When speculating about a comic book you are trying to maximize value over time. The best way to help boost it’s value is to have multiple factors that make a comic desirable. Key issues, first appearances, classic covers, and movies are just some of the many factors that can help dictate market trends. When you compound these market factors, you can often get the perfect storm of positives that help push a book from normal speculation to a sure thing. Let’s see how some of these factors can add up.
I have a few examples of these types of books, but I want to focus on Strange Tales #180 to offer a micro-look at my theory and thought process. What makes Strange Tales #180 so special?
Via analytics, we can see all grades for this book are showing a positive pricing trend. Many grades are up over 20%, with 9.8 books showing a positive 28% gain. Prior to Infinity War prices were close to the Fair Market Value of $800, but recent sales have shown those prices nearly doubling. Expect the next copy available to list above the $1200 mark. So does this book warrant the increased price? Does it have all of the factors that we look for in a special book? Lets breakdown my strategy and answer some questions.
For me, the first factor to explore is the prominence of the book. Why is this book special and what will that mean for value long term? Strange Tales #180 is the first appearance of Gamora. Gamora is a popular Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) character, portrayed by the wonderful and beloved actress Zoe Saldana. This character is a prominent member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and has been greatly developed in past story-lines. She also appears to be an important piece to this whole Thanos mess, so we should be seeing her around for a while. Finally, female characters tend to show value growth quicker than standard male counterparts due to rarity and a broadening of the fan-base.
Second is rarity of the book. I focus specifically on collecting 9.8 grade books, so I want to know how many copies are in this grade. The less copies of a popular book, the better for value. Strange Tales #180 is quite rare in 9.8. There are only 43 total, including Signature Series copies, in all page colors. So a 9.8 White should be very rare, probably below 5% of total graded books. Score!
Next I review the cover art for show-worthiness. Comics are art…especially when you don’t get to read them. Graded comics even more so when slapped in a plastic case. Definitely a cool cover on Strange Tales #180, and even better I see Adam Warlock in there as well. I am currently hot on the Warlock speculation (per my previous article here), so having another Warlock comic to possibly see gains on is phenomenal.
Finally, you have to ask if the price-point makes sense and if the timing is right. Have I disavowed all of my own rules before and said “screw it” to buy a comic I see as rare or desired? Yes, of course… but there are times when you need to take a good look and say “I want that, but it is priced too high”, or “I just bought/will buy something else that was/is more important”. Caution tends to be the better option.
Strange Tales #180 has many great factors going for it, including a strong first appearance book, a great cover, and untapped MCU characters. These factors plus rarity give it all the potential value one could hope for when speculating.
What book do you think has the best Factors for speculation growth? Do you own a comic that you have been waiting for years to mature? Any recent price jumps surprise you? Join the conversation!