Rare Comics: Welcome

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My name is Benjamin Nobel, and I’d like to welcome you to the Rare Comics Blog!

Below you will find a list of my latest posts by category, followed by a welcome/introduction which I would encourage you to read if this is the first time you’ve landed here.

Thanks for visiting!

Articles & Resources

There are three known instances of Type 1A cover price variants: (1) Canadian Price Variants (2) Australian Price Variants, and (3) Pence Price Variants.

Also see: General Comics Topics; Newsstand Comics; TMNT; Spawn; Savage Dragon.

General Comic Book Topics

 11/2015 – My manifesto: Rare Comics To Collect [ companion slideshow ]  

 6/2016 – Star Wars #1-4 35¢ Cover — Also, Other Price Variants You DIDN’T Know Existed! [Related slideshow: 10 Overlooked Star Wars Comics To Rival 35 Cent Variants]

 12/2016 – An Open Letter To Overstreet [C’mon guys, well past time to break out newsstand comics in the guide, especially 1980’s cover price variants]

 1/2017 – Variant vs. Variant: Amazing Spider-Man #678 (Mary Jane Venom) vs. #607 (Black Cat $3.99 Cover Price)

 2/2017 – Lists of Key Comic Books by Year [2021 update]

 3/2017 – Future classic cover contenders: 7 Variants Destined For Future Classic Cover Status [ companion cover swipes slideshow ]

 4/2017 – X-Men Annual #14 (1st Gambit Debate)

 12/2017 – CGC 9.8 Census Comparison: 1970’s Keys vs. 1980’s Keys

 7/2018 – The “Cover Swipe Test”: 2 More Price Variant Keys Passing It

 8/2018 – How Many Amazing Spider-Man Stan Lee CGC SS Books Exist? [11/30/2018 update: How Many Stan Lee CGC Signature Series Books Exist?]

 9/2018 – 6 Epic CGC Labeling Blunders Of Price Variant Comics And What We Can Learn From Them

 12/2019 – No Month Variants / Pre-Pack Editions / Whitman 3-Pack Variants

 4/2020 – Collecting Comics During The Coronavirus Pandemic

 3/2021 – Lists Of Key Comics By Year/Decade (Now with label notes included!)

 4/2021 – Will NFTs Be Part Of The Future Of Comic Book Collecting?

 6/2021 – The Overstreet Grading Guide, Staple Replacement, and ASM 238 Tattooz

Newsstand Comics

 11/2015 – Comic Book Newsstand Editions: Understanding The Difference

 6/2016 – Wolverine Limited Series #1 — Where Are The Newsstand Copies??

 6/2016 – Strange but true: Amazing Spider-Man / Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man / Sensational Spider-Man

 6/2016 – Newsstand Vs. Direct Edition Comics

 8/2016 – Newsstand Variants, $3.99 Newsstand Editions, and The Doc Collection [Also see: $2.29 and $2.49 price variants for Amazing Spider-Man v2 #10, #11, & #13]

 9/2016 – Newsstand Rarity Discussions & Estimates

 1/2017 – Darker Image #1 — Newsstand $1.95 Cover Price Variant (1st Maxx Appearance)

 2/2017 – People are noticing newsstand comics! The WordPress stats page tells me that someone found my blog today by searching the web on the phrase “why are newsstand comics worth more?” … They have asked a great question — so I put up a new page to answer that exact question! 🙂 [Related: “Nice book, too bad it’s a direct edition”]

 4/2017 – Daredevil #21, $3.99 Newsstand Edition (Superior Spider-Man Cameo)

 4/2017 – Applause to CBCS Now Recognizing Newsstand Comics!

 5/2017 – What If Venom Possessed Deadpool? What If There Was A Rare Cover Price Variant?

 5/2017 – What If Venom Possessed Wolverine? (New Avengers #35, $3.99 Newsstand Edition)

 5/2017 – DC Rebirth, $3.99 Newsstand Editions

 6/2017 – $2.99 Newsstand Edition CGC Census Variants, and, “Partial Cover Price Variations” $1.99 Newsstands Too!

 6/2017 – 30 More Newsstand Census Variants Confirmed at CGC Since Year-End

 7/2017 – Amazing Spider-Man #400: Understanding The Real Newsstand Edition

 8/2017 – Applause To CPG Accepting $3.99 Cover Price Variants Into The Price Guide!

4/2019Marvel Annual Newsstand Numbering: Uncanny X-Men
[7/2019 — check out these cool finds courtesy of Kurt Halvorsen including newsstand issues with bar-code-on-the-front similar to Amazing Spider-Man v2 #36, finds among Marvel’s 70th Anniversary Magazines, as well as Daredevil Volume 2, Marvel Knights, Citizen V, Hulk Smash, and Banner!]

 5/2020 – Applause To CBCS Releasing Their Census!

 5/2020 – Newsstand Rarity By Year: CBCS Census

 7/2020 – That Newsstand Comic You Didn’t Know You Owned May Be Worth Over $8000

 2/2021 – CBCS Population Report: A Quick Guide To Understanding Newsstand, Direct, and CPV Census Numbers

 3/2021 – Spider-Man #1 (1990): Newsstand Variants Versus The Rest

Canadian Price Variants

 4/2016 – 75 Cent Variants (Canadian Newsstand Editions)

 6/2016 – A practical guide: Canadian Price Variants — How To Spot Them

 6/2016 – D.C. Comics “Canadian Editions” — Likely Only 2-7% [ May 2019 update: CGC announced that as of May 6, 2019, they will label as “Canadian Price Variant” instead of “Canadian Edition” going forward 🙂 ]

 6/2016 – Slideshow: Rare 1980’s Price Variants To Collect

 7/2016 – The 75¢ Price Puzzle: Parallels To 35¢ Variants

 12/2016 – Wow, just 1-2% of CGC graded #252 copies for a decade and a half: Amazing Spider-Man #252 75¢ “Canadian Edition” Variant: CGC Census Rarity Over Time

 12/2016 – Marvel Graphic Novel #4 — $5.95 Cover Price Variant (1st New Mutants Appearance)

 4/2017 – 95¢ and $1.00 DC Price Variants: How Do We Know What They Are?

