Australian Newsstand Edition, Canadian Newsstand Edition, U.K. Pence

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

5/5/2019

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:

cgc-cpv-announcement-may-19

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:
cgc-canadian-price-variantobnoxio-1-cgc-price-variant

Advertisements
Standard
Canadian Newsstand Edition

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

By Benjamin Nobel, March 21, 2019

thundercats-barcode-vs-logo

Hi everyone, over in the comments forum section of the “Canadian Price Variants: Noteworthy Sales” page, a recent ThunderCats #1 sale prompted some investigating. I wanted to make a separate post about it.

In the picture at right, you see side-by-side two types of ThunderCats #1 (and #2) comic books, each with single-price 75¢ cover price, but one type carrying bar codes and the other carrying logos. Only the bar code copy has a Curtis Circulation code (at the top of the picture, notice the numbers “02104” just below “Dec”).

Below is a screenshot of the recent sale that prompted this investigation, which went for $199.99 on eBay — please notice the logo (rather than bar code) at the bottom left corner of the front cover of the pictured copy below:

This copy was labeled by CGC as “Canadian Edition” and, accordingly, was marketed as the 75¢ variant when put up for sale:

marketed-as-the-variant

But was CGC correct in their labeling? Were 75¢ cover price “logo” copies of this issue really Canadian Price Variants? Fellow price guide collaborator Angelo Virone and I recently had a discussion about these ThunderCats books with 75¢ single-price and logos instead of bar codes. We did some digging.

Comic book spacer image

First, some facts/groundwork to know:

  • thundercats-m-box

    The 1st print direct edition “M” logo reference copy we would turn to has a 65 cent cover price (and — side note — interestingly it has a $1.00 CAN price in small print on those direct editions, which interestingly doesn’t match up to the actual known copies sold on Canadian newsstands which have a 75¢ price, not the $1.00 we’d expect going off of the direct editions!).

Below is a reference listing of one of those 1st print direct editions with 65 cent cover price and “M” logo, and for the screenshot I’ve clicked their back cover photo because I want you to see it is a Care Bears ad:

thundercats1-direct-edition

OK: so, remembering that for issues with newsstand distribution there are first printing “triplets” during this publication window — direct edition, US newsstand, and Canadian newsstand — we can keep in mind that that (above) for our reference, is the back cover of the direct edition sibling from the first print birthdate, and so our newsstand siblings should match what we see above…

Comic book spacer image

  • thundercats-1-65c

    And indeed here’s a reference copy for the US newsstand sibling, with 65¢ cover price, and I’ve clicked the back cover photo for the screenshot to show you it has the matching Care Bears ad:

Comic book spacer image

  • thundercats-1-75c-cpv

    And finally, a reference copy for a single-price 75¢ copy with bar code — this clearly is the Canadian price variant sold on newsstands. And the back cover? Care Bears:

    Comic book spacer image

    OK! So with that groundwork in place — we have three 1st print reference copies, the triplets, all with the Care Bears back cover — let’s proceed to investigate this mystery of the 75¢ copies with logos on the cover, like the example we started with in the beginning (that sold for $199.99 and was labeled by CGC as a “Canadian Edition” and marketed as the Canadian price variant).

    Next fact to know:

    • CGC’s census shows that this issue went to multiple printings… i.e. they have a Second Printing census designation as well as a Third Printing on record:

    thundercats-1-census

    • Mile High Comics also has issue #1 broken out to multiple printings in their system, and, helpfully, they have indicia scans for some of them. Here’s their indicia scan for the copies broken out as “third printing” in their system — notice the spot I’ve pointed out with an arrow:

    As you can see, the publisher states that it is a third printing. This tells us something by inference: if there exists a third printing, then there must also have been a second printing too! But first, let’s look more closely at this third printing, both front and back. Let me start with the back, to show you that it has a different ad … instead of Care Bears, it says “Gross” in big letters and is an ad for Madballs (thanks to reader jimmyimpossible for reminding me what those were/are!). Here is a reference listing of a 3rd print copy, with the back cover clicked for the screenshot:

    And here’s a close-up of the ‘M’ box on the front cover of a third print copy, side-by-side with a 1st print copy — as you can see, the 3rd print copy (right) has a 75¢ cover price instead of 65¢ on the 1st print copy (left):

    There’s also no “Dec” below the #1 on the third print copy.

    Comic book spacer image

    OK, so, back to the point of there logically having to have been a second printing, if these above are denoted as the third printing. So: what do second-print copies look like? Referencing back to Mile High’s system, they are showing a picture of a single-price 75¢ copy with logo under the 2nd Printing heading:

    And, helpfully, they also have an indicia page scan of the above book. However, if we click it, we see…

    Huh… No indication of it being a second printing. [And a side note: confusingly, Mile High also has a separate broken-out version with the same picture, but the description “1 75 CENT CV”].

    Angelo was able to actually check such 75¢-with-logo copies first-hand and compare the indicia page to that of the 75¢-bar-coded copies, and he saw no indication anywhere in the indicia or interior pages of the logo book as being a second printing… the two indicia pages appeared fully identical.

    However, here is something we do know about those logo copies: Remember earlier how I kept showing you those Care Bears ads on the known 1st print copies? Remember how the third print copy had a Madballs ad with the word “Gross” instead? Now, below, I show you the back cover of the $199.99 sold-listings copy we started this discussion off with:

    Comic book spacer image

    It is the Madballs ad, not Care bears! So what are these single-price 75¢ cover price copies with logos and “Gross” on the back cover?? Based on a variety of listings I’ve found from US-based sellers, my opinion is that these 75¢ logo copies were multi-pack copies which had US distribution and the publisher simply “sloppily” didn’t mark them as second printings in the indicia. Here’s an example pack:

    Comic book spacer image

    If I’ve missed anything important in the above discussion, please chime in! But based on all of the above, my opinion is that the single-price 75¢ copies with logos, while interesting (especially for completists who want one of each variation), had distribution characteristics that were entirely distinct — in other words, they do not share the distribution-driven rarity characteristics that the newsstand-distributed CPVs carry, but rather, they have their own distinct rarity characteristics based on their own distinct situation.

    Thus, based on the above, I do not consider that $199.99 sale to actually be a Canadian price variant sale comp; the only ThunderCats copies that I personally consider to be the true 1st print Canadian price variants are the ones with bar codes on them… the ones that look like this:

    Happy Collecting!
    – Ben 🙂

Standard
Canadian Newsstand Edition

Gladstone Canadian Price Variants

By Benjamin Nobel, January 11, 2019

Hi everyone! My fellow price guide collaborators and I are hoping to expand our guide’s “coverage universe” in the future to include other publishers beyond Marvel & DC; we are very fortunate to be working with Toronto-based researcher Salvatore Miceli, who has been investigating other publishers including Gladstone. This post is to share Sal’s Gladstone research — a huge thanks to Sal for his efforts on this! 🙂

Readers of our Marvel & DC guide are already familiar with how those two publishers produced three versions of each issue during their cover price variant windows: a direct edition version (direct-sold to comic dealers/shops at a discount but on a non-returnable basis), and two newsstand versions (copies sold to the general public on newsstands, where unsold copies were returnable by the newsstand for refund/credit) — the two newsstand types were a higher cover price version and a lower cover price version.

