My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Discussion of all "slabbed comics" whether Valiant or not

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nycjadie
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My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

Over the summer, I came into contact with a dealer with high grade silver and bronze age books.  I rarely come into contact with such quality, so I cherry picked some books, and paid essentially book price for them, hoping to grade them high.  I figured anything 9.4 or higher would essentially make my money back, with a 9.6 doubling my money, and a 9.8 being a windfall.  I've slabbed thousands and thousands of modern books now, so I knew my stuff there, but older books are a new foray.  I have 3 submissions I made over the summer with a pressing.  I estimate the average cost of all 75 of those books is $88 each.  Not small.  So I was a bit nervous about this, but thought with a press and clean, most of these should come out 9.4 or higher.  I was right and wrong.  Here are the results of my first submission.  The other two should be posted shortly.  

Here are the grades and my estimated prices of what the slabs are worth.  

Astonishing Tales 1 8/70 9.4 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $170
Avengers Annual 6 11/76 9.0 WHITE - $70
Conan the Barbarian 6 6/71 9.2 WHITE - $80
Conan the Barbarian 18 9/72 9.0 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $70
Conan the Barbarian 16 7/72 9.4 WHITE - $200
Conan the Barbarian 11 11/71 9.6 WHITE - $350
Detective Comics 478 7-8/78 9.8 WHITE - $250
Giant-Size Fantastic Four 2 8/74 9.6 WHITE - $225
Giant-Size Spider-Man 5 7/75 9.0 WHITE - $90 - Early Morbius
Giant-Size Super-Heroes 1 6/74 9.8 WHITE - $600
Incredible Hulk 176 6/74 9.6 WHITE - $125
Incredible Hulk Annual 4 1/72 9.2 WHITE - $100
Iron Man 52 11/72 9.0 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $60
Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth 1 10-11/72 9.0 WHITE - $80
Ka-Zar 1 8/70 9.0 WHITE - $100
Ka-Zar 2 12/70 9.0 WHITE - $70
Ka-Zar 3 3/71 9.4 WHITE - $100
Ka-Zar 1 1/74 9.2 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $100
Hero For Hire 3 10/72 9.2 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $120
Hero For Hire 4 12/72 9.4 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $140 
Hero For Hire 5 1/73 9.0 WHITE - $80 - First Black Mariah
Marvel Feature 3 6/72 9.0 WHITE - $70 
Marvel Feature 11 9/73 7.5 WHITE - $30
Marvel Spotlight 11 8/73 9.8 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $500
Thor 148 1/68 9.4 WHITE - $400 - First Wrecker

TOTAL VALUE - $4180
TOTAL SPENT - $2200
TOTAL "PROFIT" - $1980

I was really off on some of these.  
9.8s (NM/M) - 3
9.6s (NM+) - 3
9.4s (NM) - 5
****
9.2s (NM-) - 4
9.0s (VF/NM) - 9
7.5 - 1

I was really hoping at tripling my money, but I came nowhere close, essentially doubling the value of the comics.  The large number of 9.0s really hurt the value on these.  I'll need to inspect them when they arrive to see the reasons why I was so off.  11 of the books were in my goal range, but 14 were below.  Not a great record, and an expensive lesson on some of these.  

Now, I tend to find 9.4 the bottom of my acceptable bronze age books, with a few exceptions.  For silver, I go down to 7.5 for early 60s, so these are all great NM books.  For example, those old Gold Key issues, I'm pretty happy with a 7.5 or better.  Or for old Daredevil, I collect 9.0 or higher.  I was just hoping for a bit more on these, as I was trying really hard to get the best copies from this old collection.
Just thought I'd share my experience, and putting it on paper like this helps me too. 

