The Mystery of the Harvey 15c Variants From 1972

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Get Marwood & I

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The Mystery of the Harvey 15c Variants From Old 1972...

What's that you say? The mystery of the Harvey 15c variants, you say? Never heard of them!

Well, I certainly hadn't until last year when, whilst researching the distribution of Harvey comics in the UK by our old friends L Miller & Co, I happened across a book on eBay proclaiming an unexpected cover price. "Oh", I thought, "I didn't know there were price variants for these?", and I started Googleating. I like to think I'm quite good at Googleating now, after years of scouring online for variants, but I couldn't find anything about them. Not one reference, one comment, one loving blog column - nothing. And not one copy on the GCD either, or in any of the usual comic places (including here). Odd.

More in depth Googling ensued until I finally found one reference in a wonderful book called 'The Harvey Comics Companion' by Mark Arnold, which I duly purchased.

Here's what it had to say, on page 411: "These (Hot Stuff #110, 111 and Little Dot #143) are the only Harvey books known to have these variants":

Companion.jpg.af35fd70b1fcddffbd7362dfcc1a5e99.jpg  401068724_Companionp411.jpg.7afbb039180b354bfffac40a3dc7445a.jpg

"Blimey" I thought, "Only three examples? These are rare", so I started looking for them. Oddly, given the obvious pedigree of Mr Arnold, I soon found quite a few more than the three listed and I thought "Aye, aye, I'm on to something here...."

Fast forward a year or so and not only have I found a whopping 26 examples, but I've also, I think, established why they exist. That doesn't happen often - the what and the why. And happily, given my UK credentials, I think they exist because we - The UK - exist. I'm going to drop Mark Arnold a line shortly, to let him know what more I've found and it will either be a pleasant surprise for him or he's been keeping updates quiet for the next volume of the Harvey Companion (go buy it by the way, it's brilliant). Mark, if you're reading, Hello :hi:

Anyway, Harvey 15c price variants exist for at least 26 books dated between April and October 1972. Amazing really, to be posting this information, in depth, for what appears to be the first time, when the books themselves are 50 years old this very year. Happy Birthday, books.

Here's a nice looking example, with its 20c regular US copy alongside it:

 732594744_WendyTheGoodLittleWitch75(October1972)15cVariant.thumb.jpg.eefb948b1f382dea69b5698ebfb69c60.jpg 960998151_WendyTheGoodLittleWitch75(October1972)20cCopyB.thumb.jpg.9db6c1d1e927e8e0c884d0199ae4e9bd.jpg

Cracking cover, isn't it. And notice how Harvey always chopped the code off?  :)

Read on, if you're interested, for the full fifteen cent variation low down!

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What is currently known to exist?

So far I have found a total of twenty six Harvey 15c price variants between the cover date months of April and October 1972 inclusive. I've plotted them on a chart, as I always do, and here is the extract showing just the titles for which a 15c variant has been found (click on it to zoom in):

1.5.thumb.PNG.bc106596d878e5a8cd90e1147ca44ec1.PNG

Between those cover dates, Harvey released a whopping 41 titles with 102 books in the frame for a possible 15c variant. Clearly, if I were to find a 15c variant outside those dates, the numbers would expand, but my research so far indicates that this is unlikely (I'll explain why later in this journal entry).

Of the 41 ongoing titles in the window, twelve currently have one or more 15c variant confirmed:

  • Friendly Ghost Casper #163
  • Hot Stuff, the Little Devil #110, 111, 112
  • Little Dot #143, 144, 145
  • Little Dot Dotland #53
  • Little Lotta #102, 103
  • Playful Little Audrey #101, 103
  • Richie Rich #113, 115, 116
  • Sad Sack #226, 227, 228
  • Sad Sack and the Sarge #95, 96, 97
  • Spooky #132
  • Tuff Ghosts Starring Spooky #42, 43
  • Wendy, The Good Little Witch #74, 75

Here's one of each title that I currently own:

957633093_FriendlyGhostCasper163(September1972)15cVariant.thumb.jpg.024aee269950cbb481c4703a6c35db22.jpg 1866104841_HotStuff112(September1972)15cVariantCopyB.thumb.jpg.1823a0c3c79ceee49dc3efd3d6905674.jpg 1821118451_LitleDot143(May1972)15cVariantMy.thumb.jpg.fdd19aaf7160d0c4a03a4f41c9934810.jpg

