One of the biggest comic stories of the summer was the debut of a fifth ninja turtle, Jennika. Collectors and investors flocked for her key issues months ago, inflating the values in the process, but are they still worth those price tags?
Back in July and August, her cameo and full first appearances made huge waves in the collecting circles, and those issues were among the best sellers of 2019. Now that we’ve had a few months to digest the five-member turtle team, how are those issues holding up?
Before I get into the numbers, let me say that TMNT is a brand that never seems to lose its popularity. Since its inception and original cartoon series in the 1980s, the ninja turtles resonate with each subsequent generation. It’s hard not to love the turtles, and kids flock to every incarnation of their series, movies, and toys. All that being said, changing the lineup after nearly 40 years was risky. As we know, the comic community doesn’t necessarily take to change too well. In this case, Jennika has been a hit with fans, and she’s even getting her own limited series next year. What is the state of the market for those Jennika keys?
Although not a major player in 2015, Jennika made her first appearance in TMNT #51 some four years ago. Little did fans know that she would be elevated to the role of ninja turtle, but that’s what makes collecting fun. In this case, the faithful TMNT fans who followed the series were rewarded with a diamond in the rough.
If you have a TMNT #51 in a higher grade, you are a happy collector. The graded 9.8, which had been selling for around $75 in September, recently sold for $150, giving it a 90-day average of $103. The bigger values are in the retailer incentive. At 9.8, that comic is currently selling for over $200.
With little fanfare, this issue fueled huge sales for the latest TMNT series. In the closing panels of TMNT #95, Jennika receives a blood transfusion. The mutated blood transforms her into a turtle. Collectors and investors flocked to the shelves, buying up as many copies as they could get their hands on.
Overall, this issue is still holding value, but the prices have been gradually deflating. The standard edition graded at a 9.8 was a $150 back in September. These days, it’s averaging closer to $70. However, if you have the San Diego Comic-Con edition, you are in luck. While it’s not selling for the $450 price tag it fetched three months ago, it’s still bringing about $400.
By the time TMNT #96 reached stores, investors were prepped and ready. When Jennika made her full debut as a ninja turtle, it was far from a secret. Those higher numbers resulted in this issue being less rare, which translates into lower values compared to TMNT #95. There has only been one recorded sale of a graded 9.8 for the standard edition, and that one sold for $75 in October. Earlier this month, a retailer incentive 9.8 brought just $55.
This is another case of hoopla for a first appearance that isn’t panning out. The lesson to learn is if you can’t get a copy of a “flavor of the month” comic for close to cover price, then it is best to wait until the hype settles. In the case of Jennika, we could see another spike in values when she is featured in yet another TMNT cartoon or movie (and it’s fairly certain that she will be at some point). Now is a good time to invest while prices are down.
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