Pressing Concerns

by Norman Robinson III

125956_1bd31f6e5e16cb380ff4a16c16f415d959370954-201x300 Pressing ConcernsComic books like all collectibles have value based off condition. This is not the lone determinant but it definitely quantifies the range of prices for a book. For instance, what is the range on a Spider-Man #1 in fair condition with a rating CGC of 1.0 grade? This book according to GoCollect falls somewhere between the range  $3100 and $3600 FMV. Those are the values directly below and above grade (1.0), a half point above and half point below. The current grade (1.0) is at $3300. Now we have a very rough idea of where our book falls in the spectrum of prices. But what if you could improve a full grade on your comic. Say it has slight bending damage, some curving of spine, but without a color break could we get this book to a 1.5 or even a (2.0)? You betcha, through the magic of pressing and lightly cleaning the comic you might be able to boost the book an entire grade. Would you press a book to increase its value $300 with only $50 of additional cost?

The Incredible Hulk #180

The first true cameo appearance of Wolverine is in The Incredible Hulk #180. This issue was written by Len Wein with pencils by Herb Trimpe in 1974. This big Bronze Age cameo is the predecessor to the massive top key of the Bronze Age The Incredible Hulk #181. Both of these books are now expensive but IH#180 is much less so. If we were to take and press The Incredible Hulk #180 in a grade of (9.0) the results might well push this book over the top to a (9.2). That is only (.2) higher than the previous grade, a mere smidgen of difference. But the value would increase IH#180 from $700 to $1000 FMV.

Pressing Your Luck

To have found these books in the first place and paid what you thought they were worth at the time is a huge bit of luck in the first place. But what is the real process involved in pressing a book with a company like CGC? “Pressing is a process that can enhance the appearance of a comic book by removing non-color breaking defects such as dents, bends, crunches, rippling, warping, spine rolls and indentations.” (source: CGC) In addition, to pressing the imperfections out of the comics, some companies offer what they refer to as “dry cleaning.” Now, this is not like dry cleaning your clothes but it does remove some of the light soiling or very light stains. These services are worth the money and they do cost a bit per book. Two warnings: first, any heavily damaged fragile book that has parts falling out of it should not be pressed or even touched. Also, the damage to any book with color breaks you should pass on, otherwise it will not increase the value to press it.

Back to our earlier example of The Incredible Hulk #180  in grade (9.0). The value of this book is $700 in FMV, but its real value is closer to $945 per the last sale on eBay. Compare that to the grade (9.2) you are striving for and you just took a book valued at $700 FMV in (9.0) and pressed the book to a real value of $1135 on eBay. This added value can be used to undersell the book in an emergency, or just sell it to recoup losses, it gives you the flexibility to maneuver these ephemera treasures. By the way, the ROI on a grade (9.0) IH#180 is positive +117.7%. I have been a bit of a gambler in my past and made some tough bets, but this is an easy bet to make, press your luck.


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