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

Second submission:

Amazing Spider-Man 126 11/73 9.4 WHITE - $130 
Amazing Spider-Man 127 12/73 9.4 WHITE - $130
Amazing Spider-Man 130 3/74 9.4 WHITE - $150 First Spidermobile
Captain America 102 6/68 9.2 WHITE - $200 
Captain America 114 6/69 7.0 CREAM TO OFF-WHITE - $70
Captain America 173 5/74 9.4 WHITE - $70
Defenders 3 12/72 9.2 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $70
Defenders 5 4/73 9.4 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $100
Defenders 11 12/73 9.6 WHITE - $150
Fantastic Four 107 2/71 9.4 WHITE - $200 First Nega-Man
Fantastic Four 108 3/71 9.6 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $250
Fantastic Four 109 4/71 9.6 WHITE - $250
Fantastic Four 111 6/71 9.6 WHITE - $250
Fantastic Four 113 8/71 9.4 WHITE - $175
Fantastic Four 114 9/71 9.6 WHITE - $350 First Overmind
Fantastic Four 115 10/71 9.6 WHITE - $250
Fantastic Four 118 1/72 9.8 WHITE - $600
Fantastic Four 119 2/72 9.4 WHITE - $90
Fantastic Four 121 4/72 9.6 WHITE - $250 
Fantastic Four 122 5/72 9.4 WHITE - $175
Fantastic Four 123 6/72 9.4 WHITE - $175
Fantastic Four 125 8/72 9.4 WHITE - $80
Fantastic Four 126 9/72 9.4 WHITE - $130 Origin
Fantastic Four 150 9/74 9.4 WHITE - $100 Wedding Crystal Quicksilver
Fantastic Four Annual 5 11/67 9.2 WHITE - $325 First Psycho-Man First solo Silver Surfer
TOTAL VALUE - $4720
TOTAL COST - $2200
TOTAL "PROFIT" - $2520 

9.8s - 1
9.6s - 7 
9.4s - 13
****
9.2s - 3
7.0 - 1

Much, much better with this round in determining raw grade. 84% success rate. Not a triple in value though, but more than 50%. Much happier with this batch, especially these solid early 1970s FF books.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by ckb »

So I did this for years and your results are really good. You have a lot of leeway to make mistakes when you get even a subset of 9.6s and especially 9.8s.

Where you really have surprised me here is in what you were willing to pay for the books up front - especially without a big key or two. It really was a huge gamble. Even given my experience and a chance to look the books over carefully, I could not have brought myself to pay half of what you did.

Glad it worked out though! Two of the three 9.8s in the first batch are really really tough.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by Phantom »

Not only are you making money, but learning and enjoying the hobby.
Profit, even if only just above cost if profit. So you have done well.
Just holding the rawbooks must be a blast.
I wish their was a Spinal Tap comic, and I had a copy CGC graded at 11.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

Thanks, both! I had some time off this summer, and a guy I know let me look as long as I wanted. It was a splurge for myself, not necessarily in terms of money (I'll sell much of it to break even), but to enjoy a part of the hobby I really like - pouring through old comics and finding a diamond in the rough.

Really, really happy about 4 9.8s.
Really happy about 10 9.6s.
Really happy about learning a bit more about grading older comics.

A few notes, there are raw copies that I have not yet submitted which if I pulled out would skew the overall cost of each book down, possibly by quite a bit. I just added the overall cost as an experiment without getting into individual raw book costs. For example I bought a Conan 1, and a New Gods 1. There are a few old key Thor/Journey issues, etc.

Funny thing too about these books - they were never bagged or boarded until this year!

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by IMJ »

I have so much to say about this. First, this is awesome that you are putting it side by side, and second this is awesome that you are putting it on the forums. I have so much more to say because I do stuff like this as well, and I want to see more data before I really dive in, but my knee jerk reaction is:

Is it really worth it for 2 grand? See, many people will only focus on the 2k results, but let's face it - the bin diving, the costs and time and nervousness for shipping and the time for the returns, etc. For 2k. Especially working for 9.4's - which really are great books, the 9.4 is the first true Near Mint tier and I love it. But depending on the era, 9.8's are where you go or nothing for many people. At least here with your subs you are early enough that 9.4's are solid finds (versus later Bronze and Copper, etc).

I've got a lot more to say that intersects my experiences with yours, but the above is just a conversation starter.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

IMJ wrote:I have so much to say about this. First, this is awesome that you are putting it side by side, and second this is awesome that you are putting it on the forums. I have so much more to say because I do stuff like this as well, and I want to see more data before I really dive in, but my knee jerk reaction is:

Is it really worth it for 2 grand? See, many people will only focus on the 2k results, but let's face it - the bin diving, the costs and time and nervousness for shipping and the time for the returns, etc. For 2k. Especially working for 9.4's - which really are great books, the 9.4 is the first true Near Mint tier and I love it. But depending on the era, 9.8's are where you go or nothing for many people. At least here with your subs you are early enough that 9.4's are solid finds (versus later Bronze and Copper, etc).