While Gladstone followed this same pattern of publishing three versions, they were fond of placing their bar codes (and corresponding logos for the direct editions) on the back covers, making it all the more challenging to spot these differences online (most online sellers only bother to picture the front cover when listing these comics). To show you what I mean, here below are the three versions Gladstone produced for Donald Duck #246:

From a distance, at first glance these look like they are identical, but if you know in advance that the cover price boxes differ, you can discern that they are different — here is a close-up on those three price boxes:

price-boxes-comparison

The first price box shown above is the direct edition, carrying a large print “main” price of 75¢ with a smaller-print CAN 95¢ price beneath it; the second price box shown above is the single-price 75¢ newsstand edition distributed in the U.S., and the final price box shown above is the newsstand price variant carrying a single-price of 95¢ — such cover price variant copies are the subject of Sal’s research. Below is an example indicia page for Donald Duck #246 — as you can see these were printed and published in the USA:

donald-duck-246-indicia

I mentioned before that Gladstone liked placing their UPC codes (and corresponding logos) on the back covers… here below are the three back covers side-by-side, for the three Donald Duck #246 copies you saw earlier:

As you can see, looking at the bottom left corner, the direct edition copy has a “logo box” instead of a bar code (in this case it isn’t a graphical logo but instead has words that tie in to the poster advert), while the two newsstand copies have identical bar code boxes. Here below is another back cover comparison, this time where the logo box contains a graphical logo — Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories #546:

And here are the front covers for the above — pictured at left is the direct edition (cover price box reads $1.95 in large print, with “CAN $2.50” in small print), and pictured at right is the single-price $2.50 Canadian price variant exclusive to newsstands in Canada (Canada has on the order of one tenth the population of the USA which drives the price variants to be the most-rare of the three types by a long-shot — read more here for a detailed rarity walkthrough with graphics from the Marvel & DC guide — the same basic big-picture concepts apply to the Gladstone situation as well):

So as you can see from the above examples, with the logo-boxes/bar-codes on the back covers, spotting the variants in the marketplace (and researching them in general) is all the more difficult a task (thanks again to Sal for taking on that task!). Below are a few more cover price variant examples, followed by a full “Issue Guide” for the Gladstone Canadian Price Variants.

Gladstone Canadian Price Variant Issue Guide:
15 regular titles (Oct 1986-July 1991) + 4 digest titles (Dec 1986-Sep 1987)
262 total issues