 4/2017 – 66 New Canadian Price Variants Confirmed at CGC Since Year-End, a 16% Increase

 8/2017 – The Orange Cat Phenomenon (and Canadian Price Variants)

 10/2017 – The 2018 Price Guide for 1980’s Marvel & DC Newsstand Canadian Cover Price Variants (Type 1A)

 10/2017 – Amazing Spider-Man #238: The Tattooz Situation

 10/2017 – “Canadian Edition” vs. “Canadian Price Variant”

 11/2017 – Our Type 1A Price Guide Featured In Scoop! [And again for our 2019 edition!]

 2/2018 – Investing in Canadian Price Variants: 11 Tips

 4/2018 – Three Variants That Surprised Me

 6/2018 – Voltron #1-3, Type 1A $1.00 Cover Price Variants

 6/2018 – Incremental Improvement to CGC’s “Canadian Edition” Labeling [5/2019 update: Another, even better, improvement was just announced by CGC!]

 10/2018 – Applause To CBCS’s New “75¢ Canadian Price Variant” Labeling

 10/2018 – The 2019 Price Guide for 1980’s Marvel & DC Newsstand Canadian Cover Price Variants (Type 1A)

 10/2018 – Canadian Price Variants: Noteworthy Sales

 10/2018 – Two Ways To Win Update [ from our 2019 Guide’s new Market Reports & Articles section — don’t miss the other great original articles there! ]

 1/2019 – Archie Canadian/Pence Price Variants and the Betty’s Diary #36 Mystery

 1/2019 – Gladstone Canadian Price Variants

3/2019ThunderCats #1 True Canadian Price Variant vs. 75¢ “Logo” Copies

5/2019Applause to CGC Now Labeling Type 1A’s as “Canadian Price Variant”, “Australian Price Variant”, and “UK Price Variant”

6/2019Archie Canadian Price Variants

8/2019CPV Discussions In Overstreet #49 Market Reports

11/2019Top 100 Variants of the 2020 CPV Price Guide

 5/2020 – Applause To CBCS Releasing Their Census!

 8/2020 – Whitman 1984 Canadian Price Variants

 8/2020 – The Story of the Wawa Collection

12/2020Top 100 Variants of the 2021 CPV Price Guide

12/2020List of 1st Appearances (& 2nd) in the 2021 CPV Price Guide

12/2020Top CGC Grades For Top Canadian Price Variants

 2/2021 – CBCS Population Report: A Quick Guide To Understanding Newsstand, Direct, and CPV Census Numbers

2021 CPV Price Guide Launched

As part of our latest price guide to Canadian Price Variant comics, we have a robust Market Reports & Articles section with market reports and articles contributed by guide collaborators as well as outside contributors. These reports & articles each represent the views of the individual authors. Below, click any report title to read the full article. For convenience, last year’s articles are included; new articles published subsequent to last year’s guide are denoted with: “New!

