Could it be that after years of market stagnation 1977’s Star Wars #1 is showing signs of life? The gains aren’t spectacular, but that does appear to be the case.
So far in January, 10 different grades of the standard edition Star Wars #1 have traded hands online. Of those 10 grades, four showed an increase in fair market value over the past three months. On the surface, that may seem like a trivial figure, but there’s more to be seen here, and it could be a predictor of things to come.
Over the past two years – basically ever since Last Jedi underwhelmed audiences across the globe – prices for what was once a coveted issue have dwindled.
Before that, and with the might of The Force Awakens behind them, most grades had extraordinary values. Take the 9.8, for example. In 2017 and heading into the release of Episode VIII, the near-mint-plus copy didn’t sell for less than $850. There’s also the 8.0, which didn’t sell for below $76. This was the case for almost every mid- or high-grade issue on the market.
Then came Last Jedi, and the values began to sink. For two years now, virtually every grade has consistently lost value. That 9.8 that was just shy of a $2,000 sale in 2016? It averaged $937 last year, and it keeps falling, and it’s not alone. The 8.0 I mentioned sold for just $60 on January 1. I could continue, but the picture is clear: it’s not a good time to invest in Star Wars #1.
Or is it?
A NEW HOPE?
Yes, the fair market values are consistently going down. However, the 9.8, 8.5, 7.0, and 6.5 all showed 90-day FMV gains compared to their 12-month averages. While the other six grades that had recorded sales in January showed losses, those four grades on the rise are enough to give hope to the speculative masses. Could it be that Rise of Skywalker lent a hand to the Star Wars #1 market? Yes and no.
Rise of Skywalker has been famously polarized by fans and critics. While interest in the movie can take some credit for the recent sales trends, I point to The Mandolorian as the real catalyst. The Disney+ series has been a major hit with fans, and it is responsible for rekindling interest in the franchise far more than Skywalker.
Speaking of The Mandolorian’s success, the more sound investment is Star Wars #42, the first appearance of Boba Fett. Once the hype for season two begins to churn, there will be a bigger push for this issue, which is already feeling the effects of the show. Of the nine grades that have sold since December, eight have a 90-day FMV above the 12-month average. Earlier this month, a 9.8 sold for $620 – the most for that grade since June 2018.
The days are over for Star Wars #1 to fetch those Force Awakens values. The damage has been done to the franchise, and I can’t imagine collectors ever rekindling that old enthusiasm. However, it’s great to see signs of life in this staple of any good Bronze Age collection. The sales volume will only increase as prices continue coming back to normal, but we could be on the cusp of SW #1 getting a boost across the board.
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