Too High to Buy…

by Blaise Tassone

120326_dabffdaf3afa8371e8ea760aed4cb6d53233644a-201x300 Too High to Buy…

Knowing when to buy a comic is just as important as knowing when to sell.

Most of the time, we can get a good sense of when certain comics are in demand and so desired by many people. That is, we all know when such and such is the ‘hot’ book.

For example, right now Marvel Super-Heroes #13 is in high demand; and so is Aquaman #1 , House of Secrets #92 and Spider-man #300, at least, judging from sales data.

Does that mean that right now is the perfect time to buy these books?

Not really, unless you like paying a lot more for a book than you otherwise would.

So, in this post, I want to look at when we should refrain from buying a given comic.

When is a comic too high in price to buy without losing money and/or minimizing your future return?

To start, let’s state upfront this is not an easy question to answer. If we take a relatively recent example, many people thought that after release of ‘The Force Awakens’ in December of 2015, Marvel’s first issue of Star Wars, Star Wars #1 (July 1977) , was a great buy and could only go up in value.

Unfortunately, if you believed the hype, you probably were willing to spend, as somebody actually did, $2, 400.00 (on a 05/15/2015 eBay sale of a certified 9.8) on a copy. If so, you might be waiting years, if not a decade or more, to sell this comic and make anything close to your money back – if, indeed, it ever reaches those heights again.

And all it took was a series of not so well-received movies and an abundance of supply (current Fair Market Value for SW #1 in 9.8 is $975.00- and see my post about demand: Here) to bring the value of that comic crashing down.

So now let’s take a current example, the already mentioned above Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (March 1968) – Second appearance of Captain Marvel; First appearance of Carol Danvers. Looking at this comic and taking into consideration the data, let’s see why it’s probably a bad time to buy.

Recently, a certified 9.6 copy of MSH #13 sold on ComicLink on 11/28/2018 for $31, 111.00 (!).

Previous to that, the last recorded sale of this comic according to, in the same 9.6 grade, sold for $414.00 in a Heritage Auction from 08/13/2003. This is an insanely high mark up of over 7400% in value over the last 15 years.

Sure, MSH #13 is hard to find in 9.6 grade (this is the second highest graded known copy on the census, with only one 9.8 that beats it and therefore one of a total of seven copies in 9.6 grade as of my writing this blog post) but is this comic currently so expensive because Carol Danvers is an A-list Marvel character with a first rate legacy of great comic stories?

Is Ms. Marvel really a historically seminal icon of the Super-hero genre?

Or, is this book currently expensive because of the hype building around the upcoming MCU ‘Captain Marvel’ film set for release on March 8 of this year?

No offense intended to all the Captain Marvel fans out there, but I think the latter is the reason for this price hike.

If so, that can only mean that after release of the up-coming ‘Captain Marvel’ film, the prices for Marvel Super-Heroes #13 will go down. Probably not to 2003 levels, but prices can certainly go much lower than they are right now, especially if the movie is not as well received as e.g. ‘Black Panther’ or ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ were.

So, if you really love Carol Danvers, and if you really want to own her first appearance, my advice would be: wait a while. There’s no guarantee that her first appearance will go down in value, but if past trends are any indication, it most likely will happen.

For many reasons therefore, I think this book is currently too high to buy. Have we seen this trend before? Yes, plenty of times. Hello Avengers #54, New Mutants #98, Venom #1…and the list goes on and on.

So the take away here is as follows: in buying comics, don’t follow the crowd and get caught up in the hype. The value of a comic depends on many factors and some comics -those driven by impending big tent-pole movie releases, tend to go down in value after the movies come out.

As Kenny Rogers once put it, ‘You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em’ (but, of course, don’t ever actually fold your comics or they’ll drop in value like a brick). So, just remember, sometimes comics are priced way too high to buy – you should have some patience and wait for the price to go down.

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