Mark Jewelers Insert Comics! Watch out for these books!

by Mike W

mark-193x300 Mark Jewelers Insert Comics! Watch out for these books!Comics have been in circulation for quite a long time. It is so long that I am sure you have heard stories of your father and his father talk about the evolution of comics and how it has changed. The history of comics has gone through many nuances throughout the years that people may not even know. One nuance is the interesting variants and prints of certain comics. For this discussion, I wanted to inform everyone about the “Mark Jewelers Insert” variant in comics and how it differs from a regular issue.

MJI Variant Comics

jew-300x225 Mark Jewelers Insert Comics! Watch out for these books!One of the things I want to discuss is “Mark Jewelers Insert” variant comics. These are special variant comics that have exactly the name that I just mentioned. Obviously, this variant involves this company displaying an advertisement for their jewelry. Generally, the advertisement is displayed for about four pages. These special variant comics were only sold near the United States military establishments in the United States and overseas.  The intent is to assist soldiers to buy jewelry for their significant individual back at home. Their jewelry that was available to buy included rings, watches, necklaces, and more.

View from the top!

spot-300x169 Mark Jewelers Insert Comics! Watch out for these books!It is estimated that comic publishers, DC Comics and Marvel started running these ads for Mark Jewelers around the 1970s. I want to let you know that the comic itself is the same as a regular one and nothing on the exterior of it is changed. Comics with this insert will feel more heavier and rigid. It is also easier to identify a comic with the insert by viewing it from the top. When you view it from the top, there is a very noticeable block of pages that sticks out from the comic. In the picture shown, there are pages that are more profound and are easily identified.

The fewer there are, the higher the reward

Generally, for this instance and many, variants for comics have a lower print than the regular covers. I do not have an exact confirmation on the print run for these “Mark Jewelers Insert” variants, but it is almost guaranteed to be less by a wide margin. As I have stated previously in previous blogs, books that are highly sought after and have lower print runs mean it will be worth more.  When I mean worth more, this directly means to the regular copy of that issue. In addition, it is very difficult to find these issues in a high grade. The reason is because of the intent of the soldiers would use the comic for its actual purpose. Meaning, they would hold it and read the comic as intended.

wwbn-225x300 Mark Jewelers Insert Comics! Watch out for these books!

Last words

Lastly, for collectors, comics with these inserts tend to have a higher value than the regular cover.  For example, here is a price difference between a regular copy and a “Mark Jewelers Insert” book. Werewolf By Night #32 is a very key issue for Marvel since it details the first appearance of Moon Knight. It is a very expensive issue as the Fair Market Value (FMV) for a graded 6.5 copy is estimated at $975. In contrast, the same issue with the “Mark Jewelers Insert” last sold for $1,975 on 10/31/20 on eBay. That is a difference in exactly a thousand dollars! So it is important to notice these differences and it is a big deal in determining the value of an issue.

FOOTER_Comic3-scaled Mark Jewelers Insert Comics! Watch out for these books!

 

 

 

 

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39 comments

philreal December 4, 2020 - 9:08 pm

Hi Mike, some observations to add to your fine article: a couple of my MJ books have a “star” stamp near the issue number/price point which rumor has it usually means they were sold not only on a military base, but maybe even at an overseas one. The cashiers would typically stamp them as proof the items were paid for.
Also I have a couple that have what appears to be the number “30” in a circle stamped in the price point area in this example over the 20c. I don’t know if this means they were now 30 cents or it symbolizes something else. Maybe another member here knows and can comment as well. These “30” circle books also have a different MJ insert with the jewelry in the centerfold area of the 4 fold and with “alluring” Lingerie on one side and police officer training school on the other. These are earlier books than those that appear with the 4 fold of all jewelry, unfortunately I’m not savvy enough to know how to post pictures with my comments or I’d give some examples. Cheers!

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Mike W December 4, 2020 - 9:41 pm

That is a really nice input. I love it when readers add insight to my article. Do you happen to collect these variants?

