Market Report – December 2018 ComicLink and ComicConnect Auctions
Welcome back everyone, today we’ll go through results from the December 2018 ComicLink and ComicConnect auctions!
ComicLink Featured Auction – 4 December 2018
My overall impression is that realized prices were neutral to slightly soft, with most pieces selling in the middle of their expected market value range. There is a belief that selling assets/collectibles during the year-end period is a bad idea, as buyers are on holiday, distracted by festivities and channeling funds towards purchasing gifts. I’m not sure how true that is, but my sense is that strong pieces will fetch top prices whatever the time of year.
For today’s article, we’ll focus on a subject of interest to many: flipping original artwork! As discussed some moons back, I feel that OA generally needs to be taken off the market for a few years, in order to realize profitable returns when resold. This viewpoint continues to bear out in the examples below.
1994 Fleer Ultra X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda by Bob Larkin – $850
Previous sale: $1,127 in May 2016
Marvel trading cards used to be all the rage in the early to mid-’90s, so this card encapsulating a memorable X-Men storyline should be of nostalgic interest to a wide swathe of collectors. Possessing an image area of approximately 8.5″x11.25″, this watercolour piece is a decent size for card artwork. That didn’t stop it from losing 25% of its value over 2 years due to overexposure though, and a buddy of mine swooped in to snag a fine Christmas present!
Infinity Gauntlet #4 (1991), page 36 by Ron Lim & Bruce N. Solotoff – $5,700
Previous sale: $4,250 in May 2018
It’s no shock that the item on this list which gained the most value in a short period of time is an Infinity Gauntlet page. Pursuant to the unloading of a huge amount of Lim IG artwork back in May, prices appear to have consolidated and are on the rise yet again. An impressive $1,450 (34%) gain in just half a year ties in with my opening thoughts that regardless of period, truly strong (or hot) pieces will perform well, and can also buck the convention of OA needing to “rest” before resale.
Infinity Crusade #5 (1993), page 7 by Ron Lim & Al Milgrom – $555
Previous sale: $700 in April 2018
The inverse of the above occurred here, with this Infinity Crusade page falling roughly 20% over the same timeframe. Why did two Lim cosmic pieces from roughly the same period fare so differently? Well, IC isn’t the bedrock of ’90s Marvel Cosmic and the Marvel Cinematic Universe that IG is, so pages from this series aren’t nearly as coveted. And of course, Thanos is nowhere to be found on the page, so it doesn’t benefit from that mighty “Thanos Tax”!
Daredevil #237 (1986), cover by Keith Pollard & John Romita Sr. – $3,710
Previous sale: $9,000 in December 2017
The seller can probably relate to Daredevil’s pain on this cover. A staggering $5,290 (nearly 60%) plunge in 12 months is an extreme example of the perils of flipping OA. However, in this case, it isn’t solely attributable to overexposure of the piece. The huge drop likely arises from ComicConnect’s December 2017 item description not mentioning that Daredevil is a production stat, and is not original art! Though there’s original art underneath that stat, the seller likely bought this piece on the assumption that the published DD image was original pencils and inks. The December 2018 ComicLink listing did state these facts, so the current buyer was aware that a good chunk of this cover was not original art, and paid correspondingly less than $9k.
X-Men #32 (1967), page 11 by Werner Roth & John Tartaglione – $3,100
Previous sale: $3,700 in September 2017
I’d previously covered this page in that September 2017 article, so there isn’t much to say other than it’s a straightforward illustration of how flipping artwork too quickly normally doesn’t end well (-16% hammer price). Since Roth X-Men OA values haven’t noticeably risen in a few years, they still remain good value for vintage mutant art!
Daredevil: Yellow #1 (2001), page 10 by Tim Sale – $950
Previous sale: $1,000 in April 2017
Here’s another piece that I’d covered in the past, and it seems to have more or less maintained value. However, after taking into account CLink’s standard 10% sales commission, the seller lost about 15% on this sale. As also previously discussed, at these valuations, Sale’s OA continues to be a savvy buy.
Venom #31 (2013), cover by Paulo Siqueira – $1,406
Previous sale: $1,105 in May 2018
I’m a fan of Siqueira’s work, especially his Spider-Man-related stuff, so am not surprised to see his OA appreciating in value. A 27% bump in half a year is nothing to sniff at, and brings this 2013 cover in line with the circa-$1.5k price that modern mainstream superhero covers seem to be congregating at. If this were an Eddie Brock Venom piece instead of Flash Thompson as Agent Venom, I’d have gone harder after it!
ComicConnect Auction – 10 & 11 December 2018
CC’s auction contained many lower-value items but did also feature several significant pieces of art. The high profile OA generally fetched solid prices, affirming that CC remains a viable platform for expensive comics artwork.
Cable #13 (2009), variant cover by Ariel Olivetti – $1,749
I proudly present my win from this auction, a delectable Deadpool/Cable dustup which I’d been eyeing for nearly a year! Olivetti is my favourite comics painter, and this $1.7k tag reinforces my belief that his OA is woefully undervalued. Ariel’s painted Marvel covers are extremely hard to come by – this is the first one I can recall coming to auction, and my Juggernaut/Skaar cover is the only other piece I’ve seen for sale. Needless to say, this was an incredible way to end a fantastic 2018!
House of Secrets #92 (1971), page 9 by Bernie Wrightson – $66,500
House of Secrets #92 (1971), page 10 by Bernie Wrightson – $72,222
HOS #92 is a top-tier Bronze Age key comic, and aside from its immortal cover, these two pages are probably the best pieces from Swamp Thing’s 1st Appearance, featuring the first time we see full-figure shots of our sludgy hero. The 1st App character premium is in clear effect here – another page from the same issue but without Swampie on it sold for a mere $6k in February 2017. $67k and $72k seem like fully-realized prices for these two chunks of comics history.
Walking Dead #1 (2003), page 6 by Tony Moore – $16,200
The third tranche of CC’s sale of a massive WD collection contained the item I’d been most looking forward to: the 1st Appearance of zombies in the series! Given that WD OA prices are heavily dependent on scenes with Walkers, and that page 4 from #1 which contained an unanimated corpse fetched $7.8k in March 2018, I’d expected this splash to crack $20k. Going by this result and prices other lower-tier pages fetched in the auction, WD’s OA market continues to cool. Let’s hope renewed excitement in the TV show refreshes this stale franchise!
Cephalid Looter (2001) by Keith Garletts – $1,400; 13”x11”
Goretusk Firebeast (2002) by Keith Garletts – $875; 15”x11”
As previously suggested, comics auctioneers appear to be moving into Magic: The Gathering OA – see CC’s continued sales of M:TG artwork and Heritage’s auctioning of expensive pieces like July 2018’s $72k sale of Shahrazad. These, in addition to Facebook and eBay sales, should result in a larger and more accessible market for M:TG OA.
For an illustration of how a card’s playability affects its artwork’s value, look no further than the above two examples. Cephalid Looter’s useful “looter” ability made it a moderately-played card, whereas Goretusk Firebeast’s much less efficient effect rendered it all but unplayable. Despite them having the same artist and being in the same Odyssey block, Looter is worth 60% more than the poor Firebeast, although it can be argued that the Cephalid’s art is more intricate. Goretusk is a notable card to me though, as it was part of a horrid red deck that I started out playing with! From these and other sales, it appears that the price floor for OA from this early-2000s era is around $800.
Until next time, happy collecting!
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