Spider-man’s comics top the charts in terms of the movers and shakers of the collectible comic world. Right now, Spidey has the second most popular Silver Age (Amazing Spider-man #50) and the second most popular Bronze Age title (Amazing Spider-man #252).
Let’s take a look at how these books stack up. Maybe, in doing that, we can also learn something about the relationship between Bronze and Silver Age key comics more generally.
We can start with this Silver Age classic. Wilson Fisk’s first appearance can be found here, making it a key, but that’s just the beginning of the Silver Age Spider-man goodness you’ll find in this comic. The classic Romita cover, and the classic story inside about Peter abandoning his Spider-man identity (the scene where he throws his Spider-suit into a trashcan actually made it into the second Sam Rami ‘Spider-man’ film) all make this a must have. Currently there are 3,666 units of this comic represented on the CGC census and only 6 of them are in 9.8 grade. That would explain the impressive fair market value of 9.8 certified copies of this book which currently stand at $56,000.00. 9.6 grades (of which there are only 14 on the census) command less than half that price, at $20,000.00. Then we get into prices that are far more affordable with 9.4 currently commanding $8000.00 and the lowest known grade, a 0.5 is a very affordable $90.00 to own.
Jump ahead two hundred and two issues later and we find another key in a series filled with them. But, like Spider-man #50 this comic is highly sought because of its connections to later stories and the introduction of yet another classic and complex Spidey villain: Venom. This issue is the first black suit in the regular title and so is a desirable addition to everyone’s Spider-man collection. Another classic cover (this time a homage of Amazing Fantasy #15 by Klaus Janson and Ron Frenz) is the cherry on top. As expected, moreover, this Bronze Age key has a lot more copies floating around, with many in better condition, than its Silver Age counter-part. Currently 9,570 units of ASM #252 are recorded on the CGC census. Overall this is only a little over one third of the number of AMS #59 but of those 9,570 units a whopping 1,246 are 9.8 and we even get eight 9.9 grades represented. Here’s a major reason why Bronze Age comics currently trail their Silver Age counter-parts in value. Abundant supply: remember these are only the CGC’d copies that are being taken into account. In general you’re much more likely to run into an AMS #252 than an AMS #50 in the wild. And prices reflect this accordingly: so, in one of the many certified 9.8 copies out there, AMS #252 sells for $575.00 (to put this into perspective, that’s exactly the price it would cost you to get an AMS #50 in 6.0 grade). For just over $200.00 you can get a 9.6 of AMS #252, but in general the Silver Age keys are the better investments since supplies are so much lower.