A keen eye can produce superior investment returns when you know how to spot pedigree collection comic books while on the hunt!
In a recent post, I discussed what a pedigree collection is and some of the various types currently listed with CGC. Presently, I would like to take some time to dig into how a collector (like you and me) can find these pedigree books raw and ungraded as we scan through long boxes at stores and conventions or even scroll through eBay. If you know what you are looking for, you may be surprised what you can find!
Pedigree Books with a Cover Signature
Let’s focus on the handful of pedigrees that can be identified by the signature located on the cover. For all intents and purposes, these will be the easiest to spot and verify. Many of the listed pedigrees with CGC do not have identifiable marks and were verified as a group or came with certificates of authenticity in some form when the books were initially put up for sale or auction.
Firstly, the Eldon collection can be identified by the name “Eldon” written on the cover. Most of the books in this collection were from the 1940s and this collection surfaced in the late 1980s.
This is an interesting collection, not because it is focused on DC superheroes during the 1940s but because the collection didn’t include any titles starting with the letters E through O at the time it was graded and auctioned. Could there be more to this collection still out there? Theres only one way to find out! You can identify this pedigree by seeing Harold, Harold Curtis, HC, or HEC written on the front cover.
The Larson pedigree is one of the most rare as it covers the time period around 1936-1941 and includes books like Action Comics #1 and Superman #1. Talk about a perfect time to start collecting! This pedigree can be identified by Lamont’s name written on the front cover or simply his last name, Larson.
This pedigree may give you the highest chance of actually finding one in the wild. Unfortunately, a portion of it was stolen from Recil Macon’s home in the 1990s. The rest of the collection was sold in smaller batches at different times. As a result, it’s hard to say when and where these books ended up! Most of the books have his full name written on the cover and sometimes on the interior pages as well.
Last, but not least, we have the Winnipeg pedigree, which is a collection that was put together by two friends. Later, one of them wrote their name on nearly every cover in the collection. Dennis Kjolso is the name you will see written in pen on the cover if you ever come across this pedigree. It’s important to note that this collection is much newer than most of the others as it starts in the early 1960s and runs through the 90s. It is known for holding some of the highest grade books in that 60s era.
Here’s to running across one or more of these pedigree collections on your next hunt!
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Hi Jestin, love the article. One pedigree which doesn’t have the collectors name yet is in some cases easy to identify is the “Circle 8” collection which as everyone knows has the number 8 circled with a grease pencil early on especially those 10 cent books. Later books in this collection did not have such a notation. I have owned a few with the distinctive “8” on the cover and some without.
Interesting, thanks for sharing!
I thought Eldon and Lamont were learning to write their names and were left unsupervised in the comic warehouse….
Dennis Kjolso must have been trying to get even on his buddy for something…..gotta say, these Pedigrees are not nice (at all) in my opinion, not something I would chase if I was into 9.8 or pristine comics.
Collecting other collector’s comic collections? odd,
If you are looking for the highest graded books, I agree 100%. If someone is into comic book history, they may have an interest in pedigrees…
Almost every book pre-65 is going to be pre-owned. Considering how rare high grade books are pre-1965 some of these pedigree books are the best you are going to find. I would never turn down a pedigree book. I have owned some 7.0/9.0 range Church pedigree and San Francisco pedigree books (probably 9.0 or better). About the only pedigree I wouldn’t touch are later copies from the Winnipeg Pedigree because there are many ringers in that “pedigree”. Because of this I don’t recognize it as a pedigree. Calvin Slobodian’s amazing collection had some ringers so the powers that be denied pedigree status to the collection. Considering one of the people that put this collection together for Dennis and ultimately was the one that sold it was a former distributor and store owner I would question the true source of the book.
The question I have is if CGC will define a raw book found in the wild as a pedigree book or just a flaw. I used to deal in criminal law years ago and if people can make money doing something wrong they will. How would one know the book was actually from that collection and not just a forgery?
There are some pedigrees that pretty much can’t be denied that status such as the Church, Crippen, Lamont, etc. Their history is pretty well traced. Some others like Winnipeg and others heavy in post 65 books I would be very wary of. I believe that CGC and CBCS would have the means to verify what is and isn’t from a pedigree. they have the people that know some of these pedigrees very well. for both companies have no real stake in the game as they are not buying and selling books. The market sets the prices and CGC and CBCS are only going to make more if a book is past a certain price. there is a far bigger price to pay if they screw up because their reputations could take a major hit if they were found to be cheating the market and “manufacturing” a pedigree authentication.
Great points Aaron, thanks for sharing!
Great question, I’m not 100% sure on what all CGC needs to back up the pedigree, but whatever documentation and story on the book you can provide, the better. Funny enough there were numerous books listed for sale on a reputable seller site online from a particular pedigree but they never responded when I emailed them to ask what type of documentation they had to accompany the book/s. I would agree that you have to be careful and do your research. One might even ask CGC beforehand if they will verify the pedigree before grading, like a pre-screen if you already own the book.