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Where are all the Bronze CGC 9.8's? Part 1 of 3 by Bruce Coller

After 5 years of aggressively seeking out and collecting High Grade CGC Comic from the Bronze Era, I decided to compile a list of comics, that in the highly-coveted NM/MT CGC 9.8 Grade, fall in one of these 3 categories:

1. No 9.8’s… or Just 1 Existing Copy
2. In Far Lower Supply than Current Demand
3. Probably Under Dealer Radar in Terms of Potential -OR- Likely Not Worth the Risk/Reward to Grade Regardless of Potential

I believe one of the reasons for “lower than expected” CGC 9.8 numbers specifically regarding the 1970-1974 bronze issues listed below has something to do with the smaller print runs, that were in most cases, far less when compared to the numbers produced in the mid to late 1960’s. In addition, even though there was obviously some speculation going on, it seems as if many titles/issues were presumed unworthy of the effort. The majority of speculation likely included first issues and more obvious 1st appearances with potential. The fact that there are plenty of relevant issues (in low 9.8 supply) that proved to be “key or in demand” much later supports the idea that they were not identified in advance. As a result, there are in many cases NO CGC 9.8 copies at all… or just 1 or 2 at best. Another consideration regarding the “non-key / filler issues” from this time period is the fact that most heavy CGC submitters (the ones bringing the high quality books to market on a more regular basis) must weigh the “risk/reward ratio” on nearly all books “Pre 1975” since the CGC grading fee makes that turn upward prior to the 1975 mark. Lastly, there were a decent number of “black/dark cover” books from this time period, they are understandably less available compared to “non black/dark cover books” due to the inferior quality of the black ink and it’s ability to resist wear.

In my experience, the Mid 70’s seems to be the point and time when collecting really started evolving to the next step for the majority of serious collectors. The introduction of bags and boards and better storage habits, and buying multiples started to become even more commonplace. There must be many available raw copies with 9.8 potential from the mid 70’s on. I assume the most relevant factor regarding the lack of supply brought to market for the “Post 1974” bronze titles/issues (1975-1980) is that most most dealers are simply not willing to put as much time and effort grading the less popular titles (and particularly the “non-key/filler” portions) due to the limited upside that exists if anything less than a 9.8 is achieved. Even if 9.8’s are received many Post ‘76 bronze 9.8’s don’t fetch nearly as much as Pre ‘76 books. For the Bronze Collector, particularly those wishing to put together runs, this is the sad reality presently. Such titles as (Nova, Spider-Woman, Machine Man,) for the most part only have the first issue graded for example.

I contacted Kevin Boyd of Paradise Conventions (www.torontocomicon.com) for his input. Kevin is clearly one of the hobby’s most knowledgeable (and friendliest) collectors. He offered these remarks that offer further insight regarding supply in the shorter 1975-1976 transition period as well as post 1977...

“Definitely agree with most of your assessments. I do think the CGC price barrier affects the submission of pre-1974 regular issues, and I also agree that there a lot of more books post-1977 that have been preserved due to bagging and boarding practices, but also due to the foundation of the direct market and a philosophy of hoarding back issues for future sales approach that many 1980's stores took (that most newer stores wouldn't dream of doing). Most comic book stores didn't exist pre-1975 so they could only obtain pre-1975 backstock by selling their own collections, buying collections, from warehouse finds, or from catalogs sent out by the larger dealers who had the issues in their backstock.”

In this installment (of this 3-part article) we’ll be covering roughly 1/3rd (A through I) of the 3 categories listed above. In the following 2 months we’ll obviously cover the remaining 2/3rd’s of the alphabet in 2 more installments. I hope you’ll join me again next month!

Here we go with Part 1 (HINT: Dealers Pay Attention)…

No 9.8’s… or Just 1 Existing Copy:

