There is a Grand Canyon of difference between two kinds of collectors of ephemera (comic books). On the one side, you have raw collectors, purists who hate the concept of slabs, and fixed grades. They most especially hate not being able to read the book you just purchased if say it was CGC’d. Juxtaposed to these raw collectors (Raw-Istas) are the folks who exclusively trade in slabbed books. They are known as speculators (Slabbers). These Slabbers, see comics as pure investment vehicles nothing more (I am generalizing here many of us are in the middle). The fact of a grade and a professional endorsement and analysis is as close to the stock market as you can get. Want a piece of a blue-chip stock; then buy a (9.8) mint condition popular key comic book and that provides about the same reliability as any other investment vehicle. This appears to be the great divide in our country; not right or left; but “to slab or not to slab that is the question.”
One type of comic book you might consider slabbing are any Golden Age keys, especially origin stories. The featured comic is Detective Comics #168. Currently, this is not only the first appearance of The Red Hood but also the origin story for Joker. What better book to own? This book was produced during the Golden Age of comics and sold in stores on February 10, 1951. Two very large artistic teams created this book; Bill Finger, Henry Boltinoff, Jack Schiff, and William Morrison created the script. The second large team was pencilers consisting of Lew Schwartz, Win Mortimer, Henry Boltinoff, Dan Barry, Frank Bolle, H. T. Elmo, and finally Bruno Premiani. Whew! This book is a big money-maker, with the most recent sale in January 2019 for $8600 and that was at a grade of 4.5! The total return for this book at the 4.5 grade is currently sitting at positive +1024.3%, that is “no yolk.”
Before the Iron Man movie hit the scene in 2008. Before Avengers: Infinity War became one of the most successful movies of all time. Life as a comic book aficionado was good. Collectors could count on the Overstreet Guide being the bible for comics, the investor class were real collectors first and investors second. Finally and best of all, the speculators had all been wiped out during the 1990s when hundreds of specialty comic book stores went under and the market collapsed for an entire generation. The CGC, or Certified Guaranty Company LLC was launched in January 2000. Since then it has taken comic collectors and speculators by storm. Now everyone is in on this abrupt change in the guidelines and upper limits of price points for comic book investing. Even absolute purists can’t help but protect their truly valuable books this way. Could you imagine dropping Action Comics #1 or Detective Comics #27 on the floor? Exactly. Me neither, everyone uses some form of slabbing now to protect the uber-value books. There are other companies that slab and grade as well: CBCS, and PGX are two of the more popular companies performing comic sacrilege.
Raw Collectors a View Point:
The comic books are to be read and enjoyed. Slabbing them is contrary to everything collecting comics stands for. How can you enjoy the story and sentimentality of a great comic book saga without being able to hold it in your hand? Nostalgia is kind of hard to experience through plastic casing, right? Most especially stories you read as a kid you can still enjoy to this day in raw format. The slabs are just a marketing gimmick for people who don’t really know comics, read comics and certainly are not fans. They are trading in and out of these like it is fine art or some other high-end collectible. Comic books are something to treasure, and enjoy how can you do that behind plexiglass?
Slab Speculators a View Point:
What is the harm? Can’t you have it both ways? Why shouldn’t we slab our books? The Overstreet Guide will only give the clarification and book pricing to a grade (9.2) near mint minus. By engaging in slabbing and grading of comics we guarantee correct pricing and grading. After all, if you have a 9.8 mint condition book shouldn’t you get compensated for it? Furthermore, without companies like CGC, the full value of superior collections will be lost. With grading already provided, speculators can trade these comics like baseball cards only better. Besides, don’t you want to sleep easy at night knowing your collection is encased?