337855895_LittleDotDotland53(June1972)15cVariant.thumb.jpg.673043a6990c1e31809543b0b7bef76b.jpg 758396351_LittleLotta102(July1972)15cVariantCopyA.thumb.jpg.f49662b59d73746909df0ec0887ba7f8.jpg 1663047643_PlayfulLittleAudrey103(September1972)15cVariantCopyA.thumb.jpg.d2b12f981779d8f3308841535bc02409.jpg 

136053343_RichieRich115(July1972)15cVariantCopyB.thumb.jpg.b9d4793b9e60e2320f04c40d5222550d.jpg 1465496913_SadSack226(May1972)15cVariant.thumb.jpg.68d6dc8ead4a411b079f8195e3f7b8de.jpg 1490498985_SadSackandtheSarge96(August1972)15cVariantCopyA.thumb.jpg.4b213451080801987982582f30feb9a1.jpg 

1830989442_Spooky132(September1972)15cVariant.thumb.jpg.aa14d1332dce83485e8635c590d8bc3f.jpg 330563311_TuffGhostsStarringSpooky42(June1972)15cVariant.thumb.jpg.d2e6ca2f87a29920339fb3ce54c35090.jpg 1035078941_WendyTheGoodLittleWitch74(August1972)15cVariant.thumb.jpg.7f9a1f098387292e4b69bb83c568acc3.jpg

So far, no one title has yielded more than three 15c variants. This 'no more than X variants' scenario exists quite a bit in my variant work, and it is often the case that sets of variants have a maximum number that no one title ever breaks. So even though there are several titles with four issues within the April-October window, I do not expect any of them to yield more than three 15c variants. Except maybe Richie Rich. I'll explain why later in the journal - it relates to what the internal content tells us. 

All regular US distribution Harveys in the April to September period are priced at a 'Giant Size' 25c. The October books are priced at either 25c or 20c, with the majority at 20c. All the October 15c variants I have found have 20c regular US copies, so there are currently two sets of variances by price:

  • 15c/25c (April-September)
  • 15c/20c (October)

Some of you reading will already be aware that the books in the April-October 1972 15c variant date window also qualify for 35c priced Canadian distribution copies too, so there are actually three possible variations for each book to look for if you are feeling adventurous. You can read more about the 35c priced copies here, in a rather splendid article written by a chap called Sal and two fellow researcher friends of mine, Bill and Ben.

1573484437_BB.jpg.23c68469d4d4d84dbb7399aefe6ea6d1.jpg

Here are the current 26 known 15c issues in their folders, which comprise examples of each book type where found - 15c, 20/25c and 35c:

Folders.thumb.PNG.60063e329e4fa7493558811f4acf5783.PNG

They look nice, don't they :)

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Apart from the cover price, how do the Harvey 15c variants differ to their 'regular' US and Canadian distribution counterparts?

As I noted earlier, there are three possible versions (all first printings) for each comic in the April ~ October 15c variant cover date window:

  1. Standard 20c/25c priced copies for US distribution
  2. 35c priced copies for Canadian distribution
  3. 15c price variants

I managed to track down a copy of all three versions of Spooky #132, a 25c regular US priced book cover dated September 1972....

313176034_Spooky132(September1972)25c.thumb.jpg.fee2fcc8157a582f8df670c33d736c77.jpg 2145831968_Spooky132(September1972)35cVariant.thumb.jpg.8d3d683bbe260b7e5cf3bd6bc2b8a70e.jpg 1961172156_Spooky132(September1972)15cVariant.thumb.jpg.c935cfbe43d5226d687d703a7cc368f9.jpg

....and found these four differences:

1. Cover Price

Pretty obvious this one, each version has its own unique cover price – we have the 15c variant price, the ‘regular’ 25c US price and a 35c price for Canadian distribution. Incidentally, Harvey comics in this period do not have pricing noted in their indicia wording, so there are no differences to detect there where present.

2. Cover Blurb

The 25c US and 35c Canadian versions both have 52 pages and carry a ‘Giant 52 Pages’ cover blurb accordingly. This blurb is absent from the 15c variant copy however, as it has a reduced page count (see difference #4)

3. Spine wording

The ‘Giant Size’ wording, present on the 25 and 35c versions, is also absent from the spine of the 15c variant. The printers got 'em both!

4. Internal Page Content

Whilst the 25c and 35c versions, of course, have the 52 pages that their cover blurbs announce, the 15c variant is missing the first four wraps, coming in at 36 pages. This doesn’t affect any of the story content by the way, as Harvey titles tended to comprise a number of short stories and we are just missing a few of them. The indicia is therefore absent from the 15c version as a result of the missing first wrap, but a separate line of ‘replacement’ legal wording is present (see images below). Interestingly, that wording is repeated in the 25 and 35c versions on their 5th wraps accordingly, indicating that the 'guts' were printed as one lot, used for all versions. As we will see in a later post, the presence of this additional wording may be an indicator as to whether a 15c variant exists for the other books and titles in the date range for which a variant copy has yet to be found.

