CGC Census – Exploring Second Issues – Is it ever better to be second?

Continuing the exploration of the CGC Census, this month the focus is second issues. Most titles see a significant decrease in both the value and the number of CGC submissions for issue #2 when compared to issue #1.

There are 232,766 different comic books graded by CGC on the CGC Census (April 19, 2022). There are 50,048 different comic books graded by CGC are a #1 issue (21.5%). The total number of submissions on the CGC Census is 7,444,146, with 2,159,016 as #1 issues (29%). For #2 issues, 14,592 different comic books have been graded by CGC (6.3%). The total number of submissions on the CGC Census for #2 issues is 318,492 (4.3%).

Read the article here.

CGC Census – Submissions, Average Grades, and 76,832 Dots!

CGC has graded 76,832 issues at least ten times each for a total of 6,835,678 submissions, which represents more than 93% of all CGC submissions. Outliers on a decade color-coded chart show books that “stand out” from the others. Of course books like Amazing Fantasy #15 and Fantastic Four #1 are standouts from the 1960s, but what about other standouts with unusually high average grades?

Explore any of the 76,832 dots, if you have the time, or see a few outlier issues in each decade.

Read the full article online here.

Collecting by Date – What is a Birthday Comic?

Most submitted book to CGC for each month in the 1970s…

Many comic collectors associate comic books with particular dates in their lives. In message boards and social media, users may post a photo of a “birthday comic” with a caption reading, “from the month I was born.” Using the CGC Census data, it is possible to identify the most often submitted comic book to CGC for each month and year for almost 90 years. 

See all 1,000+ months in the full article here.

GPA Market Reports and the CGC Census

GPAnalysis reports how many copies sell for individual issues and there may be few surprises when the most often CGC graded comics are also the most often sold. But turn those numbers into percentages and the surprises abound. Take a look at the most recent twelve months in terms of what’s trading more often than you might expect.

Read the full article for free on GPAnalysis.com

Newsstand Books – The Way It Was

Before the introduction of the direct market in the late-1970s, every comic book was a “newsstand” edition. Comics published from the 1930s to the late-1970s were all newsstand editions, which meant three things: 1) They could be returned for credit if they didn’t sell by a certain date, 2) They were not ordered according to demand, but according to distributor processes, and 3) both serious and casual comic collectors obtained copies of identical comic books, since all books were newsstand editions.

With the introduction of the direct market, comic book publishers were able to supply comic shops with exactly the number of copies of each book that the retailer purchased. Additionally, in exchange for a discount on the price of each comic book, the direct edition books could not be returned for credit. Comic shop owners could decide which books would sell best, which books would be good to keep in the back issue inventory, and which books they didn’t want to purchase at all.

Read the full article for free on GPAnalysis.com.

CGCEMC – CGC Estimated Market Capitalization

Amazing Fantasy #15 sets world record, but thousands of copies are average.

The CGCAMC – Average Market Capitalization introduced in a series of articles during 2020 has been taken to the next step, an Estimated Market Capitalization (EMC) that includes the premiums paid at the highest end of the CGC market. Compare any two comics across ages and genres for their total CGC graded valuation – or at least an estimate that doesn’t take 100 calculations per book.

Read the full article for free on GPAnalysis.com

CGC Census Olympics – Gold Medals By Grade

Which books take home the most gold?

What if each CGC Grade was its own Olympic event?

The most submitted book to earn CGC 9.8 grades is Spawn #1 (1992).

CGC 9.8 GOLD MEDAL – 9,826 copies – Spawn #1 (1992, Image Comics)

All the CGC grades are included in these “CGC Census Olympics” and the awards are Gold, Silver, and Bronze

Read the full article for free on GPAnalysis.com here

CGC Math – Paint Me A Picture

Every comic book is high grade, mid grade, or low grade – even if collectors have different personal definitions for those categories.  Picture this:  Using the CGC Census, it is possible to visualize what has been CGC graded so far, and perhaps discover clues about what grades remain to be CGC graded (or not!) in the future.

Visualization of comic book population

Read the article for free on GPAnalysis.com here.

