When it comes to collecting comics, most people concern themselves with first appearances, number one issues, and everything else that falls in the standard classification of a “key.” There has also been tremendous growth in modern age comics for cover variants and other limited-edition books that can achieve similar sales results to Golden and Silver Age gems. But far before the Marko Djurdjevic variant of Ultimate Fallout #4 became the top variant grail, Marvel was giving us variants four decades before then that most collectors still may not know about. In fact, these older variants even went under the radar of professional comic dealers and collectors alike until the late 1990’s.
An example of this is the 30 and 35 cent Marvel price variants. Between April and August of 1976, Marvel changed the original 25 cent cover price of 186 issues to 30 cents within six test markets to see how fans would react to a 5 cent price increase. These markets included Grand Rapids Michigan, Baltimore Maryland, San Antonio Texas, Albuquerque New Mexico, and several towns within Massachusetts. Fans didn’t freak out about the increase, so they repeated the process again between June and October of 1977 to raise prices from 30 cents to 35 cents. Due to the limited printing of these price variants, 35 cent indicia can take a common book typically worth $5.00 and make it $100.00 or more. The most valuable of price variants like this are the infamous Star Wars issue 1 35 cent variant, a book that in 9.4 condition recently sold this year for $50,400, compared to the average $500 sales price of a graded CGC 9.4 standard 30 cent issue. Same comic, same story, same cover, only difference is the tiny box in the upper left-hand corner. You always want to check for those price variants, especially living in New England so close to Massachusetts!
Coming up on September 16th at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, we will be offering the Marvel Comics Collection of Troy Potter. A gentleman who avidly collected while also owning a comic shop of his own. In the process of handling his collection, over 500 books were submitted for grading to CGC, including an array of price variants!
Remember, if you are reading this and have a collection collecting dust, we are happy to take a look. You never know what you might have!