Donald Duck
Oct 1986-May 1990
34 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#246 $0.95 Oct ’86 $ 26
#247 $0.95 Nov ’86 $ 16
#248 $1.00 Dec ’86 $ 16
#249 $1.00 Jan ’87 $ 16
#250 $2.00 Feb ’87 64 Pages $ 18
#251 $1.00 Mar ’87 $ 16
#252 $1.25 Apr ’87 $ 8
#253 $1.25 May ’87 $ 8
#254 $1.25 Jun ’87 $ 8
#255 $1.25 July ’87 $ 8
#256 $1.25 Aug ’87 $ 8
#257 $1.95 Sep ’87 Giant Summer Special $ 8
#258 $1.25 Oct ’87 $ 8
#259 $1.25 Nov ’87 $ 8
#260 $1.25 Dec ’87 $ 8
#261 $1.25 Jan ’88 $ 8
#262 $1.25 Mar ’88 $ 8
#263 $1.25 Jun ’88 $ 8
#264 $1.25 July ’88 $ 8
#265 $1.25 Aug ’88 $ 8
#266 $1.25 Sep ’88 $ 8
#267 $1.25 Oct ’88 $ 8
#268 $1.25 Nov ’88 $ 8
#269 $1.25 Jan ’89 $ 8
#270 $1.25 Mar ’89 $ 8
#271 $1.25 Jun ’89 $ 8
#272 $1.25 July ’89 $ 8
#273 $1.25 Aug ’89 $ 8
#274 $1.25 Sep ’89 $ 8
#275 $1.25 Oct ’89 $ 8
#276 $1.25 Nov ’89 $ 8
#277 $1.25 Jan ’90 $ 8
#278 $2.50 Mar ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 9
#279 $2.50 May ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 9
Donald Duck Comics Digest
Nov 1986-July 1987
5 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $1.65 Nov ’86 $ 10
#2 $1.65 Jan ’87 $ 6
#3 $1.65 Mar ’87 $ 10
#4 $1.95 May ’87 $ 6
#5 $1.95 July ’87 $ 6
DuckTales
Oct 1988-May 1990
13 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $1.95 Oct ’88 Giant Size Issue $ 6
#2 $1.95 Nov ’88 Giant Size Issue $ 4
#3 $1.25 Jan ’89 $ 4
#4 $1.25 Feb ’89 $ 4
#5 $1.25 Apr ’89 $ 4
#6 $1.25 May ’89 $ 4
#7 $1.25 July ’89 $ 4
#8 $1.25 Aug ’89 $ 4
#9 $1.95 Oct ’89 $ 4
#10 $1.95 Nov ’89 $ 4
#11 $1.95 Jan ’90 $ 4
#12 $2.50 Mar ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 5
#13 $2.50 May ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 5
Haunt Of Fear
May 1991-July 1991
2 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $2.50 May ’91 EC Reprint $ 4
#2 $2.50 July ’91 EC Reprint $ 4
Mickey Mouse
Oct 1986-Apr 1990
38 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#219 $0.95 Oct ’86 $ 20
#220 $0.95 Nov ’86 $ 10
#221 $1.00 Dec ’86 $ 10
#222 $1.00 Jan ’87 $ 5
#223 $1.00 Feb ’87 $ 5
#224 $1.00 Mar ’87 $ 5
#225 $1.25 Apr ’87 $ 5
#226 $1.25 May ’87 $ 5
#227 $1.25 Jun ’87 $ 5
#228 $1.25 July ’87 $ 5
#229 $1.25 Aug ’87 $ 5
#230 $1.25 Sep ’87 $ 5
#231 $1.25 Oct ’87 $ 4
#232 $1.25 Nov ’87 $ 4
#233 $1.25 Dec ’87 $ 4
#234 $1.25 Jan ’88 $ 4
#235 $1.25 Mar ’88 $ 4
#236 $1.25 Apr ’88 $ 4
#237 $1.25 Jun ’88 $ 4
#238 $1.25 July ’88 $ 4
#239 $1.25 Aug ’88 $ 4
#240 $1.25 Sep ’88 $ 4
#241 $1.25 Oct ’88 $ 4
#242 $1.25 Nov ’88 $ 4
#243 $1.25 Dec ’88 $ 4
#244 $3.75 Jan ’89 60th Anniversary Special $ 5
#245 $1.25 Mar ’89 $ 5
#246 $1.25 Apr ’89 $ 4
#247 $1.25 Jun ’89 $ 4
#248 $1.25 July ’89 $ 4
#249 $1.25 Aug ’89 $ 4
#250 $1.25 Sep ’89 $ 4
#251 $1.25 Oct ’89 $ 4
#252 $1.25 Nov ’89 $ 4
#253 $1.25 Dec ’89 $ 4
#254 $1.25 Jan ’90 $ 4
#255 $2.50 Feb ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 5
#256 $2.50 Apr ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 5
Mickey Mouse Comics Digest
Jan 1987-Sep 1987
5 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $1.65 Jan ’87 $ 8
#2 $1.65 Mar ’87 $ 5
#3 $1.95 May ’87 $ 5
#4 $1.95 July ’87 $ 5
#5 $1.95 Sep ’87 $ 5
The Original Dick Tracy
Sep 1990-May 1991
5 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $2.50 Sep ’90 $ 4
#2 $2.50 Nov ’90 $ 4
#3 $2.50 Jan ’91 $ 4
#4 $2.50 Mar ’91 $ 4
#5 $2.50 May-91 $ 4
Tales From The Crypt
July 1990-May 1991
6 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $2.50 July ’90 EC Reprint $ 5
#2 $2.50 Sep ’90 EC Reprint $ 5
#3 $2.50 Nov ’90 EC Reprint $ 5
#4 $2.50 Jan ’91 EC Reprint $ 5
#5 $2.50 Mar ’91 EC Reprint $ 5
#6 $2.50 May ’91 EC Reprint $ 5
Uncle Scrooge Comics Digest
Dec 1986-Aug 1987
5 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $1.65 Dec ’86 $ 8
#2 $1.65 Feb ’87 $ 6
#3 $1.95 Apr ’87 $ 8
#4 $1.95 Jun ’87 $ 6
#5 $1.95 Aug ’87 Low print run per Overstreet $ 9
Vault Of Horror
Aug 1990-Jun 1991
6 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $2.50 Aug ’90 EC Reprint $ 5
#2 $2.50 Oct ’90 EC Reprint $ 5
#3 $2.50 Dec ’90 EC Reprint $ 5
#4 $2.50 Feb ’91 EC Reprint $ 5
#5 $2.50 Apr ’91 EC Reprint $ 5
#6 $2.50 Jun ’91 EC Reprint $ 5
Walt Disney’s Christmas Parade
1988-1989
2 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $3.75 Winter 1988 Painted cover by Carl Barks $ 12
#2 $3.75 Winter 1989 $ 9
Walt Disney’s Comics And Stories
Oct 1986-Apr 1990
37 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#511 $0.95 Oct ’86 Donald Duck by Daan Jippes $ 32
#512 $0.95 Nov ’86 $ 18
#513 $1.00 Dec ’86 $ 18
#514 $1.00 Jan ’87 $ 12
#515 $1.00 Feb ’87 $ 12
#516 $1.00 Mar ’87 $ 12
#517 $1.25 Apr ’87 $ 6
#518 $1.25 May ’87 $ 6
#519 $1.25 Jun ’87 $ 6
#520 $1.25 July ’87 $ 12
#521 $1.25 Aug ’87 $ 6
#522 $1.25 Sep ’87 $ 6
#523 $1.25 Oct ’87 1st Don Rosa 10 pager $ 15
#524 $1.25 Nov ’87 Don Rosa art and story $ 15
#525 $1.25 Dec ’87 $ 6
#526 $1.25 Feb ’88 Don Rosa art and story $ 15
#527 $1.25 Mar ’88 $ 6
#528 $1.25 Apr ’88 Don Rosa art and story $ 15
#529 $1.25 Jun ’88 $ 6
#530 $1.25 July ’88 $ 6
#531 $1.25 Aug ’88 Don Rosa art and story $ 15
#532 $1.25 Sep ’88 $ 6
#533 $1.25 Oct ’88 $ 6
#534 $1.25 Nov ’88 $ 6
#535 $1.25 Dec ’88 $ 6
#536 $1.25 Feb ’89 $ 6
#537 $1.25 Mar ’89 $ 6
#538 $1.25 Apr ’89 $ 6
#539 $1.25 Jun ’89 $ 6
#540 $1.25 July ’89 $ 6
#541 $1.95 Aug ’89 $ 6
#542 $1.95 Sep ’89 $ 6
#543 $1.95 Oct ’89 $ 6
#544 $1.95 Nov ’89 $ 6
#545 $1.95 Dec ’89 $ 6
#546 $2.50 Feb ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 6
#547 $2.50 Apr ’90 Double Sized Issue; Don Rosa art $ 15
Walt Disney’s Comics Digest
Dec 1986-Sep 1987
7 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $1.65 Dec ’86 $ 8
#2 $1.65 Feb ’87 $ 6
#3 $1.65 Mar ’87 $ 6
#4 $1.95 Apr ’87 $ 6
#5 $1.95 Jun ’87 $ 6
#6 $1.95 Aug ’87 $ 6
#7 $1.95 Sep ’87 $ 6
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Adventures
Nov 1987-Apr 1990
20 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $1.25 Nov ’87 $ 8
#2 $1.25 Dec ’87 $ 4
#3 $1.25 Feb ’88 $ 4
#4 $1.25 May ’88 $ 4
#5 $1.25 July ’88 Don Rosa cover and art $ 5
#6 $1.25 Aug ’88 $ 4
#7 $1.25 Sep ’88 $ 4
#8 $1.25 Oct’88 Don Rosa art $ 5
#9 $1.25 Nov ’88 $ 4
#10 $1.25 Dec ’88 $ 4
#11 $1.25 Feb ’89 $ 4
#12 $1.95 May ’89 Giant Size Issue; Don Rosa art $ 6
#13 $1.25 July ’89 $ 4
#14 $1.25 Aug ’89 $ 4
#15 $1.25 Sep ’89 $ 4
#16 $1.25 Oct ’89 $ 4
#17 $1.25 Nov ’89 $ 4
#18 $1.25 Dec ’89 $ 4
#19 $2.50 Feb ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 4
#20 $2.50 Apr ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 4
Walt Disney’s Mickey And Donald
Mar 1988-May 1990
18 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $1.25 Mar ’88 Don Rosa art $ 6
#2 $1.25 May ’88 $ 4
#3 $1.25 July ’88 $ 4
#4 $1.25 Aug ’88 $ 4
#5 $1.25 Sep ’88 $ 4
#6 $1.25 Oct ’88 $ 4
#7 $1.25 Nov ’88   $ 4
#8 $1.25 Dec ’88 $ 4
#9 $1.25 Mar ’89 $ 3
#10 $1.25 May ’89 $ 3
#11 $1.25 July ’89 $ 3
#12 $1.25 Aug ’89 $ 3
#13 $1.25 Sep ’89 $ 3
#14 $1.25 Oct ’89 $ 3
#15 $1.25 Nov ’89 $ 3
#16 $1.95 Dec ’89 52 pages $ 5
#17 $2.50 Mar ’90 Double Sized Issue; Don Rosa art $ 6
#18 $2.50 May ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 5
Walt Disney’s Pinocchio Special
1990
1 issue
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $1.25 Spring 1990 50th Anniversary Edition $ 3
Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge
Oct 1986-Apr 1990
33 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#210 $0.95 Oct ’86 1st Gladstone Issue $ 16
#211 $0.95 Nov ’86 $ 15
#212 $1.00 Dec ’86 $ 15
#213 $1.00 Jan ’87 $ 15
#214 $1.00 Feb ’87 $ 15
#215 $1.00 Mar ’87 $ 15
#216 $1.25 Apr-87 $ 15
#217 $1.25 May ’87 $ 15
#218 $1.25 Jun ’87 $ 15
#219 $1.25 July ’87 1st Comic Work Of Don Rosa $ 25
#220 $1.25 Aug ’87 Don Rosa art and story $ 8
#221 $1.25 Sep ’87 $ 4
#222 $1.25 Oct ’87 $ 4
#223 $1.25 Nov ’87 $ 4
#224 $1.25 Dec ’87 Rosa cover and art $ 5
#225 $1.25 Feb ’88 $ 4
#226 $1.25 May ’88 Rosa art $ 5
#227 $1.25 July ’88 Rosa art $ 5
#228 $1.25 Aug ’88 $ 4
#229 $1.25 Sep ’88 $ 4
#230 $1.25 Oct ’88 $ 4
#231 $1.25 Nov ’88 $ 4
#232 $1.25 Dec ’88 $ 4
#233 $1.25 Feb ’89 $ 4
#234 $1.25 May ’89 $ 4
#235 $1.25 July ’89 Rosa art and story $ 5
#236 $1.25 Aug ’89 $ 4
#237 $1.25 Sept ’89 $ 4
#238 $1.25 Oct ’89 $ 4
#239 $1.25 Nov ’89 $ 4
#240 $1.25 Dec ’89 $ 4
#241 $2.50 Feb ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 6
#242 $2.50 Apr ’90 Double Sized Issue $ 6
Walt Disney’s Uncle Scooge Adventures
Nov 1987-May 1990
21 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $1.25 Nov ’87 $ 12
#2 $1.25 Dec ’87 $ 4
#3 $1.25 Jan ’88 $ 4
#4 $1.25 Apr ’88 $ 4
#5 $1.25 Jun ’88 Don Rosa cover and art $ 5
#6 $1.25 Aug ’88 $ 3
#7 $1.25 Sep ’88 $ 3
#8 $1.25 Oct ’88 $ 3
#9 $1.25 Nov ’88 Don Rosa art $ 5
#10 $1.25 Dec ’88 $ 3
#11 $1.25 Jan ’89 $ 3
#12 $1.25 Apr ’89 $ 3
#13 $1.25 Jun ’89 $ 3
#14 $1.25 Aug ’89 Don Rosa art $ 5
#15 $1.25 Sep ’89 $ 3
#16 $1.25 Oct ’89 $ 3
#17 $1.25 Nov ’89 $ 3
#18 $1.25 Dec ’89 $ 3
#19 $1.25 Jan ’90 $ 3
#20 $2.50 Mar ’90 Double Sized Issue; Don Rosa art $ 5
#21 $2.50 May ’90 Double Sized Issue; Don Rosa art $ 5
Weird Science
Sep 1990-Mar 1991
4 issues
Issue CPV Cover Price Month / Year Notes Baseline (Non-Variant) NM- Issue Value
#1 $2.50 Sep ’90 EC Reprint $ 5
#2 $2.50 Nov ’90 EC Reprint $ 5
#3 $2.50 Jan ’91 EC Reprint $ 5
#4 $2.50 Mar ’91 EC Reprint $ 5

