There’s Always Money in the Newsstand – Collecting the Boom

by Mr. Long/Short

UXM-266-combo-300x235 There's Always Money in the Newsstand - Collecting the Boom

Newsstand editions from the comic book boom in the 1990s are the most underappreciated and undervalued area within comics at the moment.  There are many undervalued gems out there as the collecting community underestimates the scarcity of these books.

History

I grew up collecting newsstand edition comics that I would pick up at my local pharmacy.  This wasn’t my choice, just the simple reality of a kid growing up in rural Maine.  I always was a bit self-conscious about my books because they had the barcode instead of the cool picture of Spider-Man or Captain America.  I would buy my comics from the spinner rack and if I was lucky there would be three or four new copies of the latest comics on any given week.

703524_x-men-1-wolverine-and-cyclops-variant-194x300 There's Always Money in the Newsstand - Collecting the BoomIt is estimated that during the 90s, approximately 15% of the comics were newsstand editions.  While this may be true on average, I would say that number is far too high.  When it came to spinner rack books there were three or four issues available at a time.  It didn’t matter how many issues the comic book stores were ordering. The direct market caused the overprinting boom of the 90s. I can assure you that there were not 1.2 million copies sold on newsstands of Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 (8,000,000 x 15% = 1,200,000).

Additionally, finding newsstand editions in high grade can be extremely tricky.  Many of these books were stuffed into dollar bins and not looked after because they were deemed worthless.  Retailers would destroy unsold copies from the spinner racks, further reducing the availability of newsstand editions.  By focusing on newsstand editions collectors can sidestep the entire bubble from the 1990s.

Unrecognized Value

The comic book community only acknowledges a handful of newsstand variants from the 90s (most notably Spawn #1). For the most part, they just 692363_spawn-1-newsstand-edition-199x300 There's Always Money in the Newsstand - Collecting the Boomlump them in with the direct editions.  Check out this post for more on Spawn #1.  CGC does not recognize newsstand editions outside of a handful of books.  This is good news for collectors as they can oftentimes pick up newsstand editions for the same price as direct editions.  This opportunity won’t last for long once the community begins to fully appreciate the scarcity of newsstand editions from the 90s. Many savvy collectors sniffed this out a while ago.

Awareness has slowly started to change over the last six months.  CGC just recently began listing a newsstand version of Uncanny X-Men #266.  More influencers in the hobby have started banging the drum about these variants.  While the opportunity remains open, the window could be closed very quickly.

Real-time test

xforce_2nsnm-195x300 There's Always Money in the Newsstand - Collecting the BoomIf you want to see first hand what I am talking about go take a look at X-Force #2 on eBay.  This book has an estimated print run of 1 million copies.  The huge print has made Deadpool’s second appearance effectively worthless.  If you scroll through listings on eBay you will find less than 5% of the listing are newsstand editions. Some sellers are wise to this and charge more for the newsstand edition but some aren’t.

Conclusion

I know the newsstand market extends beyond just the 90s. Newsstands were fairly plentiful prior to the 90s.  After the 90s they started to get extremely rare (this is another fun area to hunt).  For a collector who grew up during the boom, it is fun to go back and hunt for hot books from my formative years in the hobby.  Looking for these books will add a whole new dynamic to your collecting experience. Stay tuned for a follow-up piece to this article where I discuss the top ten 90s newsstands to be on the lookout for.

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5 comments

Daniel Genest April 17, 2020 - 5:49 pm

Canadian Newstand Price Variants from the 80’s are harder to find in high grades.And the more into the 80’s you go the hardest they are to find.Think about this:Canada general populace was almost 1/10 of USA.And out of 10 provinces in Canada there was 1 province who didn’t bought as much can.newstand price variants than the rest of Canada-the Province of Quebec where I live,In the 80’s most people weren’t talking english so there wasn’t that many around EXCEPT in comic book stores which were beginning to emerge.In Quebec city the 1st comic book shop opened in 1985.So if you do the math Canadian Newstand Price Variants are 1/10 and probably less than USA Newstand variants.THAT is hard to find!

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Mr. Long/Short April 18, 2020 - 6:49 am

They are really hard to find. Thanks for the detail on this. It is something I will dig into.

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Daniel Genest April 18, 2020 - 11:08 am

I’m canadian but NOT in the best market for those (I live in Quebec city where most people didn’t talked english that much in the 80’s) but it’s mainly all or nothing here in Canada..Some in other provinces find a lot of those Canadian Newstand Price Variant in comic shop or collections BUT most of these books are not keys and certainly NOT high grades (9.0 and up).

But MOST are like me….they struggle to find some.Quite frankly most of those I have in 9.2 or way up (9.8) have been bought from the racks in the beginning as I was lucky.At the time I was buying from a brand new comic shop and those that were Newstands were probably there because the owner didn’t knew how many of certain books to order as he was beginning so when he needed more copies he probably bought them from a local newstand distributor.Which is probably WHY he (And me) ended up with Newstand copies.As an example yesterday I was looking at some and I had New Mutants 1+3+4+6+8+9 but all other books were regular comic book shop copies.If I ever buy books from people who were buying at that time those would probably be the New Mutants books I would get.Same as mine.

Other Canadian Price Variant copies I have have been bought on Ebay or local mini comic cons.

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Pete April 23, 2020 - 10:27 am

I don’t get it. The newstand should be lumped in with the direct edition because it doesn’t matter whether you bought your comics from a comic shop or a newstand. I bought books from both places and there was no difference in the quality of the books. They were probably handled less at the newstand because they carried a lot more magazines and newspapers than comic books. I get cover variants, error variants, I even get the appeal of the price variant. News stand variant shouldn’t be a thing, I don’t care if news stands distributed fewer books. The books are the same.

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Mr. Long/Short April 23, 2020 - 11:58 am

There are far few copies printed of newsstand comics. It is fine if you don’t see a difference between the two, collecting newsstand variants aren’t for everyone. That said, the market is clearly beginning to pay for more for these variants.

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