Covering the Spread 21: Nostalgia

Hello again CBSI!  Welcome back to Covering the Spread.  I'm going to be honest right away, this weeks article is not about making you money.  It's about saving you money.  Making money is fantastic and I'm always happy to help on that front, but I believe it is equally important to stop people from making mistakes that cost them money.  One of those mistakes is nostalgia.  It's easy to remember a book from your past fondly.  A lot of the time you should be taking a step back to make sure you aren't wearing rose colored glasses.

 

Superman 75

 

Yes this book marks the death of Superman.  It is an absolutely iconic moment in comic books.  But does that make it an investment? People certainly thought so when it was released.  Let's see if they were right.

Average Raw Price 7.89
10 Copies 78.98
Shipping Fees (EST) 100
Grading Fees (EST) 180
Selling Fees 54.59
Total Costs 413.56

 

9.8 Av Price 9.6 Av Price 9.4 Av Price 9.2 Av Price
99.34 52.33 39.83 30.88
2 Copies 3 Copies 4 Copies 1 Copy Total Value
198.68 156.99 159.32 30.88 545.87

Well, I have to admit, I was not expecting this to be a $100 book in 9.8.  I also was not expecting this to sell raw for anywhere near $8.  Nostalgia is a strong motivator and I think people letting it cloud their judgement.  With these surprising prices your initial investment would be $358.97 and your profits would be $132.31.  That's a spread of +13.23 and an ROI of about 37%.  That's not the worst return in the world.

But here's what worries me.  Do you remember the frenzy around this book when it was released?  It made the national news! There were an estimated 3 million copies of this book printed.  There are 999 copies currently on the census. This book is the farthest thing from rare.

Eventually the market for this book will dry up and I think a lot of people are going to be left holding the bag.  Just like they were 30 years ago.

 

Spider-Man 1 (Silver)

 

Yes even us Spider-Man fanatics fall victim to nostalgia sometimes.  I'm very nostalgic for this issue and this series because this is what got me into Spider-Man.  Maybe it's the fact that I already have dozens of copies but I was very surprised to see how many people buy this book.  But is it a good investment?

Average Raw Price 6.84
10 Copies 68.35
Shipping Fees (EST) 100
Grading Fees (EST) 180
Selling Fees 46.50
Total Costs 394.86

 

9.8 Av Price 9.6 Av Price 9.4 Av Price 9.2 Av Price
58.28 56.84 37.26 28.87
2 Copies 3 Copies 4 Copies 1 Copy Total Value
116.56 170.52 149.04 28.87 464.99

Well our upfront investments land at $348.36 and our profits are $70.13.  That would be a spread of +7 and an ROI of 20%.  That's very very low compared to the books we highlight in this article.  Plus I'm not even including Paypal fees in our calculations.

Again don't forget there were around 2.5 million copies of this issue printed.  There were a few different versions of the cover and some seem to fetch marginally more than others, but at the end of the day there isn't a shortage of any of them.

I highlighted the silver edition because this is a particularly apt example.  There are 4,963 9.8 copies on the census.  Over 7,000 copies of this book have been graded and for the most part it seems like those people wasted their money.

 

X-Men 1 (Collectors Edition)

 

It probably sounds crazy by today's standards, but at one point a new X-Men series was unheard of.  Sure there were spin-offs but that's not the same.  This is another book that people growing up in the 90's are crazy about.  But does that mean they should spend money on it?

Average Raw Price 3.72
10 Copies 37.29
Shipping Fees (EST) 100
Grading Fees (EST) 180
Selling Fees 40.59
Total Costs 357.87

 

9.8 Av Price 9.6 Av Price 9.4 Av Price 9.2 Av Price
62.95 30.82 37.50 37.50
2 Copies 3 Copies 4 Copies 1 Copy Total Value
125.90 92.46 150 37.50 405.86

Well this is a weird one.  There haven't been any 9.4 sales in the past two years.  And only one sale in 9.2.  I just used the 9.2 price as an estimate for our 9.4 price but a little bizarre.

Our upfront investment works out to $317.28 and our profits land at $47.99.  That's a spread of a measly +4.80 and an ROI of 17%.  But again 29 sales of 9.8 copies in the last 3 months so people are still buying in.

For anyone who doesn't already know this is literally the best selling comic book of all time.  There are an estimated 7.1 Million copies printed so there is no shortage of these.  Yet 2,200 people paid genuine American dollars to have them graded.  There are not 1 but 2 CGC SS 4.0 copies of this issue out there.

Please don't waste your money grading this issue. I promise you will be able to buy another one if your gets damaged. And if you really want a CGC copy just buy one that's already graded.  It's not worth getting back a 4.0.

Wrap Up

Well that's what I wanted to talk about this week.  The moral of the story is: not every book is worth getting graded.  I regularly see people ask if a book is worth getting graded and the answer is almost always no.  As a rule of thumb if you want to get a book graded, look up sales on eBay.  If a 9.8 copy goes for less than $100 the answer is no.  Use that money you were going to spend on shipping and grading fees to buy more books.  You'll be happier in the long run.

Thanks as always to the Comic Collateral App for all of our pricing data.  I promise I will be back next week with some books that are worth buying.  Until then, Happy Hunting and Go Broncos!

8 comments

  • Ben C

    Excellent info as usual, thanks Brandon!!

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    I just went to eBay to see if the Polybagged version of Superman #75 went for more money and… sometimes. I can’t believe how all over the place prices are for both covers (and both go for more than a newstand which seems wrong).

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    I think the people who are buying the graded versions or getting them graded are not investors or resellers, but people who like the “pretty frame” that CGC or CBCS provides making the book look valuable, prestigious and somewhat aesthetically beautiful to display. The grading costs are more than the value of the comic book and it’s not too hard to find them in the dollar bins in Nr Mt – Mt condition with high odds for a 9.4 to 9.8 inherent to sellers who horded stacks, bagged n’ bordered ’em, store them and with massive regret in the realm of the Beanie Babies, just want to unload them even at losses. I’ll admit they do look nice encapsulated/slabbed ‘tho, so consider that the cost of a nice picture frame for your comics knowing you’re paying $25 or so in fees to preserve a book worth well under $10 if not in the $1-5 range readily available everywhere.

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    You’ve got to be pretty uneducated about grading to pay to have someone sign your 4.0 x-men #1…and hen pay grading fees on top of that…and it’s happened .TWICE!!

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    Great article as always. I do have a work friend who doesn’t read or collect, but wants X-Men 9.8 solely for nostalgic purposes. There is a market, but not one anyone will make money on.

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    Awesome article as usual (this series one of my favourite recurring articles)! I’m too amazing at what books people choose to get graded, a bit of research is all it takes!

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    I have so many Spider-Man #1 variants, one is a graded polybag version at 9.0.

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