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Baltimore -- More stuff I picked up


Here are a few other things I picked up at the con. I was really surprised at the really good inventory of low- and mid-grade gold for sale, and at reasonable prices. I’d say I was “pleasantly” surprised, but maybe “alarming” would be a better way to describe it because I spent WAY more than I should have. I spent so much on Friday I was thinking I’d just window shop on Saturday but I couldn’t resist. In addition to wanting to spend time with the family, a big part of the reason I didn’t go on Sunday was I didn’t want to be tempted to spend more.


To give an example, this book is one reason why I didn't go back on Sunday. There were 3 copies of this book at the con, two were high grade and priced at around $1400 each. From the sticker you can see this one was offered at $525. Maybe the dealer would take $475 or even $450? Who knows, at this con it was definitely a buyer's market. So I didn’t want the temptation, I could not afford to spend more money!





Anyway, enough of what I didn’t buy! Here’s a book I picked up from Greg Reese, always a pleasure to do business with. His stock was incredible, and he gave me a little more off for being a repeat customer.






I bought this Matt Baker cover from a local dealer, for 80 bucks!






I also picked up these inexpensive Archie Montana covers. From a risqué level, Montana was right up there with today’s GGA artists (ebas, Tyndall, Debalfo, etc.) especially given the comics his covers appeared in (i.e., kids’ comics).







Edited by n2wdw
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Baltimore Con - Last thoughts



Some last thoughts about the con:


* It was fun, but for me Baltimore is a local con so I commuted from home each day (90 minutes each way). That made it not as much fun for me. It's more fun being away from home, to be able to completely immerse in comics and fandom. On the other hand, I was able to bring my daughter with me for the first time and that was alot of fun.


* There was TOO much to buy. San Diego doesn't even compare. NOT - EVEN - CLOSE.


* Speaking of SDCC, Baltimore sealed my decision to no longer go to SDCC. SDCC is no longer a comic con, and Baltimore really showed that. Sure, WW and other cons aren't true comic cons either, but SDCC is so expensive and so much a hassle. Last week SDCC sent out an email blast about buying tickets for next year (it was about making sure you were registered so you could participate in the ticket buying process). I've deleted those emails, I'm not going to even try to get tickets. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it's a big deal for me because SDCC has always been my comic mecca. Well, no more, I'm done with it.


* I have to rethink my CGC submission strategy. In Baltimore I submitted (a) a 13 book Modern on-site invoice; (2) a 15 book Value invoice; and (3) a 21 book Value invoice. 49 books! Why do I need them graded? With that money, I could have bought 3 major grails I had my eye on. And where am I going to store these slabs? I don't know ... I'm sure I'll be excited when I get them (I wasn't at the con on Sunday so they have to ship my on-sites to me, I don't have them yet). But why do we grade, when it takes money away from buying books (kinda like throwing out the baby with the bath water). I'm not going to stop submitting books, but I will be giving a harder look at the books I submit.


* The fun of the con was offset somewhat by the "sketch op from heck" I'm suffering through right now. Sometimes I feel life is two steps forward, one step back ...



Anyway, here are a few statutes I picked up at the con. Thanks for reading!







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Fun Key! First Mention of Batmobile and Gotham City


This comic was offered for sale here a few weeks ago. It caught my interest because the notes say it's the first mention of Batmobile and Gotham City.





I did some research. Overstreet confirms this comic is the first mention of the Batmobile, but says Wow #1 is the first mention of Gotham in comics. Huh? Wow is a Fawcett book, not DC. As far as I can tell, Wow #1 is the first mention of Gotham in comics, but it's not Batman's Gotham. Batman's Gotham is first mentioned in this comic, Tec #48. This is confirmed in a few places. For example, here's the review of Detective 48 by the ComicVine: "This is a pretty good crime story - a nice meaty plot involving a surveyor who finds a limestone cavern under the nation's gold reserves and the gangsters that frame his daughter for murder in order to blackmail the man into revealing the entrance to the cave.It also marks a number of firsts. Prior to this issue, the city which Batman operated in was New York - sometimes referred to as a 'gotham'. But in this issue, it is expressly named 'Gotham City'."

As for the Batmobile, there's actually a website batmobilehistory.com. It says: "Batman drove high-performance cars since his debut, but the term "Batmobile" didn't appear until nearly four years later in February 1941's Detective Comics #48. The car that first used the name was unlike later cars: this one was a bright red convertible that lacked fins, shields, or any other "bat" theme save for a small gold hood ornament. It did, however, sport a supercharged engine capable of tremendous speeds and a heavily reinforced nose capable of smashing through buildings without suffering any damage."


So the more I looked into the issue, the more I wanted it. In fact, I got a bit obsessed with getting the book. Problem was, the seller had it priced a bit more than I was willing to pay. But after some back and forth we were able to do the deal once the seller said he'd take a cash and trade deal. So I got the Tec 48 for cash plus these 2 books.


