The Christmas Dip is Upon Us

by Matt Tuck

Tis the season for spending, but when it comes to those “holy grail” comics, it’s a bad time to sell (but a great time to buy). Welcome to the dreaded “Christmas dip.”

During the holiday season, the comic market generally slows down. It’s one of the worst times of the year for sellers, especially if you’re looking to move a holy grail-level key. Even for the most reliable of investments, this is when values take a momentary hit. 

ASM-1-203x300 The Christmas Dip is Upon UsLooking at the sales data, we see alarming drops in fair market values for the “holy grails.” When you see the likes of Amazing Spider-Man #1 or Fantastic Four #48 taking a downward turn virtually across the board, it’s easy to panic. And that’s exactly what’s happening. Not only for those two mega keys, but F.F. #52, ASM #14, ASM #300, Iron Man #1, and even Avengers #1 follow the same trend – the 90-day averages are down for the majority of grades. Aren’t these heavy hitters supposed to be immune from market trends? 

Tis the season of giving, which means buyers are spending their money elsewhere. Holiday seasons are taxing on most of us. By the time you finish shopping for everyone on your list, there’s not much left for comics. In the case of the holy grails, the prices are simply too high, at least for this time of year. However, what is bad news for sellers equates to great news for buyers. 


Hulk-181-201x300 The Christmas Dip is Upon UsWhile you’re not going to get any of the major keys at Sam’s Choice prices, you can find good deals because the demand is on a temporary hiatus. Take Incredible Hulk #181. Traditionally, this is one of the most solid investments on the market, but not even this behemoth is safe from the dip.

Compared to the 2018 averages, Hulk #181 values have been as steady as ever. Out of the 20 grades that have sold in the past 90 days, 19 of those gained value in the last 12 months. The only one that didn’t happened to be the 2.0, and it only lost $18 in FMV.

The more shocking number is the 90-day averages. Of those same 20 grades, 18 have lost money since September. Even further, 11 out of the 12 grades that traded hands in December experienced the Christmas dip.

This is the case with many of the holy grails of comics. Even for the lower grades, they are too pricey when the disposable income is tapped dry.


Gsx-page-one-217x300 The Christmas Dip is Upon UsNot every key suffers from the dreaded Christmas dip, such as Giant-Size X-Men #1. Ever since Jonathan Hickman’s overhaul, X-Men keys have been the rage in the collecting circles, and GSX #1 is atop many wish lists. For many X-fans, this is the issue to have. Sure, X-Men #1 is the original team’s first appearance, but GSX #1 gave readers the team that made the team popular. It makes sense that this comic stands out as beating the trend.


There’s no need to worry when it comes to your holy grails, particularly Hulk #181. There will always be a demand for those iconic issues, and the market will pick up. This happens basically every year, and we’ll see it again in 2020. Still, if you happen to have the cash for your dream comic, this is when you can get a copy for under its FMV and reap the rewards with a little patience.


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