With record-breaking sales of Silver Age comic books and even Bronze Age books happening on what feels like a weekly basis, I have to ask; are Silver Age keys out of reach for the average collector?
As I mentioned in other articles and interviews, I am often writing about topics that I am asking or pondering myself. I think that this one will resonate with many of my fellow collectors.
The Spectacular Silver Age
The silver age is typically thought of as starting in the mid-1950s and running through 1970. This coincides with the beginning of the Marvel universe as we know it today. When I think about silver age keys, I think about Marvel Comics. I think about the first appearances of the characters that kicked off the Marvel universe. Fantastic Four #1, X-Men #1, Amazing Fantasy #15, Tales of Suspense #39, Journey into Mystery #83, Avengers #1, and so on. These are all first appearances of characters that I love and read as a kid (albeit much later in their publication history).
These books have been elevated to prices that seem out of reach for the average comic book collector due to movie hype and an overall boom in the comic book collecting market. This brings us back to our main question; are silver age keys now out of reach?
If you can’t afford to pay the high dollar prices on the books I mentioned above, there are some other keys to consider…
Silver Age Issue Number Ones
First appearance key books will always be in high demand, but what about first issues? Long before issue number one was something that happened on a quarterly basis, it was somewhat rare to see a #1 issue. The comic book publishers have obviously figured out that collectors do like to see that #1. They will often jump on a title if it features a new #1.
This also means that collectors will go after older #1 issues like Silver Surfer #1, Captain Marvel #1, Iron Man #1, and Nick Fury Agent of Shield #1. These books all feature dynamic covers, classic characters, and of course that infamous #1 in the corner. Silver age first issues are worth considering if you would like to purchase a silver age key but can’t afford some of the upper echelon books.
Consider a Second Appearance
When you take a look back at some of the most expensive Golden Age key books, you’ll see. The first appearance of pivotal characters like Superman and Batman are closely followed by their second appearances in comic books. Is this a trend that will spill over into the silver age? One could argue that it already has with Amazing Spider-Man #1 being a prime example. This book has followed its predecessor of Amazing Fantasy #15 as Spider-Man’s second appearance and also a first ongoing title for the iconic Marvel character.
An 8.0 CGC graded AF15 goes for around $500,000 FMV right now, while his second appearance in ASM1 goes for around $47,000 in an 8.0. A fraction of the cost but still one of the most valuable silver age books there is. Does this same concept apply to other characters like Thor? Time will tell, but it certainly seems like it could be an opportunity to buy before those keys start to take off.