I've got a lot more to say that intersects my experiences with yours, but the above is just a conversation starter.
I'm not sure it is worth it, and that's leaving aside the time and energy. I had a tough summer, and this was one of the ways in which I relaxed. I do better making money by working hours for sure. This was more of an experiment to learn, and hope that I didn't lose money.

That first batch is a bummer to me, despite getting 3 9.8s. I viewed a 9.4 as break even, and a 9.6 and 9.8 as a money maker. There are a lot of non-money losers here.

I also could afford it, and had a pretty good idea that I was going to at least make my money back. I'm glad I doubled my money, but I really wanted a triple to make it worthwhile.

I have one more set of 25 that I'm hoping get posted today. There are a few more modern ones in that batch, but also a few keys.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

Let me also say, I had a ton of fun with this, and made a few new friends, and that's immeasurable.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by IMJ »

nycjadie wrote:I'm not sure it is worth it, and that's leaving aside the time and energy.
Yup and on top of all that, also waiting for, cultivating or finding buyers unless you go ebay, but then the fees.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

IMJ wrote:
nycjadie wrote:I'm not sure it is worth it, and that's leaving aside the time and energy.
Yup and on top of all that, also waiting for, cultivating or finding buyers unless you go ebay, but then the fees.
It's always work to sell things for sure. I enjoy this part of the hobby in and of itself, so that's fine. I'll get a ton of free books out of this, and learn a lot. There are far more efficient ways of earning money and acquiring books, but this is how I prefer to enjoy it.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by IMJ »

nycjadie wrote:
IMJ wrote:
nycjadie wrote:I'm not sure it is worth it, and that's leaving aside the time and energy.
Yup and on top of all that, also waiting for, cultivating or finding buyers unless you go ebay, but then the fees.
It's always work to sell things for sure. I enjoy this part of the hobby in and of itself, so that's fine. I'll get a ton of free books out of this, and learn a lot. There are far more efficient ways of earning money and acquiring books, but this is how I prefer to enjoy it.
I know exactly what you mean. Again, great thread and great, tangible insight.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

IMJ wrote:
nycjadie wrote:
IMJ wrote:
nycjadie wrote:I'm not sure it is worth it, and that's leaving aside the time and energy.
Yup and on top of all that, also waiting for, cultivating or finding buyers unless you go ebay, but then the fees.
It's always work to sell things for sure. I enjoy this part of the hobby in and of itself, so that's fine. I'll get a ton of free books out of this, and learn a lot. There are far more efficient ways of earning money and acquiring books, but this is how I prefer to enjoy it.
I know exactly what you mean. Again, great thread and great, tangible insight.
:thumb:
Love you sharing your recent toy sales. I don’t often comment, and I don’t collect toys, but I am very interested in them.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

And the third batch is in. Best yet.

Amazing Spider-Man 141 2/75 9.6 WHITE - 1st Mysterio (Danny Berkhart) - $300
Amazing Spider-Man 193 6/79 9.8 WHITE - $175
Amazing Spider-Man 198 11/79 9.8 WHITE - $175
Amazing Spider-Man 199 12/79 9.6 WHITE - $90
Amazing Spider-Man 200 1/80 9.6 WHITE - $130
Amazing Spider-Man 299 4/88 9.8 WHITE - $350
Howard the Duck 2 3/76 9.8 WHITE - $150
Inhumans 1 10/75 9.6 WHITE - 1st ongoing and appearances - $300
Iron Man 128 11/79 9.6 WHITE - Alcoholism Story - $180
Marvel Spotlight v2 #6 5/80 9.4 WHITE - 1st Starlord ongoing - $110
Marvel Spotlight v2 #7 7/80 9.6 WHITE - $100
Marvel Team-Up 66 2/78 9.6 WHITE - 2nd Captain Britain - $150
Rai 0 11/92 Valiant 9.8 WHITE ""Glossy"" version - $350
Silver Surfer v3 #44 12/90 9.8 WHITE - 1st Infinity Gauntlet - $200
Star Wars 58 4/82 9.8 WHITE - $150
Star Wars 59 5/82 9.8 WHITE - $150
Star Wars 60 6/82 9.8 WHITE - $150
Star Wars 62 8/82 9.6 WHITE - $75
Star Wars 67 1/83 9.6 WHITE - $75
Star Wars 71 5/83 9.4 WHITE - $45
Star Wars 73 7/83 9.6 WHITE - $75
Star Wars 77 11/83 9.4 WHITE - $45
Wolverine Limited Series 1 9/82 9.8 WHITE - $300
Wolverine Limited Series 3 11/82 9.8 WHITE - $225
Wolverine Limited Series 4 12/82 9.8 WHITE - $225
TOTAL VALUE - $4275
TOTAL COST - $2200
TOTAL "PROFIT" - $2075