New!Market Report + Dell and Archie CPVs 1951-1959
By Bill Alexander — “It appears there has been a big noticeable increase in demand for newsstand edition comics versus direct edition comics especially with certified 9.8 grade comics published from 1979 on …” [ continue reading » ]
Notable Sales, Archie “Phase 1” CPVs, and Widening 9.8 Premiums
By Bill Alexander — “I have noticed a continuing widening gap in sales prices between certified 9.6 graded comics and certified 9.8 graded comics that are of the same issue number. …” [ continue reading » ]
New!Harvey Canadian Price Variants
By Bill Alexander, Salvatore Miceli, and Benjamin Nobel — “Everyone knows about Marvel’s 35¢ cover price variants from 1977 (Type 1), but few know that Harvey published 35¢ Type 1A cover price variants in 1974… and 1973… and 1972… and… ” [ continue reading » ]
Record-Breaking 2018 Sales for Canadian Price Variants
By Bill Alexander and James Gilbreath — “2018 saw many record breaking and high end sales for Canadian price variants in the hobby …” [ continue reading » ]
New!Amazing Spider-Man #238 Remains the King of CPVs
By Tim Bildhauser — “This year we saw unprecedented sales, some of which were record highs and others that are so consistent that they firmly established the fact that mainstream collectors have accepted and embraced CPVs as an unquestionably legitimate part of the hobby …” [ continue reading » ]
Fun, Frustration and General Observation
By Tim Bildhauser — “Regardless of which perspective one may have about CPVs, there’s no doubt and no denying that they’re becoming a greater force in the mainstream of comic collecting …” [ continue reading » ]
Price Variants and the International Collector
By Tim Bildhauser — “One of the main styles of collecting comics, that is growing in popularity, is assembling what is referred to as a set …” [ continue reading » ]
New!PNJ Comics 2020 Canadian Price Variant Market Report
By Paul Clairmont — “People need to remember the distribution channels for these books was not speciality shops with owners wearing white gloves carefully laying them out for the fine art crowd to come and carefully handle. These books were stuffed into unforgiving newsstands and spinner racks in convenience stores and grocery stores with employees unloading them with the same care as tossing tin cans of corn onto a store shelf …” [ continue reading » ]
First-To-Market CPV Keys Seeing Exceptionally Strong Sales
By Paul Clairmont — “If you can achieve being first to market with the highest certified copy of even a semi-key book you can almost set your price …” [ continue reading » ]
A Common-Sense Approach To Understand Canadian Price Variant Scarcity
By Paul Clairmont — “Here is a simple and very common-sense approach to understand the scarcity of Canadian Price Variant comics …” [ continue reading » ]
CPVs Are Hot on ICE
By Walter Durajlija and Jay Halstead — “Can you believe, with how hot this book has been, that it’s now been almost 4 years since an Amazing Spider-Man #238 CPV has sold in 9.8? …” [ continue reading » ]
Canadian Whites and Type 1A Variant Perspective
By Walter Durajlija — “I would advise collectors in Canada to zoom out and keep the ‘big picture’ in mind when it comes to Type 1A variant scarcity …” [ continue reading » ]
New!Collecting CPVs for Profit
By James Gilbreath — “The CPV window was open for a considerable period of time and encompassed an incredibly fertile period of game changing imagination and innovation in the industry. There are so many keys to choose from during this era, a more detailed examination is called for …” [ continue reading » ]
2019 in Review
By James Gilbreath — “Once a niche topic, CPV discussion has exploded on comic forums everywhere in the last few years …” [ continue reading » ]
New!My Take on the Market 2020
By Jay Halstead — “Bob Overstreet used to preach the slow and steady approach, which I’m not a huge fan of, when a book goes up and is trading for a higher amount, my feeling is that the book should show significant upward momentum in my survey. But unlike Bob who rarely went backwards on values, we are a small unit who still are early enough into this where we can make corrections where need be …” [ continue reading » ]
New!From a Seller’s Perspective…
By Tony LeBlanc — “I started classifying comics as CPVs about 12 years ago. At first, I was surprised to see that roughly 80% of all my sales were predominantly from fellow Canadians. Now that CPVs are more mainstream, I would estimate that about 65% of my CPV sales goes to the States and this percentage continues to rise …” [ continue reading » ]
New!Overstreet Price Guide #50 Full Market Report
By Jon McClure — “I have long argued that Type 1A variants of all eras would climb in interest due to scarcity …” [ continue reading » ]
A Short History in Comics: 35 Cent Cover Price Variants and Various Reminiscences
By Jon McClure — “It’s been a fun and challenging ride so far, and I think it’s just getting started for Type 1a Variants, so sit back and enjoy the fireworks …” [ continue reading » ]
New!Where Have All the Cartoon Books Gone?
By Salvatore Miceli — “The demand for Gladstone, Archie and Harveys are still in its infancy. The growth potential in CPV values for these 3 publishers is massive in my personal opinion especially given that most 30-40 year olds are familiar enough with most of the properties to feel comfortable and nostalgic enough to begin investing in them …” [ continue reading » ]
New!Welcome to CPV Price Guide #4!
By Benjamin Nobel — “In today’s age of an endless supply of ‘manufactured-rarity’ retailer incentive variants we could choose to take home, many of which collectors are asked to shell out $25-$50+ to own, it is so nice by contrast to have a universe of ‘naturally-occurring’ Type 1A price variants within the world of 1980’s (and 1990’s) newsstand comics …” [ continue reading » ]
New!Whitman 1984 Canadian Price Variants
By Benjamin Nobel — “These are Quite Rare in High Grade, with 9.2 copies worth $75.00 or more each …” [ continue reading » ]
CPV Census: Most Actives Table
By Benjamin Nobel — “A lot of the big DC Canadian Price Variant comics are shockingly hard to find compared against Marvel …” [ continue reading » ]
Two Ways to Win Update
By Benjamin Nobel — “When collecting any given key comic book issue, it is better to have two ways to win, than just one …” [ continue reading » ]
New!The Story of the Wawa Collection
By Philip Standhart and Craig Foxhoven — “When he opened the door, Craig and I were speechless …” [ continue reading » ]
Canadian Newsstand Cover Price VARIANTS 2018-2019 Market Report
By Doug Sulipa — “Canadian Newsstand Cover Price VARIANT editions, were easily our #1 bestselling VARIANTS of the year … ” [ continue reading » ]
New!Get Them Now or Chase Them Later
By Angelo Virone — “Given the fact that regular newsstand copies for key Copper and Modern age books are now selling at multiples to their direct edition counterparts, I strongly believe and predict that KEY CPV’s in the highest grades are presently under-valued as newsstand price variants because they are the scarcest of the first printings …”[ continue reading » ]
State of the CPV Market
By Angelo Virone — “It’s interesting to see well known collectors who never fully got into Canadian Price Variant comics now entering the space paying big bucks for top graded key issues … “[ continue reading » ]
The “Quebec Effect” on the Supply of CPVs
By Angelo Virone and Benjamin Nobel — “The Quebec Effect definitely would have had some noteworthy directional impact on the “big picture” rarity characteristics for Canadian Price Variant comics … “[ continue reading » ]
Comic Book Table Talk: Predict, Invest, Collect!
By Angelo Virone — “Introducing my personal method when investing: I call it my ‘Comic Score Card’ … “
[ continue reading » ]

Welcome & Introduction

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I started blogging about Rare Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Comics in 2011, then created a blog for Rare Spawn Comics and Rare Savage Dragon Comics — with these characters ranking among my favorite all-time comic book superheroes outside of the Marvel universe and DC universe. 🙂

The format of those blogs has been to profile specific rare and interesting (and hence valuable and/or highly collectible) comics. For example, I profiled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (May 1984) which is the most highly valued and collectible TMNT comic book of all time, with a print run of just 3,000 copies and featuring the first appearance of the turtles (that blog entry also touches upon Gobbledygook, which was hand-produced on a Xerox photocopier on legal-size paper folded in half and stapled by hand).

I have also profiled the little-known comic Graphic Fantasy #1 (1982) which was a pre-Megaton fanzine self-published by Erik Larsen with a print run of just several hundred copies and containing the first appearance of the “original” incarnation of Savage Dragon. On account of being so incredibly scarce and therefore nearly invisible, the industry completely overlooked it for years and credited Megaton #2/3 with the key first character appearance… But recently some copies of Graphic Fantasy were graded and the CGC “1st appearance credits” for Savage Dragon comics were re-considered and are now allocated differently than they’d been before.

On the Spawn blog I have profiled such comics as the Spawn #1 “Black & White Edition” (1997) which had a print run on the order of 3,100 copies and Rust #1 “Special Limited Edition” (April 1992) which had a restricted print run believed to be limited to 10,000 copies and features a pre-Spawn-#1 full page black & white pin-up by Todd McFarlane to promote the upcoming release of Spawn #1 — that pin-up featuring a sketch of the artwork later used for the cover of Spawn #2, and including a “prototype” Spawn logo that was later tossed aside in favor of the logo ultimately used in the series.

For this blog, I will post about general comic book collecting “themes” that I find to be particularly interesting — like newsstand vs. direct edition comics — and over time I will also profile specific comics outside of Spawn, Savage Dragon, or the TMNT. This blog is also now the home for the hobby’s very first online comic book price guide for Type 1A 1980’s newsstand cover price variants from Marvel & DC.

