By Angelo Virone — Cover price variant collector and historian (Contact by email), October 2023
“I cannot tell you how many times I track books I want to buy and later discover that they settled in the USA.”
Price-wise, the comic book market has been spiraling lower, hence it’s only normal that Canadian Price Variants have fallen victim as well... but not all!
Buy the top 100 CPV’s with confidence if you see a 30-50% discount to their 12-month sold averages. If you need money right away go ahead and sell, if you don’t, hold-off until prices improve from here. It’s my opinion that this price slump will not result in a V-shape recovery but should look more like a hockey stick pattern (prices have gone down and now forming a base and will probably stay there for months). This latter pattern is what I’m expecting given the uncertainty of the overall global financial system (inflation, looming recession, bond market, war breaking out in other countries, etc.). Most short-term speculators will have moved on at this point, leaving behind a more balanced market with lower, yet stable prices. Buyers are there, they simply hesitate jumping in too early. For exceptionally hard to find key books in top grades, this rule does not apply.
I would stay away from speculative books unless purchased at a sizeable discount in 9.8 CGC only. However, these books need a wow factor (i.e., first appearance, 1st solo issue, etc.…). Obviously, my argument goes out the window if you are buying as a collector and not for investment purposes.
Be mindful of the quote, “the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets,” often first attributed to Nathan Rothschild.
Some buyers who got in at the height of the pandemic are now selling due to financial stress. I’ve noticed a few key books graded 9.2-9.6 CGC selling for huge discounts at auctions. To be clear, these sales are anomalies and not generalized sales for any one issue specifically. If an investor has a 5-10-year time-frame, these graded key books have the potential to generate the best ROI (Return on Investment).
Here’s an interesting perspective, the top CPV seller I know with the highest quality key books tends to sell at break-out prices beyond anything recorded on auction sites and GPAnalysis.com. When I pressed him further on this, he mentioned that his clients know he will likely have that specific CPV in top grade and they don’t mind paying a healthy premium. Seeking these books at cons or online is time consuming so they appreciate someone doing the legwork for them. Trust in a seller is also key to these buyers given they can’t always inspect a book in-hand. Hence, it’s natural to conclude there’s a parallel set of books with two different price-points thanks to a tailored customer base searching for a white glove service. Knowing this, I believe opportunities exist for the rest of us when looking for issues online. We simply need to spend considerable time searching in order to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.
On a different point, if you consider selling in this current market, auctions might not be advantageous for grades below 9.8. And to quote Jayden Mitchell, one of our contributors:
“It’s best to place a fixed, ‘buy it now’ price because auctions can swing either way.”
— Jayden Mitchell
ANOTHER BULLISH indicator that’s getting stronger with each passing year is that key quality books are FLOWING OUT OF CANADA at an increasing rate. I cannot tell you how many times I track books I want to buy and later discover that they settled in the USA. I’m also noticing a number of CPV’s being bought in the UK, Italy and Singapore with increased appetite. I can predict with confidence that sooner rather than later Canadian collectors and investors will be buying the most desirable CPV’s from countries abroad!
Just recently, I bought a 9.4 CGC CPV magazine from one of the auction houses and discovered it had multiple tears and creases almost impossible to spot with the pics online. This begs the question, where was quality control at CGC?
I’m trying to upgrade numerous CPV mags in my personal collection so reach out if you are planning on selling or trading any.
I enjoy Harvey comics but I’m EXTREMELY selective with what I purchase and even more selective when it comes to graded Whitman 75cent CPV’s (9.2+) given the lackluster prices in auctions this year.
Remember that key CPV’s in top grades come in two tiers, those that seldom get posted for sale and those that come up more often. For the right price, both tiers are worth investing in. See one of my past market reports, where I explain the different categories of CPV’s. Click the following link then scroll to the middle of my report:
Get Them Now or Chase Them Later
For further technical guidance in seeking the right investment book(s) click on the following link to find my COMIC SCORE CARD (https://www.cpvpriceguide.com/comic-score-card/)
I would like to thank my colleagues working diligently around the clock over the last several months putting together our latest 2024 CPV guide (Bill Alexander, Tim Bildhauser, Paul Clairmont, Greg Holland, Jon McClure, Jayden Mitchell, Conan Saunders and Doug Sulipa). An EXTRA shout out goes to Benjamin Nobel for being so much more than a contributor! As the project organizer, he wears so many hats that I've lost count (not joking!). His relentless determination and consistent hard work is unmatched. I think Ben could be summed up using a famous quote everyone knows from Rocky, "It ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."
A big thank you to Jay Halstead who has contributed a wealth of information to our guide over the years but cannot continue due to other commitments.
Thanks go out to GPAnalysis for contributing their CPV sales data; please be sure to read this year's updated article by Greg Holland which analyzes the recent marketplace sales of CGC-graded CPVs as reported by GPAnalysis.
To Stephen Cranch for contributing another article this year, covering other Type 1A cover price variants distributed in the UK, which follows his excellent article on Charlton CPVs contributed to last year's guide!
Concomitantly, the real superstars of this guide are you the many readers, experts, and dealers in Canada, USA and abroad, from the greater CPV community via Instagram, Facebook, CGC and CBCS Boards, etc…! Thank you for your suggestions, corrections, insights and sharing your CPV sales year-after-year behind the scenes.
Rule #1: Buy ‘quality’ books in the highest grade you can reasonably afford as opposed to buying ‘quantity’ in lower grades when ‘investing’ in C.P.V.’s
Rule #2: Don’t forget rule #1.
— Angelo Virone