Monday, 27 December 2010

Condition - Part I

Anyone who collects a mass market product such as paperbacks understands the effect condition has on collecting. I'll detour from paperbacks to another mass market product to give an example.

Long before paperbacks I collected comic books. That ended some 20 years ago for two reasons. One was the change in the industry that happened mid eighties. Independents challenged DC and Marvel and the two dominant publishers began to change the product. Many old series were cancelled and the process that led to today's overpriced, overmarketed, overproduced comic book junk began. Although I see that the air is escaping from that balloon - DC Comics has recently announced the first drop in price in its history from $3.99 to $2.99. Thank goodness for the growth of the graphic novel over this period.

The other reason is the explosive growth in the price of comics published from the 30s to the 70s. Especially in high grade condition. Viz., a copy of Action Comics #1 (VG+ condition) sold earlier this year for $1.5 million. This is extraordinary. Of the tens of millions of books and magazines published around the world in the twentieth century the single most expensive item is a 10 cent 1938 American comic book. The most expensive book published in the 20th century sold for $430,000 in 2000.

Here are a couple of copies of the first Flash Annual from 1963. The first copy cost me 25 cents when I bought it at the neighbourhood confectionery store. It shows the many readings I enjoyed. This one would hardly qualify for good condition. The other copy is near fine and was purchased in the 1980s. A near fine copy, in the latest price guide, sells for 20 times a good copy.

DC published a "Replica Edition" in 2001. The price has jumped - $6.95 US, $11.50 CAN.

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