15c version 'replacement' indicia:
42256652_15cindicia.thumb.jpg.d58efdca2e5930f0fd02d68ee38548b0.jpg

25c version regular indicia:
583092741_25cindicia.thumb.jpg.a49c8c4e06ea075d7548fbc047fa3899.jpg

 

In addition to the above, I put the graphic below together to illustrate the four Spooky differences:

1.thumb.PNG.0c241235101ec7828ae7f55133113e6c.PNG
2.thumb.PNG.d7c19515b040c72ae665d3325bc13769.PNG

 

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Are the differences between the 15c variants and the US/Canadian versions always the same?

No, is the short answer!

In all cases that I have seen, the 25c US and 35c Canadian versions are identical apart from their cover prices, throughout the 15c variant date window at least.

We know from the previous entry that our Spooky #132 has four differences but those differences weren't constant throughout the 15c variant date window. I have put the chart below together to show how the differences change from April to October (click to zoom in):

Capture.thumb.PNG.a2ea5c72ad0178eb38af0e823c4764d0.PNG

As you can see in the 'notes' comments, the indicias of the 15c variants vary by month and issue. Four wraps are removed in each 15c variant to reduce the page count to 36. Where the first internal wrap is removed, the indicia page is lost and a 'replacement' 15c variant specific indicia is present, presumably to fulfil any legal requirement. Here are two further examples showing two Little Dot 15c variants, one with a standard indicia (#143) and one with the 15c variant specific replacement (#145):

 thumbnail.jpg.352aa8c9d86a80417a097bfc67ca76f7.jpg 228992190_thumbnail(1).jpg.6a86aee58fc3d14c86ea7a6a0de70400.jpg

From the examples captured so far in the above table, we can see that the 15c variants started off with regular indicias and then, towards the end of the run, all had the replacement ones, possibly as the printers got the hang of producing the various distribution versions. Both of the August dated books, and all eight September 15c variants have the unique variant indicia. Then, just as they got the hang of it, the 15c variants ended, likely due to the price change to 20c of many titles. 

One interesting anomaly - the May dated Hot Stuff #110 is the only book of the 26 variants that retains the 'Giant Size' wording in the top left logo box. This was removed on all other titles, with the 'Giant Size wording' moving to the separate cover blurb (removed from the 15c copies of course). The 15c version of this book is therefore a little misleading, being a 36 page Giant Size comic!

740985773_HotStuff110RetainsBanner.thumb.PNG.48a552948e54aed60be9e6facce38fe7.PNG     1919216599_HotStuff110(May1972)15cVariant.jpg.cb4885ef0302ea1dd326da47b44d38ad.jpg

It begs the question whether the overall Harvey logo change was brought about by the inclusion of the regular size 15c variants in the production run, doesn't it. If they had retained that original logo they would have had to remove the wording each time from just the 15c copies. Trickier, perhaps, to amend this each time....

800238913_HotStuff110(May1972)25c.jpg.16e9d4976f095d2835c946bd983ea7a0.jpg

...than to remove this:

434241189_PlayfulLittleAudrey103(September1972)25c.jpg.4edb9f3f7a17e47c6c7a0dafffac0a93.jpg

 hm

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Were the Harvey 15c variants intended for the UK market?

And now to my 'why do these books exist' theory.

Historically, price variants in the same currency have tended to be an indication of a market test by the publisher, in the home country, to see if the home market will bear an increased price. Most of the main publishers have done it, with the Marvel 30/35 cent variants being the most widely known (and collected). Charltons are my favourite, out of interest, with these Harveys coming in a close second. 

Under what circumstances though, would a publisher test a lower price in his own country? That doesn’t make much sense, does it, so I can’t see how these Harvey 15c books could relate to some test of US customer buying habits.  Much more likely is that the books were produced for a specific purpose, or target audience, that had no market testing element. If the books were intended for a specific purpose within the US, then you would expect the US to be where the majority of the books would subsequently turn up and be found by collectors - people like Mark Arnold who have made the study of the publisher part of their life's work. But the evidence I have gathered to date shows the majority of known copies have been discovered in the UK. Could it be therefore that the specific purpose – the reason they exist - is because they were intended for distribution in the UK, with no home / US aspect? Let’s look at the circumstantial evidence.