CGC Census Totals – 20+ Years Set The Pace

The CGC Census has been reported throughout the 21+ year history of CGC grading, beginning January 1, 2000. Using end-of-year CGC Census totals from CGCdata.com, the history of CGC can be summarized as:

History of totals on the CGC Census

Having this many points of data allows for a calculation that “predicts” the CGC Census numbers based upon the amount of time which has passed since CGC began grading.

That formula result is a little “ugly” to look at, but it works very well for the first 21+ years of CGC’s history.

Y = 0.00000000505*X^4-0.0000585*X^3+0.250095*X^2+5.88495*X

Where X is the number of days since January 1, 2000.

If the formula continues to be similarly accurate, the following numbers would be expected for the end of 2021 through 2025.

This is a significant increase predicted, nearly doubling the 21.5 year CGC Census totals of January 2000 to July 2021 in the time span of just 4.5 years from July 2021 to December 2025. However, the CGC Census did double most recently in just 5.5 years from December 2016 to July 2021.

Slabbing Comics – CGC Census Retrospective – Decades of Popular Submissions

Top 25 Most Submitted to CGC by Decade – The 1930s

Take a closer look at CGC submissions in five-year blocks over the past 20 years. The latest article in the CGC Census history series breaks the numbers down as Top 25 most submitted by decade from comic books of the 1930s to the 2010s.  Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27 dominate, right?  Not exactly.  The CGC Census has fewer copies of those books than you might expect, especially compared to other books of the same age.

Read the full article with Top 25 lists for each decade here.

Slabbing Comics – CGC Census Retrospective – Five Years at a Time

This month’s article steps through time in five-year blocks, looking at the CGC Census for books graded during 2000-2005, 2006-2010, 2011-2015, and 2016-2020. The Top 25 for each of the five-year timeframes do have many of the same books, however, these are separate lists isolating the books graded by CGC during those five-year spans and not a running total since CGC began. The Top 25 for the whole timespan from 2000-2020 is presented at the end of this article.

Starting with the Top 25 CGC Submissions for 2000-2005, the results for the first five years (technically a little over six years, from late 1999 until the end of 2005) have Wolverine Limited Series #1 as the most submitted book to CGC in the timeframe.

Holland-2021-03-04.png
Most submitted books to CGC between 2000 and 2005.

Read the full article for free and see the Top 25 lists on GPAnalysis.com.

Slabbing Comics – CGC Census Retrospective – The First Two Years

The first CGC graded comic book was Walt Disney Comics & Stories #1 (Dell Publishing, 1940) – CGC Serial #0000001001 (Invoice 0000001, Item 001), originally graded November 9, 1999.  CGC opened to the public on January 1, 2000, bringing the “slab” concept from coins and cards to the comic book market. 

Take a closer look at CGC’s first 100,000 graded comics.

The first comic books submitted to CGC provide a “snapshot” of the state of the comic book market and CGC as it was during 2001.  The market seems to have moved on from the “hot new books of the day” from 2001, but CGC is still spending lots of time grading “hot new books of the day” in 2021.  Does our past show us our likely future?

Read the full article on GPAnalysis.com here.

CGC Average Market Capitalization (CGCAMC): 2020 Year In Review

2020 Year End – Top 25 CGCAMC Calulation

The third article on the topic of CGC Average Market Capitalization (CGCAMC). 

The CGC comic book market was significantly impacted by the events of 2020, so much so that the final 2020 list for the Top 25 comic books by CGCAMC calculation is nearly 25% higher than the mid-2020 list.  For the first time, Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27 are not in the Top 3, replaced by more recent key issues with higher CGC populations.  Is this a reflection of a price bubble or a reflection of the books valued more by the market?

Read the complete article on GPAnalysis.com here.

CGC Average Market Capitalization (CGCAMC): 2020 – 2015 – 2010

Multiply the average price for the average CGC grade by the number of CGC graded copies and you get CGCAMC – a simple calculation that allows any two comics to be compared on roughly equal footing.  Looking back five and ten years, it’s possible to see trends in the market and fascinating to see comic books from the 1980s compete head-to-head against comics from the 1930s. Enjoy multiple Top 25 lists in this month’s article with all the calculations done for you.

