2022 top 50 (aka my current personal collection)

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Troy Division


I'm going to take an opportunity once a week to post a book from my Personal Collection.
I'll try to share the when, where, and why each book was chosen.
(this all depends on if I can remember or not...)

My ever-evolving personal collection consists of 49 CGC slabs (38 Signature Series / 11 Universal) and 1 raw book.
Once CGC grades treasury sized books it'll be a solid 50 CGC'd.

Why 50?
It is the number of books that fit in two short boxes.
Just enough to grab in case of an emergency or not take up too much room in the car.

Why ever-evolving?
I read a post many moons ago on these boards about ensuring that the handling of your collection was easy on your family when you pass away.
In it, someone mentioned selling 10% of your books per year once turning 40-years-old.
They also stressed to continuously refine your books down to a Top 10 that would be easy for your family to liquidate upon death.

Over the past 4 years I have reduced my collection from 34 short boxes down to 17 boxes* through donation, selling, and recycling efforts.
9 short boxes of raw comics to be graded
6 short boxes of CGC'd comics to be sold via eBay
2 short boxes of personal collection

As books are sold throughout the year that money gets set aside to reinvest into / 'improve' the personal collection.
If a new book is purchased with the intent to add it to the personal collection (aka not a 'flip') then a book has to be taken out 'to make space'.

To provide a clearer understanding, in 2021, I removed the following comics from my personal collection to allow new books to join:
Amazing Spider-Man #50 CGC 2.5
Batman #357 CGC 9.4 SS signed by Ed Hannigan
Calamity of Challenge #127 CGC 9.4
East of West #1 RRP CGC SS 9.8 signed and sketched by Nick Dragotta
Hawkman #4 CGC 4.0
Milk& Cheese SE CGC 9.8 SS signed by Evan Dorkin
New Teen Titans #2 CGC 9.6
Nova #1 CGC 9.6
Spawn 3D #1 CGC 9.6 signed by Todd McFarlane

That is all to say that at some point some of the books featured in this thread will not make the cut going in to the next year.
(I will edit posts when a book has transitioned out of the collection)

Without further ado...my current personal collection...presented in alphabetical order...

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Alan Moore's Yuggoth Cultures and Other Growths #1 signed by Alan Moore
Purchased already signed / graded in 2021.

Alan Moore comics will be featured multiple times in my collection.

Being in middle school when The Dark Knight Returns was released was odd.
(yes, I know that was Frank Miller...)
Suddenly, the people older than you at the comic store were talking about comics possessing the 'depth' of novels.
I couldn't be pushed past reading Punisher War Journal, but at some point in high school I revisited those previously heralded comics and discovered it to be true.
Many Copper Age classics will be posted in the weeks ahead as it is my 'comfort zone' era regarding comic books.

Truth be told, I have no idea what this comic is about.
It was purchased for the sole reason "to own an Alan Moore signature series comic".
I've offered crazy money in the past for a CGC Signature Series copy of 'The Killing Joke' signed by Alan Moore.
No one has taken me up on my offer.
So, I decided to reinvest some of 2021's monies to complete an Alan Moore themed mini-collection within my overall collection.

Yuggoth Cultures #1 signed by Alan Moore.jpg

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Amazing Spider-Man #1 signed by Stan Lee - Top 10 Book
Purchased raw in 2011.

Forewarning, I have never typed this story out and when it is shared in person I give a TL:DR version.
(I'll include one at the bottom of this message)

So...grab a drink, some chips, and get comfortable...as this is going to be a long post.

Sometimes there are certain comics that you cannot imagine purchasing / owning.
You may desire them, but the cost keeps them firmly outside your reach.
Amazing Spider-Man #1 was one of those books for me.

One day in early 2011 I saw a Craigslist post about a store having comics for sale.
I wrote to them and asked if they were still available.


I received a reply apologizing for the delay as their internet was cut off, they had moved, and that they did still have comics available.
They sent me the address.
I googled and it seemed legit.
Jumped in my red 1993 Ford Ranger with no A/C, manual transmission, and broken tape deck (this part comes back later) to head to the address they gave me.