Firstly, I can confirm that Harvey comics were definitely distributed in the UK, as cents copies with UK price stamps on the covers. I know this because I have been gathering evidence and examples of this distribution for some time now and have examples which cover not only our 1972 15c variant date period, but which date all the way back to 1959. The main identifiable distributor throughout was L Miller & Co, and their branded stamps can be found with 6d, 9d and one shilling prices from 1959 to 1970. Here are just a few of the scores of examples I have gathered to date, one showing each price:

444917142_1961.07Spooky57LMStamp.thumb.jpg.ea141e2ebf58c64f3ea8b4dd630c4f4c.jpg 659549495_1963.02Wendy16LMStamp.thumb.jpg.5b7f1883098ed62eec77d2d7248900c5.jpg 1985607087_1969.08Casper132LMStamp.thumb.jpg.02c8c22ad77d29fe6dd8d8aaa6077b04.jpg

So we know that Harvey comics were distributed in the UK in the first instance. 

Crucially, perhaps, a good number of the known 15c variant copies I have gathered have 6p UK price stamps on them. These three below are not L Miller stamps, but likely the work of the distributor that took over from them (Miller wound up in the early 1970's - a story for another day):

2111524767_1972.05HotStuff110.jpg.ae79766b8ad12167fb5c142f6e3980ed.jpg 729979774_1972.07HotStuff111.thumb.jpg.88f97671446771cc835dc2b925e9c2c0.jpg 1627897079_PlayfulLittleAudrey101(May1972)15cVariant.jpg.701192e4639172aacd18f12934d51b0c.jpg

In 1972, standard size comics in the UK were priced at 6p. A quick look at the other main US publishers and we see, for the period:

  • Marvel comics were priced at 6p, printed as formal UK Price Variants
  • DC comics were stamped with 6p Thorpe & Porter price stamps for standard size comics, but, tellingly, 7 1/2p for 'giant size' issues
  • Gold Key comics were priced with 6p price stickers, to be followed by 6p printed UK Price Variants
  • Charlton comics were distributed with 6p Thorpe & Porter price stamps and stickers

So it was clear that 6p was the standard, desired price of UK retailers at the time the Harvey 15c variants were incepted. When Harvey decided to increase the price of their comics to 25c 'Giant Size' books, any ongoing UK distributor would have been forced to either buy them at a reduced margin to price them at 6p, or price them at 7 1/2p (like the DCs). Could it follow therefore that, on notice that Harvey was planning to increase the size and cost of their books in the US, that the UK distributor would have asked for a '6p/15c' version, to preserve the standard UK comparative price? Maybe Harvey were a hard enough sell at 6p, and an increase to 7 1/2p just would not have flown in the UK. So an agreement could have been made to reduce the content and, therefore, retain the desired, headline 6p UK 15c equivalent price. What do we think? Does that sound plausible, likely even?

I've put together this table to show where I found the 26 current confirmed 15c variants:

460982460_UkFinds.PNG.17cb6edc48d53e04c42b3b92b24d6f67.PNG

I think this illustrates my argument quite effectively. Twenty three out of twenty six have copies found in the UK, seventeen exclusively, with two each in Germany and Australia (which possibly travelled there from the UK). And of those twenty three found in the UK, seven have 6p UK price stamps on the covers.

If these 15c books relate to a US, home-based experiment, then why have they not been found in the US, by US collectors? The answer must surely be because they were all shipped over here, to the UK! If Mark Arnold went to the trouble of writing a 700 page book called “The Harvey Comics Companion”, presumably with input from other like minded Harvey collectors and enthusiasts, then surely that US-centric group would have found the others by now? How can they find three in the US, and I find twenty six from my desk in the UK? The only logical theory is that the books were made for distribution in the UK and have gone largely undetected as a result as the number of UK based Harvey enthusiasts would likely be low. In short, no one has ever looked for them over here. This does not surprise me, as most people in the UK - dealers included - were oblivious to the fact that Charlton produced over 500 UK Price Variants for the UK market until I flagged them up so the fact that these 26 Harvey books went under the radar all this time is no surprise at all. And why would a US researcher focus on the UK when looking for cents priced variants? They'd have no cause to.

The final piece of circumstantial evidence lays in the close match between the titles that were known to be imported and distributed in the UK around the time and the titles that, so far, received the 15c variant treatment. Look at the table below and you will see that of the 41 titles in the 15c variant window, 14 were distributed in the UK (evidenced by the aforementioned UK price stamps). Compare that list of fourteen to the twelve 15c variant titles and we see ten of them match (click to enlarge):

48994911_ukv15ctitlematch.PNG.3007a4b3e778afcb120423430adb55f1.PNG

That can't be a coincidence, the 15c variant titles matching up like that with the UK distributed titles that preceded them. 

