Investing in comics is a gamble. No matter how much research you do, there is a chance you could take a loss. However, there’s one comic that is as close to a sure thing as you’ll find: Hulk 181. But if you don’t have one of your own just yet, it’ll be out of reach very soon if you don’t act fast.
Incredible Hulk #181 is a true behemoth of the collector’s market. It gains in value virtually every day, and it is immune to market ups and downs. Of course the problem is that even the upper-mid grades are approaching the unattainable levels, at least for the ones with the Marvel Value Stamps.
Just for fun, let’s look at the mythical Hulk #181 at a 9.8. Realistically, not many of us have the spare cash to put into such a high grade copy, but we’ll pretend that we do anyway. In two years, it has very nearly doubled in fair market value. Back in 2016, you could have bought one on average for the low price of $12,393. Now look at the 90-day FMV, which stands at $24,625. So if you have an extra $25K lying around, you could find worse places to put it.
Let’s say that you want to keep your investment within four digits. A year ago, you could still get your hands on a very nice CGC-graded 9.6 back when it averaged $8,945. Within a couple of years, that price will have been a steal. The 90-day average for a 9.6 is currently at $10,784. Since April, there have already been two sales for over $13K.
The most popular choice for a complete Hulk #181 is at a 7.5 grade. There have been 18 sales at that grade in the past three months, and they’re averaging $2,540. As lofty as that price is, you’ll want to invest in this now; the last two sales for 7.5s just days ago were both for over $3K. What’s eye-opening is how quickly it’s reached that level. Back in January, it peaked at $1,858.
What if you want to keep your investment under $2K? You’ll have to downgrade all the way to a 6.5 for that, and even a complete comic (meaning it has the MVS) is only slightly below that mark at a 90-day average of $1,961. However, that number is misleading. The past five sales have averaged over $2,200, and the most recent went for $2,400. Even an incomplete qualified label (aka, the green label, which means that the book is missing something, typically the MVS) at a 6.5 has averaged over $1,100 in the past 12 months.
You could have gotten at least a 4.5 for $962 in 2017, but that number is a relic at this point. Only one copy has sold for less than $1K in 2018, so if you toss at that outlier, you’ve got an average of over $1,200 in eight sales.
If you want to really see how out of control this comic has gotten, I present to you the CGC 1.0. If you’ve got a 1.0, that means that it is barely even considered a comic, and it still carries an FMV of $865. At least in 2017 it was a bit more reasonable at $452, but $865 for a 1.0? That’s ridiculous.
My point is when a 1.0 is on the brink of cracking the $1K mark, you know things have officially gotten out of control. However, whatever money you throw at a Hulk #181, it is actually worth it. Unless something catastrophic happens, the values are going to continue to rise, so you are virtually guaranteed to make money, and the longer you wait, the bigger the profit margin.