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Suspense Comics #3 - What's this book really worth in 4.5?

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So I guess the answer to the title of this post is: a little over $11K. Kinda makes me feel I should take this little puppy out more often.

 

But you know, this auction confirms me in the belief that there's no advantage to putting a high opening price, or any reserve, on a famous, heavy hitting book. By opening the first auction at $12,500, the seller not only caused it not to sell the first time around but capped the subsequent auction at that amount. I think the psychology among bidders is that if there's a high opening price on a book that's rare and in high demand (and, therefore, of indeterminate value), the opening price represents full value and that there's no bargain to be had on that auction. If the book starts at $1, well, who's to say what price constitutes a lucky Ebay snag? With reserves, there seems to be a similar dynamic. Anyone who puts a high grade Supes 1 or an Action 1 out there with a reserve is going to turn off many buyers because those buyers assume that the reserve represents the books true value. Yes, there are some thrill bidders who bid the book up artificially, but only to a very low, safe point. And wherever the book ends at auction becomes the limit beyond which, basically, it will not pass in again within living memory. Don't get me wrong: in the high three figure range, a reserve may just get you a highly motivated bidder. You know what I mean, the kind who bids up to the reserve even if the second highest bidder is bidding less than half of that because he just must have the book. But there is no one out there who just must have Supes 1 even to the tune of bidding tens of thousands of dollars above everyone else. Anyone bidding to win wants to know that he's only a slight increment above all other Ebayers, which means that there may well be someone out there (not on Ebay) even as we speak to buy the book for more than that, and that, in any even it won't take years to "break even" or make money on the book.

 

That's just been my observation. I wonder whether others have noticed the same thing?

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If what I'm reading above is true about the Gerber copy being a VF+ then mine is not the nicest around. Although it is gorgeous in most every other respect, the lower right-hand corner is rounded to the point where you could basically say a tiny chip is missing. While a chip usually brings a high grade book down to VF-, this copy is so stunning and the chip is soooo small that even a conservative grader would likely give it the full VF. But VF+ would be pushing it.

 

Because people visiting this board are presumed to be interested in little known and less relevant facts, let me note for the record that the hardest book in the Suspense run is not #3 but #4. Heritage has sold one, a Fair, and CGC has graded one, a Fine-. Fishler at Metropolis told me he hasn't seen one in many years (Metropolis does have a #3 currently for sale). Gerber's estimate of 50-200 copies probably overstates reality by about 1000%, and it took a healthy dose of luck, the persistent collector's greatest tool, for me to finally snag a decent copy. (OK, the persistent collector's greatest tool is those green slips of paper with Ben Franklin's picture on them, but luck is a close second). Suspense 1, 3 and 4 are, of course, variations on the same theme by three different artists, so I'm fortunate to be able to lay them out next to each other.

 

P.S. I have an extra Suspense 2, another rare one, if anyone is looking to trade for a nice GGA or Timely of commensurate value.

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I completely agree with you, the 4 is harder to get. I have spoken to other Suspense collectors who say the same thing. I sold my VG+ copy to Harley at Wonder Con a few years back and have regreted it ever since. P.S. Fishler has the MH 4

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Hmmm... this is starting to prop up my arguments in an earlier thread about the #3 being overrated! 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

 

It's a nice cover.... so what! It doesn't justify the enormity of the price tag! acclaim.gif

 

... it should be valuable sure, but not to this extent IMHO. Especially if for all its vaunted rarity it's not even the rarest in the series insane.gif

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Over eleven thousand dollars for a VG+ (WAYYY over guide) in a "true" ebay auction and you're saying it's over-rated!?!? I'm not sure what your definition of over-rated is, but based on the 3 documented (way over-guide) sales of the book in the last 2 years (that I know of), I'd say the market is rating this book pretty high. The relative rarity of Suspense 4 really has no bearing on the demand for the 3...