So, until an alternative theory is proposed, or contrary evidence produced, I'm going to run with this theory - the Harvey 15c variants were made for distribution in the the UK (and perhaps a few other non-US locations), the UK being the second largest market for US published comics behind the US themselves.

Anyone have an alternative theory? :popcorn:

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How many more 15c variants are likely to exist?

To recap, there are 102 issues in the 15c variant cover date window of April to October 1972, occupying 41 titles. I have found twenty six 15c variants so far, covering twelve titles. As I noted in my previous post, later 15c variants all have a unique line of indicia wording in place of the absent regular indicia that was removed along with the first four wraps.

The regular indicia looks like this...

1679728618_25cindicia.thumb.jpg.81e65d9f9386bc0c6d0670fe724a078f.jpg

...but because that wrap is removed in the 15c copy, it needs it's own 'replacement' indicia, or legal wording, which looks like this:

493144003_15cindicia.thumb.jpg.ca317c39bd10f821f7dde8b4839671d6.jpg

That 15c variant specific wording above also appears in the 25c and 35c counterpart versions, on the fifth internal wrap, in all the cases that I have seen where a 15c variant unique indicia exists. It is missing, however, in many of the 25c/35c books that do not currently have a 15c variant indicia confirmed. Accordingly, if a 25c/35c book in the 15c variant date window does not have that replacement 15c indicia wording on its 5th internal wrap, then that is a good indicator that the book may not have had a 15c variant produced.

To be able to put the theory into practice, you have to own or get sight of the indicias of the 15c variants and the 5th internal wraps of their regular counterparts. I have many of them, but have a large consignment on order which will help me flesh out this review. In the meantime, here is one example of how it might work:

We know from the tables I posted earlier that all eight known 15c variants cover dated September 1972 have unique 15c variant indicias. I also know that their 25c counterparts have that 15c unique indicia at the foot of their 5th internal wrap, or 11th page. If that scenario holds true for all titles, then a look into the 25c versions of the books for which no 15c variant has been found should be revealing - if it has the 15c indicia wording on the 5th wrap, then a 15c variant may well exist.

www45.thumb.PNG.2fb6a1eeceb50017d249252e57d5abbe.PNG

The extract above shows that no 15c variants have been found for the in scope title Wendy Witch World. Issue #45 is a September 1972 dated book. So, if the rule follows true, the presence of the 15c indicia wording on the 11th page will indicate a 15c variant may exist. As we see, it doesn't:

1452190659_WendyWitchWorld45-No11thpage15cvindicia.thumb.jpg.362af570d2f1deef73a3656303625766.jpg

Additionally, Wendy Witch World is not a title for which I have found any UK distribution evidence. This makes sense in a way - one Wendy title was enough to satisfy the UK audience. My assumption therefore is that Witch World was not in scope for UK distribution and, therefore, no 15c variant will exist.

It is not a watertight indication of course, given the mix of regular and unique indicias in the early months. And the printers may have just forgotten to add it or, indeed, added it to a book that was not in scope (like they forgot to remove the 'Giant Size' logo from Hot Stuff #110). The hobby is littered with variant hiccups and anomalies, where general patterns have one or two examples that buck the trend. But, coupled with the UK distribution title aspect that I cover in the preceding post, it is a reasonable enough theory to present I think in the absence of any alternative. If the title wasn't distributed in the UK, a 15c variant is unlikely. If a title's regular copy has no replacement indicia line on the 5th wrap where expected - certainly for August / September dated books - then again a 15c variant is unlikely.

Here are some work in progress tables I am in the process of finessing, as more physical copies come in. Don't take them as gospel just yet:

60088884_MayExist5.thumb.PNG.92cb11e366fc184e15c5d514a6c42c88.PNG

1440395346_MayExist4.thumb.PNG.f66e1dba40acfba96e6cc551c34bf135.PNG

374112534_MayExist3.thumb.PNG.8ddcbe268c9052d4a4444d53cd4155cb.PNG

2067034646_MayExist2.thumb.PNG.124340ce6cd1248c8d3cb51205903bc6.PNG

1286504307_MayExist1.thumb.PNG.45da7a20d8773be16af3490bac8164f6.PNG

With all this in mind, my belief is that there is at least one more 15c variant bearing title to be discovered - Richie Rich Riches (which would buck my 'only one Wendy' theory), and that there may be an additional six to twelve 15c variants out there to be found.