Detective 371 is one of my favorite Batgirl covers, but I was okay with trading it as I've wanted to upgrade. Shadow #1 was an easy one for me to trade. I won the comic earlier this year in a C-Link auction but it doesn't really fit in my collection.


So now I've got the first mention of the Batmobile and Batman's Gotham City. How cool is that!








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Something CGC Wouldn't Grade


This is one of the books I tried to grade on-site at Baltimore. I've never gotten one of these before. CGC wouldn't grade it because the cover's a little bigger than the inside pages (I guess that's called overhang). I assume they thought encapsulating it might damage the book due to the overhang. Nice to see CGC has this quality control. I'm thinking about sending it to that other company to see what they might do.




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On-Sites from Baltimore


I wasn't around on Sunday of the con to pick up my on-sites. It took about a week and a half for CGC to cart my books back to Florida, contact me to work out the shipping method, and then finally ship my books to me.


I've written before how I collect Jen Broomall's BDI trades. I got some of them graded in Philly. http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=7287580&fpart=16


I graded 2 more in Baltimore. (I think I have the full set now, until she comes out with more.) I got one 9.8 and a 9.6. Ugh! I was hoping for 9.8s across the board. But really, the 9.6 was iffy at even 9.6 due to some wear along the spine and edges. I'm actually lucky to get the 9.6. Maybe someday I'll come across another copy and try again for 9.8 (her Legend of Oz TPB is getting hard to find).









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Biggest Holder I've Ever Seen


This is another book I submitted for on-site grading at Baltimore, a TBP to add to my Frank Miller Sin City collection.





In Baltimore, CGC told me they didn't have a holder big enough to fit the book. They took it back to Florida for processing. To their credit, they still treated it as on-site and mailed it to me for no charge.


What surprised me is the size of the holder. It's about the same size as golden age, but much thicker. Here're a couple pictures comparing the two.











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My First Sketch Op Almost Done


I'm hesitate to post this as I don''t want to jinx it -- but it looks like I might be getting the books from my first sketch op in the near future. I signed up for it last November (!!), and after drama involving the facilitator it looks like it's on track to be completed soon - finally! This, only after some good souls pitched in to get it done.


Both sketch covers are done. Hopefully they'll be submitted to CGC soon. I commissioned 2 covers, both homages to this Batgirl cover:






I commissioned a Black Canary and a Scarlet Witch. Here they are before being submitted to CGC (one a front cover, one a double cover):







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Batman 42 - the First Catwoman Cover in Batman


This one came up for sale on the boards a few weeks ago, Batman #42. It's the 2nd cover with Catwoman, and the 1st in Batman.


I really like books like this, fun "minor" keys. I don''t mind restoration because it brings the price down. But I find it hard to value restored comics. Overstreet has 4.0 at $412 and 6.0 at $616. GPA has the book at $500 for 5.5, but their last sale was way back in 2011 (making their data of little use). There's a 5.0 on sale on eBay right now for $600.


In pricing out a book like this, where there's not alot of sales data, I just try to do a gut feel on what I'm willing to pay -- taking into consideration it's a book I want but not a big collecting goal (in fact it wasn't even on my want list when it came up for sale here). This pricing information helps inform my decision though. For example, I definitely wasn't paying anything close to the VG (4.0) price of $412.


So anyway, the seller and I were able to work out a deal. It's a cool book to have, the 1st Catwoman cover in Batman. And I love those DC covers where the main characters pull the cover back to reveal a new character to the title.




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Star Wars Mini-Figs and a Brief Tour of My Comic Book Room


For a while my son (who is now 13) was all into Legos, and especially Star Wars Legos. He eventually moved onto different things (especially skateboarding) and all the Legos are in a big tub in our storage room. A couple years ago I decided to pull the Star Wars mini-figs from the big tub, to display in my comic book room. My son was cool with this, because my kids like to see part of themselves in the comic book room.


The parts of the figures were all over the place. It took me a while to put them together. Here's where I am right now, I still have a small box of parts to put together.






My kids were also into Harry Potter Lego sets. Here are the figures I managed to salvage (not a whole lot of them):






I also collect Star Trek action figures. Mostly still in the card, but after collecting for years I've picked up a bunch of loose figures (many from my older brother who gave me his collection.) But how do you display those loose figures? I finally decided to put them all in a plastic box I got from the grocery store, it was a great way to display them in a small amount of space.







Something else I find fun to collect are DC and Marvel mini-figures. I end up storing them everywhere, where ever they fit. Here are a few pics of them in my comic book room.













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Game of Thrones CGC SS


I've said before how I like collecting CGC SS comics signed by actors of my favorite shows. To me they're great momentos of the TV show or movie. The key is, you have to pick the right book. Either the 1st appearance of the character in the comic, or a good cover of the character.


