While checking to see what are the highest valued comics, I came across the term Pedigree. Pedigree Books are from exceptional collections that consist of vintage, high-grade comics that have been acquired by one single owner. These classic Golden and Silver age books usually bring in extremely high bids at auction whenever you can actually find them. Many of these books hold their value due to being some of the highest graded books in their field. Even though they are in amazing shape are they worth the prices?
What makes a collection a Pedigree?
For a collection to be deemed as a pedigree it must meet certain criteria. The four criteria according to CGC are:
- Must be High Grade – For the few silver age collections allowed in, they must be about 9.2-9.4 and above. Golden Age comics should be the highest grades in existence.
- The collection is from Original Owner – In other words, they were bought off the newsstand from a single owner. As CGC states: “a collector cannot buy a high-grade run of 1940s comics from various sources and expect it to be considered a pedigree.” However, the original owner does not need to own the comics for it to still be considered a pedigree.
- A considerable number of comics – For the collection to be considered you must own at least 1,000 books or if less they must be older and higher graded books.
- Must be Vintage – Prior to the White Mountain auction by Sotheby’s, only books considered were Golden Age books. Now some, and I mean some, very high-grade Silver age books are being allowed.
Here are two of the most prominent and notable Pedigree Collections:
Church/ Mile High Collection
Edgar Church was an artist and avid collector. He amassed a huge collection of Golden Age comics that he kept in amazing shape. Church started collecting in his basement from 1937 till 1957 and kept his collection till his death in 1977. In his collection, he had almost every run imaginable from the Golden Age. After his death, his collection was sold to Mile High Comics who sold off pieces little by little. Today this collection is known as the biggest and first collection to be named a Pedigree. The highest graded Action Comics #1 resides within this collection with only a handful of people seeing it face to face. Steve Borock from CBCS has had this pleasure and rates it about a 9.4. You will find a premium with these books due to them not changing hands as often as other collections.
White Mountain Collection
This collection is known as the first Silver Age collection to be named a Pedigree. It was collected by Kennett Neily between 1948 and 1964. This collection was well maintained with beautifully white pages. Although many copies of these books existed, none really compared to the quality found here. It received notoriety during an auction run by Sotheby’s where it saw sales of unprecedented amounts making comic history. This collection is also known for its collection of video games and video game memorabilia.
Other Pedigree Book Collections
CGC currently recognizes 59 collections as Pedigrees and has even created a special label for them. If you click HERE, you will be directed to their list. If you plan on jumping into the world of Pedigree Collecting you will benefit from checking this page out. They even list some of the marks left behind on the books by the individual owners to better identify their collection. Unfortunately, I do not see many other collections being added to this list. At this point, many collections have been lost or split into many pieces that it would prove to be difficult to find another.
Are Pedigree Books worth it?
Now, this is the magic question. Many of these pedigree books are selling for 2x-5x the price of their counterparts, leaving people wondering if they are worth the price. To be honest, this all depends on the collector. Don’t get me wrong, there is something to say about owning the most perfect copy of Action Comics #1 or Detective Comics #27, but the premium you pay is beyond astronomical. My thoughts on this are: If you can afford a Pedigree book in a grade not found anywhere else, then yes by all means go for it. However, I would not spend the extra money to buy a Fantastic Four #49 in a 5.0 just because it is part of a Pedigree collection. To me, a 5.0 is a 5.0 regardless if it is a Pedigree or not. That’s just me though.
I hope this helps you a little in your collecting journey. Have you ever bought a Pedigree book or maybe have a collection worth being a Pedigree? Drop me a line below and let’s get talking!
Till Next Time, Happy Hunting!