It’s time once more for Undervalued and Overlooked Comics! This time we’ll be looking at some Golden Age comics that would look nice in any collection.
Swan Song of the Timely Super-Heroes
The final issue of Sub-Mariner’s first series, Sub-Mariner #42, also happens to be the last super-hero comic published by Atlas in the Golden Age. It had been a long run for Subby.
There are 75 graded copies of Sub-Mariner #42 and they don’t go up for sale that often. There were only two sales in 2022: a 3.0 graded copy selling in a ComicConnect auction on March 18 for $518, and a 5.0 selling a day later for $544 in an eBay auction. 5.0 is the most plentiful grade with 12 graded copies, so that’s our best place to look for trends.
The previous sale occurred in January 2019 when it sold for $566. That’s down 8% over three years.
Clearly, considering it’s importance in comic book history and the downward trending price, it’s worth keeping an eye out for a copy the next time you see one come up for sale.
Laugh All the Way to the Bank
With our hobby so focused on Marvel and DC comic books, and occasionally pre-Code horror comics, it can be easy to overlook other healthy parts of the hobby, be they war, western, romance, or, in this case, Archie comics. Collectors of Archie comics are some of the most tried and true you’ll find in the hobby; they know their subject remarkably well and are always on the hunt in a sector of the collecting universe that has become increasingly rare.
Which brings us to Laugh Comics #20. Published in Fall 1946, it was the first issue in a series that would last 40 years. There are only 29 graded copies in the CGC census. Despite that low census number, four copies traded hands in 2022. 4.0 is the most common grade, and we have a sale recorded on May 27 – a fixed price eBay sale for $365.
That’s up 23% from an April 2021 sale for $296. Despite the increase in value, it’s still an undervalued book and overlooked by all but Archie collectors. How often can you find a Golden Age first issue featuring a character who has been in publication for more than 80 years for under $500?
Tiny Census for Tiny Hero
Another niche area of the hobby is collectors of Quality Comics. Well regarded for it’s (pardon the pun) quality output from 1939 to 1956, many of Quality’s most important characters would find extended lives when DC purchased the characters upon the company’s demise. Among their most famous characters are Black Condor, The Ray, Phantom Lady, Blackhawk, Uncle Sam, and, of course, Plastic Man.
Also included in a list of eventual DC Freedom Fighters is Doll Man, the first of Quality’s super-heroes, and also the first in a long line of shrinking super-heroes that includes the Atom, Ant-Man, and a host of others.
Cover dated December 1939, Feature Comics #27 is Doll Man’s first appearance. There are a scant 17 graded copies in the CGC census. Of these 17 copies, not a single one has come up for sale in nearly two years. The last graded copy to sell was in February 2021 when a 2.0 graded copy changed hands in a Heritage auction for $1,080.
A previous sale in September 2019 was for $660, a nice 64% rise in value. If you can find a copy at all, consider yourself lucky, and if you can find low grade copies around $1,000 and mid-grade copies around $2,000, consider yourself luckier still.
Next Week: Bronze Age Undervalued & Overlooked
Well, that’s all we have time for this week. Join us next week as we take a look at some undervalued and overlooked Bronze Age comics.