The Virgin Variant Option.... rarity vs tradition
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I have thought about this a few times in the past couple years. I do not like the virgin variants. I prefer more of a classic trade dress cover with the name and publisher and price. It is definitely more traditional. In more simplistic terms it lets me know which book it is. Sometimes you can’t tell just by the cover art if the title character is obscured or absent all together. Also, not a fan of sketch covers. They look incomplete. 

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I'm sure you'll see opposite opinions on trade dress vs. virgin covers and many of them split in a generational manner.  I'm not a big collector of modern books especially those solely based on covers so my opinion will be less stronger than others.  For me personally, I like the virgin cover when it has beautiful artwork that's only hindered by the title or other wording that takes away from the artwork.  I'd rather have the second virgin cover with the original red outfits. It doesn't really matter to me which one is more rare although I know usually the virgin covers have limited print runs. I would say that if I am buying a modern book as a straight cover buy because of the cover artwork than I'm going for the virgin cover almost all of the time.

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5 hours ago, Summydad1 said:

I have thought about this a few times in the past couple years. I do not like the virgin variants. I prefer more of a classic trade dress cover with the name and publisher and price. It is definitely more traditional. In more simplistic terms it lets me know which book it is. Sometimes you can’t tell just by the cover art if the title character is obscured or absent all together. Also, not a fan of sketch covers. They look incomplete. 

While I don't "dislike" the virgin variants, I think that with the exception of a few cases, I prefer the trade dress cover. I just feel like what the book is.... is an important part of the equation.... I do have the Wonder Woman 750 Lucio Parrillo variant and in that case it was specifically because it was virgin. My goal was and still is, to frame and display it in some way....

s-l500.jpg.87830858ef964eddaee08af108655def.jpg

But, yes, in most cases, I think I like the Trade Dress.... Again though.... the UPC should NOT be on the cover of any variant!.... JMO....

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4 hours ago, Keys_Collector said:

I'm sure you'll see opposite opinions on trade dress vs. virgin covers and many of them split in a generational manner.  I'm not a big collector of modern books especially those solely based on covers so my opinion will be less stronger than others.  For me personally, I like the virgin cover when it has beautiful artwork that's only hindered by the title or other wording that takes away from the artwork.  I'd rather have the second virgin cover with the original red outfits. It doesn't really matter to me which one is more rare although I know usually the virgin covers have limited print runs. I would say that if I am buying a modern book as a straight cover buy because of the cover artwork than I'm going for the virgin cover almost all of the time.

I tend to be the reverse.... I like having the info there.... I think I'm leaning to the first to the left.... The black is interesting and caught my eye at first, but I think I like the left.... I'm just impressed she's alive again after her run in with Bullseye in 181....

The killer for me is leaving the upc on the front.... Black Cat #1 as an example. Very cool artwork negativly impacted by the upc....

DSC_0991(1).thumb.jpg.c8bf2829823dc30cfdd2a2b4a3a82ffd.jpg

Edited by Will96
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Its somewhat generational. As older card collectors join the hobby they might
opt for the rarity as well. There is a younger entire generation feed by these 
books now. Online retailers that exclusively deal in these in FB groups.

Personally if I am not buying for my PC then I am looking at the profit yield.
If I can buy a lot of copies cheap that I am sure to sell for a better or the same
profit I am going that route. It gives me an additional bonus of cheap new 
customer acquisition on top of it. The downside is its more work.

A retailer might look at the other way with buying a ton of cheap copies to get the 
Virgin break even with the virgin and get the profit from basic cover. 

 

Edited by fastballspecial
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On 8/26/2020 at 6:43 PM, Will96 said:

I get rarity driving more desirability for the virgin covers, but I do like having the traditional comic look.

Rarity is debatable.  When every comic has "rare" variants, then there are hundreds of thousands of "rare" variants - even if they're limited to 100 copies... there's so many in total that there will eventually be a shift in comics where the book itself will need to matter, otherwise the variant is a rare version of "nothing special" and the prices will not hold up as the "rare" variants are continually printed by all publishers in smaller and smaller quantities.

Tradition is a good word because, traditionally, it mattered what was on the page inside the comic.  Value and desirability were more closely connected to those (now mostly ignored) interior pages - and it seems likely that interior pages may matter again someday.

