For the past year, the Silver Surfer keys have been as close to a sure thing as we find in comics, but not even the Surfer can deflect the impact of the global recession.
Ever since Disney bought Fox, all the Silver Surfer keys have skyrocketed in value. The three biggest of keys – Fantastic Four #48-49 and Silver Surfer #1 – saw record highs for almost every grade. Since the economy has all but shut down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, these issues have fallen on hard times like basically every other comic on the market.
On the plus side, this helps to deflate those ballooning values that kept many collectors at bay. If you have been on the fence about buying one of these keys, now is an opportune time for a purchase.
Many of the grades have fallen to 2018 values, which is good if you have been looking for a copy. The 9.0 took a mighty turn in recent weeks. After having a fair market value of $6,055 last year, one sold for $4,800 on March 20.
The 8.0 had been gradually declining, but I was optimistic that things would turn around soon enough thanks to tax refunds. Since the pandemic took hold, current prices have plummeted. The most recent sale was on March 29 when it brought just $2,750. That’s nearly $900 under the 12-month average.
Moving into the mid-grades, it’s the same story. Such is the case for the 6.0. A year ago, this grade sold 30 times and carried an FMV of $1,652. Like the 8.0, the “Christmas Dip” had values on the decline, but it’s taken a hit since the quarantines started. On March 17, the 6.0 was in line with the 2019 average as it sold for $1,650, but five days later, it dipped to $1,440.
The most popular grade has been the 4.5. In 2019, it sold 63 times for an average of $987. Back in January, it was off to a great start, setting a new record high of $1,199 on January 12. All the way up to March 12, it looked like the 4.5 was on the way up as it sold for $999 that day. Then on March 20, the pendulum began to swing, and the sale price dropped to $920. Nine days later, it brought $870 and hasn’t sold since.
Make no mistake, F.F. #49’s values are on the decline, but this issue hasn’t been hit quite as hard as its big brother. That’s likely due to the fact that it was the cheaper option, to begin with.
Out of all 13 grades that have sold in the past month, only three have shown an increase over the past 90 days.
The highest grade that has sold since the shelter orders began is the 7.5. While it had an FMV of $1,198 last year and had cracked $1,200 twice in January, it fell to $953 on March 29.
It’s no different for the 7.0. As recently as March 15, it sold for over $1k. Just days later, that price fell to between $800-$875. Then there’s the 5.0, which had a $538 FMV last year, hasn’t sold for above $460 since March 19.
The low grades are not immune to the phenomenon, either. Down to the 1.0, this was a $200 comic in 2018, but on March 19, the price fell to $148.
Out of the three most popular Silver Surfer keys, Surfer #1 hasn’t dropped at the same rate as F.F. #48-49. For those grades that have sold since mid-March, the downward trend continues, but not at the same rate.
The 8.0 isn’t necessarily cheap, but it just tied its low from last year at $1,300 after selling for as much as $1,600 in January. It has been much the same for the 7.5. Up to February 29, it was selling in the $1,100 range. A month later, that price dropped to $799. Granted it was up on April 2 with a $925 sale, but that’s still almost $200 away from those February prices.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Silver Surfer #1. Both the 6.0 and the 4.0 have actually shown increases over their 2019 FMVs. In the case of the 6.0, it last sold for $585, though it was selling for as much as $675 at the end of February. Then there is the 4.0, which is actually performing well. All year, it has stayed in the $350-$400 range all the way to this month when it averaged below $400 in 2019.
This is only the beginning. With unemployment rates soaring, the majority of collectors won’t be spending much – if any – of their stimulus checks on major keys. The end result is that COVID-19 has burst the ever-expanding bubble for the comic market, and this is the result.