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The Comic Speculator Back Issue Roundup – 46,000-Issue Comics Collection Discovery

by Matt Baum (11/15/13).

Brian Marcus, owner of Caviler Comics, and his friend Charles Wood sit showing off some of their new collection of 46,000 Marvel and DC comics, some of which dating back to the early 1950s, and including several blue-chip first appearances and #1 issues.

The Comic Speculator is a blog written by WorthPoint Comic Book “Worthologist” Matt Baum that takes a look at each week’s hot new comics and back issues and the comic market place in general. Prices discussed here are taken from the Overstreet Guide to Comics (OVST), Comicspriceguide.com (CPG) and current online auction sales. Sales numbers and rankings are courtesy of ICV2.com. Lists of new comics are courtesy of Previews World and Comics List. Make sure and click on the links to learn more about the titles and creators discussed here. The codes under the prices of new titles discussed are Diamond Comics order codes that can be used to help your local comic retailer in ordering the issues discussed. If you want to hear what this nerd sounds like you can catch him on his podcast, the Two-Headed Nerd Comicast, where he and his friend Joe discuss the latest comic news, review some new comics, and answer your questions.

The Back Issue Roundup

I’ve been away for a bit and I apologize, but the good news is that nothing happened in the Back Issue world while I was gone… nothing. OK, I’m lying. There’s been a ton of comics heating up and going nuts and, today, I’m going to attempt to catch up. I’m sorry for being a flake, but trust me, you are not the first person I’ve let down. But this slip in Back Issue Round Up continuity is far from the worst I’ve done. Enough groveling! Let’s put on the hip-waders and delve into the dark, carnivorous, fish-infested waters of the back issue market.

Gold and Silver Oldies:

Two collectors in Virginia stumbled upon an almost complete collection of Marvel and DC comics, including runs of comics from recent years all the way back to the 1950s and ’60s. More than 46,000 comics, to be exact, with almost no gaps in the runs and including all the key comics. Collections like these are nearly impossible to find.

Brian Marcus, owner of Caviler Comics in Wise, Va., heard of the collection—which was lleft as part of an estate to a Scottish Rites Hall—from a friend who works for Overstreet (who prints the Overstreet Price Guide for comics) while set up at a comic show in Huntington W.V. Marcus called in friend and collector Charles Bond, and the two went to investigate.

However, they weren’t the only ones contacting the lodge about the collection. Several collectors had also contacted the lodge with bids on the collection. But Marcus and Bond actually visited the lodge and were able to tell officials there exactly what they had on their hands. After walking them through the value of the collection, they were contacted in August and told their bid was accepted, even though it wasn’t the highest. A West Coast bidder actually offered the lodge a higher price but never came to see the collection in person. See, it pays to do some face-to-face business (not to mention the nightmare of trying to ship 46,000-plus comics across the country).

Included in the collection were amazing blue-chip comics like Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962, first appearance of Spider-Man), Hulk #181 (Marvel, 1974, first appearance of Wolverine), Journey Into Mystery #83 (Marvel, 1952, first appearance of Thor), Avengers #4 (Marvel, 1963, first silver-age appearance of Captain America), and Brave and Bold #28 (DC, 1960, first appearance of the Justice League). There were also first issues of the Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, Daredevil, X-Men and the Fantastic Four.

The collector reportedly died of a heart attack at age 61 and had no family. A will leaving the collection, which also included baseball cards and toys, to the Scottish Rites Hall was found in the front seat of his car. The collection itself is in great condition and was stored in produce bags in stacks sorted by decade.

The whole story is just insane. I don’t remember the last time I looked at a collection to buy that was sorted in any fashion at all? Although the actual price paid for the comics wasn’t revealed, Marcus and Bond split the collection and estimate its worth at least $250,000.

The two plan on selling off the collection, but don’t expect to see these comics anytime soon. With 46,000-plus comics, it’s going to take these two quite a while to go through them all.

Bronze Age and Beyond:

If you haven’t heard, the beloved home of Archie—Riverdale—has been overrun with the undead! Well, in the pages of Afterlife with Archie, at least. The series, written by Roberto Aguirre Sarcassa, with art by Francesco Francavillia, is a true horror series featuring zombie versions of your favorite Archie characters eating each other. It sounds stupid, sure, but you’ll love it. Collectors snatched up first-prints of Afterlife with Archie #1 very quickly and they’re currently selling for $10 and up. There’s also a New York Comic-Con variant by Robert Hack (rumored to be limited to 400 copies) selling for $25 and up. Buy it now before this series really starts to heat up.

The Afterlife with Archie #1 New York Comic-Con variant by Robert Hack (rumored to be limited to 400 copies).

The Judge Dredd Carlos Ezquerra Vol. 1 collection looks to be the hardest IDW Red Label collection to find and is selling for $200.

Recently IDW started shipping “Red Label” and “Black Label” hardcover collected editions of several of their titles. Both are extremely limited in printing with Red Label versions printed at 250 copies or less and Black Label versions printed at 50 copies, making them very hard to get your hands on. The Red Labels retail for $100 and have been selling out before shipping. Currently, the Judge Dredd Carlos Ezquerra Vol. 1 collection looks to be the hardest to find and is selling for $200. Most of the others are still selling for cover price, but they will be impossible to find soon. The newer Black Labels have yet to show up online (currently there’s Black Label Star Trek, Crawl To Me and My Little Pony collections) but I’d expect them to also be selling for twice their cover price very soon.


Matt Baum is WorthPoint’s comic book Worthologist. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact Matt or post your question below in the Comic Book Forum in the WorthPoint Forums, located in the Community tab. You can also reply to this article in the “leave a reply” box below. If you need more comic-nerd in your life, you can follow Matt on Twitter, where he’s always screaming about something nerd-related. Thanks to all Matt’s new followers and keep the comments coming!

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