Upon arrival I discovered it was a consignment shop.
I went inside and was directed to 4 short boxes of comics / magazines.
What I found in the first 2 boxes were complete garage sale drek.
Thinking the drive was a waste of time, I got to the third box and was taken aback by a very familiar cover.
I froze.
Sitting in a bag without backboard with a handwritten $2 on a blue circle sticker in the upper right-hand corner was The Amazing Spider-Man #1.
My eyes widened and then I looked over both my shoulders to ensure I wasn't being Punk'd.
I slowly took the ASM #1 plus the books that were immediately before and after it out of the short box.
Then I placed the three comic stack directly in front of me.
At this point I should have stopped, but I proceeded to look through the rest of the 3rd box and then the 4th short box just in case another key book was present.
During all this my mind was racing.
I began thinking every person entering or inside the store was there for comics and would take the book from me.
Suddenly, fear gripped me that they may even pull an Overstreet Guide or use their computer to check eBay once I bring the comics to them.

After finishing the last short box I asked the clerk if the prices on the comics are the prices they'll charge.
The clerk confirmed that the price on the sticker was the cost of the comic.
I fanned the three issues (top book, ASM #1, bottom book) only showing the stickers in the top right-hand corners.
The total was $7 for the three comics.
I handed the clerk a $10 bill, said to keep the change and have a great day, and quickly exited the store without another word.
My goal was reaching my truck, placing the comics inside, and locking the door to prove ownership if the police were called BUT I don't remember walking to my truck.
It felt like a dream as I floated there.
The truck seemed to pull further from me as I got closer.
The entire time I expected the shop owner to come outside and yell and chase me down to return.

Upon entering the truck I was overwhelmed with joy.
I had to scream and yell and cheer.
I had to immediately share this joy with someone.
Quickly I called my best friend at work and told them about it.
They were excited for me and couldn't wait to see the book in person the next day.
After hanging up the phone it took me a minute to remember how to drive.
Suddenly, I realized that I didn't want to drive in silence as I felt a moment like this needed a soundtrack.
I racked my brain as to which song in my tiny music library stored on my Galaxy 1 would work best.
Somehow the only thing I thought would work best was Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance".
It wasn't the lyrics or the song itself...it was being able to drive home singing along loudly whilst it played from my phone.

Drove home quickly but safely.
Jumped on eBay for current values of 1.8s / 2.0s and was overjoyed.
Immediately opened the comic and flipped through for missing coupons.
Then it dawned on my that there may be missing pages.
Downloaded a cbr file to check.
That is when I noticed that the 1st and last wrap were missing when comparing the two.
Suddenly deflated.
(NOTE: CGC lists the centerfold is missing. That is not correct at all. Trust me it was the first and last wrap.)

Then I hatched a plan to purchase a complete coverless copy and marry it with my $2 copy's cover but figured I would get caught so I placed it in a mylar with fullback and put it away.

A few months later when Desert Wind Comics announced their next Stan Lee signing I realized I could plus up the value of the incomplete book by adding Stan's signature.
Got in contact with DWC.
Sent them my book.
They confirmed it was received.
And then they lost it for the signing I sent it in for.
Yep...lost it.
At one point they were going to send me a check for the value of the book if they couldn't find it before the next signing.
They didn't know it was incomplete so in hindsight it would have worked out better for me if they hadn't found it.
BUT they did find it and eventually got Stan to sign where I wanted and with a silver sharpie like I requested.

So that is the story of my Amazing Spider-Man #1 signed by Stan Lee.

Bought ASM #1 for $2 from a consignment shop.

Additionally info:
This book had the 2nd highest YOY sales dollar increase 2020 to 2021 out of my personal collection with 71.48%

Amazing Spider-Man #1 signed by Stan Lee.jpg

Edited by Troy Division
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On 1/20/2022 at 11:33 PM, MattTheDuck said:

That's a great story!  I'm sure the consignor thought it wasn't worth anything due to the missing wrap.  Just goes to show, it's worth it to just show up.

Thank you.
Yes, it does prove to at least try and show up.
(as long as it appears safe)

I was always a little confused by the store / pricing.
Went back the following week as they had received more comics.
I didn't buy any comics but I did pick up some Famous Monsters magazines.