Game of Thrones is one of my favorite shows. Here's a book I picked up on eBay a few weeks ago, signed by Emilia Clarke (Dani) and Jason Momoa (Drogo). The cover depicts, well, their wedding night (which is why some people call the show Porn of Thrones).


I watched this book on eBay for a few months. The seller had it expensively priced and it didn't move. I guess the seller realized it wasn't moving so he put it up for sale in a no reserve auction. I was lucky to be watching when it went up for auction, and won it at substantially less than the seller's original price. So I was really happy with my buy, but THEN the seller put another copy up for no reserve auction. So he had 2! (This seller apparently has relationships with actors or studios so he has alot of CGC autographed items -- and with every buy, for CGC or non-CGC items, he also includes pictures of the actors signing the thing you bought, which is very cool -- so he's one of my favorite sellers on eBay.) That copy sold for less than I paid. Oh well, can't do anything about that ... except feel bad ....




Edited by n2wdw
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Update on Dave Stevens Cover Set


I got this one back from CGC this week. They relabeled it to reflect it's the Frank Miller version. They did it for free, including shipping it back to me.


I needed this correction so I could enter it into my Dave Stevens set. This set includes comics with covers by the late, great GGA artist, Dave Stevens. On this one, it's actually the back cover that's by Stevens.


I'm really getting into building this set, which is an about face for me as I never thought I'd get into collecting competitve sets. But my chances of taking the #1 position on this set are about zero. At the moment I'm #8 with1385 points. Doctor Joe is #1 with 3317 points. He's got some amazing comics, including 3-D Zone 16 SS 9.8 at 308 points (I'd love to know if it's Steven's sig or another creator on the book). Also, his set is only 45% complete, which means even if I get close he can shoot ahead by adding a few books.


3-D Zone 16 is the key to this set. You have to have it in 9.8 (mine is 9.4). I'm been trying to get a 9.8 copy of this comic. This summer I bought 2 raws. I had hopes for 9.8, but having them in my hands they are 9.6 at best (although I might roll the dice and send them in anyway). A copy was sold on C-Link for $435 last month, which is about twice what I'm willing to pay.


I'll move up a little in the near future, as I've got one book that's coming to me in the mail (a real steal that popped up on eBay last weekend, that I immediately hit BIN), and a couple bids out right now I'm cautiously hopeful on.



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Update on Dave Stevens Cover Set


I'll move up a little in the near future, as I've got one book that's coming to me in the mail (a real steal that popped up on eBay last weekend, that I immediately hit BIN), and a couple bids out right now I'm cautiously hopeful on.


Quick update: Lost out on Bettie Page Comics 1 CGC 9 9. My top bid was $120, the winning bid was $122.50. I'm disappointed, but I would not spent more than $120 for this book, and if fact I was feeling queasy at that amount. Chasing registry points is fun, but you've got to keep things in perspective. Interestingly, you don't get much of a bump from 9.8 to 9.9 (64 to 80). If it had been a major jump (like > 75 points; 75 points can have a major impact in this set) I might have been more tempted.


But here's what I mean by keeping things in perspective. Here's a comic I won last night, this golden age Crime Reporter with a Matt Baker cover. I picked this up for only $78! Any time you can get a Baker cover for good eye appeal for under $100, you've got a win!



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Things to look forward to


Lots of things coming up. First, tonight C-Link's auction begins to close. I've got about 2 dozen tracking bids. Almost all are already beyond my reach. Fortunately, the book I want the most is also (I think ) a book no one else wants. How often does that happen?!


I've also got 2 Value invoices pending. I fast tracked them and they both stand at Verified. Maybe I'll get them in a couple weeks?


Anyway, here are a couple books I picked up on eBay recently with Pepoy covers. After shopping for a couple months, I figured out it made more sense to buy graded rather than raw. For what I paid for them, the sellers made a profit of maybe $10 a book, assuming they bought them for cover and didn't fast track. At that price it makes no sense to submit myself and take on the risk of getting less than 9.8. I've never understood how people can make money selling CGC modern books.





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Game of Thrones and Seville


My wife and I are in Seville for vacation and we learned that Game of Thrones is filming part of the new season here at Alcázar (the Royal Palace) next week. The locals are excited but put off too, because they plan to film over Columbus day. Christopher Columbus is big here and many people visit Seville, so it'll be bad that the Alcázar will be closed that day.


Here are some pictures of the Alcázar that we took during our tour. Maybe some of the rooms and courtyards will be used in GOT. If you've never been there, Alcázar has a Moorish feel to it like the Alhambra in Granada (in fact it seems GOT considered both as locations but eventually decided on Alcázar).