While I didn't triple my value here, I get get a ton of 9.8s, and I think some of these could command a premium more than what I have listed above, which are pretty conservative. So many dreamy books here. I'll also note that the average cost of these books was much lower of the books I purchased, so the actual "profit" is likely more on this, but it's all an exercise in averages. I'll probably keep most of these books. There are many that have been on my bucket list in 9.8, so super happy.

9.8s - 12
9.6s - 10
9.4s - 3

100% in my target range.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by mkb28 »

Well done, Steve! :clap:

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

Last set of books. Some real winners in here, and a few big losers. Some of these are surprises. I wonder if a few of the squarebound books didn't get splits during a press. I'll have to see. They were pretty nice when I sent them in, and have had good experience with these in the past.

The vintage on these books is generally older than the other ones I sent in, so the lower grades on some of these are not surprising. I also didn't triple my money on this, but this submission came the closest, and it was very close. Net/net I'm pretty happy with this submission, even if there were some frustrating books here.

Magnus, Robot Fighter 28 9.8 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $500
Heroes, Inc. Presents Cannon nn 1969 9.8 WHITE - $100
Captain America 106 10/68 9.4 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $150
Captain America 108 12/68 9.4 WHITE - $150
Captain America 123 3/70 9.6 WHITE - $200
Conan the Barbarian 1 10/70 7.5 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $350
Incredible Hulk 112 2/69 9.8 WHITE - $800
Incredible Hulk 114 4/69 9.4 WHITE - $150
Incredible Hulk 117 7/69 9.4 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $100
Incredible Hulk 120 10/69 8.5 WHITE - $75
Iron Man 36 4/71 9.6 WHITE - $150
Iron Man 42 10/71 9.8 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $500
Hero For Hire 2 8/72 9.2 WHITE - $40
Thor 184 1/71 9.6 WHITE - $150
Thor 186 3/71 9.4 WHITE - $75
Thor 187 4/71 9.8 WHITE - $500
Thor 190 7/71 9.6 WHITE - $150
Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. 8 1/69 9.6 WHITE - $300
Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. 11 4/69 9.8 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $700
Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. 17 1/71 8.5 WHITE - $50
Sub-Mariner 7 11/68 9.6 WHITE - $250
Sub-Mariner 15 7/69 9.4 WHITE - $175
Strange Tales 166 3/68 9.4 WHITE - $200
Tales of Asgard 1 10/68 9.4 WHITE - $150
Tales to Astonish 95 9/67 9.6 OFF-WHITE TO WHITE - $350
TOTAL VALUE - $6315
TOTAL COST - $2200
TOTAL "PROFIT" - $4115

9.8s - 6!
9.6s - 7
9.4s - 8
9.2s - 1 - ouch!
8.5s - 2 - ouch!
7.5s - 1, but it's a key
********
88% success rate when you remove the Conan 1, which I knew wouldn't grade high. Could be better.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by IMJ »

What are you going to do with any future "junk" 8.5 returns? I love that grade. Love it. But I love it for keys or super keys generally from the Silver Age, or early bronze.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

IMJ wrote:What are you going to do with any future "junk" 8.5 returns? I love that grade. Love it. But I love it for keys or super keys generally from the Silver Age, or early bronze.
I guess it depends. I may crack them and put them back in the raw collection, or sell them. Not sure. All the books looked great when I sent them in, but perhaps they were damaged in shipping or handling on CGC's end, or even through the press. I had them *SQUEE* the corners of an entire shipment. They must have dropped them on the corner (all Valiant limited variants). That one hurt!

