Bound Comics Market Update: Prices Trend to FN 6.0

by Patrick Bain

Bound-1-300x157 Bound Comics Market Update: Prices Trend to FN 6.0Demand has increased significantly on bound comics, so GoCollect readers need a market update.  In my three-part series, I covered Golden Age bounds, Silver Age bounds, and Bound Readers.  Those articles illustrated the historic affordability of bound comics.  That rule applied for the most magnificent of volumes such as Actions Comics 1-24 and Spider-Man’s Earliest Issues.  Affordable Bronze and Modern bound sets also littered the eBay listings.  But, mere weeks and months later, what has happened in the market?

A Silver Age Bound Comics Market Story

Justice-League-of-America-21-40-Bound-223x300 Bound Comics Market Update: Prices Trend to FN 6.0As a reminder,  I refer to individual comics collected together typically in a hard back cover as bound.  Often, bound volumes contain above average grade comics.  However, the detraction is the binding process that usually trims and glues comics together.  Thus, the comics may have been in VF to NM condition prior to binding.  But, services like Heritage Auctions “appraise” the individual comics based on VG 4.0 condition simply because the qualified grade could never be achieved if removed from the binding.

I told you before of Jim, a Silver Age collector who for better and worse preserved his comics by binding them.  Jim and many other binders, potentially lost out on significant future returns.  That is, had he maintained his collection in the same high grade without binding, and then slabbed them, his potential returns could have been huge!  It’s also possible that mishandling or an “act of God” could have left the unprotected comics in poor condition as well.  Either way, Jim brought to market many of his treasured volumes.  Let me use his story to illustrate the changes in the market for bound comics with a real-time update.

Daredevil 1 to 100, All Bound

Daredevil-41-50-Bound-300x238 Bound Comics Market Update: Prices Trend to FN 6.0While, Jim’s bound collection included Avengers, Sub-Mariner, Iron Man, the Inhumans, and more, I will focus on Daredevil.  More specifically, Daredevil 1 to 100 in ten bound volumes.  Don’t bother running out to eBay to look, by the time this blog is printed, all ten volumes of Daredevil will be sold.  Most anticipated, of course, the set featuring the first ten issues.  I’ve been following these sales for several weeks now.  Podcaster Regie from regiecollects.com asked me the money question on a recent podcast, have I won any of these for my own collection?  The answer is no!  Initially, my frugality set my limit near the VG 4.0 price.  Early sales were eclipsing that valuation a little.  As sales have progressed, final hammer prices are near and surpassing the FN 6.0 valuation.  For sellers, that’s a bound comics market update with good news.  For buyers, not so much.

Daredevil-31-40-Bound-300x223 Bound Comics Market Update: Prices Trend to FN 6.0As an example, the two most recent auctions I bid on:  Daredevil 41-50 and Daredevil 31-40.  Based on the 2020 guide, the VG 4.0 prices came to $106 and $158, respectively.  The final sales prices of $168 and $237 almost hit the FN 6.0 appraisals on the nose.  Again, improved news for sellers who still don’t enjoy the astronomical prices of slabs.  For buyers, clearly the prices are nearing dangerous thresholds.  Even with improved demand, I don’t agree with promoters that bound comics are the “hottest” part of the industry,   By that, I caution buyers that today’s prices will be good in ten to twenty years, but maybe not for short-term turnarounds.  By the way, I will reserve opinion, but some of Jim’s recently sold bound comics have already made it back into the eBay marketplace for much higher “Buy It Now” prices.

Anticipation for DD’s Silver Age Firsts

Daredevil-1-10-Bound-300x238 Bound Comics Market Update: Prices Trend to FN 6.0So, you may wonder, will I bid for the first ten issues of Daredevil collected as a book, including an apparently fine copy of Daredevil 1?  The starting bid is $1,000.  I reviewed other copies of Daredevil 1 in the eBay marketplace, even POOR condition comics list higher.  Obviously, sellers offer mid to high grade slabs in the tens of thousands.  Even raw comics in lower grades are listed for thousands.  I calculate the VG 4.0 value of Jim’s ten-issue book to be just under $2,000.  The FN 6.0 value is around three grand.  So, let’s see what the market does.  Be sure to check the comments below.  I will pontificate on the finals sales price!