A recurring “theme” I will return to often in the Savage Dragon and Spawn blogs, is that when Image Comics made its debut in 1992, the Newsstand Distribution Channel for comic books in general was already in major decline. To attain any newsstand distribution against that backdrop was a challenge for Image; collectors would learn in 2013 that Image sold only on the order of 1% of their comics on newsstands versus 99% direct sold to comic shops.

This ratio for Image already creates a disparity in rarity that is critical for collecting early Image keys (where collectors should arguably clearly prefer the newsstand copies which have UPC codes on them — the prevalent direct edition copies lack these UPC codes). But equally interesting is that the challenging nature of newsstand distribution led Image to elect manufacturing choices for their newsstand print runs that in some cases were different from their direct edition print runs — in other words, the newsstand print runs were often produced differently!

These differences were likely to control costs, with choices such as manufacturing the newsstand copies with cheap newsprint paper instead of glossy; or different thickness paper for the cover; or omitting special features like centerfold posters. As a result of these manufacturing differences — when they occurred — CGC treats such newsstand copies as distinct “variants” on the CGC census. Meaning we can actually study some data on how many of each type (direct edition and newsstand) have been graded!

And in addition to manufacturing differences, there are other “special situations” where CGC breaks out newsstand versions as distinct variants on census. You may see CGC graded comics that say “Newsstand Edition” but also “Canadian Price Variant” — and most recently you will find Newsstand Variants and $3.99/$4.99 Newsstand Editions (that last variant category — a “class” of cover price variants — only being created/recognized at CGC in 2016).

I believe that when collecting comics, it is better to have two ways to win, than just one. When there is a more rare version of a given comic available, but the more rare version is priced with little to no premium due to lack of awareness among other collectors, I want that more rare version instead of the prevalent one… Because if you can obtain the more rare version for similar cost, then you have two ways to win instead of one: the issue number itself may rise in value, and the rarity premium may grow if collectors come to recognize it in the future — much like what happened with 35 cent variants, which were broadly overlooked as a “class” of comics before 1998.

Relative value: that’s what I look for, that’s what intrigues me most, and that’s what I enjoy writing about. Thanks for visiting, and as you read any of my posts, if you have additional information you can add to the discussion that I missed, please do so in the comment section either on the post in question or here on the main page — I continue to be humbled and amazed at how much I learn from readers! 🙂

– Ben

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347 thoughts on “Rare Comics: Welcome

  1. Jay says:

    Awesome this has been so helpful Ben thank you. One last thing I wanted to ask you about is Canadian Edition books. Do you feel as though Canadian Edition books are undervalued even when comparing them to $1.00 Newsstand books? For example the census shows how rare the $1.25 Canadian edition TMNT Adventures 1 book is from 1988 compared to the $1.00 US Direct edition. Even if you take a % of those $1.00 US Direct editions to say they are newsstand, I feel as though the math dont add up, causing even the Canadian Edition to be undervalued. For example a 9.8 $1.00 Newsstand sold for $6,000. Where a 9.6 Canadian edition sold for $600. Meaning you can buy 10 copies of 9.6 Canadian Edition Direct, for that one single 9.8 $1.00 Newsstand copy. I feel like in this specific case the $600 Canadian 9.6 is completley undervalued and the one that has a higher ceiling for higher profit margin. I feel as though at the end of the day the 10 copies at 9.6 canadian edition direct would be better investment than the one copy $1.00 newsstand over time. Wanted to get your thoughts. Thank you

    Like

    • Good thoughts Jay! Here’s some TMNTA #1 CBCS census data just to add to the overall picture… They have 5 different census entries: an “old way” entry for all $1.00 cover price copies from before they were breaking out newsstand from direct edition, an “old way” entry named “Canadian Edition” from before they changed the naming convention to “Canadian Price Variant”, a “new way” “$1.25 Canadian Price Variant” entry from after they changed the naming convention (unlike CGC they did not “port over” their old CPV data, rather, they made a new second entry…), and then two “new way” $1.00 entries broken out “Direct Edition” and “Newsstand”.

      Having the five different rows makes it tricky to compare apples to apples, but, we can start with the simple newsstand:direct breakout — in 9.4-and-up they have recorded 18 direct editions and 6 newsstand. While these are low counts, that’s 25% newsstand. In the context of this being an Archie issue (heavily newsstand reliant as a publisher) but also selling loads of direct edition copies of their TMNT comics, this seems within the realm of expectation.

      And then we can compare the $1.25 CPV count in 9.4-and-up — five — against the total $1.00 count which is 45. So that’s 10% CPV. [Incidentally, that matches up perfectly to the 10:90 population ratio of Canada:USA.]

      Extrapolating all of this out: Although the sample size is quite small, if the proportions we see in the CBCS census data are relatively representative, then out of every 100 of TMNT Adventures #1 out there in NM and higher, we might expect 10 to be $1.25 cover price copies and 90 to be $1.00, and then we might expect somewhere around a 25/75 split of newsstand/direct for each cover price — again, just a broad strokes big-picture look which is all based on the small CBCS data we have, but it is at least something — which would mean the extrapolated breakdown out of every 100 near-mint-and-up copies out there of the issue would look something like this:

      $1.00 Direct = ~68 copies
      $1.00 Newsstand = ~22 copies
      $1.25 Direct = ~8 copies
      $1.25 Newsstand = ~2 copies

      This would definitely support your relative value conclusions Jay… But I used 9.4-and-up in this exercise and it is worth noting that the CBCS census actually has -0- newsstand 9.8’s on record to date. Given how notorious newsstand comics are for having been read to death, versus direct editions notorious for being preserved in plastic bags, it would be hard to know just how that “9.8 versus 9.8” head-to-head would look, comparing $1.25 direct copies in 9.8 versus $1.00 newsstand copies in 9.8. Marketplace availability might help paint the picture for us, so I took a look:

      Searching eBay’s sold listings section on “turtles adventures 1 cgc 9.8 newsstand” there are five results but it looks like among those there may only be three unique copies.

      Searching eBay’s sold listing section on “turtles adventures 1 cgc 9.8 canadian” I count five unique copies that are direct edition.