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by maraxusofkeld »

Do you still have the Conan #11 ? If so pm me if it is for sale.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

The Conan I’m keeping. Thanks for asking me though. It’s been on my bucket list in 7.5 or better.

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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by IMJ »

nycjadie wrote:
IMJ wrote:What are you going to do with any future "junk" 8.5 returns? I love that grade. Love it. But I love it for keys or super keys generally from the Silver Age, or early bronze.
I guess it depends. I may crack them and put them back in the raw collection, or sell them. Not sure. All the books looked great when I sent them in, but perhaps they were damaged in shipping or handling on CGC's end, or even through the press. I had them *SQUEE* the corners of an entire shipment. They must have dropped them on the corner (all Valiant limited variants). That one hurt!
I've seen some circles over the years where people sometimes don't want to open up about their crap CGC subs. There's always someone in the room that will pile on to the submitter like they suck at grading books or something for ego equilization. Kid *SQUEE*.

But with that out of the way, I can tell you that there's always been some chatter about "that" book that looks at least like a 9.4 or 9.2 candidate and mysteriously comes back an 8.5. It happened to me once either with an Iron Man 200 or 225, I can't remember which one. I also had an Iron Man #310 Orange Logo come back an 8.5 once, but that was purely my fault as a submission. I sent it in polybagged with the acetate insert. It looked good through the bag, lol. I shouldn't have chanced it.

And of course the first inclination is to start scrutinizing the book through the slab, but for all you know CGC 'found' some strange defect on a leaf or two. Or you got a grader who overkilled on a staple or binding abnormality or something.

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nycjadie
Especially "dude." And "balls." Those terms work in the tech industry.
Especially "dude." And "balls." Those terms work in the tech industry.
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Re: My experiments with Silver/Bronze slabs

Post by nycjadie »

IMJ wrote:
nycjadie wrote:
IMJ wrote:What are you going to do with any future "junk" 8.5 returns? I love that grade. Love it. But I love it for keys or super keys generally from the Silver Age, or early bronze.
I guess it depends. I may crack them and put them back in the raw collection, or sell them. Not sure. All the books looked great when I sent them in, but perhaps they were damaged in shipping or handling on CGC's end, or even through the press. I had them *SQUEE* the corners of an entire shipment. They must have dropped them on the corner (all Valiant limited variants). That one hurt!
I've seen some circles over the years where people sometimes don't want to open up about their crap CGC subs. There's always someone in the room that will pile on to the submitter like they suck at grading books or something for ego equilization. Kid *SQUEE*.

But with that out of the way, I can tell you that there's always been some chatter about "that" book that looks at least like a 9.4 or 9.2 candidate and mysteriously comes back an 8.5. It happened to me once either with an Iron Man 200 or 225, I can't remember which one. I also had an Iron Man #310 Orange Logo come back an 8.5 once, but that was purely my fault as a submission. I sent it in polybagged with the acetate insert. It looked good through the bag, lol. I shouldn't have chanced it.

And of course the first inclination is to start scrutinizing the book through the slab, but for all you know CGC 'found' some strange defect on a leaf or two. Or you got a grader who overkilled on a staple or binding abnormality or something.
Yeah, I've had those! I collected a bunch of 9.8 reject candidates, and resubmitted them as is, and 50% or so came back as 9.8. I wrote about it hear previously. There is a lot about the process that is organic. But man, 8.5? I think either I got it way wrong, or something happened in the process. Given CGC and my track record (90-100% 9.8 prescreen on moderns), I'm guessing it happened during the press, but what do I know? The low grades occurred mostly on the squarebound 70's books. I think it's likely on me, but that doesn't mean I'm not frustrated! Even if it's my miss! I'll check out the books through the slab and see what happened. But I've had a few submissions (resubmitted rejects, or having CGC mistakenly grade books before my requested pressing before/after) where I have data that have been helpful in me building up knowledge on this subject.


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