Not long ago, I was browsing GoCollect’s Top 100 list for the Silver Age – the books that are selling the most over the past month from that era. Like many of you, I was struck by the unbelievable prices of these books. In the past 3-6 months, the prices of most keys have shot up no matter the era, grade, or character. Money flowing into the market has risen the tide of all books and certainly the Silver Age keys are the largest tidal wave of this phenomenon.
As I scrolled through the fair market values of a 9.8 for these Silver Age books, I was again floored by the numbers. Many of those are hypothetical because there is such small demand, but $47,000 for Fantastic Four #52 (first Black Panther), $16,000 for Avengers #48 (first Black Knight), and $23,000 for Iron Man #1 stuck out, just to name a few.
Are All Silver Age Near-Mint+ Books Out of Reach?
A thought occurred to me after looking through this list. Will I ever own a graded 9.8 book from the Silver Age? The most affordable on the Top 100 list was Amazing Spider-Man #64 ($1,200 FMV, last sale was $1,300) and Avengers #54 ($1,800 FMV, last sale was $2,475). These books don’t offer much in terms of noteworthiness. It’s simply the fact that they are from the Silver Age that drives up their price.
I did end up purchasing a copy of Fantastic Four #86 in a CGC 9.4 grade just because I love the cover, but getting to a 9.8 in any Silver Age seemed to be mostly out of reach. Prices are often 3x to 10x what a 9.6 would cost. But looking further into eBay sales listings, I did uncover that if you want to own a CGC 9.8 Silver Age book — and you don’t care much about what book it is — there are some affordable options.
Where to Draw the Line
For the purposes of refining the search, I am considering Silver Age as a 12-cent cover for Marvel. They switched to the 15-cent covers in the summer of 1969, which tends to define the transition from Silver Age to Bronze Age. And technically, there would be some 10-cent covers that are encompassed in the Silver Age. I am predicting we won’t find any of those at affordable rates.
I am also not sure of a better place to look than eBay. There are certainly a lot of things to consider there, but they have the best sorting features including grade, sale price, publisher, date, character, etc. When you put in your parameters (Marvel, Silver Age, 9.8) there is still a lot to filter through. Plenty of people list write Silver Age just as part of the description of their book or mark a book incorrectly. But eventually, you dig enough to find what you need. Here are the most affordable 9.8 books I could find available right now from the Silver age.
I was surprised to see this book as the most affordable one available on eBay because I would consider it a fairly classic cover. In addition, it is a Stan Lee and Jack Kirby book, so it certainly features the heavy hitters as well.
There are no first appearances or classic stories as part of this issue. It does feature Mangog and Recorder and was graded with White Pages, however. From September 1968, it was published towards the end of the Silver Age. Still, it is a very reasonable 12-cent issue.
All things Captain Marvel have been on a steady rise. That’s since the MCU introduced Carol Danvers and the movie version to us, of course. As you could probably guess, this book also has no first appearances. It was published in May 1969, so just two months before the switch to 15-cent covers.
We are again pushing up against the end of the Silver Age with this book published in April of 1969. Gary Friedrich and Frank Springer also worked on this particular issue. There are a couple of great pieces of history that might make this a desirable part of a collection.
The CGC case denotes that there are cameos in the book from both Ed Sullivan and President Lyndon B. Johnson. Talk about a snapshot of a moment in time. The book also features the villainous Hate Monger, a Nazi geneticist whose origin traces back to World War II and was first introduced in Fantastic Four #21.
One You Might Actually Want: Tales of Suspense #89 – $1,195 or Best Offer
Is your goal to get a Stan Lee book from the Silver Age in a 9.8 grade? This might be one of your best options. There is a greater than zero percent chance that you could offer $999 and get this book for less than a grand.
That seems like a decent price to pay for a book published in May 1967 (more than two years from the end of the Silver Age), a Stan Lee story, and a book that features two iconic Marvel heroes (Iron Man and Captain America) as well as one of the most famous villains ever (Red Skull).
Not enticing enough? You can throw in the fact that Gene Colan and Gil Kane both contributed to the art of the book. As an added bonus, you get a new villain known as the Melter. This one certainly seems to check all the boxes.
Let’s Be Clear About This
When all is said and done, we know that Silver Age books as a whole are rare and valuable. If you isolate those books even more to the highest grade possible, it’s going to start to hit the bank account pretty hard if you want to invest.
But you don’t have to be Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos to acquire some extremely high-quality pieces of Silver Age history. I’m sure there are also some DC books available in addition to these issues above. I also ran across a Flinstones comic book from 1965 that was a 9.8 and less than $200.
Are you interested in high-grade books from this era? Or do you care more about picking up the keys and the grade doesn’t matter as much? Let me know how you invest in Silver Age comics in the comments!
Now onto the next research project: Are there any Silver Age books that are graded 9.9 somewhere in the world?