For the 80th anniversary of Batman’s 1st appearance in Detective Comics #27 released in 1939, several variant covers were created in celebration for issue #1000. Over 50 different variants exist, but one stands out head and shoulders from the crowd, the Alex Ross Art Exclusive A.
In a painting-like style, the cover is a direct homage and recreation of the original Detective Comics #27 cover. To drive the theme home, it’s complete with vintage-style DC COMICS trade dressing. Alex Ross created two variants for Detective Comics #1000, but it is this recreation variant that has captured the market’s attention. Sales first began in late March with a limited quantity of 500 for the main variant; and 100 for authenticated copies signed by Alex Ross himself. A copy of the book graded at a CGC gem mint 10.0 sold for as high as $1,999.
Here we examine the market behavior of a book that leverages the Detective Comics nostalgia.
DETECTIVE COMICS #1000 (Alex Ross A)
Between the times it took for collectors to receive the book and process through grading services, sales of graded copies of Detective Comics #1000 started appearing the last few days of April 2019. Most of these graded copies occupied the 10.0, 9.9, and 9.8 range.
Below, we observe the sales data for the book in CGC 9.9, which represents a relatively rather large 29.9% of the top CGC census:
The first 9.9 book sold for $799.99. At little patience would have paid off here as the book’s value plummeted to under $400 within a month. With a loss of over 50%, it was possible to purchase two CGC 9.9 books for the price of the one.
Here’s how the book (9.9) is performing in the market now:
While the value appears to have stabilized, the range of selling prices is volatile from $300 to $450. One might wonder if the book’s on the higher end of the range might be copies signed by Alex Ross; but unfortunately, they are not. The main difference is that the books that sold at lower end of the range were auctions, and the higher end ones were fixed price. For buyers, patience will yield cheaper books. For buyers, if you’re willing to wait you might get a higher price. In this situation, time is in favor of the buyer as the value for the book is trending slightly lower.
To get a better picture of the book’s market trends, we go down to the next grade of CGC 9.8, which represents the majority of the census at 95.9% of the top. Below is the sales data:
In terms of financial investment, the outlook for the book at the lower grade of CGC 9.8 looks even grim. Here, the book has also lost over 50% of its value, but the large volume of sales greatly supports the implied trend. On a side note, the large occurrence of books graded at a 9.8 and higher could be an interesting aspect for future analysis.
Other Detective Comics #1000 variants of note include:
- Ross Variant Cover B – CGC 9.8 currently has a FMV of $120.
- JeeHyung Lee Virgin Edition – CGC 9.8 currently has a FMV of $170.
- Artgerm Collectibles Golden Age Edition – CGC 9.8 currently has a FMV of $120.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Alex Ross cover artwork is undeniably striking; but from an investment perspective, it’s very concerning when something is designed to be a collectible. This represents a heavier weight on supply side economics; an artificially inflated prices that usually tends to decrease over the long-term.
- CGC 9.9: Hold/Reduce
- CGC 9.8: Sell
“Everything’s impossible until somebody does it.” – Batman