“The CGC Census reported percentages of CPV books for Marvel and D.C. Comics in the 1980s is currently 2.7% and 3.0%, respectively.”
Canadian Price Variants (CPVs) are now given a notation during the CGC grading process and the number of CGC graded copies of CPVs are recorded in the CGC Census. Since 2003, CGC Census data updates have been compiled and made available online at CGCdata.com. The current (October 2023) CGC counts for CPVs are: Marvel, 11,937 CPVs graded (up 18.8% since last year), and D.C. Comics, 3,466 CPVs graded (up 20.8% since last year). Archie Publications have 1,739 CPVs on the CGC Census (up 78.5% since last year), and Warren/Harris have 282 (up 21.6% since last year).
For the 11,937 Marvel CPVs graded by CGC, there are 1,270 different issues. The average is over 9 CPVs per issue, but the top ten Marvel issues for CPVs average just over 330 CGC copies per issue, with Amazing Spider-Man #252 having 719 CPVs and Thor #337 having 641 CPVs each at the top of the list.
For the 3,466 D.C. Comics CPVs graded by CGC, there are 885 different issues. The average is just over 3.9 CPVs per issue. The top ten D.C. Comics issue for CPVs average over 74 CPVs per issue, but the only D.C. Comics CPV currently above 100 CGC graded copies is Tales of the Teen Titans #44 at 152. There are now six other D.C. Comics issues with 50 CGC graded copies of CPVs.
For Archie Publications total of 1,739 CPVs, 343 are TMNT Adventures #1 (1988) and 109 are TMNT Adventures #1 (1989). Betty and Veronica #320 (1982) has 63 CPVs graded. Warren Publishing has 282 CPVs on the CGC Census, but only Vampirella #83 has more than 10 graded copies, having 14 CPVs. Harris has 22 graded CPVs, with 19 for Vampirella #113 on the CGC Census.
With more than 20 years of CGC Census history available at CGCdata.com, it’s possible to check not only the current CPV counts on the CGC Census, but also the historical CGC census numbers by CGC grade.
A dramatic increase in the numbers of CPV Marvel comic books graded by CGC is evident, particularly in the last five years. A similar recent increase can be observed for CPV D.C. Comics issues, although the counts are significantly lower.
The CPV counts of CGC graded copies are important, but most CPV analysis focuses on the relative scarcity of CPVs to their direct edition (and U.S. newsstand) counterparts. In the CGC Census, there is no separation of U.S. newsstand edition from direct editions (recent CGC policy changes are not reflected in the current CGC Census), therefore the CGC Census does not provide a direct method for estimated scarcity for all three editions. However, the percentage of CPVs graded by CGC overall can be established.
The CGC Census reported percentages of CPV books for Marvel and D.C. Comics in the 1980s is currently 2.7% and 3.0%, respectively. The percentage of CPV books for Archie Publications is 10.8%, much higher than the Marvel and D.C. Comic percentages (a higher CPV percentage is to be expected given that Archie did not widely introduce direct editions until 1988, about ten years later than Marvel and D.C. Comics).
It is important to note that all CGC grades are included in these totals, and there are many comic books which are not (yet) worth submitting to CGC in midgrade or lower grade conditions. Additionally, the dramatic increase in the number of CPVs submitted to CGC in the past six years may continue to have an impact on the percentage of CPVs on the CGC Census for years to come. At the moment, however, the current snapshot of CPVs percentages on the CGC Census applies to more than 530,000 CGC graded Marvel and D.C. comic books.
— Greg Holland
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About the AuthorGreg Holland has collected comic books for over 30 years and has been the administrator of the CGC Census Analysis website CGCdata.com since 2003. Dr. Holland holds a Ph.D. in information quality from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has held data science positions as research director, analyst, and administrator for government, corporations, and university. He is the 1999 founder of the ValiantComics.com website and the 2004 ValiantFans.com message board. Active on the CGC Forums as ‘valiantman’ since 2002, he is also a 15+ year advisor to the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide and contributor to later editions of the Standard Catalog of Comic Books. Greg resides in Arkansas, USA, with his wife and their daughter.