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I don't think Bronty was denying that the book commands a very high price. I think he was just expressing surprise that following its meteoric rise in the 90s - a rise fueled not a little by some market manipulation, or at least a healthy dose of hype - that the book hasn't settled down in price. Much of his surprise, if I recall from that earlier thread, derives from the fact that the book is non-superhero, doen't tie in to movies or pop culture, and is not part of a run that continued for decades.

 

I think those "shortcomings" explain why it's still worth only about 10-20% of an Action 1, TEC 27 or MM 1. What makes it a great and expensive book nonetheless is that (1) it's a Schomburg cover, (2) it's a Schomburg bondage cover, (3) it's a Schomburg bondage cover with Nazis and KKK. In those respects it's not unlike many a Timely. And, of course, many a Timely are very expensive. What makes Suspense 3 different is precisely that it has these elements but it is NOT a superhero book. Furthermore, it lacks the cartoonish elements that work well in many a great 40s cover, but almost always in a kitsch sort of way. No, I'm not saying that Suspense 3 is an exercise in fine art. But it does have a bit of classical restraint to it, even while being over the top in the way great comic books usually are.

 

All of that explains why the book is desirable. The rarity just throws fuel on the fire. It's like the Honus Wagner baseball card. Sure, Babe Ruth is the greater player and a well-known figure in the wider culture to boot. But Wagner was great too, and there's a good story about the anti-smoker insisting his card be pulled from the market, AND there's the extreme scarcity. As with Suspense 3, the scarcity attracts bragging rights and notoriety, and that just increases the desirability.

 

Suspense 4 is a great cover by a well-known comic artist. And yes, it is even rarer. But if you show it to a non comic book hobbyist it will not elicit the same "wow" as a Suspense 3. I love it because it is a great, naive take on the theme explored in Suspense 1 and 3 (and Terrific 5, All-New 8, and a host of Captain Americas and other Timelys). I'm sure Overstreet is wrong in bunching it with Suspense 5 and 6, which are far more common books and sport much less striking covers, even if they are all L.B. Cole. But it is not Suspense 3. And while Bronty - or someone else - mentioned on some other thread that if he knew nothing about Suspense 3 and saw a G/VG copy at a convention he might be attracted enough by the cover to put down $200 or so, I think that, if that happened, when he got home he'd realize that he had a way undervalued, undiscovered gem on his hands.

 

Like many of you, I've rifled through Gerber to find a cover as unique and spectacular as Suspense 3. I haven't found it yet. So I'm sticking with my theory: Superman and Batman and Captain America are the Babe Ruth and Willie Mays and Ty Cobb of comic books. Suspense 3 is our Honus Wagner. At 10-20% the value of the heavy hitters, I'd say it's not at all overvalued.

 

 

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Well spoken. I may not agree with all the points, but its always nice to read a well thought out and literate post! And i do think you are right about how i would feel once i got it home. There are certain covers when i look at I think "man, people are missing the boat on this one!" so that is certainly true.

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Exactly...I think (Albedo 2/Cerebus whatever) are way over-rated myself, but obviously the concensus of the collectors out there don't agree with me. Bronty's basically saying Suspense 3 is over-priced, but time and again the book sells for what he consider an over-inflated price, just like those silly Cerebus books he's selling do! foreheadslap.gif

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heh heh sign-funnypost.gif

 

I still don't see the justification for the price though. $5K IMO might make sense along the lines of the Honus Wagner analogy that was made. I realize the book has many things going for it. But at this pice tag you could easily buy a Captain America #1 in the exact same grade and maybe even have some spare change left over. To me, there is no comparison - I'll take the Cap 1 any day.

 

Banner, I'm not a "Suspense Hater" by any stretch of the imagination - any series with that many cool covers is A OK by me - so please don't think that I don't appreciate the book or the series. Hell, the Devil and Spider covers alone make it a highly interesting series for me. But the price tag is NUTS imho. You can buy a major GA key with that money, as I've alluded to above.

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