Read the complete article on GPAnalysis.com here.

CGC Average Market Capitalization (CGCAMC): An Introduction

When the headlines say, “COMIC BOOK SELLS FOR OVER $3,000,000!” it is certainly an attention-grabber.  It is not hard to name the most valuable comic books of all.  Do those highest priced comic books truly represent the most total market value for an issue?  Would it be better to have 2 copies of a comic worth $100,000 each or 50 copies of a comic worth $5,000 apiece? Don’t worry – the math is already done for you, and the results may be surprising when you see the Top 25 comics calculated with CGCAMC.

Read the full article on GPAnalysis.com.

From Action Comics #1 to early Silver Age – What’s Worth Slabbing in Poor Condition?

This article is Part 4 in a continuing series. Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 are linked.  In previous articles, it was established that books like Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962), Incredible Hulk #1 (1962), and Fantastic Four #1 (1961) – which are submitted to CGC in all conditions – provide a better representation of what conditions might be expected to exist for other comic books of the same age, even if they are never submitted to CGC.  Additionally, the percentage of restored books on the CGC Census may be representative of the time period, reflecting attempts to improve a comic’s appearance over the past six decades.

Read the latest article on GPAnalysis.com.

The Early 1960s Beyond Amazing Fantasy #15 (And How Much Restoration?)

In previous articles, it was seen that there is a significant financial incentive to submit even the lowest grade copies of certain books like Amazing Fantasy #15, and the CGC Census grade distributions for Amazing Fantasy #15 are likely to be a good representation of all existing copies of not only Amazing Fantasy #15 but perhaps all 1962 comic books as well. Looking beyond 1962, Fantastic Four #1 (1961) and Avengers #1 (1963) enhance the evidence for the grade distributions of comics books from early 1960s in different ways.  How many of these books are CGC 9.0 today? Perhaps just 1%, and the answer to the restoration question might surprise many collectors who never touched their raw books but can’t be too sure about their books’ previous owners 50+ years ago.

Read the full article at GPAnalysis.com

Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #50 – Market Report

(from OSPG #50, pages 129-130, published September 2020, written in December 2019)

Greg Holland
SlabData.com
Certified and encapsulated comic books (“slabs”) are only a small percentage of all comic books in existence, but the slabbed comic market represents a much larger percentage of total dollars spent annually. Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) opened to the public in 2000.  As this book is printed, it is now 2020 and with CGC’s permission, I have been compiling the CGC census into a searchable database online for almost the entire time. 4,816,652 comic books were reported as professionally graded and encapsulated according to the official CGC census in the first 20 years of CGC (as of mid-December 2019). This 20-year total is 3,936,750 universal grades, 772,851 signature series, 58,187 restored, and 48,864 qualified grades. Those 4,816,652 slabs are for 195,695 different comic books. Most comic books submitted to CGC have been graded fewer than ten times.  More than 50,000 comics have been CGC graded only once. Nearly 100,000 comics have been CGC graded no more than three times. At the other end of the list, ten comic books have been graded at least 10,000 times each. Amazing Spider-Man #300 became the first comic to pass 20,000 CGC graded copies, followed by New Mutants #98, Wolverine Limited Series #1, Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8, Amazing Spider-Man #361, Uncanny X-Men #266, Incredible Hulk #181, Spawn #1, Amazing Spider-Man #129, and Amazing Spider-Man #252 in 10th place.  Nine of these ten most submitted books are from Marvel along with Spawn #1 from Image Comics.  The most submitted comic from D.C. Comics is Batman: The Killing Joke in 18th place with 6,615 copies on the CGC census.  The Top 100 most-submitted comics have 99 comics from Marvel (84), D.C. Comics (11), or Image (4). The only Top 100 book by another publisher is Rai #0 (1992) from Valiant Comics in 69th place (3,852 copies graded), rising from 101st place a year ago and perhaps nearing the Top 50 by the time of this publication.  The Top 100 most-submitted books to CGC represent 553,534 copies on the CGC census, or 11.5% of all slabs.  While the CGC Census shows nearly 200,000 different comic books graded almost 5,000,000 times, one in nine slabs comes from a short list of just 100 comics (see cgcdata.com for the full list). 