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Warren S December 5, 2020 - 11:18 am

Thanks for the info on the star stamp Phil. I coincidentally bought my first MJI variant just last night at a local shop. They actually have a small MJI area in their long boxes. Whodathunkit? I grabbed Luke Cage – Hero For Hire #12 (Aug 1973). When I got home I noticed the star stamp at the top right and was disappointed, but your explanation makes me feel much better about my purchase. I don’t plan on collecting these MJI variants specifically, mostly because I collect everything Iron Man (literally) and that would take me three lifetimes and more money than I’ll ever make to find them all. But I also have the Hero For Hire run (along with every Power Man and Iron Fist, both separate and together) so this was a nice surprise to find.

And Mike – Thank you for the article!

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 11:10 pm

Cool thing to hear. Appreciate the comments and love that you got an MJ insert book. Any plans for more in the future?

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Nathan December 4, 2020 - 11:14 pm

MJ inserts can be found in newsstand DC & Marvel comics from the early 70s until the early 90s. I’ve read that there in about 5% of the print run. Not really sure how legit that is. Seems like they only command premiums on key issues. I have about 10 books with the insert but none I bought were listed or sold as such. Some have the star stamp and some don’t. I consider it a bonus if you find them at no premium.

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 10:50 am

That is nice that you some of the MJ insert books. I am more in agreement that these variants command a more premium price for key issues. Do you have any key issues with the MJ inserts?

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Nathan December 5, 2020 - 6:41 pm

No major keys with the inserts. Best ones I have are Adventure 428, ASM 316, Daredevil 270, DC Comics Presents 49 and Weird Western Tales 29.

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 11:12 pm

No problem, man. It is cool that you have some in general, due to the low quantity of the variants.
Any plans on getting more in the future?

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Daniel Genest December 16, 2020 - 10:27 am

Might be interested in that Adventures 428.

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Daniel Genest December 5, 2020 - 2:32 am

Also Marvel Jewelers from the 80’s are more flimsy.In fact those looks like they are made with the same paper than the cover so that Rigid feeling can’t help you.I have had a few 70’s like Swamp thing 10 and Marvel Feature 3 and I can immediately tell if there is a Mark Jewelers insert in it.As for the 80’s one it’s a surprise each time.

Also as you said most are mid to low grades.Which makes them REALLY hard to find.I suspect they are almost as hard than those 30 cent variants (Even if I have close to 200 of them with at least half as high grades).It has been said numerous times over the years that those were sold on Military bases and I am sure such is the case.

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 10:51 am

Love the comments, Daniel! It is said that having these MJ insert variants are very difficult to have in high grades. Do you have any of these variants in high grade?

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Daniel Genest December 5, 2020 - 8:11 pm

Maybe 40. I have maybe 200 other ones but mostly mid to low grades which aren’t that interesting but it is because of them I became aware of those inserts.They weren’t advertised as Mark Jewelers but when I received those I discovered those inserts.

Iron Man 100+Ms Marvel 16+Iron Man 118 and maybe 1 or 2 other notheworthy ones.The rest are non keys but happy to have them.Also bought a Cap America 154 CGC 9.2 but sadly that’s it.

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 11:13 pm

Wow, that is awesome! You have quite a collection of MJ inserts. Are the inserts mainly for personal collection or will it be used to sell/trade in the future?

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Daniel Genest December 16, 2020 - 10:30 am

Higher grades will stay in my personal collection as people who knows me know I collect all kind of variants EXCEPT 99.9% of Modern variants ( I sometimes falter but not that much.).The rest will go in my trades WHEN the time will be right (It is not right now).

RJ Taylor December 5, 2020 - 5:34 am

And to extend Phil’s comment, There are different types of MJ Insert’s as well. There are the typical, then there are the Blue Alka Seltzer page on the insert marketing add, and there is also National Diamond sales inserts as well. These were typically found in DC and Archie Bronze Age books. It is estimated that about 5% of print run (of the large majority of Marvel Books from Bronze-Copper Age) of the best selling titles from marvel have these insert’s. I have been collecting MJ Insert Edition Variants since 2015 and am intrigued by these books.

I am stoked someone finally brought this Comic Book niche to the four front! Greatly appreciative!

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 10:52 am

Thank you for the additional insight! I am not a super expert on this topic, but I am glad people reading this blog are! What MJ insert books do you have?