Happy Collecting! 🙂

Happy Collecting, everyone! As of this writing there are very few of these Gladstone variants on CGC’s census yet: I found one each on census for Uncle Scrooge Adventures #1, #2 & #5, Uncle Scrooge #218 & #221-226, and Walt Disney’s Christmas Parade #2. Thanks again to Sal Miceli for sharing his Gladstone research! 🙂

– Ben

Standard
Archie Price Variants, Canadian Newsstand Edition, U.K. Pence

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

By Benjamin Nobel, January 9, 2019

Hi everyone! My fellow price guide collaborators and I are hoping to expand our guide’s “coverage universe” in the future to include other publishers beyond Marvel & DC; and another publisher that produced plenty of Canadian Price Variants was Archie. This post is to share some interesting Archie variant research from Bill Alexander (by the way if you’ve not yet read Bill’s market report from this year’s guide, you should check it out!).

Archie did quite a lot of quirky & cool things with their variants that you don’t see with other publishers. For example in one particularly surprising instance they produced both single-price newsstand and single-price direct edition Canadian price variants of certain TMNT Adventures issues! And here’s something else they did that’s very interesting: check out the below pair of pictures, for Archie’s 6/1987 Betty and Veronica #1, and spot what they did in the cover price boxes:

Betty and Veronica #1, 6/1987. Left: regular 75¢ cover price copy; Right: 95¢/40p cover price variant.

Betty and Veronica #1, 6/1987. Left: regular 75¢ cover price copy; Right: 95¢/40p cover price variant.

Their Canadian price variant — at right — isn’t single price but rather it also has a 40p price as well! [40p means 40 pence, the price in the UK; click here to learn more about understanding pence cover prices]. Since the “main” cover price is 95¢, we would still call this a Canadian Price Variant… but it has a special distinction of also having been distributed in the U.K. in addition to Canada!

So, this variant is a member of a fascinating “class” of Archie Type 1A variants with dual instead of single cover prices! Bill Alexander has put together a list of Archie issues with such dual Canada/U.K. pricing and I’ll share his research in a moment… but first, I think you’ll be interested to hear about the as-yet-unsolved Betty’s Diary #36 Mystery (and maybe even help us solve it!).

To introduce you to the mystery, take a look at the below direct edition examples for Betty’s Diary #34-38, with the CAN cover prices pointed out in the text along the top…

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong....

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong….

