Demand 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
As 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
While, 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.
As 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
So, 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
Now, 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.