If Richie Rich #114 does turn up incidentally, it will break my earlier 'three variant' maximum statement. 

I'll continue to keep researching these books, in the hope of building a full set, and will post updated tables as more evidence comes in. As ever, only time will tell if there are indeed more variants out there to be found, and whether the theories I've posed here in this journal entry stand up.

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Summary

  • A total of twenty six Harvey 15c price variants are confirmed to exist between the cover dates of April and October 1972 inclusive
  • Twelve titles bear one or more variant with, currently, no one title having more than three 
  • For April - September, each 15c book has a reduced page count of 36 pages compared to the 52 pages of their US distribution counterparts
  • The three known October dated 15c variants all have 20c regular priced counterparts and, therefore, the same page count
  • The circumstantial evidence presented in this journal points strongly to the books being produced for UK / overseas distribution

Finally, do we like Little Lotta a Little?

No, we like her a Lotta :)

1921992925_LittleLotta102(July1972)15cVariantCopyA.thumb.jpg.7e6fc22d9a4dea13aeaf9f690d781318.jpg

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Spotted on a folder in this thread: "I have issues"... erm, yeah. lol

This is all very familiar looking, like the Australian printed FH titles sold in the UK - 8d for the Australian market, 6d for the UK. But it does beg the question - if these variants were meant for the UK market, to be sold at 6p, why on earth print "15c" on them??

Oh, and I notice at least two different fonts in the '6p' stamp on those Harveys, while other issues lack a stamp. That suggests that the stamping was not done at the distributor level. (I think.)

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On 2/1/2022 at 12:29 AM, Jeffro. said:

Casper 162 15 cent version confirmed

R6OYqRG.jpg

Oh Jeffro, thanks - these are just brilliant :headbang:

On 2/1/2022 at 12:29 AM, Jeffro. said:

Casper 161 15 cent version confirmed

RFZKyxa.jpg

That completes Casper, assuming the date range is correct, and I see both issues have a 6p price stamp

On 2/1/2022 at 12:32 AM, Jeffro. said:

Richie Rich 114 15 cent variant confirmed

a8mGnN0.jpg

That Richie #114 breaks my 'no more than 3 copies' straight away. Brilliant lol

On 2/1/2022 at 12:35 AM, Jeffro. said:

Little Audrey and Melvin 15 cent variant confirmed

3vrUq3c.jpg

I'm glad to see that title, our thirteenth now, as it matches my theory that titles previously distributed in the UK were selected for the 15c variant copies, strengthening my overall UK distribution theory:

2025642823_1962.11LittleAudreyMelvin4LMStamp.thumb.jpg.209e3df44729edec08bebd0a349cfa58.jpg

The four you have posted brings us up to 30 overall - the date block looks quite stable now, doesn't it:

1.6.thumb.PNG.ecdf918cf3deb872b23b277b0501c1f7.PNG

@Jeffro., can I ask, are those four books you own or images you have captured? The two Casper 6p stamps are a giveaway, but do you recall where you got / saw the other two? And as a Harvey collector, have you seen any alternate theories as to why these might exist? Mark Arnold (The Harvey Companion author) thinks they may have been made to go with records - I'm looking to see what I can find out on that. 

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On 2/1/2022 at 1:52 AM, AJD said:

Spotted on a folder in this thread: "I have issues"... erm, yeah. lol

It works on both levels Andy :bigsmile:

On 2/1/2022 at 1:52 AM, AJD said:

This is all very familiar looking, like the Australian printed FH titles sold in the UK - 8d for the Australian market, 6d for the UK. But it does beg the question - if these variants were meant for the UK market, to be sold at 6p, why on earth print "15c" on them??

That scenario isn't without precedent, US comics being systematically distributed with cover stamps as opposed to printed UK prices. Maybe these books were made for a US purpose (vinyl record additions, as Mark Arnold has suggested) and the surplus was bought up by a UK dealer or distributor? I don't recall seeing any Harvey comics as a kid in the UK, but they were clearly being distributed somewhere. 

On 2/1/2022 at 1:52 AM, AJD said:

Oh, and I notice at least two different fonts in the '6p' stamp on those Harveys, while other issues lack a stamp. That suggests that the stamping was not done at the distributor level. (I think.)

Yes, but again, UK stamp variations aren't uncommon. For ten of the thirty known 15cvs to have 6p price stamps present is an indication that they made it over here in reasonable numbers. And then the remaining unstamped copies were mostly found over here too. The evidence all points to the UK being the main distribution location, otherwise many more would have been found in the US, in records or not, surely? 

