Silver vs Modern
You never want to start a conversation with, ‘I hope this doesn’t offend you’, so I won’t say that. I will say that what is about to follow WILL offend someone, and I’m ok with that. If you spew venom in the comments, I will not hate you. This is my opinion…I base it on facts & figures, but it is my opinion and you have every right to disagree. Now, let’s move on with it!
I have been attending cons more frequently over the past year. Some are good and some, not so much, but they all have one thing in common–they all have those older dealers who line up their Silver Age books with price tags that have been on the comic bags since the mid 2000’s. If you ask them to see a book, the response is ‘This is a really nice copy!’ You look at the book that is priced 20% over eBay and ask if he is willing to make a deal. ‘Sure’ they say, but their ‘deal’ is still higher than eBay. I am not saying that ALL dealers are this way, but they are very prevalent.
Why are there so many of these guys out there? Well, one line of thought is that Silver’s don’t decrease in value so there is no incentive to give a ‘deal’. These dealers think that moderns will have no future value and are not worth the time or money to deal in them (again, not all dealers think like this). Non-key Silver’s with ‘Classic’ covers will sustain their value while popular Modern covers are over-hyped and are flashes in the pan.
Clearly, a mega-key is a very safe investment. What I am going to try and show is that sometimes, a modern, or modern variant, is a better investment than a pre-modern key. (All census numbers are taken from CGC and all sales amounts via gocollect.com).
Pre-Modern: Tales of Suspense #57 1st Hawkeye
CGC Census: 693 Universal; 127 SS.
Hawkeye has made multiple big screen appearances already but if you look at the sales trends, the book is trending down over the past 12 months, even in the higher grades. Just type in Tales of Suspense 57 on eBay and you will quickly see that this book is not rare.
Modern: Black Widow (Vol. 6) #1 J. Scott Campbell 1:100 Variant
CGC Census: 29 Universal; 25 SS
Appx. Print Run: 538
Very similar character to Hawkeye and has been in just as many movies. This is a very hard to find variant from a popular artist.
VERDICT: As you can see, albeit from a small sample size on the Black Widow based on the limited number of copies available for sale, your ROI from the Black Widow #1 over the past 12 months was a better choice than the Hawkeye 1st appearance.
Pre-Modern: Batman (Vol.1) #227
CGC Census: 454 Universal, 139 SS
Homage to Detective Comics #31 has itself been used as an homage many times. Year over year however, the price has stayed relatively flat or even gone down in value.
Modern: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #23 Adam Hughes 1:10 Variant
CGC Census: 86 Universal; 57 SS
Appx Print Run: 4153
Modern classic cover that is on pretty much everyone’s want list. Has anyone ever actually seen the inside of this book?
VERDICT: While the LOSH print run isn’t what would be considered low in this day and age, most of these copies are hidden in personal collections, never to see the public again. Both are great covers and both are super liquid, but the numbers show that you would have made more profit buying LOSH #23 a year ago.
Pre-Modern: Amazing Spider-Man #238 1st Hobgoblin
CGC Census: 2970 Universal; 373 SS
This is a tougher book to find from this era because of trying to find the tattoos intact. This book has been seeing a steady rise in value over the past 12 months.
Modern: Amazing Spider-Man #361 1st Carnage
CGC Census: 4306 Universal; 620 SS
If you are not aware, there are a TON of these books out there. Surprisingly, prices are slowly trending up.
VERDICT: Both villains are very similar and while I like Carnage better, the sheer number of #361’s out there will never allow this book to excel investment-wise. ASM #238 has been the better investment.
The point I am trying to make is diversify. Be willing to not be strictly ‘old school’ and at the same time only be ‘new school’. Do not be the old mean guy you see at cons.
There is an abundance of some pre-modern books. Remember that newsstands only had to pay like a nickel or dime to get these as opposed to the sometimes $2-5 per issue today. Admit to yourself that modern variants, even if you hate them, have long term value just based on supply/demand. Look for covers that you think are going to make it into a lot of PC’s. While rarity is sometimes overblown (yes, I am talking to myself here), remember that rarity is a huge factor in value. If New Mutants #98 were printed using today’s numbers it would be a $1000 book raw.