Covering the Spread 3

Hello again and welcome to another edition of Covering the Spread!  This week I did a lot of reading and writing about some older books for a future article (stay tuned folks) which has inspired me to do something a little different for this week’s article.  

Today we are going to talk about mid grade books.  I am always an advocate of the “buy the best you can afford” philosophy and most older books are so scarce in high grade I think doing an analysis of high grade copies wouldn’t help anyone.

So with that in mind I will have to update my methods a little.  We will use the same standard 10 copies of each issue to give ourselves a good estimate of ROI and just change the grades we’ll be getting back.  

Today I am estimating that for every book listed as “Fine” (I’ll include sales ranging between 5.0 and 6.5)  without pressing we will get one 7.0, three 6.5, four 6.0, one 5.5, and one 5.0 copy. We won’t be doing a separate analyses for pressing this week because I think it’s too hard to predict how pressing will effect books of these grades without looking at them on a case by case basis.

As always these numbers are only estimates!  You should always look at the pictures and do your best to grade the books before buying them. Now onto the books!


Amazing Spider-Man 129


If you look up Blue Chip Issue in the comic book dictionary you’ll see a picture of this issue.  This is the first appearance of The Punisher and don’t forget the first appearance of The Jackal (why doesn’t he ever get more love?).  

This book has always been very popular but with the recent Netflix series and all the love for Cosmic Ghost Rider prices have started reaching new highs.  So how do mid grade copies look as an investment?


Average Raw Price 665.84
10 Copies 6658.37
Grading Fees (Est) 585
Shipping Fees (Est) 100
Total Costs 7343.37


7.0 Av Price 6.5 Av Price 6.0 Av Price 5.5 Av Price 5.0 Av Price
872.50 798.08 716.43 622.50 661.50
1 Copy 3 Copies 4 Copies 1 Copy 1 Copy Total Value
872.50 2394.24 2865.72 622.50 661.50 6754.96


Well I think it’s fair to say as far as pure investment goes this book is not a good option.  I’m not saying you can’t speculate that it will go up in the future (I think it probably will) but the numbers don’t look good. We have an up front investment of $7343.37 and a final value of $6754.96.  

There are a couple important things to note here, first of all it is odd that the 5.0 copy happened to go for more than the average 5.5 copy although stuff like that happens once in awhile, but more importantly there was one auction from back in April that only got one bid for $250 (Kudos whoever you are that’s a great deal) and even with that low price weighing things down the average raw price was still too high.  

To be clear this would net a loss of $588.41 landing the spread at – 58.84.  This means that the books are essentially worth the same amount whether they are raw or graded because we’re spending about $58 dollars per book to have them graded.  The other elephant in the room that I wanted to address here is restoration.

There probably won’t be a lot restored at this grade but it does happen with this book so that makes it especially true if you want to buy this book BUY IT ALREADY GRADED!

Shazam 1


Shazam 1 is a book I don’t think gets as much respect as it deserves.  Is Shazam a little corny? Sure but that doesn’t mean this movie isn’t going to be awesome.  This book has been selling very often lately just at pretty low prices so let’s take a look at some numbers.


Average Raw Price 33.36
10 Copies 333.57
Grading Fees (Est) 243
Shipping Fees (Est) 100
Total Costs 676.57


7.0 Av Price 6.5 Av Price 6.0 Av Price 5.5 Av Price 5.0 Av Price
62.5 41.35 31.43 21.50 50
1 Copy 3 Copies 4 Copies 1 Copy 1 Copy Total Value
62.50 124.05 125.72 21.50 50 333.77


So my quick notes for this example are, I used the 7.5 price for 7.0 copies because none have sold but I don’t think that will matter, and again the 5.0 copy sold for more than 6.5 copies even (is someone out there collecting 5.0 copies of key books?)  

This is going to be a very bad investment.  We would spend $676.57 to get back $333.77. That is a loss of 342.80 with a spread of -34.28.  Even with us trying to save money with Economy grading (this book is just shy of qualifying for modern) we are still losing a hefty chunk of change.  I still think this is a good book to pick up before the movie, but if you’re going to do it BUY IT ALREADY GRADED!


DC Comics Presents #26


This is another awesome book that has been selling very frequently but for the most part at pretty low prices.  For anyone who doesn’t know this issue is the first appearance of Raven, Cyborg & Starfire so maybe there are a lot of people out there who weren’t as bothered by the Teen Titans set photos as I was.  More importantly for today’s article, this book qualifies as modern for cgc purposes so we’ll have the lowest fees possible to grade.


Average Raw Price 49.99
10 Copies 499.90
Grading Fees (Est) 120
Shipping Fees (Est) 100
Total Costs 779.9


7.0 Av Price 6.5 Av Price 6.0 Av Price 4.5 Av Price
124.99 129.99 63 84.99
1 Copy 3 Copies 4 Copies 2 Copies Total Value
124.99 129.99 252 169.98 766.96


Well for my quick notes here I will say I didn’t include any 5.5 or 5.0 copies because there have been no sales so I pushed back to 4.5 and once again it sold for more than higher grade copies for some reason.  

But unfortunately again with this book we fell short of making a profit with an upfront investment of $779.90 and final value of $766.96.  That would only be a loss of 12.94 or a spread of -1.29 which means we were much closer here.

So those are the books for this week.  Was I trying to lead everyone on a wild goose chase?  No but I do think the lessons we learn from our losses can often be more important than the lessons learned from our victories.

Actually when I came up with the idea of focusing on mid grade copies for this article I thought I would be able to find books that we could make money off of and I tried (I looked into about 20 books for this).  So in the end I decided to discuss these books because I think they should be on everyone’s radar.

There are a few lessons I am taking away here (I hope you are too).

  1. For some people a low to mid grade copy might make them just as happy as a mid to high grade copy.  I’m not saying only invest in 5.0 copies because they seem to sell better but don’t leave a book behind because it is too low of a grade for your personal tastes.  Just make sure the price is right!
  2. Making money on mid grade issues is most likely dependant on two things: Your buy in price, and more importantly patience.  That 4.5 copy that sold for $85? That was a buy it now with no best offer option. The 6.0 was an auction, and I do not believe there are enough people buying mid grade slabs to cause a bidding war.
  3. This is the most important lesson here.  If you want a mid grade copy, buy it already graded!  If you already have a raw copy and are considering grading you should buy a graded copy and sell yours raw.  Don’t worry it seems like there are a lot of graded copies already available. Taking the loss of %10 eBay fees will likely be better than all of your costs for grading it. Not to mention I think a lot of people have trouble grading mid grade books and you might be surprised by the grade you get.  Also you might assume that because these are lower grade copies none of them are restored. Well using ASM 129 as an example there are currently 60 restored copies on the census that were graded between a 7.0 and 5.0. That’s not a huge number considering how many are on the census altogether but why risk the headache?


That’s all for this week everyone, as always thanks to Scott Robertson and the Comic Collateral App for our pricing data and I’ll see you in a week when we’ll get back to some regular high grade comics!

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