  • Amazing Adventures 11… (1)
    Owned by Steve Nelson who has the best Amazing Adventures “Beast Run” Collection (sold by a knucklehead)
  • Amazing Spider-Man 123… (1) Classic Cover vs. Luke Cage Hero for Hire
  • Amazing Spider-Man 128… (1) Classic Cover vs. Vulture
  • Amazing Spider-Man 135… (1) 2nd Full Punisher
  • Amazing Spider-Man 151… (0) Classic Cover
  • Arrgh! 1… (0) yes, several 9.8’s of this one will be worth the effort
  • Astonishing Tales 1… (0) No 9.8’s? Astonishing!
  • Avengers 117… (0), 118… (1) Avengers-Defenders War
  • Beware! 1… (0) and only (1) 9.6 to boot! Marvel Horror is Officially “IN”
  • Captain America 117… (0) and only (3) 9.6’s 1st Falcon
  • Captain Marvel 26… (0), 27… (1), 28… (0), 29… (0) Coveted Key Thanos Appearances
  • Cat 1… (1), 4… (1) I need the 9.8 #1 whoever has it!
  • Chamber of Chills 1… (0)
  • Chamber of Darkness 1… (0) From 1969, but a double chamber is better than 1
  • Combat Kelly-Deadly Dozen 1… (0)
  • Crypt of Shadows 1… (0)
  • Daredevil 132… (1), 141…(0) Bullseye Appearances
  • Daredevil 161… (1), 165… (0), 166… (0), 169… (1), 170… (1) Missing or Short Supply Miller Run 9.8’s
  • Demon 1… (0)
  • Detective 400… (1) 1st Manbat
  • Doc Savage 1… (1)
  • Fear 1… (0) and only (3) 9.6’s
  • 1st Issue Special 8…(1) 1st Warlord
  • Freedom Fighters 1… (1)
  • Ghost Rider 1… (1)
  • Ghosts 1… (0) and only (1) 9.6
  • Giant Size Creatures 1… (0) 1st Tigra
  • Green Lantern 76… (0) and only (1) 9.6
  • Green Lantern 77-80, 84, 87, 88… (0)
  • Hero for Hire 1… (1) found raw by Beltan Ali
  • Howard the Duck 1... (0) despite (16) 9.6’s, only a few 9.6’s have ever surfaced publicly
  • Hulk 141… (0), 161… (1) No 9.8 Doc Sampson 1st Appearance
  • Hulk 164, 165, 169, 177… (0)
  • Hulk 168, 171… (1)
  • Human Torch 1… (0)
  • Iron Fist 1…(1)
  • Iron Fist 3… (0), 6… (0), 10… (1), 11… (0)
  • Iron Fist 15… (0) X-Men. I think I’ll produce the 1st 9.8. I found a flawless copy that’s heading to CGC

In Far Lower Supply than Demand:

  • Amazing Adventures 1… (3)
  • Amazing Adventures 18… (2) 1st Killraven
  • Adventure on the Planet of the Apes 1… (2)
  • Avengers 116… (2) Avengers-Defenders War
  • Amazing Spider-Man 121… (5)
  • Amazing Spider-Man 122… (2)
  • Amazing Spider-Man 124… (2) 1st Manwolf
  • Amazing Spider-Man 129… (3)
  • Black Goliath 1… (5)
  • Black Lightning 1… (2) I never saw one hit the open market
  • Black Panther 1… (4)
  • Cat 2… (3), 3… (2)
  • Champions 1… (2) I was expecting about 5-7 of these by now.
  • Creatures on the Loose 10… (2)
  • Daredevil 163… (3) vs Hulk
  • Dead of Night 1… (2)
  • Defenders 10… (3) Classic Cover
  • Fear 10… (2)
  • Firestorm 1… (2)
  • Forever People 1… (3)
  • Frankenstein, Monster of 1… (3)
  • Giant Size Spider-Man 4… (2) 3rd Punisher
  • Giant-Size Super-Heroes 1… (2)
  • Green Lantern 81… (2), 82… (2), 83… (1)
  • Green Lantern 85… (3), 86… (5), 89… (2)
  • Hulk 162… (2) 1st Wendigo
  • Hulk 170, 178… (2), 182… (3)
  • Iron Fist 12… (3), 13… (2)
  • Iron Man 55… (4) 1st Thanos (sort of)

Probably Under Dealer Radar in Terms of Potential -OR- Likely Not Worth the Risk/Reward to Grade Regardless of Potential:

  • Evel Knievel nn… (0)
  • Giant-Size Master of Kung Fu 1… (0) ONLY Comic Team Up of Iron Fist & Shang Chi
  • Green Lantern 141… (0) 1st Omega Men
  • Human Torch 2, 3, 4, 5, 8…(0), 5…(1)

If any of you “fortunate” collectors or dealers have recently produced any 9.8 on the lists above (that are not yet on the census)… PLEASE contact me through the CGC forum PM system (Bronzebruce13). I’d be happy to make a serious offer if given the opportunity… and would like to keep this list updated. If you already own ANY of the above 9.8’s and are thinking of selling (or want to see what I have to trade), please contact me any time!

See you next month – Bruce


 
     
     
 

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