Bronze Age Keys: Are We in a Buyer’s Market?

by Don

010423B-1024x536 Bronze Age Keys: Are We in a Buyer's Market?You may hear a lot of comic book investors saying we’re in a “buyer’s market.” Personally, I think most major Bronze Age keys still have further to fall.

For example, in most grades, issues such as Incredible Hulk #181, Amazing Spider-Man #129, and Marvel Spotlight #5 are still selling for more than twice as much as they did before the comic boom. I’ve heard some speculators say that a “new floor” has been established for comics like these, but I see no evidence of a hockey stick effect or even a sideways drift. Instead, I mostly observe falling knives in most grades.

On the other hand, I see some indicators that some third-tier Bronze Age key issues may have overcorrected. These are certainly not the most important keys of the Bronze Age, but they’re popular issues nonetheless.

A CGC 9.2 Ms. Marvel #1 Sold for $91 on December 7th, 2022.

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While Captain Marvel was not the most popular MCU movie, Carol Danvers is still a major figure in the history of Marvel comics and capable of sustaining her own comic book series. While most collectors view Marvel Super Heroes #13 as Carol’s first full appearance, it’s really more of a first appearance in cameo. She only appears in a couple of panels, she isn’t named Captain Marvel, and she doesn’t appear on its cover.

In addition, there is significant evidence that this book has over-corrected. Unlike most Marvel key issues, Ms. Marvel #1 didn’t go to the moon during 2020 and 2021. Instead, a CGC 9.4 reached its all-time high of $557 back in 2018 when Captain Marvel debuted in the movie theaters.

By 2021, it had fallen to around $215 before reaching a nearly ten-year low of $88 in 2022. Although it’s impossible to time the market, my educated guess is that this is the bottom or near-bottom for this Bronze Age key issue and a good time to buy.

A CGC 9.4 Nova #1 Sold for $169 on December 6th, 2022.

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This was a great buy on Heritage Auctions on December 6th. In fact, as I look through recent sales data, I’m seeing better deals on Heritage than on eBay. While Nova #1 is a third-tier key issue from the Bronze Age, a review of recent sales data indicates this book is over-correcting. Just before the comic boom occurred, a CGC 9.4 copy of this book sold in the $250 to $300 dollar range in mid-to-late 2019.

During the comic boom, this same book reached an all-time high of $434 in early 2022. Since then, this book’s value has fallen below what it sold for in 2019. If you look at this book’s historical return over the longer term (roughly 22% annually), you would expect this book to be worth in the low to mid-400s in 2023. In addition, we’ll still haven’t seen Nova in the MCU. Once we do, this book will likely experience at least a boost in sales volume if not value.

Considering the above, if you can get this book for under $200, I personally think you’re getting a great deal.

Have you noticed any other third-tier Bronze Age keys that have overcorrected? If so, please name them in the comments section below!

Annual_Membership_Footer Bronze Age Keys: Are We in a Buyer's Market?*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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1 comment

Corbitt January 8, 2023 - 6:59 pm

The 9.4 Nova 1 in the Heritage Auction you pictured has Off-White/White Pages and a rather ugly (IMHO) off center and off kilter cover – aka a bad “wrap”.

On 1975 and newer books the folks who paid full market for comics that suffer from those maladies are mostly gone. Copies like that usually go to “newbies” or bandwagon jumpers. Now that the hobby is returning back more to collectors than flippers and speculators do not expect CGC slabbed books that may have the technical merit of the grade but lack eye-appeal to sell for anywhere near full market.

In effect: “Buy the book, not the flip/label”

As for Ms Marvel 1 – high CGC population in grades below 9.6. Expect copies graded 9.4 and lower to drop a whole lot further into pre-2019 territory. Most still in the hobby have multiple copies of the book and you can’t shake stick at many cons without hitting raw or slabbed copies of it in 9.4, 9.2, 9.0. Bottom line, more than ample supply and continued dwindling demand.
P.S. Nova 1 while populous in 9.6 and lower due to the mostly black cover is a tough book to score a 9.8 in a CGC submission. Similar can also be said about Ms Marvel 1 and surprisingly “rare” Invaders 1 (1975) in CGC 9.8


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