"Rare variant" is almost becoming a joke when it's becoming "rare" to find a CGC graded book that ISN'T a variant.

cgcvariants.png

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3 hours ago, fastballspecial said:

Its somewhat generational. As older card collectors join the hobby they might
opt for the rarity as well. There is a younger entire generation feed by these 
books now. Online retailers that exclusively deal in these in FB groups.

Personally if I am not buying for my PC then I am looking at the profit yield.
If I can buy a lot of copies cheap that I am sure to sell for a better or the same
profit I am going that route. It gives me an additional bonus of cheap new 
customer acquisition on top of it. The downside is its more work.

A retailer might look at the other way with buying a ton of cheap copies to get the 
Virgin break even with the virgin and get the profit from basic cover. 

 

Yes, I can see where the business side is going to have a completely different set of parameters.... For me, i'm looking at it more from "what is a more appealing cover?" and less so from dollars and cents though that has to be part of the equation 

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1 hour ago, valiantman said:

Rarity is debatable.  When every comic has "rare" variants, then there are hundreds of thousands of "rare" variants - even if they're limited to 100 copies... there's so many in total that there will eventually be a shift in comics where the book itself will need to matter, otherwise the variant is a rare version of "nothing special" and the prices will not hold up as the "rare" variants are continually printed by all publishers in smaller and smaller quantities.

Tradition is a good word because, traditionally, it mattered what was on the page inside the comic.  Value and desirability were more closely connected to those (now mostly ignored) interior pages - and it seems likely that interior pages may matter again someday.

"Rare variant" is almost becoming a joke when it's becoming "rare" to find a CGC graded book that ISN'T a variant.

cgcvariants.png

Right and from the idea of "variants" as a whole, not so rare anymore,no.

I'm thinking more of the individual cover. But yes, even the already graded pre-sale is a thing now so variants as a whole being rare, not really.

Edited by Will96
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1 minute ago, Will96 said:

Right and from the idea of "variants" as a whole, not so rare anymore,no.I'm thinking more of the individual cover. But yes, even the already graded pre-sale is a thing now so variants as a whole being rare, not really.

The hobby has its ebbs and flows, and once in a while, complete reversals of thinking - a good example is Superman: Man of Steel #18 is worth more in 4th and 5th printings than the 1st printing, but that was not true for 10+ years after the book came out.

The "virgin variant" is intended to showcase the artwork without the text and other normal graphics, and the idea in comic books is still a bit of a novelty since there aren't many examples of "virgin variants" prior to the year 2000.  "Virgin variants" are usually printed in lower numbers than the regular editions, so they tend to have higher prices... for now. 

I wouldn't be surprised if the thinking on "virgin variants" shifts some day, rather than valuing them even when the books themselves don't matter (referencing the earlier discussion about whether the interior pages matter - or if they'll matter in the future), the current value seems to be entirely based on the quality of the artwork, the popularity of the character(s), and the number of copies printed.  There will undoubtedly be more exciting art for the same characters in the future, since these books are now hot and older books are not, and more books will be next, moving current books into the "older" category, and no longer having that "wow" factor of newness, etc. 

As a piece of artwork though - and basically nothing more - a "virgin variant" comic is actually a rather small print size for artwork, when compared to posters or limited edition lithographs, etc., so it wouldn't be surprising to me if value based solely on the artwork of "virgin variants" doesn't fall in favor of larger display items like lithographs or glossy prints, particularly if they are also limited editions.  If we're just talking about desirable art, small lithographs/artworks/prints tend to be undesirable.  In other words, "virgin variants" are too small to be "traditionally" desirable art prints.  They're not "comic booky enough" (missing the title, publisher, and price info) to be seen as traditional comics, and so they're currently in between "limited art prints" and "comic books" where they do have a premium value due to the low number printed.  Can that premium value last in the long-term?

All collectibles which are valuable because they're rare (and no other reason) are the most dangerous things to trust as "long-term valuable".  Rare keeps getting rarer, print runs keep getting smaller, and older books, not as rare as they once were considered, and nothing else special about them tends to be a bad combination for comics in the years that follow the initial hype and hotness.  "Virgin variants" - in particular - seem like dangerous things to trust with premium values.