      So yeah, it is pretty neck-and-neck in terms of the count of 9.8 $1.00 newsstand copies that have sold on eBay in recent months, versus the count of $1.25 direct edition copies in 9.8!

      And: there is one singular newsstand CPV there in the sold listings section, but interestingly, the seller did not include the “newsstand” keyword in the title (perhaps not realizing there exist two $1.25 CPV types!), they priced it at a buy-it-now of $2,299.95 on December 7th, and it sold almost instantly.

      The CPV does look like a tremendous relative value out there, especially that $1.25 newsstand CPV sale in 9.8 … the buyer of that one owns what looks to be the rarest version of them all and in that grade it may be quite awhile before the marketplace sees another!!

      Best,
      – Ben

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    • Email sent, Jay. If for some reason you don’t receive it, let me know.

      – Ben p.s. We should be suspicious of that $6,000 TMNTA newsstand 9.8 sale you mentioned. The same seller sold what looks like a re-list of the same book three days later. While possible the seller had multiples and worked out a best-offer deal with one of the runners up and just re-used the listing, I have a feeling the winner didn’t complete the transaction, based on seeing the quick re-list plus the (0) feedback score of the winner’s account (eBay stars out the screen names but still shows us the feedback count). In fact, all of the heavy bidding on that auction was done by low-feedback-score accounts (see below). So unless/until we see future sales at these price levels, I think we should treat this one with suspicion.

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      • varyant555 says:

        Zero feedback for the $6K winner of that TMNTA 1 CGC 9.8 on Ebay appears more than suspicious to me!? Any comic book sales detectives out there?

        Like

  2. Darryl Dixon says:

    Hi I read with interest your articles on the Canadian and UK price variants. The list on UK variants showing the UK price printed only (as opposed to the time when they had an imported price stamp on) was of particular interest in looking at my Green Lantern collection. What I noticed was that from edition 145 to 156 the copies showed the US and UK price but not Canada, and then from 157 they appeared with all three prices.

    Is there anything you know/can add about this period and why the change occurred in the way it did for the short period?

    Also in the list UK variants have not been recorded for issue 108 109 and 110. These are gaps in my collection (just got 110) but when viewing those on offer in the UK they all seem to be US price only. During the period of those print runs did they just not print a UK price edition?

    hope you can satisfy my curiosity

    regards

    Darryl

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Darryl, thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂 Issue #157 of Green Lantern is when Canadian Price Variants begin for the title. Immediately prior to that issue, the same 60 cents was charged in both the US and Canada, and so Direct Edition copies only needed to have the main 60¢ price (which covered both the US and Canada) and then a 20p price for the UK. Starting at #157, Canadians were charged 75 cents, so Direct Editions began to be printed with three prices at that point.

      The Pence Price Variant gap from #108-110 is an interesting one, and Steve may be able to jump in with more detail but it appears to have had to do with the cover price change on US copies… At issue #107 they were at a cover price of 35 cents, but then with #108 they jump to 50 cents. #109 and #110 are then also 50 cents, but at issue #111 they reduced the cover price to 40 cents… And at that point the Pence Price Variants resume. So the gap definitely would appear to have to do with the rise in the main US cover price.

      Best,
      – Ben

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Darryl.

    The September to November 1978 three month UKPV gap affects all monthly ongoing DC titles. Some of the bi-monthly titles however have a 12p UKPV for the cover month of September only, for reasons unknown. No DC title has a UKPV for cover dates October / November, regardless of publishing frequency. I don’t think the break has anything to do with US cover price changes myself, as the UK copies remain at 12p prior to and after the 3 month gap.

    It’s more likely to be something contractual I think but there’s no direct explanatory evidence that I am aware of either way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Darryl Dixon says:

    Thanks Ben, but although from 157 the three prices appear on the cover, can you confirm why 145-156 carried just the US and UK price, moving from a UK pence print run in the editions before 145? If I followed correctly, and just want to be sure I’m not assuming incorrectly as I’m in the UK and not as familiar with the US/Can exchange rate changes, during the period of editions 145-156 was the price charged in both US and Can 60c? So was the US/UK joint cover price the experiment that led to the triple price covers, reducing the need for different print runs and costs?

    On a slightly different point what happened to UK distribution channels when these changes occurred?. Buying comics in the UK in newsagents (newstands) was “hit and miss”. When I was originally buying to read with the ink price overstamp through to the pence cover price printed the evolution of comic shops hadn’t really taken off. So when the triple price versions began I assume that in the UK they were just as likely to go to a local newsagent shop as to a then rare comic shop (as there then no UK price variant/”newstand” pence price types). But was there a difference that in the UK those that went to the equivalent of newstands could not be returned to a distributor/publisher on “sale or return” basis?. Or was there a different process in the UK? If the comics that went to the newsagent route where unsold when the next batch arrived what was the agreed process? Where they returned somewhere for a refund (and if so what happened next)? Or was it the sellers loss to either keep them on sale or throw them away? Whatever the process might see greater scarity before the rise of comic book stores in the UK perhaps? This leads on to another question and that is what sort of import levels were there to the UK during different cover price changes (from ink stsmp to pence to triple price), or print levels for the UK market before the triple price versions were created? For the ink overstamp that was the US version and felt random as to whether the next edition might be sent to the UK or even to where you bought from leading to the “hit and miss” situation and frustration of only getting one part of a two parter! But once they printed a UK price variants there must have been more knowledge of the market size they were hitting and structure to decisions on UK print run volumes?

    Sorry, lots of questions, the answers to which might be an article in itself, but I’m learning a lot from your articles and earlier reply so its generating a thirst for more information to understand the way DC approached the UK market between the 60s to the 80s particularly.

    Like

    • Hi Darryl, on the first question, that’s exactly right that the same 60 cents was charged in both the US and Canada during that issue range prior to #157. The exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollar had bumped along pretty much around parity (sometimes a little above, sometimes a little below) during the 1970’s, so publishers were able to charge the same 60 cent cover price in both countries. Sometimes they came out a little ahead, sometimes a little behind, when Canadian currency was exchanged back to US dollars, but it kind of “averaged out” for a really long time. But then in the 1980’s the exchange rate started to really move quite a lot… 1.1, then 1.15, then 1.2 and it didn’t immediately reverse course — and this would have been what prompted the need for publishers to start charging a higher price in Canada.

