In the Walking Dead variant market, the usual focus tends to be on the Lucille variant of Walking Dead #100. Fair enough, given the iconic weapon gracing the cover. But sorting a little bit further into the variant haystack has turned up some unusual activity. How unusual?
The Walking Dead #163 (Cover C) is a 1:500 retailer incentive variant of Walking Dead #163; complete with a black and white cover that’s a sketch version of the more common 1:200 Cover B retailer variant. Over the last year, sales prices of the book graded CGC 9.8 had settled around an FMV of $70. In June, one copy sold for a substantially higher price at $125. While this alone wouldn’t have been a cause for notice, but it was accompanied by a substantial decrease in sales volume. A few months later in Oct, a 9.8 copy finally sold for $175. Then, most curiously, in Dec 2019, another 9.8 sold at a high price tag of $490; almost 7 times higher than its FMV. Likely a mistake? Or an attempt at cornering the market? The same exact slab (serial) was marked sold but then relisted by the same seller 2 weeks later. Depending on your search string on eBay for the book, it either returns that slab as the only one on eBay or one of a dozen readily available at lower prices.
Released in 2014, the only method to obtain this variant was to purchase a Walking Dead edition of the Hyundai Tuscon. If the high-capital cost of a car wasn’t enough, many copies of the book were purported to have been damaged during shipment. Oddly enough, since 2014 the comic book has managed to retain its market value much better than the car itself. In the drought of sales for CGC graded copies of this variant, a CGC 9.6 finally sold for $1,500 in Nov 2019. A day later, a second CGC 9.6 slab was sold in a $2k bundle. Quite a one-two punch out of nowhere. Again, these two sales alone aren’t too out of the ordinary but coupled with the activity of the other books here, it starts adding up in unusualness. On a side note, if you’re on the hunt for raw copies of this Hyundai variant, be cautious of the similar-looking Black Friday “Mystery Box” exclusive that carries a much lower FMV of $75.
Almost a year after its release, sales of this variant (graded CGC 9.8) finally started appearing in Nov 2019. Only three sales, but the first two went for $300 and the most recent for $400. With its two speech bubbles and 1:100 distribution, the variant has managed to achieve a higher market value than the other Harren variants of TWD #100: the main Bling Bag, the Blind Bag Virgin, and the Blind Bag B&W Virgin. It’s quite a coincidence that this November seemed to have brought out not just the rare variants, but also the pocketbooks for them.
THE WALKING DEAD #1 (LAST WINE, 2019)
This one isn’t just unusual, but also rather impressive. The variant was tied to the company that made the Walking Dead wine, and the book itself was sold with limited supply at Chris Burnham’s booth during New York Comic Con 2019. It featured a black and white cover similar to the labels found on the wine bottles and also similar to the cover of the Wizard World Philadelphia variant of The Walking Dead #1. The market for this variant is still rather young, but initial raw copies sold on eBay for $325 in Nov 2019. Sales prices quickly shot up to just under the $600 at auction and even higher for best offer sales. As for graded copies, a Chris Burnham signed CBCS 9.8 went for $1,000 in Nov; given the rise in sales prices for raw copies, this slab likely would have gone for much higher a month later in December.
“There are no coincidences, only the illusion of coincidences.” – V for Vendetta
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