Got to speaking with the clerk and they explained what the shop did.
They cleaned out residences of people who were recently deceased on behalf of family members that are not able to come in from out-of-state to handle such things.
Then the shop would determine what to donate and what to consign on behalf of the out-of-state family.
They charged the family 10% of the total sale price for doing this.
They list the high dollar items (purses, jewelry, vintage clothing, etc...) on eBay .

Learning this actually made me sad that someone had passed away with no one wanting to handle their comic collection and that their ASM #1 ended up in my hands for $2.
I began wondering if they had bought it for that price many moons before it landed it my hands years later.
The how of it is not something I reflect on often, but when I do it makes me realize that we all need to make a plan for our end of life because often the things we love die along with us.

Oh boy, that got way deeper than I expected...

How about a change of pace?

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Amazing Spider-Man #129
Purchased raw in 2012.

Not much of a story here.
Purchased raw via a VCC as GD/VG (3.0)
I thought it presented well and it was priced below market trend.
Pressed it...back when I was trying my hand with pressing...
Came back a 5.0 (VG/FN) once submitted.
Thought about selling this back when Daredevil Season 2 dropped, but Jon Bernthal did such a great job I couldn't part with it.

FYI - This book had the highest YOY sales dollar increase 2020 to 2021 out of my personal collection with 98.93%
It is safe to say that I am very glad I decided to keep it.

Amazing Spider-Man #129.jpg

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Amazing Spider-Man #300 signed by Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, and David Michelinie - Top 10 Book
Purchased raw in 2011.

When I came back to collecting comics / discovered CGC in 2010 (after MANY years away) there were two comics that were at the top of my priority list for getting CGC Signature Series.
Those two books were Amazing Spider-Man #300 & Incredible Hulk #340
To make middle school me happy, of course.
I never owned either book growing up.
They were almost immediately outside my price range.
I had an opportunity at one point to buy a #300 for $7 after receiving $10 for my birthday, but I chose New Mutants Special #1 instead due to the amazing Art Adams artwork and the fact the special was double-sized.

Fast forward MANY years and I eventually found one on Craiglist for a great price.
Yes, it was purchased raw via Craigslist.
It was part of a box of 100 comics for $90.
I honestly didn’t believe it was real as the Spider-Man #300 was the top comic in the photo.
The seller wanted to meet at a public place so they chose a train station.
Ended up it was an older gentleman that got comics as part of winning a storage auction.
(Again, 2011, so that was all the rage…)

The book was sent to CCS (this was before they joined CGC) to be pressed and have a grading assessment.
It came back after some time with a certified prescreen of 9.6
At this time I messaged with Desert Wind Comics about getting Todd McFarlane to sign it for Signature Series.
Everything went smoothly and it came back to my possession as a 9.6.
Then two years later I had a chance to add David Michelinie (it had been a while since he did a signing) and decided I wanted to go for it.
Desert Wind then let me know they could roll the book over to their next Stan Lee signing which was the month following.
I’d honestly never thought about adding Stan to this book as he didn’t work on it, but I figured the cost of signing would be offset by the increase in value, as long as it stayed a 9.6.
Everything went smoothly and the book arrived back as a 9.6...after three separate signings.

I’d be lying if I hadn’t thought about purchasing a McFarlane / Michelline Signature Series 9.6 and then selling this copy with Stan’s signature and spending the difference on another book.
I have two other Stan Lee signatures (one you've already read about...) and after all these years this one just seems odd to have signed by him.
Honestly, the only reason I haven't followed through with that plan is because I like having a ‘Craigslist’ story much more than a ‘bought on eBay' story.

Amazing Spider-Man #300 signed by Todd McFarlane and Stan Lee.jpg

Edited by Troy Division
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Atom Tan #1 - Top 10 Book
Purchased raw in 2019.

This and one other book in my collection (spoiler alert: Star Wars #1) were impulse purchases based purely on emotion.

This is the only book in my collection that is not CGC'd.
If CGC ever decides to encapsulate treasury sized books then this will be sent in for express pressing and grading.