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Mostly Striking Out in the September ComicLink Auction



I mentioned above how my biggest want in the recent C-Link auction was also something I thought no one else wanted. Well, I was wrong!


Here's the book I wanted, Marvel Tales 98. This comic has no historical value. It's the reprint of ASM #121, the issue where Gwen Stacy dies. From a comic collecting point of view, it does have value because there are only four 9.8s. In fact, there are only 12 copies graded total. The low number of copies graded makes sense, because who would want to grade a reprint?







But I've wanted the comic, to add to my Gwen Stacy collection. Clearly, at least one other person had the same idea, because I didn't win it.


I thought I'd be able to pick it up cheap, somewhere from $50-$60. Leading into the last week, I had the top bid of around $35. Then a couple days before it shot up. As bidding closed, I struggled whether to increase my bid. At that point it was over $100. This was crazy, it's a reprint!


The thing is, Gwen Stacy is hot right now because of the recent movie. Raw high grade copies are going for $50. I decided to bite the bullet and increase my bid. I went up to $121. I thought that was fitting. I entered my bid and went to sleep. It was one of those auctions where I did and didn't want to win.


Well, I didn't win. The winning bid was the next increment at $131. So what do I do now, should I try to buy a raw copy? Not sure. I'd like to have a copy somewhere from 9.4 - 9.8, but it's not that big a deal, I'm in no rush. Maybe I'll wait for Gwen Stacy to cool down. After all, it's only a reprint.


Something else I didn't win was this Star Spangled War with a Mlle Marie cover. This copy went for silly money, $420. I mean, that's madness. A 6.0 recently sold for $260. Twice the money for half a point? True, Mlle Marie covers are hard to find in higher grades -- all DC war is like that, most copies are well read -- but $420 for 6.5 is crazy money. (I won a couple of 5.5s earlier this year -- here are pics: http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=8080548&fpart=14)







I did win 3 Walking Dead minor keys in 9.8. Nothing special, but at least I didn't go away empty handed.



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Which Copy Would you Buy?


This journal article is about 2 books that were offered at the same time on eBay and the recent C-Link auction. I think both books are major keys and undervalued.


The first is Conan 23, which is the first appearance of Red Sonja. This month C-Link offered 2 copies, CGC 9.2 and 9.6:


Conan 23 CGC 9.2

GPA $73 - $101

Sold for $93


Conan 23 CGC 9.6

GPA $163-$257

Sold for $185


This book is on my want list but not a major want; I didn't want to pay too much for it. I think the sweet spot in terms of value is CGC 9.4. GPA is $98-$150.


At the time of the C-Link auction, there was a 9.4 on eBay with an opening bid of $100. There were only a couple days left and no bids yet (the eBay auction closed just after the C-Link auction). I decided to bid the minimum of $100 to see what would happen. I figured I'd lose, but I wasn't in a hurry to buy this book, with eBay there's always tomorrow (and with C--Link, next month). But I won at my bid of $100.


So which copy would you rather have, CGC 9.2 at $93 or CGC 9.4 at $100? That's pretty clear, for an extra $7 I think everyone takes the CGC 9.4.


I guess the harder decision is do you go for the 9.6 at $185 or the 9.4 at $100? I guess it depends on how high a grade you want for this book. For me I'm happy with the 9.4 as I didn't want to spend too much for this particular comic. But, I think the person who won the 9.6 got a good deal. I admit I'm a little envious, but looking back I wouldn't want to spend the extra $85. Also, I know if I had gotten in a bidding war the book would have probably ended at over $200 (closer to GPA at $257), making it not so great a deal.


Here's the 9.4 I won on eBay:






The second book is X-Men 14. This is the first appearance of the Senitnels. Given the recent movie, I'm surprised it doesn't go for more.


C-Link was offering a CGC 5.0. GPA is $98-$125. The book sold for $89 in the C-Link auction so the buyer got a pretty good deal relative to GPA.


Early on I put in a tracking bid, but I wanted a nicer copy than 5.0. Like with the Conan 23, eBay had a CGC 6.5 of X-Men 14 for auction, closing just after the C-Link auction. GPA at CGC 6.5 is $150-$204. Again, I put in a bid of the minimum $150. I was the only bidder again, and won.


What would you rather have, CGC 5.0 for $89 or CGC 6.5 for $150? I have no regrets for going after the 6.5 as I wanted a higher grade copy, but I can definitely see the value of getting a nice copy of the 1st Sentinels for under GPA at only $89.


Here's the 6.5 I won on eBay:






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I think I read that the Game of Thrones will be filming scenes in Spain this year that will take place in Dorne. Dorne has not been seen in the Game of Thrones so far but it will be this season. If you remember last season the Prince of Dorne was killed in a dual against the Mountain.


This upcoming season will introduce the viewers to Dorne and the ramifications of this killing.

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