These examples all have the main US $1.00 cover price in large font at the top of the price box, then a Canadian small-print price, and lastly a 75p UK pence price; and the CAN price is $1.20 across all of them except for Betty’s Diary #36 (9/1990) which is $1.25! Let’s see a close-up of the #36 price box, shall we?

bettys-diary-36-close-up

Bill researched to see what the indicia page for #36 shows the pricing should be in Canada for this issue number, and found that it says $1.20 (not $1.25):

bettys-diary-36-indicia

Was Archie doing test marketing to gauge reaction to a nickel price increase? Did they conduct this test just with their direct edition batch, or, on Canadian newsstands as well? What will the cover price be on the Canadian price variant for this issue? Will it be $1.25 or $1.20? We have yet to spot the variant in the wild (these are all extremely tough to find, but especially the later issues as more sales volume shifted to the direct edition channel and the variants were newsstand exclusives), nor are we able to locate a picture of the variant online anywhere. If any readers have the variant for Betty’s Diary #36, please let us know and help us solve this intriguing mystery!

Bill’s Dual Canadian/Pence Archie List

Phase 1 Archie Comics Type 1A 95c/40p Cover Price Variants 5/87-11/87:

Archie #347-353
Archie Giant Series Magazine #569-578
Archie’s Pals N Gals #187-193
Betty and Me #157-162
Betty and Veronica (2nd Series) #1-6
Betty’s Diary #8-13
Everything’s Archie #129-132
Jughead (2nd Series) #1-2
Katy Keene Special #21-23
Laugh Comics (2nd Series) #1-3
Life with Archie #260-263
New Archies #1

Phase 2 Archie Comics Type 1A $1.20/75p Cover Price Variants 3/90-3/92:

Adventures of Bayou Billy #4 (An “Archie Adventure Series” test market $1.20/75p issue, the only one done as far as I can tell)
Archie #375-397
Archie Giant Series Magazine #608-630
Archie 3000 #7-16
Archie’s Pals N Gals #213-224
Archie’s RC Racers #4-10
Betty and Me #181-197
Betty and Veronica (2nd Series) #28-49
Betty’s Diary #32-40
Dilton’s Strange Science #5
Everything’s Archie #148-157
Explorers of The Unknown #1-6
Falculty Funnies #4-5
Jughead (2nd Series) #17-30
Jughead’s Diner #1-7
Jughead’s Pal Hot Dog #2-5
Jughead’s Police Time #1-6
Kooshkins #1-3
Laugh Comics (2nd Series) #20-29
Life with Archie #277-286
New Archies #22
Riverdale High #1-8
Veronica #7-19

Archie Digest Comics Type 1A $1.65/ £1.25 Cover Price Variants 3/90-3/92:

Archie Andrews Where Are You? #67-79
Archie Annual Digest #58-59
Archie Comics Digest #101-113
Archie’s Story and Game #14-22
Betty and Veronica Annual Digest Magazine #3-6
Betty and Veronica Digest #41-53
Jughead Jones Comic Digest #62-74
Jughead with Archie Digest #97-109
Katy Keene Comics Digest Magazine #9-10
Laugh Comics Digest #87-99
Little Archie Comics Digest Magazine #41-48
New Archies Digest Magazine #9-14

Dual Canadian/Pence Archie Example Pictures

Phase 1 Archie Comics Type 1A 95c/40p Cover Price Variant Examples:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Phase 2 Archie Comics Type 1A $1.20/75p Cover Price Variant Examples:

From the Betty’s Diary series, although we’ve yet to find the #36 variant, we did find the below #34; here are all three versions so you can see them side-by-side (click to enlarge) — direct edition, US newsstand edition, and the Type 1A Canadian/pence price variant:

And here are some other “Phase 2” price variant examples:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Archie Digest Comics Type 1A $1.65/ £1.25 Cover Price Variant Examples:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Happy Collecting! 🙂

Happy Collecting, everyone! Do let us know if you have the Betty’s Diary #36 variant and can solve the mystery for us of what cover price they gave it! And thanks again to Bill Alexander for sharing his Archie research and scans! 🙂

– Ben

Standard
35 Cent Variants, Canadian Newsstand Edition, Direct Edition vs. Newsstand Edition Comic Books, Growing Newsstand Awareness, Rare Comics To Collect

Two Ways To Win Update

By Benjamin Nobel, October 29, 2018

“When collecting any given key comic book issue, it is better to have two ways to win, than just one.”

We have just published The 2019 Price Guide for 1980’s Marvel & DC Newsstand Canadian Cover Price Variants (Type 1A), which included a few new features this year — one of which is a new Market Reports & Articles section.

My fellow collaborators have done a fine job presenting discussions about the state of the market for 1980’s price variants, including example sale highlights, and so for my report I decided to approach a discussion from a different angle: to give you an update on the “two ways to win” strategy that I’ve been advocating for so long on this blog.

What is the strategy? For newer readers, let me describe it by painting a scenario. Suppose it is the mid 1990’s and you decide you want to collect a copy of Star Wars #1 (Marvel Comics, 7/1977). Before embarking on your collecting quest, it would be very useful for you to know that there exist both 30¢ cover price 1st print types as well as 35¢ cover price 1st print types of that issue, and that the higher cover price type is actually dramatically more rare than the lower cover price type.

Star Wars #1 35¢ Variant

Star Wars #1 35¢ Variant

Suppose at the time you embark on your collecting quest, the relative rarity of the 35¢ type versus the 30¢ type is not very widely known in the hobby: it might be possible for you to pay “regular price” (or close to it) for the more-rare 35¢ version! If you can accomplish that feat of landing the 35¢ version for a cost basis close to regular market value, you’ve just given yourself two ways to win instead of one: (1) the issue number itself may rise in value, and (2) collectors of the future may be willing to ascribe a hefty premium to the more rare type, as its rarity becomes better known throughout the hobby.

Had you executed such a strategy back in the early days of 35¢ variant awareness, today you’d be grinning from ear to ear — because look where the Overstreet price guide values the two different types today in its most recently released guide (OPG #48):

The regular 30¢ 1st print type is given a $215 value in 9.2 by Overstreet, while meanwhile the more-rare 35¢ type is given an $11,000 value in 9.2 — that’s a premium of ~51x for the price variant over its regular counter-part!

But that ~51x premium didn’t happen overnight… it built over the years, even after the rarity difference was widely known throughout the hobby. For example, check out how that premium has grown over the last eight years — here’s the same Overstreet guide page from back in 2010 (from OPG #40):

star-wars-1-opg-40

As you can see above, back then the regular 30¢ 1st print type was given a $95 value in 9.2 by Overstreet, while meanwhile the more-rare 35¢ type was given an $2,500 value in 9.2… for a premium of ~26x for the cover price variant.

With 20/20 hindsight, Star Wars #1 clearly would have been a good pick for a key issue to collect back in 2010, as its “base value” (the 9.2 Overstreet guide value for the regular 30¢ type) has grown at a +10.7% annualized rate of return during these past eight years.

But what about the 35¢ type? Even at a monster premium of 26x back in 2010, you were still better off collecting the cover price variant: because in the ensuing years, the 35¢ type would increase in value by +20.3% annualized!

