Breaking news, Type 1A price variant collectors! Until now, CGC has been labeling the three discovered-to-date categories of Type 1A price variants as “[Country] Edition“ when breaking them out on census, but going forward from Monday of next week, they are switching from Edition to Price Variant:
Applause to the team at CGC for making the great decision to move ahead with this important change! I know it is not without cost/effort/man-hours that this is being done and the effort is truly appreciated — and I’m confident that looking back from the future, CGC will recognize it was well worth the effort, as it places CGC on the correct side of comic book history with regard to recognizing Type 1A’s and labeling them in a way that better highlights them as the US-published first-print originals they are!
And please join me in a round of applause for my fellow Pence Price Variant Issue Guide collaborator Steve Cranch, who recently made the case anew to CGC for the need for this change, presenting it from the Pence Price Variant perspective. As recognition to Steve’s involvement in their decision-making about the change, CGC made the initial official announcement above in Steve’s pence threads, just a number of hours ago.
Why This Is Milestone News:
I’d expect one of the typical reactions to the news to be along the lines of: “they already were breaking these out as distinct census variants, so why is it a big deal precisely what we call them?” I totally get this reaction: a rose by any other name smells just as sweet, and the variant name atop a CGC slab changes nothing about the comic within the slab to those of us who collect it and understand it — the incredible rarity of the comic is just as sweet to us, whether we call, say, an ASM #238 a “75¢ Variant” or a “Canadian Edition” or a “Canadian Newsstand Edition” or a “Type 1A Price Variant” or a “CPV” or anything else!
And while that’s absolutely true, consider that calling a first print US-published cover price variant a [Country] Edition causes confusion to those of us not already in-the-know about Type 1As, by conflating them with foreign-published editions (such as the ones published in Canada that actually say Canadian Edition on them). The “actually from the USA” aspect of Type 1A’s is already confusing enough for these comics being that they were distributed in another country…
And when you think about it, “Canadian Edition” sounds foreign to a US-based collector, doesn’t it? But the truth about Type 1A’s — and what we want the rest of the comic-collecting world to get — is that Type 1A price variant comics were ♬ B-O-O-O-O-R-N IN THE U-S-A ♫! The Marvels are first print Marvels! The DC’s are first print DCs! And they were printed at the same time and in the same location (on the same presses; same paper; same ink) as their regular US-cover-priced counter-parts! If Type 1A’s are an edition of anywhere it would be an edition of the USA!
Consider as well how the CGC label name is often inputted verbatim at various online comic book auction sites when it comes to the description and the keywords attached to a listing; consider, for example, how a typical collector would typically find a Canadian price variant over at a site like ComicLink — they would not be able to search on “price” or “variant” or “price variant” to find Type 1A’s (the way they would search to find Type 1’s)… They would instead need to search on the word “Canadian” for the listings to come up — and in doing so, the 1980’s price variants would be mixed together with the actual Canadian Editions of the 1940’s and 1950’s! So by switching to a Price Variant label, this will eliminate a lot of confusion, especially among collectors new to this type of variant.
Another reaction I expect out there — and my own reaction to the news — is to be absolutely thrilled that CGC has finally moved ahead with a much-needed change that so many of us have advocated for (myself included)! My fellow Price Guide collaborator Jon McClure told me, back when we were working on our inaugural edition of the guide, that it takes time to change people’s Variant viewpoint, but the truth will win out. How right he was: first CBCS, and now CGC, have come around to understanding the truth about Type 1A variants and in turn, the need to change their labeling!
The name CGC places on the slab has a huge impact on the “first impression” that a collector gets the first time they see one of our Type 1A variants. A Price Variant Label is, in my opinion, going to cause a way-different “first impression” on someone coming across one of our variants for the first time. I see the odds as greatly improved that they will research further upon seeing the new labeling, versus the old labeling. I expect that will mean that the ranks of Type 1A price variant collectors will grow at an incrementally-even-faster pace than otherwise! 🙂
Yet another reaction I expect some will have to today’s news, is that CGC has not gone far enough, because they are taking what could be viewed as the “shortcut approach” of blanket-labeling regardless of actual cover price, as “UK Price Variant” or “Canadian Price Variant” or “Australian Price Variant” — some may feel that CGC should go the further step of placing the variant price itself into the variant name, e.g. “75¢ Price Variant” etc. And I wish they would take that further step too, but, I think we need to be understanding about the amount of man-hours we’d be talking about to actually implement that change… Maybe they’ll one day go that further step, especially since they now have almost a year’s worth of data collection already in place from the time of their last Type 1A labeling improvement where they began inputting the cover price onto the right-hand side of the label. They may want to do it eventually to keep pace with CBCS, and it strikes me as only another small step from having it on the right-hand side of the label to having it in the variant name itself. But for now, I for one am just thrilled that they are changing Edition to Price Variant, and I hope you’ll join me in another round of applause to CGC for this great improvement!
And: I hope you’ll join me in another round of applause for Steve Cranch, whose efforts in engaging CGC on the subject were responsible for finally pushing them over the edge in making this important change — this is a true milestone moment that will greatly benefit the hobby, and I can’t thank Steve enough for helping make it a reality, it shows that Steve is a true rainmaker!
rainmaker: (2) a person whose influence can initiate progress or ensure success — Merriam Webster
One last person I want to applaud before bringing this post to a close: you, yes you, the one reading this post, because chances are if you’re reading this sentence, you are one of my long-time blog readers and thus you were way early versus your comic-collecting peers in coming to understand and appreciate just how collectible Type 1A price variants were. You “beat CGC” to the punch of understanding these comics! If you ask me, you deserve a round of applause for that! Well done! The future certainly looks bright for broader collector awareness of Type 1A price variants in the future, and today’s milestone news from CGC has made the future look all the more sunny indeed!
Happy Collecting! 🙂
– Ben p.s. Since the change only starts Monday there are no pictures to share yet of the new label, but I happen to have a couple of Canadian price variants in at CGC at this moment, and when the box arrives back I’ll follow up in this space once I have example pictures I can share!
5/23/2019 Update — Example Pictures: