Golden Age Collecting on a Budget – Part 3

by Douglas Ohlandt

040523A-21-1024x536 Golden Age Collecting on a Budget - Part 3While we all dream of the great attic, garage sale, or flea market finds, that rarely happens for any of us. Instead, here are some quality comics to target if you’re looking to start a Golden Age collection without spending more than you budgeted.

Setting the Rules

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Last time around, we set a budget of $1,000. This time, we’re upping that budget to $2,000. Here’s a reminder of the rules for our Golden Age comics collecting game: 1. We have a $2,000 budget and we have to stay within 5% of that budget. 2. We must select 5 Golden Age comics. 3. We must select comics across different genres – no loading up on funny animal, western, or romance. 4. No copies graded below 4.0 – we want some decent-looking comics. 5. There must have been a sale within the past few years – hard to gauge the prices if there haven’t been any sales, and, to make things more challenging, if the sale is more than a year old, we’re going to add 8% to the last known price for each year. So, if it sold prior to April 2022, we’ll add 8%, prior to April 2021, we’ll add another 8%, etc.

Those are the rules. Now, let’s play Golden Age Collecting on a Budget!

First – A Romance Pick

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Golden Age romance comics are, anecdotally, starting to see some increased attention of late, so we’ll jump into the fray with a 7.5 graded copy of Secret Hearts #1. Published by DC in 1949, it was the start of one of DC’s earliest romance comics and continued in publication until 1971.

There are 15 graded copies, so it’ll be a bit of a hunt. The last recorded sale of a 7.5 was in a Heritage auction in December 2021 for $324. We’ll have to add 8% to that for a total of $350. A strong start with a decent grade and we’re under budget.

Total spent: $350

Second – A War Pick

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By doubling our budget, we can start to consider some EC war comics for our collection. We still aren’t able to jump into pre-Code horror, but EC’s war books are exceptional for the genre, so let’s see what we can find. How about a 7.5 graded copy of Two-Fisted Tales #19? It’s got a gruesome Harvey Kurtzman cover and it’s the second issue in the series.

There are 24 graded copies, so a little easier digging. The most recent sale of a 7.5 was in a September 2021 Heritage auction for $480. Add 8% and we’re up to $518. We’re a little over budget now, but that’s a nice pickup. Still, we’ll need to start looking for deals if we can find them.

Total spent: $868

Third – A Sci-Fi Pick

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We opted out of any sci-fi in our $1,000 budget game, so we’re going to go with a 7.0 graded copy of Strange Worlds #7 in this round. Published by Avon in 1952, this is the second to last issue of the first run of the series. Strange Worlds is one of the earliest sci-fi comic series and is fairly popular with Golden Age sci-fi collectors.

This is one of the weaker issues in the series – cover slightly below quality when compared with the other issues, and it’s lacking in the smorgasbord of famous artists we see in other issues. Still, it’s a nice find. A 7.0 sold in a February 26 eBay auction for $322, down from its 2019 peak of $384, so it looks like it’s a good time to jump in on this one.

There are 40 graded copies, so a fun hunt but one that shouldn’t take too long. Best of all, this find gets us back within budget.

Total spent: $1,190

Fourth – A Funny Animal Pick

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Last time around, we went with a Disney pick. So, this time, we’ll look at some of the Warner Bros. characters from the Golden Age. Here’s a good one: a 5.0 graded copy of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies #5. It’s got a really fun Bugs and Porky cover and it’s an early issue of a series that lasted for a decade and featured some of the best-known cartoon characters of all time.

Published by Dell in 1942, there are 13 graded copies – a serious hunt for this one. A 5.0 graded copy sold in a November 2022 Heritage auction for $288, down a bit from a sale in a 2004 Heritage auction for $357. So, it looks like a good time to buy. A little low on the grade, but these aren’t easy to find, So, we’ll pick this one up, knowing that we can spend a little more with our last pick.

Total spent: $1,478

Fifth – A Superhero Pick

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We’ve got a little more than $500 to spend, so let’s go with something nice, like a 9.2 graded copy of Green Lama #7. Published by Spark Publications in 1945, this issue sports a terrific Christmas cover by none other than Mac Raboy. While he’s arguably not in the same tier as Schomburg, Frazetta, and Baker, he’s really close.

There are 66 graded copies, so it shouldn’t be an impossible find. The most recent sale of a 9.2 was in a May 2021 Heritage auction for $408. While there’s price stability with the previous sale in September 2020 also for $408, we’re going to add 8%. And, since it’s close enough to that April 2021 cutoff, we’re going to add another 8%. That brings us to $476 for a very nice book.

Total spent: $1,954


We came in 2.3% under budget, so we stayed within the rules and saved a little money. We picked up one first issue, an early EC war comic, and a really nice condition Green Lama #7. We definitely did much better in grade than with the $1,000 budget: a 9.2, two 7.5s, a 7.0, and a 5.0.

Wish we could have found a better-graded Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies #5. But those are difficult to find, and the price was low. There are better issues in the short Strange Worlds run. Unfortunately, they’re beyond our budget, so we’ll take what we can get.

Which five Golden Age comics would you select with a $2,000 budget? Let us know below!

00080221C_Green-Footer Golden Age Collecting on a Budget - Part 3*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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