There seems to be an overriding sense of “being a collector” when you are trying to speculate about comics and make some money on the market. Sometimes I watch the value of a comic go up and I say to myself “why is this happening?”. It doesn’t make sense because…there are hundreds of them on the census, they are always for sale, and I can always buy one. So, as a collector, what makes it special and why would I want it? But then there are some comics out there that hold rarity above everything else, and for me these are where the real gains can be made. Let’s take a look at a couple.
When a character becomes popular, you tend to witness a tremendous gain in value for their first appearance book. If you happen to hit THE nexus (where your comic hits a popularity peak while also possessing rarity)…you will have a very good day. And I will say it again: all things being equal, the rarer a comic the better. When Black Panther was released, the first sale of a 9.8 graded Jungle Action #6 (which features the first appearance of Killmonger, and there are only 7 copies on the census) nearly doubled all the previous sales. The next sale doubled again, and the next. Market prices have finally settled around the $5000 mark, but recently no sales have happened despite copies being available on the market.
Many books can be considered “rare” by the measure of the census, but what does it really mean to be considered such? Avengers #145 is a comic that I have wanted to see hit the market in a 9.8 grade for quite sometime. This book has the first appearance of The Assassin and has a great classic cover by Kane and Adkins. Of the 77 graded copies (in the good old blue label) only 7 exist in the highest grade. 7 copies seems rare, and by any account it is, but those 7 copies represent approximately 9% of the total graded copies. For me to consider a 9.8 rare, I always like to aim for a ratio closer to 5%, or lower, of the total graded copies. But this book has not had a recorded sale at a 9.8 grade in a over a year…which may be a better indicator of how rare this particular book might be.
A better real-world representation of comic rarity would be Marvel Premiere #1. With the hype around Warlock growing steadily since the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, most titles associated with the character are seeing gains on the market. If Warlock does make an appearance, you can expect Marvel Premiere #1 to be a prime recipient of the value pop. This book is the first appearance of the Warlock persona (in a transition from the “Him” character) and is a highly desired title among collectors. Now lets talk rarity…of the 1221 graded copies on the census, there are 9 copies at a 9.8 grade. That works out to a ratio of 0.7% of copies at the highest grade. For anyone holding one of these copies at the moment in time when Adam Warlock is confirmed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it will surely be a spectacular day for a speculator looking to cash-in.
What is the most rare book that you possess? Is there a certain rare comic that is taking your attention for Phase IV? Drop your comments and join the speculation!