By Bill Alexander, Overstreet Advisor, U.S.-published comic book cover price variant specialist and historian (Contact by email)
“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.”
Collector awareness and interest in Canadian cover price variants appears to be steadily growing in the hobby. I have noticed that the number of Type 1A Canadian price variants seen for sale on Ebay has more than doubled in the past two years.
A well needed labeling change occurred with Type 1A cover price variants in 2019. The two big third party grading companies CGC and CBCS are now labeling Type 1a cover price variants as (Canadian, UK and Australian) price variants. They were formerly being labeled as (foreign country) editions prior to the change. I tip my hat to CBCS and CGC for their new labeling improvement which now identifies Type 1A cover price variants in the hobby for what they truly are.
Some notable CPV (Canadian Price Variant) sales that occurred in 2019 were Batman 386 CGC 9.8 CPV (1st appearance of Black Mask) $2,025.00 Feb-2019, Star Wars 68 CGC 9.8 CPV $599.00 Feb-2019, Swamp Thing 37 CGC 5.5 CPV $299.95 Feb-2019, Justice League 1 CGC 9.8 CPV $342.00 Jan-2019, Transformers 1 CGC 9.4 CPV $399.95 Feb-2019, Batman 423 CGC 8.5 CPV $299.00 April-2019, Amazing Spider-Man 238 CGC 9.6 CPV $1,672.74 May-2019, Amazing Spider-Man 238 CGC 9.0 CPV $401.00 April-2019, Wonder Woman 9 CGC 9.4 CPV $599.95 May-2019, X-Factor 1 CGC 9.8 CPV $424.95 Jan-2019, Uncanny X-Men 164 CGC 9.8 CPV $575.00 April-2019, Thor 337 CGC 9.8 CPV $1,000.00 May-2019, Alpha Flight 1 CGC 9.8 CPV $390.00 April-2019, Punisher 4 Limited Series CGC 9.4 $249.95 March-2019.
Archie “Phase 1” CPVs
One may have already noticed that this year’s edition of the 2020 Canadian cover price variant price guide now includes publishers Gladstone, Modern, and Archie. We are only covering Archie’s “Phase 2” CPVs (1982-onward) at this time in the guide, but collectors should be aware that “Phase 1” CPVs exist as well. Here is some information on them and examples.
All phase 1 Archie giant size 25¢ comics from 1/53-late 1965 exist as 35¢ Type 1A Canadian price variants. Phase 1 Archie CPVs include Archie’s Pals N Gals 23 (1st appearance of Josie) a major key Archie book.
Another 1st appearance with a 35¢ variant is Little Archie 24 (1st appearance of Mad Doctor Doom). Mad Doctor Doom was Little Archie’s #1 Arch enemy in the series. However since he is not seen on the cover many may not realize this book’s significance.
To date as far as I have seen on the CGC census only one single phase 1 35¢ Archie CPV (Archie Giant Series Magazine 6) has ever graded in a 9.0 grade and none higher. In my experience searching for them, phase 1 Archie 35¢ CPVs are rare in 6.5 and higher grade, and 9.0 and up are darn near impossible.
Harvey “Phase 1” CPVs
All Silver and Bronze Age Harvey 25¢ Giant Size Comics published Winter 1958-59-4/74 exist as Type 1A 35¢ CPVs. The phase 1 Harvey Silver and Bronze Age CPVs are extremely difficult to find in mid grade or higher and are seldom seen.
9.8 Premiums Expanding
A final note before I bring this market report to a close. 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 on Ebay and comic auction houses.
I have also noticed that there are still a couple of Canadian price variants in the top ten of this price guide that have not yet graded in a certified 9.8 grade and they are Saga of the Swamp Thing 37 and G.I Joe 21. Both of those two books appear near impossible to be found in a 9.8 grade?
And here is one last thing I would like to share. As people reading the guide know, Type 1/A is a “cousin” to Type 1, basically a variation of Type 1 where the primary difference is where the cover price variant was distributed. With Type 1 the variant was distributed in a test market area inside the USA, while with Type 1A the distribution area was outside the USA being either Canada (in the case of CPVs), Australia (in the case of APVs), or the UK (in the case of Pence price variants). One of the most difficult Type 1 lists I have ever compiled, has been the Dell 15¢ Type 1 variants. At one point in time almost everyone believed these were Type 1A but it turns out they were actually Type 1. Here is the list:
Dell 15¢ Type 1 Variants:
Andy Panda 37-42
Annie Oakley and Tagg 11-16
Bambie #3 (movie classics)
Beetle Bailey 9-15
Ben Bowie and his Mountain Men 10-15
Bugs Bunny 53-61
Buffalo Bill JR. 7-8
Cisco Kid 35-40
Chip N Dale 9-14
Comic Album 1-2
Donald Duck 52-60
Dell Junior Treasury 8-9
Flying A’s Range Rider 17-22
Four Color 716, 767-922
Fritzi Ritz 56-58
Gene Autry and Champion 114-119
I Love Lucy 15-20
Indian Chief 26-31
Jace Pearson’s Tales of the Texas Rangers 15-20
Jungle Jim 12-17
King of the Royal Mounted 24-28
Little Iodine 36-41
Lone Ranger 104-121
Lone Ranger’s Companion Tonto 26-31
Lone Ranger’s Horse Hi Yo Silver 22-27
Looney Tunes 184-201
M-G-M’s Lassie 33-41
M-G-M’s The Mouse Musketeers 8-13
M-G-M’s Spike and Tyke 8-14
Marge’s Little Lulu 104-121
Marge’s Tubby 21-29
Mickey Mouse 52-60
Porky Pig 51-59
Queen of the West Dale Evans 15-20
Red Ryder Ranch Comics 151
Rex Allen 24-29
Rin Tin Tin and Rusty 18-25
Roy Rogers and Trigger 110-126
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon 22-27
Spin and Marty 5-6
Tip Top Comics 212-213
Tom and Jerry 151-168
Turok,Son of Stone 7-12
Tweety and Sylvester 16-21
Uncle Scrooge 17-22
Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories 197-214
Walter Lantz New Funnies 240-257
Walter Lantz Woody Woodpecker 41-49
Zane Grey’s Stories of the West 33-38
Happy collecting to everyone.