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Heritage Highlights 2020

An Analyst X AKA @x Feature Heritage Auctions kicked of a weekend of live comic auctions with a $1.2 million dollar sale of Frank Frazetta's Princess of Mars and by the end of the first hour, a total of $3.9 million worth of comic related collectibles had sold with some exciting record breakers Our friend @x picks his (or her) favorites with an insightful assessment of an all-togther different corner of the collectible market, the premium auction circuit Check back for more auction insights from @x

Low $35k
Mid $110k
High $390k
  • 1st appearance & origin of Captain America
  • 1st appearance of James Buchanan Barnes aka Bucky (later becomes the Winter Soldier)
  • 1st appearance of the Red Skull (George Maxon), an agent of the true Red Skull
  • 1st appearance of Hurricane, (later becomes Makkari) and Tuk the Cave Boy (first offspring of the Inhumans)
  • A CGC 2.0 copy sold at the Heritage Platinum Session Signature Auction (Sept 2020) for $90k.
  • A 2.5 copy had previously sold in June of 2019 for $90k.
  • The last 2.0 sale was in 2012 for $24k representing approx. a 275% increase.
  • Captain America Comics #1 is one of the absolutely most sought after comics in history and is often designated the vaunted mega key status.
  • Very few copies remain in existence. The CGC census has tracked approx. 90 copies ever given a universal grade with another 80 given the less desirable restored grade.
  • While incredibly small these numbers are still larger than than those for the big 3 of collecting: Action Comics #1 (41 universal grade copies exist), Detective Comics #27 (32 universal grade copies exist) and Marvel Comics #1 (just 30 universal grade copies exist).
Low $25
Mid $140
High $375
  • 1st appearance of M.O.D.O.K. [Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing]
  • A CGC 9.8 copy sold at the Heritage Platinum Session Signature Auction (Sept 2020) for an all-time record price of $12,600.
  • A 9.8 copy has not come up for sale in a public auction for 8 years.
  • The previous copy sold in 2012 for $1,673.
  • A 9.6 copy sold in June for $1,749.
  • There are six 9.8 copies in the CGC census. There are 13 9.6 copies and a total of 484 universal grade copies.
  • M.O.D.O.K. will soon appear on Hulu, in his own stop motion animated television series from the team behind Robot Chicken.
  • He is also a key character in the Avengers video game released by Square Ennix last month.
  • Nevertheless, he has never been a top tier character and the unexpectedly high price of this latest 9.8 copy is hard to explain or justify.
  • It is likely that pent up demand from 8 years without an opportunity to purchase one of the 6 copies that exist led a couple of collectors to win no matter the cost. [Hulu animated series coming soon]
Low $525
Mid $2.2k
High $6k
  • 1st full appearance of Wolverine.
  • A CGC 9.8 White Page copy sold at the Heritage Platinum Session Signature Auction (Sept 2020) for a staggering $49,200. This is almost $10,000 higher than other copy has ever sold for with the exception of the Mile High II copy.
  • Excluding the Mile High II copy, the previous high was almost $10,000 lower at $39,000 set in 2018.
  • The Mile High II copy sold on ComicLink in early 2019 for an all-time record of $59,000.
  • Experts attribute the vast premiums placed on certain copies to big money collectors looking to obtain not just the best grades but the best presenting copies.
  • The copy that sold at the Heritage Auction not only had white pages but had vibrant colors and was well centered. Two components that are of particular interest to collectors with this book
  • High end collectors place a premium on the cover of Incredible Hulk #181 having very bright reds. Only copies that were printed at the beginning of the run for this book exhibit bright reds.
  • As the run went on, the cheaper materials Marvel employed in this period wore. The plates blunted and the colors dried and shifted. Copies in the middle of the run exhibit muted reds and those at the end of the run exhibit an orange shade.
  • Cover colors can also appear muted or shift shade if they have sun damage though it is unlikely the whites will remain white if this is the case.
  • Few other books from this era bring in premiums for bright colors and none bring in the level of premium this book does.
  • Advances in printing and inks largely prevent this level of color variation in modern comics.
  • High end collectors also place a premium on well centered copies of this book. Though centering is an issue for many books from this era, the white back page advertisement here makes the smallest off-centering apparent.
  • The copy that sold at the Heritage auction exhibited only slight off-centering and no off-centering was apparent from the from cover.
  • The Mile High II copy excelled in all regards featuring white pages, near perfect centering and incredibly bright colors with lush reds.
  • That copy was part of the Mile High II warehouse find in which hundreds of copies of Hulk #181 were found. Most had never been handled after being delivered and many were still in their original packaging.
  • One of the key figures in helping catalogue that Mile High II collection was gifted his choice of a copy of Incredible Hulk #181 by the collections owner. What became the the Mile High II copy was his determination of the nicest copy from the hundreds of never circulated copies in the collection.
  • Though not present on either the Heritage or the Mile High II copies, newsstand cover date stamps also command a premium on this book.
  • These are on-sale dates stamped onto covers by newsstand vendors. When placed correctly they enhance a book's look like a signature does but they also give collectors a window into the actual street dates.
  • For instance, copies of Incredible Hulk #181 have been known to be stamped "July 31 1974" rather than the 11/74 date printed in the indicia as publisher routinely printed indicia dates that were several months away to try and give books a longer shelf like on newsstands.
Low $425
Mid $1.3k
High $3.2k
  • 1st appearance of the new X-Men.
  • 1st appearance of Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird. 3rd appearance of Wolverine (some resources label this the 2nd full appearance).
  • 1st appearance of Illyana Rasputin (as a child) and Krakoa, the Living Island.
  • 1st use of 'snikt' sound effect.
  • A CGC 9.8 White Page copy sold at the Heritage Platinum Session Signature Auction (Sept 2020) for an all-time record price of $19,200.
  • This roundly beats the previous record of $16,257, also a 9.8 White Page copy, set just three weeks prior at the ComicLink Summer Featured Auction.
  • Just moments later a CGC 9.6 copy sold at the Heritage Platinum Session Signature Auction (Sept 2020) for $9,000. Establishing a new record price for this grade.
  • GSX has been climbing aggressively in all grades since the Disney acquisition of Fox was announced in 2018.
  • Likely undervalued since the rise of the MCU, as collectors chased books that featured characters appearing in those movies, GSX has increased from an average price of $6,500 in 2017 to $10,000 in 2018 to $12,000 in 2019.
  • The two most recent 9.8 records may represent a larger premium being paid for 9.8 White Page copies as big money collectors endeavor not just to get the best grades but the best presenting copies as well.