Atom Tan #1 features the first appearance of Tank Girl.
There were only 150 total copies of Atom Tan #1 printed.
Most are long gone...

Below is a quote from Alan Martin (co-creator of Tank Girl) regarding it:
"In June 1987, whilst still studying at Worthing Art College, Jamie Hewlett, Phil Bond, and I launched our first published work.
- Atom Tan issue #1 -
The first print run of around 50 copies was printed on the staff photocopier at Worthing with a cover price of 50p and sold amongst fellow students. 
We then took the proceeds and went into town to a copy-shop and got a second print run of 100 more printed with a £1 cover price. 
Since then, the comic has become a minor legend, having been the birth place of Tank Girl in her own one-page advert.

Original copies are very rare, fetching high prices when they come up at auctions."

I bought this book the day I realized I no longer held the top spot in the Tank Girl CGC registry.
(after having held the top spot in the registry for 6 years from 2014 - 2019)

This is what happened -
The current top registry holder added a beautiful 9.6 copy of Deadline #1 which awarded them so many registry points (5597 points) that made it mathematically impossible for me to compete.*
Unless, I decided to spend thousands of dollars to try and match / beat their 9.6 copy of Deadline #1.
I already owned an 8.0 of Deadline #1 (you'll see it some time in the future) and didn't want to start burning through money...

So, impulsively I purchased this copy of Atom Tan #1 on eBay.
My rationale was "I will get it graded and reclaim the top spot.  Heck, I will once again own the top spot.  Most likely in perpetuity due to its scarceness."

Bought it.
Received it.
Shipped it to CGC immediately.
CGC e-mailed to let me know that is doesn't fit into any of the inner wells they possess.
They offered to press and clean it for me, which I accepted.
CGC shipped it back once completed.
Feeling deflated I deleted my Tank Girl registry.

In all honesty, it has been freeing not having to worry about competing...and...it has turned Atom Tan #1 into a prized possession.
Because it truly is VERY hard to track down.
(None have come up for sale since I purchased this copy in 2019)

*IF every other book in the 17 issue "Tank Girl" registry set (besides Deadline #1) was graded a 10.0 Signature Series that would total only 2625 points.

This is a 'Life Magazine' top loader, MyLite 4, and MyLite backing board with a sheet of archive paper behind the front cover & before back cover.

Atom Tan #1.jpg

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(told you it would happen)


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Batman #181
Purchased raw in 2012.

Not much of a story here.
Purchased raw via a VCC as GD/VG (3.0).
Came back a 4.0 (VG) once submitted.

This was purchased because at the time I was working on a Harley Quinn / Poison Ivy classic covers collection.
Eventually, I sold almost all of them (only kept my Signature Series Harley covers) because I figured Harley would be at her peak with the release of Suicide Squad.
My plan was to eventually repurchase them cheaper after the movie buzz was gone.
I was wrong.
I've been thinking (A LOT) about how I'd like to get a Batman Adventures #12 again...

Batman #181.jpg

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Batman #404 signed by Frank Miller
Purchased already signed / graded in 2021.

I'd initially 'read' / 'discovered' this series whilst in high school when I was gifted The Complete Frank Miller leather bound hard cover (along with a copy of The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told) for my birthday.

I am happy I did not 'rediscover' this story until I was an adult.
The writing / artwork is top notch and was not appreciated by me fully when it was originally released whilst I was in high school.

Now...if only Mazzucchelli would do a SS opportunity.
(I am really tempted to eventually buy a gold and green label if it never happens though...)

Batman #404 signed by Frank Miller.jpg

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Batman #608 Second Print signed by Jim Lee
Purchased raw in 2012.

I truly miss when these were bountiful back in the day when stores used Overstreet instead of eBay to price comics.

This copy is 1 of 3 that I purchased for the purpose of being signed by Jim Lee.
At the time, I scooped them up locally for about $35 each.

Funnily enough, in 2012, the 2nd print of #612 (Superman choking Batman sketch version) was hotter.
Presumably it had to do with plot speculation for The Man of Steel...idk...

