When Will the Market Pick Up for the Holy Grails of Comics?

by Matt Tuck

The Christmas season may be over, but it’s still a buyer’s market for your “holy grails.” Starting in November, most high-priced keys lose value, but when will things turn around? Soon, so be patient and hold tight.

ASM-1-203x300 When Will the Market Pick Up for the Holy Grails of Comics?If you have been in the market for a big key – something major along the lines of Incredible Hulk #181, Avengers #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1; something with a hefty price tag – this has been the season for spending. As I documented in “The Christmas Dip is Upon Us,” the holiday season is a great time for buyers because sales volume and prices are generally down, making it the time for stellar deals. 


It makes perfect sense why this is the case. After all, Christmas time is when disposable income is limited thanks to spending on gifts. That leaves virtually nothing in the budget for comics, especially a holy grail-level key issue. Inevitably, this leads to falling auction prices. What’s bad news for sellers is good news for investors. Just like the flowers of the meadow, those grails will bloom in about two months.

For instance, let’s say you are in the market for a low-grade ASM #1. Last year, a 1.0 (which happens to be the only ASM #1 that has sold in 2020) averaged $3,243 over 12 sales, but at the moment, it is selling for under $3k. 

Avengers1-197x300 When Will the Market Pick Up for the Holy Grails of Comics?Maybe you are looking for an Avengers #1. Earlier this month, a 4.0 sold for $2,340, which is lower than its 2019 and 2018 FMVs. Even better, you can opt for the 3.0. At that grade, Avengers #1 averaged $1,904 in 2019 and $1,786 in 2018, but the latest sale was for $1,224.

Just to drive the point home, let’s look at one of my personal holy grails, Fantastic Four #1. On January 4, a 2.5 – the highest grade sold this year – brought $4,500. That may seem like a fortune for a low grade, but considering it hasn’t averaged below $7,400 the past two years, that is a steal. 


This is the trend for many of the biggest of keys, and as I explained before, it’s a yearly tradition. All that being said, what is going to bring the market out of the Christmas Dip? The seller’s best friend is about to be tax season. Once people start getting their tax refunds back, sales will inevitably pick up.

Traditionally, people look to make those big purchases in the spring. By March and April, the data shows an upturn in the market for the holy grails. Look at the 3.0 Avengers #1 I mentioned. In 2018, it stayed more or less in the $1,400 range until mid-March when it jumped to being a $1,700 comic thanks in part to Avengers: Infinity War

HULK181-201x300 When Will the Market Pick Up for the Holy Grails of Comics?Another good example is the graded 7.5 Hulk #181. With all the Disney/Fox buyout stories floating around the internet, last year’s sales didn’t take a tremendous hit. However, we can look to 2018 for our data. In January and February that year, it was mostly selling for below $2k with a low of $1,200. By mid-March, it was consistently selling from $2,300 all the way to $3k. 


Back to that $1,200 Avengers #1. If you were the lucky buyer, then you can sit tight and be certain that you will likely double your investment in a matter of months. The same goes for all those low prices I mentioned. As a buyer, now is your chance to invest, then hold tight for spring. You can thank me in April.






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