Looking at this result, it is clear that those who had the choice but decided to collect the regular 30¢ type instead of the more-rare 35¢ variant lost out on all that additional upside. To illustrate this, suppose in 2010 you had invested $10,000 in each of the two types. At the 9.2 guide values back then, that would have resulted in a box of about 106 copies of the 30¢ type (rounding up a smidge) versus 4 copies of the 35¢ type. Fast-forward to today and here are what the two $10K investments would be worth at today’s 9.2 guide values:

star-wars-investment-growth

“You won in two ways with the cover price variant.”

So in the above hypothetical scenario, had you invested your $10K into the plain old 30¢ type and ignored the cover price variants, you missed out on roughly $21,210 of upside! And that’s from a starting point where the 35¢ variant already had a guide value twenty six times higher than the regular cover price copies! With 20/20 hindsight, clearly you did dramatically better going with the 35¢ variant — because you “won” in two ways: (1) the issue number itself grew in value, and (2) the cover price variant premium over regular copies expanded in multiple. You won in two ways with the cover price variant.

Let’s keep that result in mind, as we fast-forward to a 1980’s key: Suppose you now decide you want to collect a copy of Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) #238 (Marvel Comics, 3/1983). Is there a “Two Ways To Win” collecting strategy?

You bet there is!!!

Before embarking on your ASM #238 collecting quest, it would be very useful for you to know that there were two distinct distribution channels through which comics of that era were sold: (1) newsstand sales, and (2) direct edition sales. The prevalent direct editions have a Spider-Man logo in place of a bar code, and were ordered by comic shops at a discounted but non-returnable basis — that Spidey Head logo was a way for the publisher to identify a direct-sold copy and be able to refuse refund and say “sorry comic shops: you’re stuck with any unsold copies!”

Newsstand editions meanwhile have a bar code, such copies were treated/handled by newsstand staff like magazines (i.e. something to read) and sat on newsstands waiting for a buyer… any unsold copies were returned to the publisher and typically pulped/recycled forward. The newsstand copies that sold tended to be purchased by readers (as an “entertainment purchase”) instead of by collectors (who instead were over in comic shops loading up on direct editions and carefully placing them in plastic bags), and thus newsstand copies saw a notoriously high destruction rate as compared to their well-preserved direct edition counter-parts.

So: collectible-condition surviving newsstand copies of the 1980’s are considerably harder to find versus collectible-condition direct edition copies… That already gives us a second way to win: to go for the more-rare collectible-condition newsstand survivor, versus settling for a prevalent direct edition copy…

But as readers of this market report already know — because you already read our guide intro — during a window of time in the 1980’s, Marvel actually published two distinct newsstand types: a lower cover price 1st print type (60¢ in the case of ASM #238), and a higher cover price 1st print type (75¢ in the case of ASM #238). And that the higher cover price type is by far the most rare type — the target market for that type had ~1/10th the population! [Here is a rarity walkthrough with explanatory graphics, here is Paul’s “common sense approach” to understanding their scarcity, and here is Doug’s scarcity discussion.]

Conclusion: going after that dramatically-more-rare 75¢ cover price variant type gives us our strongest “Two Ways To Win” when collecting our ASM #238.

Back when I began this blog, it was widely possible to collect the cover price variant (CPV) for any given 1980’s key published during the price variant window, and pay “regular price” for it: awareness throughout the hobby about this type of variant was historically sparse back then, so there were many people who owned variants in their collections without realizing it, i.e. they knew they owned Amazing Spider-Man #238, but did not realize there was anything different or special about their copy, with its 75¢ cover price.

“I refer to such listings with generic titles but pictured variants as “mis-listed” variants.”

Such a person, when looking to sell, might look up the recent OPG guide value or the recent market price that the issue number in general was selling for, and then list their rare variant on a buy-it-now asking “regular market price” for it (or auction it off). Since they did not realize their copy was anything special, they would choose a “generic” listing title (e.g. “Amazing Spider-Man #238, Marvel Comics, 1983”) as opposed to a title that would allow CPV collectors to find it in a refined search — no “Variant” in the title, no “Canadian”, no “Newsstand”, no “CPV”, nothing you might search for when looking for this type of variant. But zoom in on the picture to see the cover price, and it would clearly show the variant. I refer to such listings with generic titles but pictured variants as “mis-listed” variants. Many of us have been successfully hunting down such opportunities for years (high five, fellow hunters!).

And that brings me to my Update on the Two Ways To Win Strategy. Applying this strategy to my own collecting of 1980’s CPVs, my approach over the years can be described by the below “decision tree” [it is a general representation of the approach but some things are “assumed” such as, for example, that there is a “grade hurdle” in mind for the variant in advance of hunting for it — personally I aim for “9 out of 10” on the grade scale (VF/NM) and if I can exceed that goal I’m thrilled]:

cpv-decision-tree

For years, my collecting of these variants mostly ran along two paths down the branches — often, I could hunt through listings and either find myself a “mis-listed” variant to collect…

mis-listed-cover-price-vari

… or I felt confident that with enough patience — which I should make clear was often measured in months or even years of waiting — I would eventually see a mis-listed variant come onto the market:

wait-cover-price-variant

I’m not the only one who has pursued this collecting approach, and here’s why the approach is important to understand when considering the current state of the CPV marketplace: for many years, given the state of collector awareness (unawareness) of these cover price variants, I was reluctant to traverse down the branches towards that “pay a premium” box for a given issue. I was so confident that with the passage of enough time I’d eventually land myself a mis-listed variant copy of the issue I was looking for, that I was very reluctant to pony up a premium price.

That may sound hard to understand when at the same time (1) I’d mentioned before that it could be months or even years between mis-listed variant sightings for given issues, and (2) clearly I am someone who has studied the rarity of these variants and I know very well that they are deserving of a hefty premium. So why was I so reluctant to pony up a well-deserved premium? Consider this: suppose hypothetically that you have a given issue where you tend to see a mis-listed variant hit the market once a year. Waiting around for that opportunity might sound nearly futile. But suppose for sake of argument that you have 365 different variants you are hunting for, each of which tends to produce a mis-listed variant opportunity once a year? Well my friends, on any given day you should expect that an opportunity would come your way! You just wouldn’t know which opportunity. [By the way, this was the inspiration for this year’s Top 365 / A Variant A Day list].

