The Mystery of the Harvey 15c Variants From 1972

3 3
Get Marwood & I

1,269 views

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!

3 3



60 Comments


Recommended Comments



On 3/7/2022 at 8:57 PM, Jeffro. said:

I agree with you on the UK link and I also agree that we'll probably never know the reason why these exist. I think it's pretty safe to say that these were not price test market copies like the 30 and 35 cent Marvels. 

Yes, the UK aspect sort of rules that out doesn't it. If it were a market test - albeit of a lower price for less comic - it would only make sense if they were distributed in a US geographical region. 

I've been tracking the Harvey UK distribution aspect a little more, either side of the variants, and will post more about it soon. It's a bit like a jigsaw, as it turns out. 

Link to comment
On 3/8/2022 at 8:04 AM, Get Marwood & I said:

I've been tracking the Harvey UK distribution aspect a little more, either side of the variants, and will post more about it soon. It's a bit like a jigsaw, as it turns out. 

:popcorn:

Link to comment
On 3/9/2022 at 1:42 AM, AJD said:

:popcorn:

Might be a while yet Andy, sorry. I've got too many irons in the fire at the moment. Need some time to sort out how to present it.

As well as all that below in the Harvey file, I'm linking the other publishers timelines in too, as that can often be revealing. 

h1.thumb.PNG.d4f373de1f7aa1c70a82bed721c742a2.PNG

h2.thumb.PNG.429e882cfdacc835bdf230316e2d5078.PNG

Link to comment
On 3/9/2022 at 8:17 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

Might be a while yet Andy, sorry. I've got too many plates twirling at the moment. 

It is possible - just - that my quest to better understand the distribution of Harvey comics for a brief period in the UK in the early 1970s can wait.

Link to comment
On 3/9/2022 at 12:05 PM, AJD said:

It is possible - just - that my quest to better understand the distribution of Harvey comics for a brief period in the UK in the early 1970s can wait.

1470704177_drwholaugh.gif.54d9b754e3422e44fa31b96b78efe401.gif

Link to comment

These 15c variants are proving to be quite hard to find, and I'm starting to wonder how few copies may have been made. It doesn't surprise me that finding 50 year old Harvey comics in the UK is hard going but there are so few copies turning up and there is so little to find about their distribution.

Here is a snippet from a UK fanzine of the time which indicates how scarce Charlton and Gold Key were in 1972 - Harvey doesn't get a mention here or in any of the other copies I have found of the time:

1406994262_GoldstarCharlton-ComicCatalog5June1972.PNG.607c4f758d50d89063a67acdc53903f1.PNG

I've been adding to my pence stamped collection though, and here is a nice example from March 1971, which carries a 6p stamp that differs to some of the 15c variant stamped copies that would follow:

Scan.thumb.jpg.fd4214515e5a45e4feb8afc6e51e5f6c.jpg

Little Dot becomes Big Dotter in this issue, in case you were interested :bigsmile:

I'm kicking myself for saving these two books in my files years ago as examples of UK stamped copies and not, at the time, realising they were US price variants:

187476478_HotStuff110(May1972)15cVariant.thumb.jpg.c0106d47486b93fb0f9dddc826fc06d1.jpg 1326375711_HotStuff111(July1972)15cVariant.thumb.jpg.b73ad45bde667af5a808861d96aba31c.jpg

I could so easily have bought them just as examples of the stamps, and then had a nice surprise when I went on to discover that 15cvs existed. And I recall that they went unsold for a few rounds on eBay at least. I've yet to see another copy of either. 

Ah well, I'll keep digging....

Link to comment

I managed to pick up a 15c copy of Richie #114 finally, so now have the full set:

762738884_thumbnail(2).thumb.jpg.5b4807e5c896e79f57a93c610dcccc64.jpg

I wonder how many people on the planet would be able to replicate that photo hm

Link to comment

May 1974 Cover Dated Harvey Comics

While we wait for more 15 cent variants to surface here’s a post about May 1974 cover dated Harvey comics.

There are eleven of them, in total. Here they are on Mike's Comic Newsstand:

1002524413_GCDHarveyMay1974(11Titles).thumb.PNG.8e95ea9ddd9594dd850e7eeb5e5a43a3.PNG

During this month, Harvey decided to increase the prices of some of their titles from 20 to 25 cents. As the four examples that follow show, they don’t appear to have made a very good job of it.

First up, we have Richie Rich #126. On every single copy that I have seen, there is an original 20c price sitting under what we can only assume was an overprinted 25c price, applied once the printers realised – or were advised of - the mistake:

881410093_RichieRich12625c(May1974)20cVisible.thumb.jpg.77adf87a7429fee815c86e729ea76f78.jpg 658244316_RichieRich126(May1974)25ccrop.PNG.8f4eb1509629a665f2318004814f3bbe.PNG

The 25c price is even a bit wonky there, you’ll see, just to accentuate the mistake.

Here's a visual summary that I put together for Richie #126, because I like them:

3.PNG.f9bc261ed586e7373a0c5a726053e39e.PNG

 

Sad Sack #238 makes the transfer from 20 to 25 cents a little more successfully, which is odd given how clumsy he was. No 20c price visible this time, but he still manages to use a particularly odd oversized font, also wonky, and with a slashed c:

1564463215_SadSack238(May1974)Oversize25cFont.thumb.jpg.ea032f56e28b5c50c5ecb5ceb9f0eeac.jpg 1763239944_SadSack238(May1974)25c(2).jpg.dcf6e17d645bb280233280fcd93a5971.jpg

It then settles down to the ‘regular’ Harvey 25c font style that we are used to seeing.