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Marc Mokken December 5, 2020 - 9:38 am

Earlier this year I have bought a high grade collection with roughly 6000 copies that have the Mark Jewelers Insert. Most of the key issues will be sold in an upcoming auction by Comiclink after they have been graded by CGC.
They should be graded the end of December/early January and then auctioned in the next auction.
In all past auctions by Comiclink there were none to a maximum of 3-4 copies with the Mark Jewelers insert in each auction. I am having roughly 150 copies graded and auctioned
I expect most of the books to be in 9.0 or higher so this will be an unique opportunity to get high grade copies of Mark Jewelers Insert variants.
Of the 6000 copies that I had (no doubles) I still have roughly 3500 that have the Mark Jewelers insert.

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 10:54 am

Dude, that is an exciting and a great haul!It is even better that you are getting the comics graded as well. Any key issues that you want to share that were included in this collection?

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Marc Mokkey December 5, 2020 - 12:11 pm

Yes there were quite a few key issues
I’ll try to post a rough list tomorrow but I can let you know right now that x-men 94-141 was in there (no 137 that was a square bound and doesn’t have the MJI)
You don’t see these very often
All x-men are being cgc graded and will be auctioned

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Marc Mokken December 5, 2020 - 12:11 pm

That should be Marc Mokken

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 11:12 pm

I agree, man. We do not see these MJ inserts very often. Was it your plan all along to buy it and then sell it off?

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Marc Mokken December 6, 2020 - 7:54 am

Below you’ll find the list of all the MJI comics that are currently being graded and when graded will be auctioned at Comiclink
Most of these are key books and a lot of them are very difficult to find with the insert, especially in high grade

Action Comics 521
All Star Comics 69
Amazing Spider-Man 134
135
148
149
194
210
212
238 with tattoos
252
265
Astonishing Tales 25
Avengers 144
181
196
257
Batman 357
359
Captain America 180
217
241
Captain Marvel 33
34
Conan 58
Creatures on the loose 30
Daredevil 131
132
158
161
162
163
168
DC Comics Presents 26
49
Dead of night 11
Defenders 28
Detective Comics 471
474
475
476
Doctor Strange 1
2
Fantastic Four 211
Fear 24
Flash 225
GI Joe 21
House of Mystery 211
290
Howard the Duck 12
13
Incredible Hulk 228
234
271
340
Iron Man 128
Marvel Premiere 21
28
47
49
50
57
Marvel Spotlight 28
32
33
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars 8
Marvel Team-Up 65
141
Marvel Two-In-One 5
Ms Marvel 16
17
18
Power Man 24
50
66
Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter 5
Shazam 25
28
Spectacular Spider-Man 64
Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends 1
Star Wars 42
68
81
107
Strange Tales 178
180
181
Superman 317
Swamp Thing (1984) 20
21
37
Tales of the Teen Titans (1984) 44
Thor 225
229
337
338
339
Tomb of Dracula 24
25
28
Weird War Tales 64
Werewolf By Night 33
37
Wonder Woman 204
X-Men 86
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
138
139
140
141
142
201
212
213
221

Marc Mokken December 6, 2020 - 7:57 am

To answer your other question, I bought the collection for resale but didn’t realize the inserts were there after I bought the collection.

Mike W December 6, 2020 - 11:01 am

Thanks for letting me know. It is nice that you should be making a nice profit from the collection that you bought. I cannot remember if you did inform me, but are you keeping any MJ inserts for yourself?

Daniel Genest December 5, 2020 - 8:13 pm

If you have a list I might be interested in buying 9.2 or better of some of these.

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Marc Mokken December 6, 2020 - 8:19 am

Hi Daniel,
Sorry I don’t have list, yet. There are too many left and too little time. As mentioned I have only send a selection of the key issues (which I’ve just posted on this site) to have them CGC graded and then auctioned.
As of yet I don’t plan to have any others graded simply because of the costs.
I haven’t mentioned yet that I live in the Netherlands and shipping them to CGC and then back again to me (with Fedex) and having to pay import fees again over my own comic books will be very expensive.
This is why I wanted to auction off this first batch so everyone can see that the grades are overall very high.
I graded all books myself (before shipping them to Comiclink) and am anxious to see how close or how far off I was/am with my grading and hope that with my 45 years experience I won’t be too far off the mark. But I’m reasonably confident that there will be a lot off books graded 9.2 and higher.
At least I’ll have a proper referral when these books come back from CGC.
I ask most people who are interested to send me a list with books they are interested in and I will check what I have.
About 2500 books have already been sold this way.
Marc

