better reflect historical accuracy, regardless of the cost incurred and manpower needed, elevates this respected company to a level that is second-to-none.

As a play on words from a famous quote after the lunar landing, “That’s one small step for a collector, one giant leap for the comic book collecting community.”

In my humble opinion, I believe we are now at the top of the second inning … skipping the third … and now entering the fourth. This is an exciting time to collect and/or start investing in Canadian, Australian and U.K. Cover Price Variants because awareness of their scarcity is picking up, thus increasing demand and leading to future potential price increases.”

— Angelo Virone, Cover Price Variant Collector and Historian

Happy CPV Collecting, everyone! 🙂
– Ben

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12 thoughts on “Applause To CBCS’s New “75¢ Canadian Price Variant” Labeling

  1. Salvatore says:

    This is awesome news. Thanks to both of you for pushing for this. Hopefully cgc follows suit without us having to specify cdn variants. Will this apply strictly to DC and Marvel price variants (I’m assuming your guide may be used for some sort of reference by them) or will it also pertain to Archie’s, Harvey’s and other smaller publishers that may exist? The knowledge and identification of all potential variants (cdn,aus, etc) needs to be expanded before this can be implemented with 100% certainty and accuracy. I’m still hunting books which most likely have cdn variants but have not been visually authenticated as such yet. A complete and thorough database needs to be created for all cdn and aus price variants regardless of publisher. There are hundreds if not thousands of issues between aus, Archie’s and Harvey’s alone that need to be catalogued before this can be a guaranteed success, otherwise CBCS may still end up NOT denoting the variant info on certain books. This is a great step in the right direction for these variants to be declares a permanent footnote in the history of comic collecting. Cheers.

    Like

    • Thanks Sal! Yes indeed this is awesome news. Although our Marvel & DC focused guide may have played a role in CBCS focusing their attention on the need for a labeling improvement, my understanding is that they are committed to a labeling overhaul across the entire Type 1A variant spectrum: all publishers, all eras, and, not just Canadian price variants but also Australian and UK — as Tim said, “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.”

      – Ben 🙂

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  2. Angelo says:

    Great article as usual Ben, this news is huge ! Getting one of the two most prominent grading companies in the comic book industry acknowledging that these are truly ” Price Variants” on their labels is remarkable indeed. Congrats CBCS for doing the right thing and a special thanks to Tim Bildhauser for being the agent of change!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. topwopcop says:

    This is great news ,and a game changer for me when it comes to collecting comics, this means that any key book that has a canadian price variant is now gonna be the sought out version \variant that I’m gonna be adding in my collection . Thanks CBCS for the label change .

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  4. Mr. Price Variant says:

    This is great news indeed!. A proper labeling by CBCS means more and more collectors will see these price variants for what they truly are in the hobby. I believe when books are properly identified for what they are then they will sell for what they truly are worth. Three cheers to CBCS on a great improvement for price variant labeling.

    Like

  5. James G says:

    It’s about time. Great job on continuing to educate not only the public but the grading companies themselves. Type 1A price variants deserved so much better than to be saddled with that terrible Canadian Edition label. Canadian editions?Like the 40-50s foreign reprints? Confusing.
    Does CBCS ever plan on making a census available?

    Like

    • Re: “Does CBCS ever plan on making a census available” — they plan to, so I expect it is only a matter of time… how much time is another question, but Steve Ricketts had said “Once the CBCS census goes live, it will be interesting to see the numbers that have been submitted.” He used the word “Once” (not “If”) … so whenever it ultimately happens it will be a fantastic research tool to examine the difference between the numbers of direct edition vs. newsstand examples that have been submitted to CBCS for various keys. 🙂

      – Ben

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  6. Angelo says:

    Doug Sulipa, Jon McClure, Ben Nobel , Paul Clairmont and Bill Alexander have been educating the masses for years in regards to Type IA variants either through their market reports, blogs, etc… Without doubt, this news has validated all of their hard work and research! Congratulations gentlemen for everything you’ve done for the comic book collecting community !!!

    Like

  7. Zack G says:

    Finally music to my ears. This was long overdue, however it’s probably a good thing it took this long as I was able to pick up books during the wait. Congrats Ben on continuing to update us with your findings, and I look forward to reading more reports from you. CBCS deserves to be recognized for going against the grain, and this will give CGC a nice kick in the rear end to smarten up also. I have avoided getting my books graded because of previous labels, however this will now change my opinion. Congrats CBCS you have earned my business and my horn tooting moving forward.

    Like

  8. Steve (Get Marwood & I) says:

    This is great news for anyone interested in first printing U.S. price variants. It’s really encouraging to see the grading companies stepping up to give exposure to these books and I commend all who worked to get us to this position.

    I do a little research myself in this area and post the findings on the CGC Forum – look out for Get Marwood & I and you’ll find threads on pence priced variants for Marvel, DC, Charlton, Archie, Dell and Gold Key. You’ll also find threads on the Marvel US newsstand variants from 1999/2000, early Marvel L Miller variants and AUS price variants:

    https://www.cgccomics.com/boards/profile/34042-get-marwood-i-live/

    Again, great to see these books getting the attention they deserve and well done to CBCS for leading the way!

    Great stuff guys!

    Steve

    Like

  9. Tony says:

    This has been a long time coming! It’s just unfortunate that all this effort and persistence had to be made in the first place. Take a look at Ebay. I sell Canadian Newsstand Price Variants all the time. Who on eBay actually describes a CNPV as a “canadian edition”? Nobody. It’s a price variant and it’s described as such. The only exception we see are from those sellers who offer up Canadian Whites from the 1940s (this would make since considering they were actually made in Canada, hence a Canadian edition). So when your average Joe recognizes the differences and professionals don’t, then we have a major disconnect.

    Anyway, thank you CBCS for taking the lead on this and for all the hobbyists that took part in helping facilitate this change. Particularly you Ben! I have nothing against CGC but I’m very very very disappointed with them. Especially for a company as resourceful that they. But then again, it’s a classic example of business arrogance when you own the majority of the market and then become complacent to the needs to your customers. Business 101 will teach you that if don’t take care of your customers, someone else will. Good for you CBCS for recognizing this niche, it’s growing demand, and making the necessary investments to capitalize on it. From my perspective, your investment is not in vain. I have no doubt that everyone visiting this site, learning of the positive changes you’ve embraced, will be giving you their business moving forward.

    Again, thank you CBCS and to everyone involved. Definitely what we needed!

    Like

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