So picture yourself executing this strategy of hunting for mis-listed variants over the years… As the years progress, and more and more collectors learn about the variants, more collectors then recognize when they own variants and in turn more often list them properly. Thus, over time, you begin seeing fewer and fewer mis-listed variant opportunities. Instead of an opportunity per day among your hunt list of issues, you’re seeing an opportunity per week… then every couple of weeks… then even longer… Now suppose a new key issue catches your attention to collect, one which you do not already own in any grade — i.e. something you have not been trying to collect or upgrade, until today, so that you do not even own one single starter copy of the variant. How are you going to approach the decision tree? In today’s marketplace of rapidly increasing variant awareness, you are probably going to be increasingly willing to traverse down that “pay a premium” path:

pay-price-variant-premium

And speaking for myself, that above path down the tree is where I have been finding myself these days. For example, one of the issues I collected in the past year was Detective Comics #583 (February 1988, first appearances of Ventriloquist and Scarface, and a gorgeous Mike Mignola cover). It was during one of the proof-reads of our 2018 guide that decided I wanted to own this variant. Let’s go down the tree: Were newsstand copies published for the issue? Yes. Do Type 1A cover price variant newsstand copies exist? Yes! Was I able to find a “mis-listed” variant for sale at “regular” price? No. Not a mis-listed copy in sight, at any price. I decided very quickly that I’d be willing to pay a premium for a properly-listed copy. But there were zero properly-listed copies available. I found myself waiting for one. And waiting for one. And waiting for one…

Detective Comics #583 $1.00 Price Variant

Detective Comics #583 $1.00 Price Variant

Eventually, a variant appeared on the market! It was properly listed, with the listing title identifying it as the variant, reading: “Detective Comics – 583 – Rare 1.00 Price Variant! – DC Comics – NM- 1988″… The buy-it-now cost with shipping was $58.12, representing a premium price over the going rate for direct editions in the same grade. Friends, I didn’t even hesitate: I slammed that buy button. And I’m so glad I did — I have yet to see its equal come onto the market since. In fact, I sent my copy to CGC, and as of today the CGC census still shows only one variant copy on record for the issue… my copy. I tell this anecdote to illustrate how my own behavior has changed over the years, as the hobby’s awareness of this type of cover price variant has grown. How many others like me fit this description, and how are we impacting the CPV marketplace in the aggregate?

I do still see mis-listed variants out there as well — those opportunities certainly haven’t yet “dried up” completely (here’s a mis-listed variant I landed recently) — but nowadays I do find myself time and again traversing the tree down towards that “pay a premium for a properly listed copy” box. If other market participants are behaving like me, then mis-listed-variant-hunters are increasingly losing their patience to wait for mis-listed opportunities and are realizing that the best move, if we actually want to land that variant we’re looking for, is to be willing to pony up that hefty premium (especially in the highest grades where supply is so very limited). This marketplace behavior change which I observe in myself — and then potentially multiplied across other mis-listed variant hunters out there if their behavior has similarly changed — certainly would argue for a continued shift towards higher marketplace premiums paid for properly listed variants. How much of a variant premium is reasonable these days? Each collector will need to find their own answer to the question of what a reasonable premium is, for them, for any given issue in a given grade at a given point in time. (Hopefully our guide is a useful tool to help in that decision).

What kinds of premiums have informed collectors been observed paying lately for properly listed variants? Looking at the new Noteworthy Sales section of the guide and looking at the sales prices for variants compared to where the prevalent direct editions in the same grades have been selling lately, I can confidently say that those cover price variant premiums being paid these days still seem very reasonable to me in relation to the underlying rarity. Still “early innings” is a good way to describe it — and actually, fellow guide collaborator Angelo Virone recently gave a baseball analogy himself (quoted in this post), i.e. what “inning” are we in as far as awareness in the hobby about this type of cover price variant, its extreme relative rarity, and incredible collecting appeal?

Angelo placed us in the second inning as of that day; but as those who have been following my blog already know, there has recently been a major milestone for Type 1A 75¢ variants like our ASM #238 example: CBCS has begun to dignify them with a price variant label, e.g. “75¢ Canadian Price Variant”. That will make for a huge leap forward in collector awareness: The proverbial snowball of growing awareness was already rolling down the mountain at unstoppable speed, but now just got a huge step-up in mass. This is a leap forward for Type 1A price variants.

How much of a leap? Angelo described it as skipping the third inning and jumping straight into the 4th. I have to agree, that this milestone is going to result in a huge step-up of collector awareness about Type 1A price variants (my blog’s “stats page” was on fire with hits when that news broke) — in fact, I have to wonder to myself just how quickly our guided values in our 2019 guide edition will slip woefully out of date? As an example, at the time we conducted our annual value survey for the 2019 guide, our median advisor value for the ASM #238 cover price variant in 9.2 came in at $425… Meanwhile, in between that survey and today, we have seen more record-breaking sales for ASM #238 including a CGC 8.0 (VF) copy selling on the marketplace for north of $600 (fully +44% higher than our 9.2 guided value, for a CGC 8.0)!

And this continued rise in the variant premium over time is our second way to win by targeting the dramatically-more-rare 1980’s newsstand cover price variants: The first way we can win, is by making a strong selection for which keys to collect — looking issue by issue at the collecting merits, and selecting wisely; the second way we can win is the potential for the variant premium to widen over the upcoming years as awareness continues to grow in the hobby and as other comic book “authorities” follow in the footsteps of CBCS in properly recognizing Type 1A price variants for the true 1st print US-published cover price variants they are!

Happy CPV Collecting Everyone! And now please read more Market Reports & Articles from our 2019 guide! 🙂

– Ben

Standard
Canadian Newsstand Edition

Canadian Price Variants: Noteworthy Sales

This page continues the noteworthy sales section of our 2019 price guide. Have you been involved in a recent noteworthy sale of a Canadian Price Variant as a buyer or seller, or have you observed a noteworthy sale of a Canadian Price Variant that occurred after our most recent guide was published? If so, please help us in our efforts with future price guide editions by reporting a noteworthy sale in the comments forum section at the bottom of this page — click here to see what others have reported.

