Dear Valued Customers,
Over the last two years, we have seen a growing trend in the market for CGC graded comics books. Although we are disappointed in this trend, we are hardly surprised.
Metropolis has had a major hand in the creation of CGC including pitching the company on the concept of grading comic books a numer of years ago, creating the new 10 point grading scale currently used by CGC and The Overstreet Price Guide and locating the person qualified to fill the role as the CGC head grader, namely Steve Borock. We are pleased that the comic market has accepted CGC with open arms.
Over the years, I have had many customers who were very particular about the books that they purchased for their collections. Quite a number of these customers had told me time and time again that they only purchased books in NM or better. I often wondered what the collections of these individuals looked like. Were the collections as impressive as the collectors said they were ? In fact, whenever I had the opportunity to meet these customers in person and view their collections, I took it. Here is what I generally found – later bronze age books, warehouse books such as Dell Giants, books that were generally rather easy to find in ultra-high grade. Did I find any scarce books in these collections? No. Did I find any books of great significance? No. For the most part, these NM or better collectors stuck to buying books that can generally be found in NM or better. Rare books in only VF were looked down upon. A book that was undervalued in guide was not purchased because it was only in VF/NM. I remember one case many years ago where one customer desperately wanted a copy of Suspense Comics #3. The only problem was that this customer was one from the NM or better crowd. He had created an impossible situation for himself. I remember offering him an unrestored Fine copy for $3,500, which he passed on because it was not in his beloved NM grade. That book today would be worth about $18,000.
Today, I see the same thing happening with CGC books. Let me give a few examples of what I am talking about. At an auction last year, my friend Adam purchased a CGC 8.0 VF copy of Hulk #1. At the same auction, was a copy of Hulk #181 in CGC 9.8. After the auction, I was talking to Adam when another collector came over and asked what Adam had purchased that day. Envy came over this persons face when Adam told him he purchased the Hulk. That look was replaced with one of severe disappointment when Adam clarified his statement that he had not purchased the #181, but rather the #1. Adam went down several notches because he had made the mistake of buying the common as dirt Hulk #1 instead of the ultra rare Hulk #181. I would point to another example of a Metropolis customer who is looking to put together a complete Action Comics collection from number #1 on up. I called him several weeks ago to offer him 2 books –a copy of issue #52 in CGC 7.5 (classic black cover) and a CGC 9.6 copy of issue #365. He was delighted at the privilege of being offered the relatively common #365 but passed on the #52 because it was not in high grade. In my opinion, that collector made a mistake. Just to be clear, this collector really wants a #52 because it is one of his favorite covers. His mistake was using the grade as the only factor in whether or not to make a purchase. This collector is on the road to putting together an ultra high-grade collection of all the Action that can easily be found in high grade. He will pay anything for a Action 400 in 9.8 but will have a glassy-eyed look when offered a Fine Action #23 (first Luthor).
It is my hope that collectors in todays market will use a number of factors to determine whether or not to buy a comic book. Certainly factors such as importance, scarcity and more importantly, scarcity in high grade should be considered along with the books ultimate grade. Perhaps this could be a topic of discussion at the next annual convention of all the collectors who own a CGC 9.4 or better copy of Hulk #181. I hear they are looking to hold it in the Javits Convention Center because the old venue was just not big enough.