      Issue #157 of Green Lantern marked the point in time when DC started to charge 75 cents in Canada, up from 60 (but meanwhile kept the US price at 60 cents), so at that point they started making their price boxes look like this:

      Think about it this way: prior to this issue, had they specified three different prices, then instead of “60¢ / U.K. 20p / CAN. 75¢” … it would have been “60¢ / U.K. 20p / CAN. 60¢” prior to the price hike in Canada — which would have been kind of unnecessary and redundant to list 60¢ twice in that way. So instead, they just listed it once…

      Anybody in Canada looking at the cover to find the price would have understood the cost to be 60 cents, and anybody in the US would have understood the cost to be 60 cents… So, the publisher accomplished their goal of communicating the 60 cent cost in both countries and they really had no need to list it twice or specify “CAN” (or “US”) next to the 60¢ price, back then.

      Your second question about distribution logistics is a great one, and something that I myself had always wondered about, in particular — what was the fate of the returns? Over the summer I learned a lot about this subject talking offline with a group of fellow pence price variant enthusiasts. I’m going to ping Richard Collier to alert him of this latest discussion as he may want to share some of what he wrote over the summer about his investigations, but I’ll summarize a couple of the key points I learned from my PPV peers:

      Thorpe & Porter, rather than destroying unsold books, gave them new life as “Double Doubles”!! They would typically take four unsold comics and bind them together, giving them a new cover. Steve posted the below example Double Double:

      If any of those went unsold, they next created “DC annuals” packing 6 coverless comics together. We don’t know what they did with any returns of those, or if they were sold discounted and non-returnable. Another form of using unsold comics in a new form was “Marvel Lucky Bags” which wouldn’t have applied to Green Lantern etc., but these shrink-wrapped bundles were apparently sold on a highly-discounted non-returnable basis.

      Best,
      – Ben p.s. One more thought/speculation on the pence price variant “gap” corresponding to when the US price rose from 35¢ to 50¢ — I have to imagine that in order to do business together, the two sides had come to some kind of “deal” with regard to cost/price… and so when DC decided to raise the price (in the US) I can easily picture that this would have had the potential to “disrupt the deal” as it had originally been struck (i.e. perhaps DC called up, said “prices are going up” and then negotiations ensued surrounding the fact that DC wanted to receive more money, versus the other side wanting to keep prices charged in the UK at the same 12p). Given the fact that, ultimately, DC’s main US cover price went back down to 40¢ and given the fact that pence price variants remained at 12p when they resumed at issue #111, it would seem that DC’s attempted price increase did not work out as well as they had hoped!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s quite a healthy discussion about distribution in the UK in my CGC thread here:

    https://www.cgccomics.com/boards/topic/471133-a-brief-review-of-the-first-official-uk-distribution-of-us-published-comics-in-19591960/

    There’s some frippery of course, but quite a lot of decent pontificating, personal recollection and observations from a fairly knowledgeable group (and me). If anything, it shows how little is known about the precise distribution mechanics back in the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Darryl Dixon says:

    Thank you both for the replies. The part on the “double doubles” is interesting. At one time I did have a Justice League double double. Though where that went is a question now. As those “double doubles” removed the original covers and produced one that (as I recall) was based on the artwork of one of the stories I wonder that the survival rate and value of any that still exist is? I assume low by the loss of the original cover.

    Like

  7. Hi everyone, some exciting news to share: Overstreet is publishing a new article written by fellow CPV Price Guide collaborator Jon McClure, within the pages of the new Sixth Edition of The Overstreet Guide to Grading Comics. The article is an updated 2021 edition of Jon’s epic A History of Publisher Experimentation and Variant Comic Books which was first published back in 2010 within the pages of OPG #40.

    Through the accumulation of additional knowledge and discoveries, the updated article has basically doubled in size to 50+ pages since the 2010 version was published (which to this day still stands as the longest article Overstreet has ever published in the price guide). So with a now-near-book-length version of the article, Jon basically gave Gemstone a challenge as far as where to publish it, and ultimately they decided that the latest edition of The Overstreet Guide to Grading Comics would be its home. According to Gemstone, the new edition will be available in stores starting next week. Here is a link to more information.

    Personally, I decided to pre-order it on Amazon, so that I can later leave a review there; Jon’s article alone was enticement enough for me to pick up a copy, but I’m also looking forward to reading the other content as well — the grading guide itself looks interesting, plus, there are other articles: something on storage and preservation, restoration, and a look at the third-party grading companies. Here’s the Amazon link, and note that as of the time I’m writing these words the Amazon page still doesn’t have the cover image artwork shown or the full description that is expected, but this link is definitely the pre-order page for it, and Amazon is currently guiding May 10th for the ship date. [Once I receive my copy and have had time to read it, I will share my thoughts here on the blog!]

    Liked by 1 person

  8. FABIO BANCO says:

    detective comics #457 30 cent price variant just found out it exists. there is a list of Marvel’s 30 cent price variants
    but never seen any information on DC COMICS early price variants do you have any information on This or any other of these DC books ,

    Like

    • Hi Fabio, thanks for sharing but I’m going to need to ask you for clarification on what you found? Because the expected cover price for Detective Comics #457 is already 30 cents; so for you to have found a price variant, it would need to have a cover price of something other than 30 cents. I.e. if 30 cents is the “regular”/expected cover price for the issue, then any price variant (if it existed) would in turn need to be priced differently. If there’s a price variant for this issue that would be very cool — and a new discovery the hobby doesn’t currently know about — but if what you found is a 30 cent cover price copy of Detective #457 then you’re just looking at a regular copy with the already-expected cover price.

      Best,
      – Ben

      Like

  9. Richard Collier says:

    Hi Darryl

    I should start by saying I know zilch about DC except what I’ve picked up accidently studying Marvel, but you might find some useful nuggets here. I think you’ve asked 3 separate questions, so I’ll answer in 3 posts.