So far so clumsy :popcorn:

4.thumb.PNG.d409c8637d8cc0733e32e837960b83e1.PNG

 

When we get to Richie Rich Money World #11, something wonderful happens – a price variant is born! Hooray! 

163650324_RichieRichMoneyWorld11(May1974)20cVariant.thumb.jpg.e38a4df516cfc542f75c4b94fa74c7c6.jpg thumbnailb.thumb.jpg.8d4a8551b7c21b97884af9e66d6adafb.jpg

It’s clear that the printers were running along with the usual 20c cover price until someone pointed out that the issue was supposed to be 25c now. Why they didn’t overprint the 20c ones (as they did with Richie Rich #126) is anyone’s guess. I have a copy of the 20c variant and have compared it to my 25c ‘regular’ copy – there are no other differences. Just that cover price slip up.

2.PNG.483ee6e261e1d129ef445cf232a89150.PNG

 

And then we come to Richie Rich Millions #65 and our second 20c price variant appears. Double Hooray!

662857472_RichieRichMillions65(May1974)20cVariant.thumb.jpg.a54b58b7f720f3976b00a1a6ba67cac7.jpg thumbnail.thumb.jpg.b59e9a470f43327e9aa489b9f0cdef12.jpg

The odd thing this time is that the book clearly wasn’t in scope for a price change as the issues either side were 25c.

1.PNG.69f42dca527947b899e587e48ae9048c.PNG

Similar to our Sad Sack #238, the font on the 20c variant is not in the style we are used to seeing. Why wouldn’t it be the same as the preceding issue I wonder? Wrong book, wrong price, wrong font! I own copies of both priced issues and, again, the cover price is the only difference between the two. Same page count, same indicia (Harvey didn’t add prices to their indicias for some reason, incidentally).

686813257_thumbnail(2).jpg.0145f23a3b52cc1c197be2011fef8c24.jpg

 

The remaining seven May 1974 issues all appear in order and haven’t yielded anything unusual – so far. Given that some of them involve prices changes however, it’s possible that some more price variants may be out there waiting to be found. Or it may just be that the two variants that I have captured here are the only ones – who knows. It’s likely that the instruction came to the printers mid way through the May issue production run, and some got through and others didn’t. We know that happens from my other research strands, and I’ll be looking out for date stamps in future to see if I can pin point the changeover / production sequence.

As far as scarcity goes, I’ve been looking for them for a bit now, and have yet to see a second example of either variant – there are bound to be more examples, but they do appear uncommon at this stage.

So there we go - a lovely little error strewn month, resulting in at least two new price variants. I say new, as I have not seen any mention of them anywhere else.

340288185_RichieRichMillions65(May1974)20cVariant.thumb.jpg.d887017a73e7e2e4dc4938b7110209dc.jpg 1049930160_RichieRichMillions65(May1974)25c.thumb.jpg.27b4adbdf17bcfea66f1c7bda34ba0fe.jpg

423777793_RichieRichMoneyWorld11(May1974)20cVariant.thumb.jpg.291a3844ac904b04c473c5a84dfbdcdb.jpg 529794773_RichieRichMoneyWorld11(May1974)25c.thumb.jpg.0d6e5cd416e2076a864a855c938ed9dd.jpg

Comics are great, aren’t they.

Here’s one last observation – guess what month the Harvey Canadian 35c variants ended?

April 1974.

It was all going on in ‘74, wasn’t it :bigsmile:

 

 

Link to comment

I had a quick check to see if 'on sale' or arrival dates might help identify the cut off point for the May 1974 price variants. That has helped me in other areas of research but this time drew a blank. I plotted the Library of Congress 'on sale' dates from Mike's, and they line up as follows:

Capture.thumb.PNG.7a956d612a5b515b44998ccfeec5f650.PNG

As you can see, there is no obvious order of printing that informs a likely error / cut off point, with the variants and 'erroneous' books being scattered over the production weeks.

I prefer to use actual dates on the comics themselves, as they tend to differ to the Library of Congress dates by some margin and are arguably more accurate, but there aren't enough examples to make an assessment on. Mike has two date sources on his site for Richie Rich #126 incidentally, if you check:

Screenshot_20220515-103447_Chrome.thumb.jpg.527109065b8b88e4521dd2e15ec550e2.jpg

Funnily enough, my RR#126 copy has a date - one week after the LOC / house ad date:

1326905189_RichieRich126Feb13.thumb.jpg.a55901be5c371da42ca509be27629dd6.jpg

I checked the dates in the comic ads inside the comics for the May 1974 issues myself, and as you can see, they are all over the place, changing from ad to ad:

dates.thumb.PNG.400595602b6cbe5001c61e21bcc7706f.PNG

Here are some other examples of our May 74 books that I found:

335027686_Casper173(2).jpg.583ab8e9b935fa9a0f4020e538657898.jpg 1966964221_Casper173(3).jpg.9870d37c90d1d33980860801b8a9e58a.jpg 

383531027_Casper173b(2).jpg.191a3e68a960aed3fffed451ebfa88b6.jpg 1441402507_RRJJ4.thumb.jpg.28db225c1f0755e07802c6b2b0e35f14.jpg

Cool, aren't they :)

Link to comment

Yeah, I've noticed that sometimes the publishing schedule could be quite haphazard. A series that was ostensibly bi-monthly would sometimes go longer than than two months before the next issue would come out. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I'd have to dig a bit to find some examples.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now