Noteworthy Canadian Price Variant Sales Examples from the 2019 Guide
Issue Grade Sale Price Sale Date
Amazing Spider-Man #238 CGC 9.6 $2,300 Aug-18
Amazing Spider-Man #238 CGC 9.6 $1,827 May-18
Amazing Spider-Man #252 CGC 9.8 $1,800 Oct-18
Transformers #1 CGC 9.8 $1,800 17-Dec
Batman #357 CGC 9.8 $1,500 Jan-18
Amazing Spider-Man #252 CGC 9.8 $1,282 Oct-18
Amazing Spider-Man #252 CGC 9.8 $1,150 Aug-18
Marvel Tails #1 CGC 9.8 $1,092 Oct-18
Amazing Spider-Man #252 CGC 9.8 $1,020 PNJ, 12/24/2017
Marvel Graphic Novel #4 CGC 9.8 $1,000 Jul-18
Amazing Spider-Man #252 CGC 9.8 $1,000 17-Dec
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 CGC 9.8 $1,000 17-Dec
Amazing Spider-Man #252 CGC 9.6 $764 Aug-18
X-Factor #6 CGC 9.6 $750 2018
Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 CGC 9.6 $750 2018
Tales of the Teen Titans #44 CGC 9.8 $750 2018
X-Factor #6 CGC 9.6 $650 2018
Amazing Spider-Man #238 CGC 8.0 $614 Sep-18
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 CGC 9.6 $615 2018
Amazing Spider-Man #252 CGC 9.6 $610 Aug-18
Batman #386 CGC 9.6 $600 Jul-18
Brave and the Bold #200 CGC 9.8 $600 2018
Thor #337 CGC 9.8 $513 2018
Thor #338 CGC 9.8 $500 May-18
Wonder Woman #7 CGC 9.6 $500 Aug-18
Batman #359 CGC 9.6 $477 Oct-18
Thor #337 CGC 9.8 $452 2018
Thing #1 CGC 9.8 $450 2018
Batman #368 CGC 9.8 $445 Apr-18
Detective Comics #523 NM+ $396 2018
Thor #337 CGC 9.8 $396 2018
Transformers #1 CGC 9.6 $385 Oct-18
Punisher #1 CGC 9.6 $385 May-18
Web of Spider-Man #1 CGC 9.8 $376 Apr-18
Marvel Team-Up #141 CGC 9.6 $359 DCW, 10/22/2018
Batman #366 NM $330 2018
Detective Comics #523 CGC 9.6 $307 Oct-18
Marvel Tails #1 CGC 9.4 $300 PNJ, 10/15/2018
Punisher #1 NM+ $300 Sep-18
Wolverine Limited Series #4 CGC 9.8 $294 2017
Uncanny X-Men #164 CGC 9.6 $290 Sep-18
Batman #357 PGX 9.4 $278 Jul-18
Batman #353 CGC 9.8 $275 PNJ, 12/13/2017
Batman #369 CGC 9.8 $270 PNJ, 3/16/2018
Wonder Woman #298 CGC 9.8 $265 PNJ, 6/28/2018
Marvel Movie Showcase #1 CGC 7.5 $265 2018
Avengers #257 CGC 9.6 $255 Sep-18
Batman #423 CGC 9.4 $250 2018
Amazing Spider-Man #252 NM+ $250 PNJ, 3/7/2018
Amazing Spider-Man #252 CGC 9.4 $250 Oct-18
Amazing Spider-Man #263 CGC 9.6 $249 Jul-18
Brave and the Bold #200 CGC 9.6 $242 PNJ, 12/13/2017
Detective Comics #523 CGC 9.4 $232 PNJ, 12/14/2017
Batman #373 CGC 9.6 $230 PNJ, 1/13/2018
Batman #363 CGC 9.6 $230 PNJ, 1/15/2018
Thing #35 CGC 9.8 $215 DCW, Sep-18
Amazing Spider-Man #252 NM $215 PNJ, 6/3/2018
Justice League #1 CGC 9.8 $211 PNJ, 1/17/2018
Justice League #3 CGC 9.8 $211 PNJ, 1/17/2018
Justice League #1 CGC 9.8 $209 PNJ, 1/17/2018
Marvel Movie Showcase #1 CGC 7.5 $208 2018
Transformers #1 VF/NM to NM- $200 Sep-18
Tales of the Teen Titans #44 PGX 9.4 $199 Sep-18
Batman #366 CGC 9.0 $190 Jun-18
Batman #366 CGC 9.2 $189 Mar-18
Batman #353 CGC 9.8 $179 DCW, 2018
Star Wars #68 CGC 9.0 $175 Sep-18
Thing #1 CGC 9.6 $175 Jul-18
Batman #359 CGC 9.2 $175 Feb-18
Batman #356 CGC 9.6 $175 PNJ, 2/17/2018
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 CGC 8.5 $174 Aug-18
Tales of the Teen Titans #44 CGC 9.4 $170 PNJ, 12/14/2017
Batman #383 CGC 9.8 $169 PNJ, 6/21/2018
Batman #370 CGC 9.8 $169 PNJ, 6/21/2018
Batman #359 CGC 9.0 $165 PNJ, 12/13/2017
Amazing Spider-Man #238 VF- $160 PNJ, 2/23/2018
Batman #365 CGC 9.6 $155 PNJ, 6/22/2018
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 CGC 9.8 $150 Oct-18
Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 CGC 9.4 $150 Apr-18
Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 CGC 9.4 $150 Apr-18
Uncanny X-Men #164 CGC 9.6 $150 Apr-18
Amazing Spider-Man #239 CGC 9.4 $150 Sep-18
Suicide Squad #1 NM- $150 2018
Thor #337 CGC 9.4 $140 PNJ, 12/7/2017
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 CGC 9.6 $135 DCW, 10/24/2018
Alpha Flight #1 CGC 9.2 $134 Jul-18
Ewoks #1 NM+ $132 2018
Thor #337 CGC 9.2 $129 DCW, 2018
Wonder Woman Vol 2 #9 CGC 9.4 $125 Aug-18
Uncanny X-Men #164 CGC 9.4 $125 DCW, 2018
Wonder Woman #7 CGC 9.4 $125 DCW, 2018
Thor #337 CGC 9.2 $120 PNJ, 1/20/2018
Thor #339 CGC 9.8 $119 DCW, 2018
G.I. Joe, a Real American Hero #21 CGC 9.0 $115 2018
Daredevil #196 CGC 9.6 $109 PNJ, 1/17/2018
Amazing Spider-Man #252 VG/FN $108 Aug-18
Justice League #2 CGC 9.4 $107 PNJ, 1/18/2018
Thor #339 CGC 9.8 $107 DCW, 2018
Wonder Woman #300 unspecified $100 Sep-18
Batman #358 PGX 9.0 $100 Sep-18
Batman #367 CGC 9.2 $99 PNJ, 2/17/2018
Fantastic Four #265 CGC 9.8 $99 DCW, 2018
Fantastic Four #286 CGC 9.6 $99 DCW, 2018
Wonder Woman #9 CGC 9.2 $99 DCW, 2018
Marvel Tails #1 VF/NM $95 Sep-18
Wonder Woman #7 CGC 9.2 $95 DCW, 2018
Detective Comics #524 PGX 9.2 $90 Aug-18
Avengers #250 CGC 9.6 $89 DCW, 2018
Fantastic Four #262 CGC 9.8 $89 DCW, 2018
Thor #337 CGC 8.5 $85 Oct-18
Detective Comics #524 CGC 8.0 $83 Jun-18
Alpha Flight #33 CGC 9.4 $79 DCW, 2018
Avengers #257 CGC 9.0 $79 DCW, 2018
Spectacular Spider-Man #90 CGC 9.0 $76 Feb-18
Alpha Flight #1 CGC 9.4 $75 DCW, 2018
Daredevil #197 CGC 9.4 $75 DCW, 2018
Avengers #266 CGC 9.4 $57 PNJ, 1/18/2018

keep-scrolling

Standard
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

Standard