    1) Double Doubles

    Ben’s point about the double doubles is completely correct. It has been suggested (and not by idiots) that the reason for the double doubles was that T&P returned the covers for credit. Personally, I don’t buy this. I think they (a) mashed the comics together to re-sell them (b) also turned them into annuals and (c) also repriced a lot of them, stamped with sale prices, and sold them, primarily at seaside resorts and holiday towns the following summer in the same way that Alan Class did. Obviously, yon can’t sell a comic with 4 covers on it !

    Also bear in mind that Double Doubles ran from 1967 to 1970. From July 1966, IND actually owned T&P so the idea that they tore the covers off and shipped them all the way back across the Atlantic for a refund would have been financial self-harm. They would have been spending a fortune just to basically destroy their own returns and then ship their own waste paper back to themselves (all the way across the Atlantic).

    It may also makes sense of another question about the DD’s: DC comics have a specific warning in the indicas that they are to be sold as is and not mutilated in any way. But T&P were a subsidiary of National, so it makes more sense that DC would turn a blind eye to their own distributor doing this rather than have to pay for returns.

    It was also said (by the MD of T&P) that, from 1959 onwards, the whole attraction (for DC) of sending comics to the UK was that they were getting rid of their 50% returns as an alternative to destroying them and sold them to T&P at less than the original wholesale price. So the idea that they were taking returns is strongly counter-indicated.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Richard Collier says:

    2) Hit and miss at the newsagents

    Regarding your other point about collecting being hit and miss in the early 80’s: in 77 Warner’s sold T&P to WH Allen who promptly shut it down. From that point I believe distribution (to newsagents) was handled by Moore Harness. MH were a kind of 2nd tier distributor. All the ‘posh, reputable’ magazines (Vogue, Vanity Fair, Reader’s Digest) were handled by the premier league distributors (WH Smiths, John Menzies, Surridge Dawson) but they wouldn’t touch smaller titles (like Time Out and Private Eye) and of course there was a huge distribution network for men’s magazines.

    This created what I’m calling the 2nd tier distributors like Moore-Harness, David Gold, Walton Press, Thames News, etc supplying local & regional distributors who utilised a network of small logistics business (i.e. blokes with vans).

    I would assume that DC fell into Moore Harness not because they were disreputable, but because they were sending over returns, so the volumes and the titles varied each month. WH Smith would not have worn that! Marvel didn’t have that problem because by the 70’s they were only exporting bespoke UK pence variants with defined titles and amounts specifically for the UK market. It must be the only example of a time when Marvel had less problems with distribution than DC.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Richard Collier says:

    3) Re your other point about comic shop distribution compared to newsagents.

    Distribution to comic shops was by CMDS from 1973 (and no one before that because there basically only was one comic shop before that).

    From 1978, CMDS became Titan Distributors and had a total monopoly until 1986 when Neptune rose to challenge them and took about 20-30% market share. Both were bought out by Diamond in 92/93 which then had a monopoly until very recently.

    This was a very different kettle of fish because these guys imported directly from Sparta (Marvel & DC’s printers in Illinois) and (in the 80’s) flew the comics over when distribution to newsagents was still coming by sea.

    Far from getting leftovers from DC, they were choosing their titles and getting regular supplies (because they were organising their own distribution). Neptune shared a warehouse with Bud Plant in New York and kept a full time employee over there. They were also getting their comics about a week behind the US, whereas the newsagents were still 3 months behind.

    While the supplies to newsagents were still SOR, I believe, sales to comic shops were final, but of course, the comic shop guys weren’t just ordering that month’s comics, they were ordering them as stock for years to come. Imagine the comic shop owner who massively over-ordered X men #137 and then discovered (a) it was outselling everything else by 2 to 1, and (b) it was NOT going to be available in newsagents.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. paquettea2015 says:

    Benjamin, I think I have figured out a way to rank the scarcity of newsstand comics with a single numerical value. For the time being, I’m calling it “availability scarcity” or “availability” for short. To calculate it, just search through the offered and sold items on eBay for any given time period and find out how many newsstands were sold over that time period. Then, divide the number of days searched by the number of copies found.

    For instance, I just did this for Supergirl #1 (2005), without taking into consideration whether it was the Turner or Churchill newsstand edition, and came up with an availability rating of 1:76, or simply “-76” (negative 76) for the Turner version and -37 for the Churchill version. Meaning, over the course of any given 76-day period, you could expect to find only one copy of the Turner version on offer at eBay. None of the copies I found (two Churchill cover variants on offer and one Turner variant sold) were slabbed or in better than 9.0 condition.

    You could also compare the number of newsstands to the number of directs (that number was around 1:150 for Supergirl #1/Churchill and 1:300 for the Turner cover). However, I like the availability number better because it cuts through discussions of print runs and percentage of newsstand to directs printed, and then dealing with survivability rates.

    For comics that do not appear at all for sale or as sold items, like the newsstand edition of Supergirl #67, which I haven’t seen a single copy of in over a year of looking, would be given either a “print run” or “infinity” rating. That means that until copies are found for sale, the newsstand edition exists in a -1:PrintRun ratio for the purpose of finding one to buy. These comics theoretically exist (and likely do) but for collectors they may as well not exist until their existence is proven.

    Now let’s look at one of your favorites, ASM 300. Every time I’ve looked for a newsstand copy, I’ve found one. That suggests that its availability rating would be 1. However, I don’t look every day, so let’s take a look at the sales history. I just looked at the most recent 14-day period and found 57 sales. That means that on any given day, one could expect to find four or more copies available. That results in a positive availability score of +4.

    For any “non-scarce” comic like ASM 300, a 14-day period should be enough to establish negative scarcity. For comics that are truly difficult to find, like the Supergirls just mentioned, one has to keep going back until a sale is found, if any. Because the search window varies, that number should be included in the score. So, the ASM 300 score becomes +4/14 and the Turner Supergirl #1 becomes -76/76.

