Originally created as a way around the Comics Code Authority’s rules against vampires, Sauron has since risen to become one of the X-Men’s greatest antagonists. And yes, Sauron is named after the dark lord in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novels. With much of X-Men comic book speculation often focused on the team’s members, a possible rise in Sauron’s keys may be flying under the radar.
The first of Sauron’s keys is X-Men #59; in which the X-Men seek out the help of doctor Karl Lykos to save an injured Havoc. Dr. Lykos’ appearance in the issue is more in line with a cameo as he only appears on the last page and from behind in shadow. Furthermore, he remains in human form. Despite these aspects, X-Men #59 has managed to attain a high position in the market.
From 2011 to 2017, sales prices of the book consolidated in a very interesting fashion. The higher end of CGC 9.4 declined as much as -50% off the highs, which surely caused panic for anyone invested in the book. At the same time, however, just under that grade at CGC 9.2 and 9.0, the sales prices managed to hold steady. Each one by itself presented a pessimistic view, but together, they gave a positive show of support. Within a few months of this in late 2017, sales prices for X-Men #59 broke out.
With a weakened Havok in his care, Doctor Karl Lykos gives in to the desire to absorb mutant energy. The power overwhelms Lykos, transforming him into his pterodactyl form as Sauron, in his 1st appearance. Although X-Men #60 is arguably higher on the Sauron key comic list in most aspects such as cameo vs full, as Sauron, cover art, etc.; its market value is surprisingly just a little higher at comparable grades to X-Men #59.
In a similar timeframe as the aforementioned book, the chart below shows sales for X-Men #60 at grades CGC 9.4/9.2/9.0. The major differences are that X-Men #60 had much less movement pre-2017; it trended flat but with a much higher volume of sales. Then in late 2017, it experienced the same upward movement at the higher end 9.4. The lower 9.2 and 9.0 are slowly following. With both books on the move, it would appear the market is beginning to favor Sauron.
To gauge the overall sentiment towards Sauron, we look at another popular Sauron-focused book, Uncanny X-Men #115. After a savage fight with the X-Men, a weakened Sauron transforms back into his Karl Lykos human form. Before Wolverine delivers the final blow, Ka-Zar steps in.
Here we look at the market for Uncanny X-Men #115 in a similar time frame as the books above; for grades CGC 9.8 and 9.6. Upon first glance, the trends appear flat for both grades. This is partly due to the low/close market values of the two grades, and the abundance of CGC graded books bunched within the two grades in the CGC census. So we take a closer look, and when we do, two things of note actually occurred. At 9.8, the lower end of the sales range reached a low in 2017 and has been going up since; the same 2017 inflection point as the above books. Furthermore, 9.6’s flat trend spanning almost a decade provides a good picture of where support is; which makes its recent move upwards even more interesting. Possibly making a mountain out of a molehill, but sales prices of 9.6s appear to be making a small move upwards. While this by itself can be easily discounted, but in light of the market behavior of the two above books, it could be the beginnings of something bigger.
“And, I choose… EVIL! And evil so great… so monumental that only one name in all the annals of literature will contain it!” – Sauron
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