Summary Update on the Bound Comics Market

Roy-Rogers-Bound-Volume-300x201 Bound Comics Market Update: Prices Trend to FN 6.0Now, I must admit, I can’t comment on the marketplace for Golden Age bounds.  I haven’t seen any Superhero books offered recently.  Dell file copies from the fifties abound in the marketplace.  I think they are stagnant.  For Bronze age, the auction prices performed similar to the Silver Age illustration in my observations.

Modern age bounds appear to be selling like something between hot and cold cakes.  They may be overpriced since people could pay $26 to Herring and Robinson to bind a high grade set collected from dollar bins and the commons marketplace.  But for nice Silver Age sets, I see plenty of demand.  And it also appears, there is a reluctance by owners to sell unless buyers pay extraordinary prices.

Personally, I made an offer on a Justice League bound comic quickly rejected by the owner.  Likewise, the Action Comics set described above had offers from $185,000 to $550,000 from 2014 to 2017.  All rejected.  No doubt it would be higher today, but chump change when considering what a buyer gets.  Meanwhile, I will continue to look, hoping to find the sweet spot between frugality and desirability.

Concert-Poster-Footer-Option-3 Bound Comics Market Update: Prices Trend to FN 6.0

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7 comments

S Coovert April 7, 2021 - 11:59 am

what’s the difference between bound and a TPB?

Reply
Patrick Bain April 7, 2021 - 1:12 pm

Please check out my first linked article on Golden Age Bounds for a brief description and more info. But as a quick response, the “bounds” are composed from actual comics booked that are glued/stitched together and then usually a hardcover is wrapped around them. A TPB is similar in content (and just a reprint of the originals). https://blog.gocollect.com/bound-volume-comics-university-library-or-your-bookshelf/

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Patrick Bain April 7, 2021 - 1:27 pm

Market Update: Daredevil 1-10 Bound Comic sold March 29 for $2,035. I had mentioned that the VG 4.0 price for the ten individual comics came to just under two grand. The FN 6.0 price fell just under $3,000. So, in this case, the bound volume sold pretty much inline with the VG 4.0 price. The set included a copy of Daredevil 1 in much nicer apparent condition that what could be obtained on the market individually for anywhere near $2,000. However, Daredevil 1 was NOT in as high grade as other more recent comics that the collector had bound.

Interestingly, the price for the bound set of Daredevil 11-20 sold the same day for $268. That price was about halfway between the VG 4.0 and FN 6.0 price. Since it was relatively low priced, I think the final sale price was stifled by anticipation of keeping some powder dry to bid on the Daredevil 1-10 set closing ten minutes later.

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Patrick A Tynen April 7, 2021 - 2:25 pm

Patrick – really enjoy/appreciate these bound blogs. I find them fascinating and intriguing and may likely never actually own one but would consider binding some of my own humble collection for future (family) generations. If you could provide some references in a future blog on this topic regarding how one goes about binding comics (i.e. 10 per is an optimum number, companies that perform this service, basic pricing,…) I would find that very useful. You may have already provided some of this previously.

Good stuff!
Pat

Reply
Patrick Bain April 7, 2021 - 3:36 pm

Here’s some things to consider Pat.
1. I like the sequential approach: 1-10, 11-20, so forth. But some may prefer binding based on a story arc or just a random collection of stuff
2. If you are speculating on the future value of your collection, it’s probably best not to bind (if you are protecting some other way.)
3. Herring and Robinson appears to be a popular binder and the prices seemed reasonable. I believe starting at $26. But I believe there are many binders so you could search for the one that works best for you if interested.
4. Bound books are available for older to modern, so picking up someone else’s bound collection could work for you.

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Harry Stone III April 10, 2021 - 1:05 pm

Pat,

I really loved this series on bound comics. I had no idea these were a thing until I read your blogs. Super informational and really interesting reads. I have an alert on my eBay now and I’m always looking on the lookout now. Flipping through some early Daredevils comics with my coffee sounds awesome. Thanks for the read.

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Patrick Bain May 16, 2021 - 9:49 pm

Thanks Harry! Are you the joker that just paid $6K for the 3 book set of Daredevil 1 – 75 that just sold on HA? That’s another 1 for my list of collecting misses. I probably could have had it for around $2K at the end of last year.

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