“A dramatic increase in the numbers of CPV Marvel comic books graded by CGC is evident, particularly in the last five years. A similar recent increase can be observed for CPV D.C. Comics issues, although the counts are significantly lower.”
Canadian Price Variants (CPVs) are given a notation during the CGC grading process and the number of CGC graded copies of CPVs are recorded in the CGC Census. Since 2003, CGC Census data updates have been compiled and made available online at CGCdata.com. Some of the CPVs on the census since 2003 include Amazing Spider-Man #252 and Transformers #1.
The current CGC counts for CPVs as of November 2021 are: Marvel, 6,979 CPVs graded, and D.C. Comics, 2,273 CPVs graded. Archie Publications also have CPVs on the CGC Census, but the total is just 395 copies.
For the 6,979 Marvel CPVs graded by CGC, there are 1,114 different issues. The average is over 6 CPVs per issue, but the top ten Marvel issues for CPVs average just over 200 copies per issue, with Amazing Spider-Man #252 and Thor #337 having between 400 and 500 CPVs each at the top of the list.
For the 2,273 D.C. Comics CPVs graded by CGC, there are 778 different issues. The average is just under 3 CPVs per issue. The top ten D.C. Comics issues for CPVs average over 40 CPVs per issue, but the only D.C. Comics CPV currently above 100 CGC graded copies is Tales of the Teen Titans #44 at 103. The only other D.C. Comics issue above 50 CGC graded copies is Booster Gold #1 at 53.
For Archie Publications’ total of 395 CPVs, 173 are TMNT Adventures #1 (1988) and 53 are TMNT Adventures #1 (1989). Betty and Veronica #320 (1982) has 50 CPVs graded. Warren Publishing has 190 CPVs on the CGC Census, but no title has more than ten graded copies. Harris just reaches the ten graded CPVs mark for Vampirella #113, with 11 on the CGC Census.
With more than 15 years of CGC Census history available at CGCdata.com, it’s possible to check not only the current CPV counts on the CGC Census, but also the historical CGC census numbers by CGC grade.
A dramatic increase in the numbers of CPV Marvel comic books graded by CGC is evident, particularly in the last five years. A similar recent increase can be observed for CPV D.C. Comics issues, although the counts are significantly lower.
The absolute counts of CGC graded CPV copies are important, but most CPV analysis focuses on the relative scarcity of CPVs to their direct edition (and U.S. newsstand) counterparts. In the CGC Census, there is no separation of U.S. newsstand edition from direct editions, therefore the CGC Census does not provide a direct method for estimated scarcity for all three editions. However, the percentage of CPVs graded by CGC overall can be established.
In these next tables, the percentage of CPVs graded by CGC is shown, for those issues with 1 or more CPV copy on record as of November 2021. Issues where CPVs may exist but where none appear on census are omitted.
The CGC Census reported percentages of CPV books for Marvel and D.C. Comics in the 1980s is currently 2.6% and 2.9%, respectively, among the issues where 1 or more CPVs appear on census. The percentage of CPV books for Archie Publications is 11.6%, much higher than the Marvel and D.C. Comic percentages, however, Archie Publications represent fewer than 1% of the CGC graded comics in this analysis and a higher CPV percentage is to be expected given that Archie did not widely introduce direct editions until 1988, about ten years later than Marvel and D.C. Comics.
It is important to note that all CGC grades are included in these totals, and there are many comic books which are not (yet) worth submitting to CGC in midgrade or lower grade conditions. Additionally, the dramatic increase in the number of CPVs submitted to CGC in the past five years may continue to have an impact on the percentage of CPVs on the CGC Census for years to come. At the moment, however, the current snapshot of CPV percentages on the CGC Census applies to more than 340,000 CGC graded Marvel and D.C. comic books.
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About the AuthorGreg Holland has collected comic books for over 30 years and has been the administrator of the CGC Census Analysis website CGCdata.com since 2003. Dr. Holland holds a Ph.D. in information quality from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has held data science positions as research director, analyst, and administrator for government, corporations, and university. He is the 1999 founder of the ValiantComics.com website and the 2004 ValiantFans.com message board. Active on the CGC Forums as ‘valiantman’ since 2002, he is also a 15+ year advisor to the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide and contributor to later editions of the Standard Catalog of Comic Books. Greg resides in Arkansas, USA, with his wife and their daughter.