Anyway, two copies were sent in for the Jim Lee signing at SDCC.
The third copy was sold via eBay as VF/NM in the lead up to the signing.
Both signed copies came back 9.8s
Sold one of them immediately to offset the total cost of purchasing the raw books / signing / shipping charges.
In essence, this copy was 'free'.

An interesting observation from tracking its value over time is that the value fluctuates depending whether or not there is a #608 RRP available at auction at the same time.

Personally, I think the pose is great BUT the cape is too 'big' and 'billowy'.
Additionally, my favorite Jim Lee cover is X-Men #11...

Batman #608 2nd Print signed by Jim Lee.jpg

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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1 signed by Frank Miller
Purchased already signed / graded in 2015.

This series was originally released whilst I was in elementary school.
I knew it loomed large in the comic / DC / Batman space, yet it didn't enter my life until high school.
(although...I do remember seeing copies as wall books at local comic stores...)

I was gifted a leather bound copy of The Complete Frank Miller Batman for my 16th birthday.
My mind was blown!
It was the Batman I never knew I wanted to read / see in comics.

Fast forward MANY years and I have not only reunited with comics, but also discovered CGC.
Around this point in time (early 2011) I started making a list of my most wanted Signature Series creators.
Frank Miller was in the top ten.
I began researching and noticed that there hadn't been a signing / appearance in some time.
Rumors, on these boards / in the comic fandom, kept circling back to Frank Miller being ill.
Eventually, I resigned myself that I wouldn't get a signing opportunity and would have to purchase a Signature Series copy via eBay.

Then suddenly there was an international signing.
I began checking eBay once a day waiting for Signature Series copies to be posted.
(there always are after signings)
I jumped at the first book that was posted as soon as I saw it.

Eventually, there would be multiple signing / remarque / sketch opportunities that drove the scarcity and value down.
In hindsight, being overzealous ended up with me 'overpaying'.
Am I upset about it? No.
This is my favorite print version of Batman signed by a legend of a writer / artist / creator.

Batman - Dark Knight Returns #1 signed by Frank Miller.jpg

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Batman: Harley Quinn signed by Alex Ross
Purchased raw in 2013.

For a LONG time, this was the more desired 'first' Harley appearance.

When composing my top ten signature series wish list back in 2011, Alex Ross was on it.
I then had to set about determining which cover to have signed.

This book was chosen because it is an all-time classic!

Two copies were purchased for submitting for the Alex Ross signing.
One had a production cut on the spine and was withheld.
(I should have sent it in anyway...)

Facilitated by Branget
The signature placement and gold pen color are magical...

Batman - Harley Quinn signed by Alex Ross.jpg

Edited by Troy Division
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Batman: The Killing Joke signed by Brian Bolland
Purchase already signed / graded in 2021.

As mentioned in the first post, I began a mini Alan Moore collection within my overall collection.

I initially read The Killing Joke whilst in high school.
There are two distinct memories I have from it -
1. The 'joke' at the end made me laugh.
2. My dad said I couldn't pull off a young, pre 'chemical bath' Joker haircut.

It wasn't until years later that I read online about the Joker's sexual assault of Barbara and the debate about whether or not Batman kills Joker.
(both of those flew over my head when I first read it)

I'm now of the camp that there was a sexual assault on Barbara AND Commissioner Gordon.
I also believe Batman kills Joker at the end because Batman realized that keeping Joker alive just means more people will be harmed / die.

Batman - The Killing Joke signed by Brian Bolland.jpg

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Batman Adventures: Mad Love signed by Bruce Timm
Purchased raw in 2013.

Batman: The Animated Series began airing whilst I was in high school.
I was instantly enthralled.
It was new and fresh and SO much better than any 'cartoon' I had ever seen outside of bootleg Japanese anime on VHS.
The series expanded upon different villains and added new depth to their stories.
(looking at you Mr. Freeze)
It also introduced / featured new characters, one of the most popular being Harley Quinn.

Presently, I prefer HBO Max's Harley Quinn Animated Series version of her character.
It removes her from being "Joker's girlfriend" and allows her to be a separate, almost independent person.