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On 2/1/2022 at 9:13 AM, Get Marwood & I said:

Mark Arnold (The Harvey Companion author) thinks they may have been made to go with records - I'm looking to see what I can find out on that. 

Here is an add from Casper & Wendy #2 - it's dated November 1972, just after the 15c variant date window:

1545071059_Records-CasperWendy2Nov1972.thumb.jpg.2bc495eafe65832105387aa8152c04b9.jpg

It says 'free 25c magazines'....

1758649530_Records-CasperWendy2Nov1972.jpg.7e77eb0668af548c922cd5ba4fa437de.jpg

I'll have a look to see if I can find an earlier ad, to see if 15c is mentioned.

This Casper & Wendy #2 by the way was found in the UK, and you can see sticker residue over the 20c price:

126122636_1972.11CasperWendy2UKSeller-StickerResidue.thumb.jpg.503f3afe524ca04beba5f560815255f0.jpg

Aside of the current position that no November dated 15c variants have been found, I'll post later why I think they won't ever be.

 

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Here is an example on Heritage of the records in the above ad, still in their sealed pack:

1833202927_lf(2).thumb.jpg.8ef0181fa9fd505d7dab123186221173.jpg lf.thumb.jpg.135cab048b26efec663b3ede2a563a3c.jpg

The comics themselves are regular 20c copies and the bag label even states 20c - not the 25c price noted in the ad:

801344842_Records-CasperWendy2Nov1972Crop.jpg.43f95812bbe36c50df580492f938fe0a.jpg

Maybe this was because the price changed while the ad was being created? Either way, I have found no evidence connecting the 15c variants to records. Every example I have found online - and there are many - has later 20c books in them. And the only two ads I have found - so far - in the actual comics make no 15c mention. It's hard to believe, if the 15c copies were manufactured to go into sealed record packs, or as some related promotion, that not one copy has survived online stating that connection. I'll keep looking, but the evidence so far points away from record supplements being the reason the 15c variants were produced. Never say never, though. 

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On 2/1/2022 at 4:13 AM, Get Marwood & I said:

 

@Jeffro., can I ask, are those four books you own or images you have captured? The two Casper 6p stamps are a giveaway, but do you recall where you got / saw the other two? And as a Harvey collector, have you seen any alternate theories as to why these might exist? Mark Arnold (The Harvey Companion author) thinks they may have been made to go with records - I'm looking to see what I can find out on that. 

Those are mine. I got all four and several others from an ebay UK seller a couple years ago. 

Other than what Mark says, I have not heard any theories as to why these exist. When I have seen them for sale it's only been from UK based ebay sellers. It's a small sample for sure and doesn't prove anything but I think they might have only been distributed in the UK.

Why they were 15 cents and why they cut down the page count on the giant size issues is a mystery to me. They are odd though aren't they? Until I saw that Wendy 75, I thought there were only 15 cent versions of the 25 cent giant issues. 

Edited by Jeffro.
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On 2/1/2022 at 12:12 PM, Jeffro. said:

Those are mine. I got all four and several others from an ebay UK seller a couple years ago. 

Other than what Mark says, I have not heard any theories as to these exist. When I have seen them for sale it's only been from UK based ebay sellers. It's a small sample for sure and doesn't prove anything but I think they might have only been distributed in the UK.

Cheers Jeffro. I'd never heard of them at all until I spotted one in an eBay listing last year, as usual whilst looking for other things. Once I'd established that three examples had been found in the US, and by seasoned Harvey enthusiasts, I was scratching my head when I subsequently found so many more quite quickly, and thought I must be missing something. Just shows you doesn't it, 50 years later and there are still things to learn and discover in this hobby. I always find that really cool. 

On 2/1/2022 at 12:12 PM, Jeffro. said:

Why they were 15 cents and why they cut down the page count on the giant size issues is a mystery to me. They are odd though aren't they? Until I saw that Wendy 75, I thought there were only 15 cent versions of the 25 cent giant issues. 

Odd they are indeed, and potentially unique in their variant nature - a book produced in the US, for an overseas market, with cover and content differences, and yet still priced in US currency. 