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Marc Mokken December 10, 2020 - 6:19 am

The first 134 comics have been returned from CGC and are inpreview of the January auction of Comiclink.
Here’s a link to the books/auction:
https://www.comiclink.com/Auctions/search.asp?PreviewCode=2021jan&where=auctions&title=mark+jewelers&GO=GO&ItemType=CB

If this doesn’t work just go to the Comiclink Focused Auction Preview Auction Starts January 7th
and fill in Mark Jewelers in the search auction field.

One extra note. CGC made a mistake with these books:
The Action Comics #521
Amazing Spider-Man #212
Amazing Spider-Man #238
Avengers #257
Daredevil #132
They forgot to mention on the label that they have the Mark Jewelers insert and the will be send back to CGC to be relabelled

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philreal December 5, 2020 - 9:39 am

Actually got into it about 25 years ago when I bought a group of silver raw Captain America books and one of them had the MJ insert. Had never seen one before so started searching for more, specifically to CA. My earliest one is #158 2/72 and the latest is #187 2/75(interestingly the Vietnam War ended in April of 75). I don’t have the whole run in-between only 14 issues as not easy to find in the wild. Back then a lot of sale listing never mentioned the insert or if they did it wasn’t described as a “variant”. I believe most described it as a heavy paper ad in the middle of the book(if mentioned at all) and didn’t see it as anything that would add to the value of the book more than a normal issue. Some may have see it as just an added centerfold distraction, where I see it as history at a time when many of our young men were overseas & comics may have made them feel a bit closer to home while reading the exploits of America’s symbol of democracy, while the MJ insert had them thinking about their significant other as well. I’d be curious on how successful the ad’s were when it came to actual sales(?).

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 10:55 am

Nice comments man. The comments you have made are what I have heard about these MJ inserts. Do you plan on collecting more in the future or was that a one-time purchase?

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John December 5, 2020 - 9:58 am

Mike, thanks for this! I noticed a “star” stamp in the top left or sometimes the CC stamp. Literally a star, not the word “star.” Not very often though. Do you know if this is a particular location/military base or anything about this? I smell a pedigree-like potential for these MJs with the srars.

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 10:56 am

Thanks for the comments! Do you collect MJ Inserts?

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John December 5, 2020 - 10:00 am

Oops I missed the earlier comment on the star sorru.

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John December 5, 2020 - 10:03 am

Wanted to also mention that Reggiecollects has a video on these MJs

https://youtu.be/ytrVYAbti8w

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 10:58 am

I am a fan of Reggiecollects and I will be sure to watch his video. What did you think of his video?

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smrosen85 December 5, 2020 - 10:24 am

Finally, I was starting to worry that the internet forgot about this! A pawn shop i used to work in had a half-dozen longboxes of poly-bagged comics,ranging from the late 1970s to the mid 1990s. And a good amount of them had the Mark Jewelers insert. Today, I consider myself lucky to have bought most of those MJ variants.
They include: Amazing Spider-Man 248 and 265, Thing 35, and Avengers 257.

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Mike W December 5, 2020 - 10:59 am

That is awesome news to hear! Knowledge is power man! Your haul included some key spider-man issues. Do you collect MJ Inserts?

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Marc Mokken December 6, 2020 - 11:09 am

No I’m not keeping any for myself, all of them are for sale.

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mmokken January 8, 2021 - 12:18 pm

The first 126 CGC graded Mark Jewelers comics are now in auction at Comiclink.
Here’s the link to the books:
https://www.comiclink.com/Auctions/search.asp?FocusedOnly=1&where=auctions&title=mark+jewelers&GO=GO&ItemType=CB&pg=2

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mmokken January 8, 2021 - 3:46 pm

I’m not seeing my previous post so I’m trying once more.
The auction has started, here’s a link to the mark jewelers books
https://www.comiclink.com/Auctions/search.asp?FocusedOnly=1&where=auctions&title=mark+jewelers&GO=GO&ItemType=CB&pg=2

Reply

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