CGC Census Counts by Comic Decade (as of mid-December 2019):

  • 1930s = 8,889 (0.2%) –
  • 1940s = 153,500 (3.2%) –
  • 1950s = 157,137 (3.3%) –
  • 1960s = 733,763 (15.2%) –
  • 1970s = 784,295 (16.3%) –
  • 1980s = 733,428 (15.2%) –
  • 1990s = 558,110 (11.6%) –
  • 2000s = 555,015 (11.5%) –
  • 2010s = 1,121,381 (23.3%) –
  • Others = 11,134 (0.2%) – (“Others” includes undated books)
  • Total = 4,816,652.

CGC counts, totals, and averages are not a random sample of the whole comic book market. Comics which are sent to CGC have often been selected by the submitter for exceptional qualities of high grade condition, high market value, or both. By definition, the average raw comic is unlikely to be exceptional.  Another important note is that comics which have few copies on the CGC census are not necessarily rare. When a comic book has little market value, even if it is very old, there is little reason to pay for third-party professional grading and encapsulation. Comics which appear uncommon on the CGC census may be extremely common and of little value in the market. Since most comic books in existence are worth much less than the cost of CGC grading, we should not expect to find many low-valued comics in the CGC census.  The opposite is also true, the higher the value of a comic book, we should expect that more of the existing copies will be graded.  There will be copies of every valuable comic book which are never sent to CGC, particularly when the owners have no desire to sell the books, but the number of $10,000+ comic books changing hands (publicly) without first being CGC graded is rapidly decreasing.  A review of more than 2,500 sales for $10,000+ comic books at Heritage Auctions shows 99% are “already slabbed” comics. Understanding that the market for $10,000+ comic books has overwhelmingly become slabbed comics; it becomes important to recognize that the CGC census for the highest valued comics now provides significant data points about the existing copies remaining.  Expert estimates for the number of surviving copies of Action Comics #1 (1938) and Detective Comics #27 (1939) generally suggest 100 to 200 copies exist.  With more than one-third (and perhaps as high as half) of those top two key issue estimates already appearing on the CGC Census, it may be possible to estimate the remaining copies of other $10,000+ comic books as well.  With all conditions of Amazing Fantasy #15 now worth $10,000+ and the CGC census showing 3,203 copies graded, perhaps an estimate of 6,500 to 10,000 copies is accurate if about one-third to half are already graded.  If previous estimates for surviving copies of Amazing Fantasy #15 have been much lower or much higher, then perhaps CGC is providing the industry with a better method for calculating estimates on books of such high values.  Estimates for surviving copies of books of lower values are certainly not reflected as clearly by the CGC census, however, it may be possible to understand surviving copy estimates between books of similar value even if only 1% have been CGC graded.  For example, if any two books have been approximately the same value for the past 20 years of CGC grading, and one book has twice the number of CGC graded copies on the CGC census, then it may be fair to estimate that twice as many copies exist.  Using simple supply-and-demand logic, when the demand values are identical then the different counts of CGC graded copies are most likely related to supply.  Sure, there are always other factors and we may never know exactly how many copies remain for books, but it may actually be true that there are twice as many copies when the values are similar and the CGC counts are double. We will never understand everything about the comic book market, but perhaps 2020 will be the year we take the time to really review what can be known (hindsight is 20/20, after all).  Whether we’re talking about the seemingly never-ending debates of first appearances, or the estimates for surviving copies of the highest-valued comics, the decades of census information, sales information, and expert estimates really are the best sources we have in 2020.  CGC has been a focus in this market report, but when another grading company makes their census available and gives permission, they will be included in future reports.  While some collectors proclaim that all surviving copy or print run estimates are a permanent mystery, maybe other collectors like me are thinking that nearly 5,000,000 comics graded over 20 years represents a sample large enough to teach us some things we haven’t known before.  Some say the goal in the market is ABC – Always Be Closing (the sale), but I say always be learning (the market).  More information is available at slabdata.com and more detailed CGC census analysis can be performed at cgcdata.com.