How many people have watched a book they’ve been wanting for a long time shoot up in price? When prices spike up, few are immune to the fear of missing out; whether looking for a quick monetary gain or adding to their personal collection at a fair price. As with a good game of Texas hold’em, comic book investment speculation is as much about the human side as it is about the numbers.
In analyzing various book, I’ve come across a curious case of the market effects of FOMO and the resulting trap when the speculation doesn’t pan out. Here we will take a deep dive into Superboy #68 (1958), the first appearance of Bizarro. With minimal Bizarro puns.
SUPERMAN #68 / BIZARRO
While the most popular Bizarro is the grownup Superman version, the first Bizarro was actually created while Kal-El was still a young boy in Superboy #68.
Let’s take a look at the larger picture of the market for Superboy #68. For the puposes of this article, we will be examining a cross-section of the book; specifically, the book graded in 4.0 and 4.5 due to the large volume of sales data available and also a middle representation of the overall top 60.8% and 45.6% of the census.
For much of the book’s market history, its value experienced a slow and steady growth. For 4.0/4.5, this was around a respectable +15% per year. Upon a casual glance, it would appear that the book is on an overall upward trend; but upon further examination, the time period between late-2016 to present tells a more interesting story. We will break this up into two parts: the spike up and the decline.
In late 2016, the book’s value would suddenly surge over 250% in less than a year. Why? you might ask. It wasn’t a single event, but rather a perfect storm of multiple events. This included: Bizarro’s appearance in the CW’s Supergirl TV series, the Bizarro premiere skin for the Injustice 2 video game, and rumors of Bizarro showing up in the Justice League (2017) feature film.
When the fear of missing out kicked into high gear, the rapid increase in value was also accompanied by an increase in the volume of sales. In the grades of interest, there was almost twice as many sales in 2018 than there were in 2015 and 2016, combined.
Moving forward, the spike in value was not healthy. The rapid gain was mirrored (Bizarro pun) with a rapid decline. Since the spike in prices, the book has been on a steady decline for the last 2 years. A massive pullback of -40% off the highs.
Again, any cursory glance at FMVs at the end of each year would have completely missed the full story; showing only a single stat of moderate gains and losses.
THE VALUE IS DECLINING, WHAT NOW?
Here is where it gets even more interesting. Although the trend is negative since the highs in 2017, the book will in theory one day reach a bottom. Meaning, eventually most of the speculators that FOMO’ed, wanted a quick flip, and ran the price up will exit their positions; thus, returning a more stable market for the book. In investing, it’s never a good idea to catch a falling knife; but what if the knife has stopped falling?
Here is a charts of the recent sales data compared to an extrapolation of the growth rate prior to the spike:
Is it a coincidence that the recent sales prices for the book have hovered around where the book’s value would be given its original growth rate? Sure the downward trend might overshoot a little, but it does appear to be reversing.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Will there be another spike? Nobody knows. The good news is that the book was on a positive trend before the FOMO and decline. Furthermore, the market for the book may be returning to a state of slow and steady growth.
- Superboy #68 – ADD
“Me am Bizarro!” – Bizarro