Gold, Silver, and Bronze Age comic books are soaring in price, but what about modern comic books; are they worth collecting? Welcome back to Collecting 101!
As the title states, we will be focusing on collecting comic books. However, we will touch on investing and speculating as well in order to draw comparisons and make educated decisions on where you should be focusing your time, energy, and, of course, money.
The Era of Modern Comic Books
It’s important to understand when the modern era of comic books actually starts to understand just how vast this descriptor can be. The golden age of comic books ran from around 1938 through 1950, while the silver age ran from 1956 through 1970, at which point the bronze age kicks off and runs through 1985. This takes us all the way up to the modern age of comic books that started back in 1985 and runs through today. That’s a large chunk of time filled with a ton of comic books, encompassing the comic book market boom and bust of the 1990s.
So, what makes the modern age of comic books different from its predecessors? For starters, the comic book collecting market was in full swing by the mid-1980s. Although not as prevalent as it seems to be today, it certainly was common to see collectors buying multiple copies of new books to bag and board and preserve for collecting purposes.
This means that there are plenty more high-grade copies of books from the modern era than from the silver and golden age, for example. As a collector, this may or may not influence you when making purchases to fill your collection. If you are collecting particular characters, storylines, or publishers, the 1980s saw some great storytelling and an expansion into the graphic novel format of comic books. Widely considered classics like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns are two books that kicked off this modern age of comic books.
Investment Grade Comic Books
Many tenured investors will say that you need to focus on investment-grade comic books if you want to invest in books that will appreciate over time. That’s great, but what does investment grade actually mean? Typically, if someone says investment grade, they are talking about the top 15% of a particular collectible. For example, there are 3,328 universal graded copies of Watchmen #1 on the CGC census. 9.8 grades account for the top 14.2% of all books graded. So, if you are looking to invest in an investment-grade copy of Watchmen #1, you would need to pick up a 9.8.
If you are investing in or speculating on comic books rather than solely collecting, you should certainly consider diving into the CGC census data that is provided by GoCollect and other third-party sources to better understand just how many high-grade copies of a particular book exist. This information is key for serious comic book investors and speculators.
If you are collecting for the love of the hobby and aren’t concerned with long-term prices, collect what you love and have fun! Modern Comic books are great for collecting and enjoying. If you want a portion of your entire collection to be a long-term investment, consider focusing on investment-grade books. Just like our example, most Modern Age comic books will need to be a 9.8 to fit that investment-grade criteria.