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

by Don

010523H-1-1024x536 Copper Age Keys: Are We in a Buyer's Market?In two previous blogs, I reviewed sales data for Silver and Bronze Age key issues to determine if we’re currently in a “buyer’s market.” In this blog, I review the sales data for Copper Age keys.

Personally, I think most major Copper Age keys still have further to fall. For example, in most grades, issues such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, Amazing Spider-Man #300, and New Mutants #98 are still selling for nearly twice as much (or more) than 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 don’t see evidence of a sideways drift.

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

A CGC 9.4 Thor #337 Sold for $125 on December 17th, 2022.

Screen-Shot-2022-12-27-at-10.15.28-PM Copper Age Keys: Are We in a Buyer's Market?

While Beta Ray Bill may not be the most recognizable Marvel character, most collectors still view his first appearance in Thor #337 as a major key from the Copper Age.

Recent sales data suggests that this book may have over-corrected. Like most Marvel key issues, Thor #337 went to the moon in 2020 and 2021. For example, a CGC 9.4 reached its all-time high of $314 in July 2021. 18 months later, this key has crashed back to earth with a 9.4 selling for a mere $125 on ComicConnect on December 17th.

This is slightly less than what this issue was selling for before the comic boom. If you review this book’s historical return over the longer term (roughly 21% annually), you’d expect this book to be worth around $250 today.

In my opinion, I think this Copper Age key has hit bottom or has come very close to hitting bottom. If you can get a copy for around $125, I’d recommend investing for the long term.

A CGC 9.6 New Mutants #87 Sold for $177 on December 19th, 2022.

Screen-Shot-2022-12-28-at-8.56.29-PM-1 Copper Age Keys: Are We in a Buyer's Market?

Whoever bought this got a great price during an eBay auction held on December 19th. While I don’t consider the first appearance of Cable to be a top-tier key issue from the Copper Age, collectors will always want to buy this comic.

A review of recent sales data indicates this book may be over-correcting. Just before the comic boom occurred, a CGC 9.6 copy of this book sold for around $200. During the comic boom, this same book reached an all-time high of $342 in May 2021. 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 11% annually), you’d expect this book to be worth around $281 today.

In addition, we’ll still haven’t seen Cable in the MCU. Once we do (possibly in Deadpool 3), 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 around $175, I personally think you’re doing pretty well especially if you hold onto this book for at least several years.

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

00080221C_Green-Footer Copper 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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Corbitt January 13, 2023 - 7:13 pm

Very very few books will reach rock bottom until external to comic books finance factors noticeably improve.

This US Economy and associated inflation has affected most hobbies where the Collectibles are mass produced. Trading Cards has been hit just as hard as comics.

Of course a bottom, just like peak can never be known until after the fact, currently people who would have been looking to purchase NON 9.8 non prime key Coppers are probably spending their money on things like food, clothing and shelter which are escalating in price %age per 3 months more than their income %age will in 3 years.

Sean January 13, 2023 - 8:15 pm

“Copper Age” to me is comics published from April 1986 to maybe the comics crash of 1992-1993. I think the conclusion of Crisis on Infinite Earths (with issue #12) and the first issue of Batman The Dark Knight Returns are a perfect starting point of the so-called “Copper Age.” I just don’t think of comics from 1983 as being “Copper.” Wikipedia says 1885 marks the end of the Bronze Age and i would somewhat agree with that established definition.

As far as investments go, i would say Saga of the Swamp Thing #20 and 21 are going to go up a lot when the Swamp Thing movie comes out. It’s just a matter of tine before a big budget novie is nade. Saga of the Saamp Thing had a very low print run before issue #20 and was about to be cancelled before Alan Moore turned everything around a made the title a top seller along with Stephen Bissette and John Totleben. I’d look for those first two issues of the Moore run to possibly go up as much as Thor #337 has in the longer term when a Swamp Thing movie is made.

Randy W. DeBower January 14, 2023 - 8:39 am

Does the data take into account the fact that the best deals are usually found in December? Most are spending their cash on holiday presents and such. January should help tell the story.

Sean January 14, 2023 - 12:15 pm

So sorry about the typos. I did proofread my reply but a few still slipped in. I meant 1985 rather than 1885, of course. LOL

Just wanted to add that i think the bad economy is really going to affect most common, non key comics that are CGC graded. Who can afford $40-$50 for a CGC graded non-key comic book from the 70’s or 80’s that isn’t high grade? And the shipping is around $12 to boot, which adds insult to injury. The average CGC graded comic costs around $50!! I think the CGC market will mostly crash except for comics that have real value that justifies a purchase rather than paying two to three times what a comic is actually worth just to get an encapsulated comic that was graded by a so-called “professional grader.”

pencilfart January 16, 2023 - 9:43 am

The only reason why Thor #337 heated up was the rumors of Beta Ray Bills possible appearance in Thor Love and Thunder. I believe New Mutants 87 is a blue chip it will always be in demand.


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