Have a read of my fourth post above if you get time. I speculate in that why I think the page content was reduced:

https://boards.cgccomics.com/blogs/entry/5296-the-mystery-of-the-harvey-15c-variants-from-1972/?do=findComment&comment=6149

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Here's an updated summary, including Jeffro's four new copies:

Summary as at 1st February 2022

  • A total of thirty Harvey 15c price variants are confirmed to exist between the cover dates of April and October 1972 inclusive
  • Thirteen titles bear one or more variant 
  • For April - September, each 15c book has a reduced page count of 36 pages compared to the 52 pages of their US distribution counterparts
  • The three known October dated 15c variants all have 20c regular priced counterparts and, therefore, the same page count
  • The circumstantial evidence presented in this journal points strongly to the books being produced for UK / overseas distribution

1.6.thumb.PNG.a842c9b120a0a42a0107db37d75a63ce.PNG

 

Here are the two revised tables I posted earlier to support the theory that these books were produced for UK distribution:

  • 27 of the known 30 issues were found in the UK
  • 9 of those 27 issues have 6p UK cover stamps

1929340834_UKFinds01_02_22.PNG.b1526c787c0029d972393f76e2cf90f7.PNG

 

  • Of the 41 ongoing titles in the 15c variant date window, 15 were known to be distributed in the UK by L Miller (based on cover stamps) prior to the 15c window
  • 12 of those 15 titles have 15c variants

576968732_UKDistributionvs15cTitleMatch01_02_22.PNG.3a41c928e11a6f1e5d2068989e976a3f.PNG

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On 2/1/2022 at 5:31 PM, OtherEric said:

As is so often the case, this is utterly fascinating even if I have nothing useful to contribute to the discussion.  Thank you.

You can't fool me, Eric. You're about to post Little Dot Dotland #54, aren't you.  Aren't you:taptaptap:

 

Cheers as ever, for reading and commenting :)

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WOW @Get Marwood & I, that was a really enjoyable read!  Your why-they-exist discussion is very persuasive (and slots them into Type 1A in my mind); and in turn I find it fascinating that they still printed them with 15¢ instead of just going with 6p given the target market!  I've got to say though, the part I found the most fascinating about these variants is those missing wraps and hence the missing 'full indicia' -- and that 'replacement one-liner' that exists print-run-wide on the bottom of the subsequent page.  Just so unique and interesting, never seen anything like it, and I found myself grinning ear to ear while reading you present it all.  BRAVO!

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On 2/1/2022 at 6:40 PM, xcomic said:

WOW @Get Marwood & I, that was a really enjoyable read!  Your why-they-exist discussion is very persuasive (and slots them into Type 1A in my mind); and in turn I find it fascinating that they still printed them with 15¢ instead of just going with 6p given the target market!  I've got to say though, the part I found the most fascinating about these variants is those missing wraps and hence the missing 'full indicia' -- and that 'replacement one-liner' that exists print-run-wide on the bottom of the subsequent page.  Just so unique and interesting, never seen anything like it, and I found myself grinning ear to ear while reading you present it all.  BRAVO!

Cheers Ben! :)

I agree about the indicias - they knew they would be printing a 52 page and a reduced 36 page copy, so rather than print two sets of guts, specific to each version, they just ran with the '15c indicia' line on every applicable wrap to make it simple - hence its presence in the 25c copies. Those printers knew their stuff :bigsmile:

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Keep in mind I'm not super knowledgeable on this subject, but is it possible that these were distributed in the UK, but specifically in an area that used American Dollars. Like perhaps a military base?

 

Edit: I do acknowledge that Harvey books would be a strange thing to distribute to military personnel, but there are examples of Disney Mark Jewelers Inserts.

Edited by Beyonder123
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On 2/2/2022 at 1:04 AM, Beyonder123 said:

Keep in mind I'm not super knowledgeable on this subject, but is it possible that these were distributed in the UK, but specifically in an area that used American Dollars. Like perhaps a military base?

 

Edit: I do acknowledge that Harvey books would be a strange thing to distribute to military personnel, but there are examples of Disney Mark Jewelers Inserts.

That's an interesting thought. My instinct says unlikely, given the 6p stamps and UK distribution title match, but I'll ponder it and see if there is any evidence out there. A dose of Little Dot before a military manoeuvre might be a good idea, either way :) 

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I've also looked to see if the 15c copies could have been made for bagged packs and have, so far, found no evidence. Many of the bagged editions seem to start from cover date December 1972, just after the 15c window. They seem quite prevalent in 1973, 74 and 1975. There are lots of examples on eBay around this time, Heritage and Google and, whilst it's early days, I haven't seen a 15c date window copy in one of them, never mind an actual 15c variant itself. I've found the odd bag dated in the 1960's and 1970 too and will keep looking - it would be nice to find a bag with some April-October 72 books in.

Incidentally, I like the way they put the cover dates on the bags sometimes:

1772041561_HarveyBags.thumb.PNG.c1e5aa77c065afac1b7759ba6faf78fb.PNG

Very helpful :)

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