NostoNews, April 1, 2020
by Tommy Jasmin
New pricing for 2nd Quarter 2020, market comments
Hi everyone. It sure feels weird writing to you during these anxious and uncertain times. But Nostomania has never missed a pricing update and we're not going to start now. I hope we can be one small thing you can look forward to and count on to be around. So here you go, the just-computed 2020 2nd Quarter pricing data is in. Are we noticing any effect on collectibles sales due to the pandemic? Perhaps a bit, but it's tough to draw any conclusions yet. See last month's news for a new tool we created to help keep an eye on this. Meanwhile, sign in and see how your collection value is currently faring. Remember, we compute separate pricing for each grading service, as well as non-professionally graded items. Depending on the item, this may result in significant value differences when using My Lists. Below, I highlight some interesting sales for our supported categories.
One thing that struck me this quarter is just how many key sales we gather that are uncertified items. If we only wanted to worry about certified, life would be a lot easier for us. But we want to support all collectors, so we need to gather uncertified data and compute separate pricing. Whatever you have in your collection, you can add it to My Lists and we'll track the value for you, slabbed or not. It continues to surprise me how strong some of the uncertified sales data can be. I think the takeaway is, if the buyer trusts the seller, they trust the grade. They often just want a copy and really don't care if it's slabbed or not. Especially on low grade items of course. Here is my first example, an Uncertified PR 0.5 copy of Action Comics #23 which sold recently via Heritage for $3,120.00. Yes, that was a huge jump over last quarter's value!
1st Lex Luthor, 1st Daily Planet
Low-grade Golden Age horror books is another area where, if the cover is outstanding, it seems any uncertified copy will do. L.B. Cole covers are doing particularly well again, and well-deserved! Cole is definitely one of the all-time cover artist greats. Look at this recent sale of an Uncertified PR 0.5 Blue Bolt #114. A very battered Poor. $312.00 for that thing. Why? Just look at that cover! That unique Cole style, and we've got some kind of underwater swamp spirit zombie thingy.
One more thing while we're on the topic of over-performing uncertified books. Did anybody catch the recent run on eBay from seller jscomics of just about every Marvel Silver Age key, in decent grade, and unslabbed? It was pretty remarkable. Dig through our site and you won't believe your eyes. Drill down on you name it - Hulk 1, FF 1, Avengers 1, they are all there and you can click through from Nosto to view details of each sale. Below is the Amazing Fantasy #15 they auctioned off. Calling it an Uncertified VG- 3.5, it sold for $19,469.00. Why would these guys not slab these books? Not knowing the real answer, I can speculate. Maybe they move so much stuff that a) they don't want to wait months to squeeze out the extra cash, and b) they have a big enough following that people trust the book will be at least that grade. That sale price is more than the current Nostomania value for any certification agency.
Rarely seen unslabbed AF 15
Ok let's shift gears. Now I want to alert our members to a data trend I'm seeing where the extra money for incentive "ratio" variants often does not seem to bear fruit. I am seeing this more and more. Let me walk you through an example. Take Savage Avengers #1, the Moebius 1:100 Variant. If you go over to the Midtown Comics site, they price this book at over $100.00, though with the current 15% off deal, $85.00. Nostomania typically seeds the initial value for books like this at half or less than half what Midtown is asking. It's like buying a car - you leave the lot, the resale value of your car plummets immediately. That's just how it works. But we captured from eBay a recent CGC NM/MT 9.8 sale of this book. Shown below, it went for only $38.00. Based on initial store pricing, a CGC NM/MT 9.8 should be be valued at about 400 bucks. It seems these incentive ratios are generally much softer than claimed. I'll elaborate at a later date reasons why I believe this to be true.
How do you verify that ratio is true?
I'm seeing interest in "UK Edition", "pence copies" or whatever you prefer to call them. See below for a recent sale example - Amazing Spider-Man #14 UK Edition. Graded CGC FN- 5.5, it sold recently via Heritage for $1,440.00. Compare that with the current U.S. version Nostomania value in the same grade, not bad. Originally, Nostomania was pretty much a U.S. version only database. We are changing our policy and will slowly add these variants to the database as we come across sales examples to seed value with.
Demand for UK Editions on the rise
The next example is either somebody not knowing what they were bidding on, or a remarkable legitimate sale. A CGC MT- 9.9 copy of Spider-Man #1 (1990, Gold Edition) sold recently via Heritage for $1,680.00. At first, I thought somebody (two people actually, I guess) must have mistaken this for the much scarcer Gold Newsstand Edition (with a UPC). The more I look at the data though, I think it might be legit. Looking at recent Nosto data, a CGC MT- 9.9 copy of the UPC version did sell recently, for quite a bit more: $3,480.00. The odd thing is, so many 9.8s have sold in the $70.00 range, and there are so many fewer graded copies of the UPC version (~500 vs ~3,500).
What a difference point-1 can make
I've noticed what seems to be a spike in pricing for older PCGS holders. Maybe it's purely coincidental, but I suspect there's something to it. Here's one example - the 1898-O Morgan Silver Dollar shown below sold recently via Heritage for $1,050.00. Graded MS-65, normally this coin would go for somewhere in the $100.00 to $150.00 range. Why nearly 10X for this particular coin? I'd have to defer to the experts, but one hunch is it's an exceptional example for the grade, and if resubmitted may likely come back MS-65+? If anyone is pretty sure they know the answer please chime in on the forums or send us a note, thanks!
Here's another PCGS legacy holder example. We've got a Standing Liberty Quarter, 1926 MS-64 Full Head. It sold recently via Heritage for $1,440.00, at least 4X current Nostomania value. I am again speculating here, but maybe, if the provenance is certain, there is a certain appeal among collectors for the legacy holders? They are certainly easier to fake, but I always say knowing the provenance of any collectible is sometimes the most important detail. I will add that in the cases I've noticed the price jumps, each coin did have outstanding eye appeal.
Multiples for Older Holder
And rounding out the coin highlights I'll do a quick detour to a high-dollar sale from the recent Heritage Signature Auction. The 1875 Liberty Eagle shown below, graded PCGS AU-50, brought in $360,000.00. This is one of those coins you can't help but marvel at the slight uncertainty at how many still exist (it's believed eight or nine), and also knowing among the known examples, there are no mint-state coins. There's always a slim chance another one could still be out there in the wild, and that's a big part of what makes these hobbies fun.
From 100 originally to 8 or 9 today
We have some interesting additions to the magazines database this month, some of which place very high on our Top 100 list. Below is a great example of a key issue lurking in a title most would never suspect held anything of value. Think about it - The Family Circle was a women's magazine that you'd typically find in a dentist office. It started in 1932 and limped along until 2019. But there on the cover of issue #17 from 1946 (Volume 28) is Marilyn Monroe's first United States magazine cover appearance! This CGC FN+ 6.5 copy sold recently via Heritage for $900.00. Imagine what a certified 9.4 copy might go for? Actually, you can just check our price guide! Our estimate is $6,320.00. Let's hope we get to find out, because a CGC NM 9.4 copy does exist in the wild.
Hello Norma Jean
Thanks, we'll see you all next month.
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