As mentioned in my Batman #181 write-up, I was actively working on a Harley Quinn / Poison Ivy classic covers collection at one point.
Personally speaking, this is the absolute best book to have signed and graded; more than Batman Adventures #12.
As it was written / drawn by Harley Quinn's creators, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm.

DScott helped facilitate the signing of this item.

Paul Dini was originally scheduled to appear at the same convention, but ended up dropping out.
Maybe one day CGC can set up a signing event...

In addition to the comic getting signed I also had the base of my Black & White Harley Quinn statue signed by Bruce Timm.
(see second picture)

Batman Adventures - Mad Love signed by Bruce Timm.jpg


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Black Hole #1 signed by Charles Burns
Purchased already signed / graded in 2021.

Big fan of Charles Burns.
Had my own first print copy of #1 to send for this appearance at TIFF.
Unfortunately, I couldn't locate a U.S. facilitator accepting submissions.

I still hold out hope that he'll eventually appear at SDCC or NYCC so I can send in my personal copy.

Black Hole was the first cbr I downloaded / read on my computer when I got back into comics in 2010.
From there I started downloading everything to read.
Over the years my comic reading has dropped to almost zero.
Oddly, I have found myself longing to purchase physical copies of graphic novels to read.
Then I quickly realize I don't want to waste space for something that I may only read twice in my lifetime.
Pragmatically, I can not justify spending money on comics...when I can read them for 'free'.
(Yes, I would download a car...)

Eventually, I will post a copy of "echo echo: cut-up drawing from black hole".
It was a limited run 'companion' comic to Black Hole.
It is currently stuck at CGC.
They are grading it as a magazine which means it'll be back to me in a year or so...

Black Hole #1 signed by Charles Burns.jpg

Edited by Troy Division
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Catwoman #51 signed by Adam Hughes
Purchased raw in 2013.

How I could I pass up an Adam Hughes cover that references 'LOST' being added to my personal collection?
This is my current favorite Adam Hughes Catwoman.
Whilst I initially appreciated his Audrey Hepburn inspired covers more, I slowly changed my tune once he established a 'different' look.

Bonus Content:
This was the second Adam Hughes Signature Series book I owned.
The first was a 9.8 of The Legion of Super-Heroes #23 (Supergirl) Variant.
I sold that book when the Supergirl TV Show was premiering on CBS.
Not a year has gone by that I don't regret that very dumb decision...

Catwoman #51 signed by Adam Hughes.jpg

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Chamber of Chills #19 - Top 10 Book
Purchased raw in 2013.

This freaking cover...I love it!

Purchased raw via a VCC as an incomplete / reader copy.
For the longest time it was stored in a MyLite with a fullback placed inside a magazine top loader.

Prices kept climbing on eBay and I realized it was time to get it graded.
I've often thought about 'upgrading' my copy, but upon seeing the current retail values I realize my copy is 'just right'.

Chamber of Chills #19.jpg

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Conan #24 'Nude' Variant signed by Kurt Busiek, Tony Harris, Cary Nord, and Dave Stewart
Purchased already (halfway) signed / graded in 2012.

Not much of a story about buying / finding it.
Purchased below market value via a VCC.
It was already graded a 9.8 with Cary Nord and Tony Harris signatures.
Sent it to Emerald City Comic Con to add more signatures in hopes of adding additional value to the book.

It has taken some time for this book to 'appreciate in value'.
Now there are stretches of time between copies being available for sale.
This leads me to believe that they are finding their way in to (and staying in) people's personal collections.

Conan #24 Nude Variant signed.jpg

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Copra #1 signed by Michel Fiffe
Purchased raw in 2012.

I learned about / purchased this comics based on an article posted on Comics Alliance.

Afterward, I ordered two copies of #1 via Michel's etsy for $5 each.
I held on to them until he made an appearance that would qualify for Signature Series.
My reasoning was that if I submitted without a signature the writing of the number on the cover would result in either a qualified label or a downgrade.

Both copies came back 9.8s.
Sold one to offset costs and used the extra money to reinvest for other comics.

Truthfully, I stopped following the story after the first trade.
I know...bad fan...

Copra #1 signed by Michel Fiffe.jpg

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