Hello, and welcome back to our weekly column where we take a look at a few undervalued or overlooked comics from one of each of four comic book eras – Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, and Copper Age – all in an attempt to find value for you, the comic book investor and collector. Whether you’re a high roller or a bargain shopper, there will be something in here for everyone. This week, it’s the Silver Age. Let’s get started.
First Wonder Girl, Second Teen Titans
If someone told you that you could have the first appearance of a major female character from one of the two biggest comic publishers for a relative song, you’d scoff and say, “yeah, right!” And if that same person told you that the same book contained the second appearance of one of the most important teams created by that same publisher, one with a streaming series, no less, you’d shake your head at the utter lunacy of this crazy person.
Such is the lot of The Brave and the Bold #60, the first appearance of Wonder Girl/Donna Troy and the second appearance of the Teen Titans. This is likely one of the most undervalued DC Silver Age books that exists.
With 435 graded copies, it’s pretty overlooked as well, especially when compared to a book like Tales to Astonish #44, a book with a comparable first appearance of a female character, albeit two years earlier, of which there are over 1,000 copies in the CGC census.
So, let’s go to the numbers.
There is one copy of this book in its highest grade, a 9.6. This copy last sold in August 2008 for a relatively paltry $8,365. There are 39 in the 6.0 grade. The last sale occurred on April 18 for $308; that’s only a 16% increase over its last sale in March 2019 for $265. That’s a very low increase curve over a three-year span for a key Silver Age comic.
It isn’t until we get into the lower grades that we see marked increases for The Brave and the Bold #60. The price of a 4.0 copy rose 128% from February to August 2021, lifting from $101 to $230. It’s a trend that’s being seen more often with some key Silver Age books.
Collectors who don’t have the wherewithal to purchase high-grade keys will start driving up prices on lower grades, knowing that they’re still desirable books with long-term upside potential. While it’s certainly true that big splashy sales of high-grade mega-keys will drive up lower grades, it will be interesting to see if lower grade spikes of slightly lesser keys will move upward through the grades as investors and collectors with cash to spend start searching deeper for books with value.
If you’re fortunate to be one of those investors, The Brave and the Bold #60 is definitely one to include on your list of titles to target.
An Overlooked Ditko Hero
If DC Silver Age books are undervalued compared to Silver Age issues of Marvel series, then books by publishers like Charlton or Dell/Gold Key are almost forgotten by all but the most hard-core collectors.
Take Space Adventures #33 as a perfect example. The first appearance of Captain Atom, published by Charlton in February 1960 and drawn by Steve Ditko of (ahem) Spider-Man fame, has only 117 copies in the CGC census. The top two graded copies – a 9.2 and a 9.0 have never been put up for sale.
It isn’t until we get down to the 8.0 grade that there are any current sales, with a Heritage Auction sale for $2,640 on February 15. Sure, that’s a marked increase over the previous peak in this grade – a $1,250 sale in September 2019. But that sure seems like a low bar for a key book, even if it is for a B minus level character.
When first appearances of D-level Marvel villains hit the stratosphere, and books this rare, especially ones that pre-date all of the Marvel Silver Age keys, are available this cheaply, it definitely smells like a buying opportunity for a good long-term investment.
Another Undervalued Origin
Another trend in undervalued comics is the low valuation for key character origins if they don’t occur in that character’s first appearance. Doctor Doom’s origin story is first told in Fantastic Four Annual #2. Yes, in the high grades it’s a pricy book; the last sale of a 9.6 graded copy occurred in November 2021 for $36,000. But that’s for a high-grade early Silver Age white covered Marvel annual with square binding; it’s something that’s notoriously hard to find in high grade.
In the 5.5 grade, however, while prices spiked between November 2020 and August 2021, prices have only risen marginally since. In August 2021 a 5.5 copy sold for $840 and its last sale on April 18 was for $900, only a 7% increase.
If you’re looking for keys with long-term investment value but are priced out of first appearances, an origin issue like Fantastic Four Annual #2 is an undervalued book worth considering for your collection.
Next Week: Copper 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 Copper Age comics.