    Best regards,
    AP

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Robert Bigsby says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for writing this blog. I recently got in to collecting in a minor way after having my collection stolen as a teenager, and looking for good info on collecting, your blog is an absolute diamond. It has the most concise information blended with the love of comics that makes adult nerds pour through info. Please don’t stop. Can’t stop wont stop. My analysis of the current market is that older books are way overpriced mostly, and the newer limited run variants with notable cover artists are the best value. Recent purchases to restart my collection are the Shannon Maer Storm variant, the Paulo Villanelli Bounty Hunter limited to 600, the Atomic Comic Red Hulk #1, the Mayhew virgin variant Bounty Hunter, and the Venom virgin variants of the #200. Interested in newer affordable runs of Spiderman and Wolverine too. Maybe do a post of the most collectable cover artists. To me now its Clayton Crain. Rose Besch, Shannon Maer, Artgerm, there are a lot of super talented people coming up though.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Darryl Dixon says:

    Hi a new question! I have a copy of DC’s Freedom Fightetrs6No 7 from April 1977. It is barcoded and a cover price of 30c only. It also has an Italian lira price stamp on it (I have another comic with a similar stamp but need to check which one). In 1977 I was on holiday from the UK in Italy. So I know I bought this dire toy from an Italian newstsnd. What’s the story behind these imports and how rare are they as price variants?

    Like

    • Hi Darryl, one of the guideposts I always like to refer to along the way of thinking about relative numbers for US-originated comics distributed in another English-speaking market, is the population size of that market. But I’m not sure how to best approach a US comic distributed in a country whose primary language is Italian rather than English (perhaps we’d want to explore what percentage of Italy’s population at the time might have even been interested in English-language comics)? FWIW, Italy’s 1977 population size is 55.85 million in total according to Google (citing Eurostat and World Bank figures), roughly the same as the UK in that year.

      A completely different topic of conversation would be whether I would consider a US comic stamped with something, to be a cover price variant. My view on this is no, it isn’t a price variant, because the price in question is “stamped on” rather than “printed in”… In order to consider a given comic to be a price variant, I’d need the cover price difference to be part of the printed cover itself, from when the comic was manufactured. If something is “stamped on” later, then although that could definitely be viewed as something interesting and additive to the unique history of that specific book — and to some it would therefore enhance the collectible appeal — to my way of thinking, stamping a comic with something would be “additional” and after-the-fact, and thus also something that would be too easy to replicate at home with a stamp kit. Therefore in terms of adding actual value to a book, for me, a stamp on a comic wouldn’t be something that, personally, I’d view as appealing.

      Best,
      – Ben

      Like

  15. Darryl Dixon says:

    Thanks. On the subject of thr Italian drsmp – Of course also in the UK there was a period when the pence price was an ink stamp also. (in pre decimal format 9d 10d 1/- then 5p 71/2p etc. before printed pence copies.

    Secondly, on an earlier comment I asked about double doubles I just found my copy. I checked it against the copy that was advertised in the US and St least two of the stories are different. So it’s possible that all double doubles were unique in their own way depending on what was available to use as content.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi everyone, I know that lots of you are desparately seeking a TMNTA #1 CPV in CGC 9.8 as a NEWSSTAND copy, and so I wanted to post a WARNING: DON’T BUY heads-up, about the latest copy that just came to market on eBay. It is this one:

    Even from afar you can see that there are what looks to be some imperfections along the right-hand side:

    To their credit, the seller included a close-up picture of the right corner:

    But it turns out there were actually two TMNTA #1’s on this same submission invoice, which I discovered using the CGC verification tool:

    Perhaps you will agree with me that there is no way a book with the above-pictured flaws would ever grade a 9.8. And yet the very next book on the same invoice is an 8.5? That can’t be a coincidence: my conclusion here is that CGC must have inadvertently swapped the labels, i.e. the 8.5 got the 9.8 label, and the 9.8 got the 8.5 label. (I.e. this leads me to believe #3776321021 and #3776321020’s labels are switched, and QA didn’t catch it).

    Like

  17. Bill Alexander is investigating which issues of Marvel Age had a newsstand version: it turns out that some issues actually have dual cover artwork versions for the front and back covers, and the bar code is around the corner on the back.

    Like

    • Hi everyone, an update to the Marvel Age comment from yesterday. As mentioned, Bill Alexander has been investigating the title to determine which issue numbers had newsstand distribution. As it turns out, certain issues were done “flipbook-style” where instead of a front cover and a back cover, there are essentially two front covers, i.e. each side has the Marvel Age title and the issue number, and with its own cover artwork.

      So for issue #122 for example, you might see this out there:

      … and you might conclude that this issue was a direct edition exclusive, given that there is no “logo box” on the cover … But actually, if you flip the book over, the box is on the other side:

      The above example is actually a newsstand copy (with newsstand bar code); and the below example meanwhile is a direct edition (with logo box):

      Another example issue number where this is the case is #130. Here’s a CBCS copy shown front and back, where each side presents as a front cover:

      So is the above-pictured CBCS example a direct edition or a newsstand copy? This question has apparently fooled several people (judging by the current eBay listings), because this is a rare case of Marvel forgetting to put the words “Direct Edition” next to the bar code of direct-sold copies.

      But if you look carefully at the bar code structure itself, you’ll see that newsstand copies of this issue have a “slim” right-most bar with a two-digit month code (“11” for November), whereas direct edition copies have a “fat” right-most bar with five digits (“13011” = issue number 130, cover 1, printing 1).

      Good luck with your research on this title Bill — with many of these Marvel Age books having been printed flipbook-style, researching which issues have newsstand copies is going to be all the more challenging!

      Like

  18. Courtesy of Dan Mason, here’s a neat find over in the world of Archie, with Archie Giant Series Magazine. Regular copies of issue #136 look like this:

    Notice the price box with 25¢ cover price. But check out what Dan found:

    See the difference? Here’s a side-by-side:

    So what are these? I turned to the Archie section of Jon McClure’s new article, and here’s what his research shows:

    Neat, so there’s nine of these known to exist, they are Type 1A, and were distributed in Canada! 🙂

    – Ben

    Like

  19. Courtesy of varyant555, two more example photos of the Archie “now 25&cent” variants (with 35¢ x’ed out):

    Archie Pals ‘N’ Gals #32:

    … and Archie’s Mad House Annual #3:

    Like

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