NostoNews, January 1, 2019
by Tommy Jasmin
New pricing for 1st Quarter 2019, market comments
Happy New Year everybody! The just-computed 2019 1st Quarter pricing data is here! The collectibles markets continue their bull run, and we continue to set record prices that none of us could have imagined a decade ago. Sign in and see how the current market is affecting your collection value. 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 make a few market observations for each supported category.
When Charltons are kicking ass, you know the market is hot! And I'm not talking just an anomaly book here or there. We have seen new record prices on quite a few Charlton titles. I guess collectors are realizing some of these books are actually kinda cool, or kinda scarce, or both. Once again, there is so much ground to cover in this market report, that I can only hit a few highlights. But I promise this time I'll funnel all the sales highlights I don't have room or time to cover here into our Twitter Feed going forward. Ok, back to Charlton - check out this sale of Out of This World #10. Graded CGC NM- 9.2, it sold recently via Heritage Auctions for $1,320.00. You read that correct, over a grand. The fact that this copy currently stands alone as Finest Known is certainly a driver, but then again, who typically considers slabbing their Charltons? Perhaps, now, you.
Another indicator of a super strong comics market
All the uber-keys continue to over-perform. They are doing remarkably well. Let's take this Batman #1 as an example. We've got a very beat up and brittle, brittle! CGC GD 2.0 copy that sold in the last Heritage Signature Auction. Normally when we capture sales for brittle books they go for well below current Nostomania value. Not this guy; it clocked in at $96,000.00. Can you believe it? Batman 1 is now a hundred-thousand dollar book in extremely low grade, wow.
Please don't shake the case
To be clear, the comic market gains are not universal. We have seen a few cases of books actually dropping in price. But they are few and far between, it's hard to pick a dud right now. Here's one example. Should we find this surprising? It sure looks like a mild hangover from a movie that didn't quite fulfill expectations. Shown below is a copy of Brave and the Bold #26 which sold recently in a Heritage auction. This book in this grade had been selling for $1,000.00 just before the movie came out in summer 2016. The copy below could only muster $336.00. This is only one data point, I know, but we encourage you to go view the comprehensive Nostomania sales trend chart.
A 2/3 drop in 2 years
So what's going on with Albedo #2? I was one of those guys who loved some of the small press and independent comics. In many of them, you could just feel the extra care the creators put into their labors of love. And it felt cool because print runs were so low - often only 2 or 3 thousand. As I type this, I realize the irony. Back then, 3,000 was considered a very low print run. Now, 3,000 will get you into the top 300 comics published for any given month, often requiring multi-cover gimmicks. I'm fine with bringing in a 2nd, great artist to do an alternate cover, but just changing the colors on the same art and calling that an incentive variant? That's so low effort.
But I digress, back to Albedo #2. The copy shown below, graded a modest CGC FN/VF 7.0, sold recently on eBay for a blistering $3,200.00. Issue 2 features the first appearance of Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai. I haven't been following this too close, all I know is the character has been optioned for a television series. I just want to remind everyone that getting optioned and and actual television series or movie completing production are two different things. Regardless, this book is skyrocketing. If you had been checking the Nostomania pricing trend chart for this book though, you can't say we didn't alert you this was coming! Go check it now, you'll see what we mean.
If only you held onto your copy, right?
And my how fickle the markets can be. I've noticed a pattern among collectors where they initially intensely fixate on the 1st appearance, or 1st issue, of a character currently in the spotlight. It takes some time for the lesser appearances to show up on radar screens. At first, Ms. Marvel #1 went nuts, but we saw very little movement in #2 or #3 (ahem...trend chart). This is the situation at present with Usagi. Check out the sale of Albedo #3 shown below. This book, graded CGC NM- 9.2, sold recently via eBay for $36.89. This is actually down 10% from the Nostomania value at the time of sale. It's the 2nd appearance of the character that pried 3 grand out of someone for the 1st appearance in 7.0; you'd think it would get a little more love. If you're a speculator, this might be a good time to pick up a few of these.
If only you bought the previous issue, right?
Rats, I usually stop at six comics, and here we are already. I can't let this update slide without making sure our readers are aware of the intense resurgence in interest for Golden Age romance comics, particularly Matt Baker covers. This is not just a smattering, it's really remarkable the alarm bells that are going off in our pricing code lately. I'll show you a typical example below. Pictorial Romances #11, Uncertified VG 4.0. This book sold recently via Heritage for $432.00. It doesn't matter if it's slabbed - these buyers don't care, they just want a copy. You gotta admit, there is something appealing about the hottie complaining about living on a farm while strutting around in high heels. Fox and St. John titles seem to be doing the best.
That lower left caption makes no sense
Our first featured coin this quarter is a beautiful 1880 Morgan Dollar. Graded NGC PR-67 Ultra Cameo, this coin stands alone at the top for this date, which actually has the highest proof mintage of the entire series. "Ultra" is the NGC counterpart to PCGS's "Deep" Cameo, and over at PCGS they have "only" seen a PR-64 with that designation to date. Oh yeah, the sale price. This coin sold recently via Heritage Auctions for $25,200.00. Few price guides even attempt to provide a value at this grade. Our view of course is that this should be possible with a decent pricing algorithm. Interestingly, the only guides which were even close to the sale price were ours, and Heritage's own Value Index, which estimated the value at $20,000.00.
What a Cameo, Ultra == Deep
It's always really exciting when a "Finest Known" goes up for auction, and at Nostomania we love these sales which are vital fuel for our pricing algorithms. The 1876-S Quarter Eagle shown below is such a coin, and sold recently in a Heritage Signature Auction. A PCGS MS-64 grade is enough to leave it standing alone at the top of the census. The sale price was of course a record at $22,800.00. Again, it's fun to compare the sale price with the current price guide estimates. The PCGS Price Guide is high at $30,000.00. Again, the Heritage Value Index was very close, with a range of $20,000.00 - $24,000.00 (nailed it!). The current Nostomania value? Go take a look!
Finest Knowns are fun
Our last coin example this quarter is interesting for a few reasons. Never mind the fact that the Walking Liberty half dollar series is a personal fave for me. The example shown below, housed in an odd PCGS Regency holder (used in the early to mid 1990s), is a 1938-D graded PCGS MS-65 ProofLike. Apparently PCGS rarely gives the ProofLike designation to coins outside the Morgan Silver Dollar series. This coin was auctioned recently via Heritage, and brought in an impressive $5,520.00.
Regency holder, retired in 1996?
Here we go again, another Godzilla remake! I strongly recommend any fans to seek out and watch the original Japanese version. My daughter and I went to a special 4th of July showing one year and it was so fun - a packed house and the vibe was palpable. We are seeing the first signs of Godzilla mags and comics starting to move now. Our example below is a copy of Monsters of the Movies #5, which sold recently via eBay for $26.00. Graded Uncertified VF+ 8.5, this doesn't feel like much, but this title has been pretty stagnant and that sale is actually 5X the Nostomania value at the time.
First Godzilla previews in theatres now
Thanks, we'll see you all next month.
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