When copies of Amazing Spider-Man #1 drop to their lowest values in three years, it’s time to take notice. On the bright side, it’s a great time to be a buyer.
After “COVID-19 Fallout: The Eternals” posted, I was met with an abundance of skepticism. Many collectors scoffed at the idea that The Eternals could signal the beginning of a comic market crash. Until the movie news started, The Eternals’ early appearances weren’t considered major keys, so why would these issues indicate a larger problem?
The thing to remember is the Eternals is one piece of a bigger puzzle. Eternals #1 has been the best-selling graded comic over the past year or more, and it amassed ridiculous prices in that span. When the hottest book on the market suddenly goes belly up, it’s time to take notice.
IT’S MORE THAN AN ETERNALS ISSUE
Even the traditionally solid keys are feeling the burn of the global recession. I pointed out in “COVID-19 Fallout: The Silver Surfer Keys” that this is not limited to just MCU-fueled comics. As hot as the Surfer’s keys have been since last year, even the likes of Fantastic Four #48 has fallen on hard times. That is only the beginning.
As I was researching various major keys and looking at sales data, what caught my attention was a “holy grail” for most collectors: ASM #1.
A year ago, the entire market was much more sound. Throughout 2019, this grail was earning impressive numbers, and many grades were setting record highs. Since the middle of March, things have drastically changed.
Look closer at the 6.5. It sold for a record-high $22,000 in November. Then the COVID-19 outbreak hit the United States, and even this behemoth of the market took a beating. That same record-setting 6.5 dropped from its 2019 fair market value of $19,625 to a $12,557 sale on March 29.
Moving down the grades, it is mostly the same case. Last year, the 4.5 averaged over $9k, but from March 15-16, those sale prices dipped to $7,800 and $8k.
At first glance, the 4.0 appears to be doing better, selling for $9,985 on March 24. However, that looks to be an anomaly when you consider that it is sandwiched between a March 20 sale for $5,600 and another on March 28 for $7,600. Both of those are off the pace from the 2019’s $8,106 FMV.
THE LOW GRADES AREN’T SAFE, EITHER
We see the downward trend continue with the 3.0. In both 2018 and 2019, it carried a fair market value over $6k. On March 2, it was following that course and selling for $6,300. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s been a much different story. By March 15, the sale price dipped to $5,400. The last sale saw it bring $5,040 on March 29.
In February, a 1.0 sold for $3,750, matching the highest sale price from 2019. Since March 20, it has dropped by close to $1k and hasn’t sold for more than $2,800 in that span.
Finally, we have the incomplete 0.5. A year ago, it carried an FMV of $2,600. In January, it sold for over $2,200 before it cracked the $3k mark on March 11. As we have seen with many other grades, things took a dramatic turn less than a week later when a March 15 sale netted $1,832.
THE MARKET ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE
Like ASM #1, 2019 was a great year for many key issues, particularly the grails. With so much uncertainty in the world and unemployment rates soaring, it’s no wonder that these high-priced issues are sinking. This is happening with so many keys, even the likes of Incredible Hulk #181 and Giant-Size X-Men #1, which I’ll break down for you in the coming days.