Hello out there in Comic book world! Howzit going? I am doing great! Every year right around my birthday (April 23rd- for those of you who forgot to send presents), one of my favorite Cons rolls around -- The Wonder Con! I like it for many reasons. Sales are very strong. The food in Oakland is very eclectic and for vegetarians like Linda and me, there is plenty to choose from, you have Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Chinese and more. Our favorite restaurant there is the New World Vegetarian Restaurant it serves only Vegetarian (if it had parents they don’t serve it!) fare. I had a curry veggie-chicken dish that was amazing-you could not even tell that it was not really chicken! Beautiful San Francisco is less than a half-hour train ride away. Believe me visiting San Francisco is quite a treat (ha-ha -- get it -- Rice-a-Roni). From the scenic Fishermen’s Wharf to the hippie Haight-Ashbury district S.F. has it all. One night after the show Mike Carbonaro, Gary Dolgoff, Conrad Eschenberg, my lovely assistant/girlfriend Linda and I went down to watch and listen to a great Jazz band -- Elvin Jones and his Jazz Machine. They were amazing- this guy was 72 years old and was working the drums over like a boxer would a speed bag- non-stop pounding for literally an hour. From what I hear, afterwards the rest of the guys went out for a night on the town. For those of you who know him you will be surprised to find out Gary Dolgoff is quite the dancer- the next Denny Terrio we hear.
The next subject is my new obsession with toys from my youth. I have been buying Micronauts and Shogun Warriors. I also finally found mint in box Maskatron from the Six Million Dollar Man show. It is too cool. Now, not only am I a comic geek I am a toy geek to boot.
Many of you have been very curious about the new third party grading service that is in development. I decided to share a letter from a customer about one aspect of the grading service it is as follows
Are you willing to repurchase comics you have sold if they grade less than you specified, once this grading service becomes available? Most coin dealers say they would but my experience, unfortunately, has shown otherwise. Third party grading has been used in coin collecting for years as I'm sure you know. Third party grading will bring investors to the hobby in a big way. I predict a mutual fund that purchases high grade, ultra high price comics, as happened with coins. While this may sound good at first, it will result in the hobbyist being priced out of the market, to some extent. Even with these downside risks a grading service limited to books with a value of over, say $250.00 would probably be a good idea. Submitting books worth under that would needlessly add to their cost. I would be very interested in this service since I plan to buy several Marvel keys and semi keys over the next several years.
My response was as follows:
As far as graded books are concerned I am going to wait to see what kind of acceptance they have in the market. If they are not accepted then we don't have to worry. If they are then we have to see how they are viewed -- as too tight or too loose or right on the money. Now if you buy a VF book from me and it comes back from a third party grading service as a VF-, I will buy it at a % of VF- just as I would buy at a % of VF+ if it came back as such- once again that is if their grading becomes an accepted standard. I think that is fair. How would you feel if a book came back VF+ and I said-Wait a second I only graded it a VF I am not going to pay you VF+ money- I think you would be annoyed. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves let's see what happens with the grading service acceptance -- it is still very difficult for people to buy a book without opening it up.
Next month I am going to the Overstreet meeting in Timonium, Maryland. Topics to be discussed will include pricing in the new guide, the new grading scale and third party grading. I will report back to you on what occurs. I am expecting it to be very interesting, informative and fun. Wouldn’t it be great if they had a wrestling ring where the dealers could duke it out and the winner could make up the prices for next year’s guide? I can see it now, “Ladies and gentlemen in this corner from parts unknown weight unknown the team of Vicious Joe Verenault and Mighty Matt Schiffman against Nature Boy Mike Naiman and Gorgeous Gary Carter.” Unfortunately I think the match would end up in a disqualification due to the use of a foreign object after Mike and Gary force ten copies of the CBM into every orifice of Joe V’s body. This is just one mans dream and will probably never happen -- shucks!
Recent acquisitions include a collection of 150 golden age books purchased in upstate New York. A woman recently bought a home and found this stack of books in the attic. A Subby #1 in VF-, Archie Comics #1, #2, #3, #4, and small batches of high, mid and low grade Superman, Batman, Blue Beetle, Four Color, Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Human Torch and Police Comics. At the Wonder Con I purchased a great run of 60’s and 70’s Marvels. The 70’s stuff was so nice we were tempted to call them the Oakland II Collection. Runs included Journey into Mystery, Thor, Amazing Spiderman, Marvel Team-Up, Incredible Hulk, Silver Surfer, Nick Fury, Strange Tales, Fantastic Four and Tales of Suspense. They are not on the site yet but will be soon. We also bought a really high grade collection of silver age DC and Marvel- chock full of Bats, Detectives, F.F.’s and horror stuff (also not available yet, but feel free to make requests). We have also purchased a small run of early Actions and Detectives and a low grade All American #16.
Once again I have to say the comic market is rockin’. Record shows in Boston, Chicago and Oakland prove that this is not just a regional phenomenon. Wonder Con sales included Archie Comics #1 GD $1,900.00, Batman #3 FN- $1,800.00, Human Torch #8 VF- $2,000.00, Incredible Hulk #1 FR/GD $400.00, Sensation #1 FR/GD $1,350.00, Smash Comics #17 VG $200.00, X-Men #1 FN- $800.00, Superman #2 VG (staple reinforcement) $1,500.00, Superman #6 FN+ $1,000.00 and Superman Annual #1 VF+ $650.00.