If all the covers are the same price, then it doesn't matter - pick whichever one you like best - but if there's a premium built in for the "limited edition" version of collectibles that are otherwise nothing special... that's just not a good place to be putting those extra dollars*.

*all collectors who claim to care nothing about the current or future value of their collectibles are exempt from these statements, since they obviously care nothing about their own money now or later, and they aren't the people who determine long-term outcomes in a hobby.

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2 hours ago, valiantman said:

Rarity is debatable.  When every comic has "rare" variants, then there are hundreds of thousands of "rare" variants - even if they're limited to 100 copies... there's so many in total that there will eventually be a shift in comics where the book itself will need to matter, otherwise the variant is a rare version of "nothing special" and the prices will not hold up as the "rare" variants are continually printed by all publishers in smaller and smaller quantities.

Tradition is a good word because, traditionally, it mattered what was on the page inside the comic.  Value and desirability were more closely connected to those (now mostly ignored) interior pages - and it seems likely that interior pages may matter again someday.

"Rare variant" is almost becoming a joke when it's becoming "rare" to find a CGC graded book that ISN'T a variant.

cgcvariants.png

I see you .30 and .35 price variants! :whee:

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2 hours ago, PeterPark said:

I see you .30 and .35 price variants! :whee:

I'm wondering what the bump in 1949 is...

As a side note, I actually like the current DC variants, where the trade dress is kept to a minimum but is still there.  Not quite virgin, but still a largely uncluttered image. But it still looks like a comic, not just a piece of art.

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4 hours ago, valiantman said:

The hobby has its ebbs and flows, and once in a while, complete reversals of thinking - a good example is Superman: Man of Steel #18 is worth more in 4th and 5th printings than the 1st printing, but that was not true for 10+ years after the book came out.

The "virgin variant" is intended to showcase the artwork without the text and other normal graphics, and the idea in comic books is still a bit of a novelty since there aren't many examples of "virgin variants" prior to the year 2000.  "Virgin variants" are usually printed in lower numbers than the regular editions, so they tend to have higher prices... for now. 

I wouldn't be surprised if the thinking on "virgin variants" shifts some day, rather than valuing them even when the books themselves don't matter (referencing the earlier discussion about whether the interior pages matter - or if they'll matter in the future), the current value seems to be entirely based on the quality of the artwork, the popularity of the character(s), and the number of copies printed.  There will undoubtedly be more exciting art for the same characters in the future, since these books are now hot and older books are not, and more books will be next, moving current books into the "older" category, and no longer having that "wow" factor of newness, etc. 

As a piece of artwork though - and basically nothing more - a "virgin variant" comic is actually a rather small print size for artwork, when compared to posters or limited edition lithographs, etc., so it wouldn't be surprising to me if value based solely on the artwork of "virgin variants" doesn't fall in favor of larger display items like lithographs or glossy prints, particularly if they are also limited editions.  If we're just talking about desirable art, small lithographs/artworks/prints tend to be undesirable.  In other words, "virgin variants" are too small to be "traditionally" desirable art prints.  They're not "comic booky enough" (missing the title, publisher, and price info) to be seen as traditional comics, and so they're currently in between "limited art prints" and "comic books" where they do have a premium value due to the low number printed.  Can that premium value last in the long-term?

All collectibles which are valuable because they're rare (and no other reason) are the most dangerous things to trust as "long-term valuable".  Rare keeps getting rarer, print runs keep getting smaller, and older books, not as rare as they once were considered, and nothing else special about them tends to be a bad combination for comics in the years that follow the initial hype and hotness.  "Virgin variants" - in particular - seem like dangerous things to trust with premium values.

If all the covers are the same price, then it doesn't matter - pick whichever one you like best - but if there's a premium built in for the "limited edition" version of collectibles that are otherwise nothing special... that's just not a good place to be putting those extra dollars*.

*all collectors who claim to care nothing about the current or future value of their collectibles are exempt from these statements, since they obviously care nothing about their own money now or later, and they aren't the people who determine long-term outcomes in a hobby.

I got that feeling right after I purchased the Wonder Woman variant.... I love the artwork but no, it doesn't really display like a comic and it's small for a print.... The only thing and I know I'm beating a dead horse.... I hate the upc on the front.

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31 minutes ago, Summydad1 said:

Agreed that the minimal trade dress looks good on DC. Especially on B covers that focus more on the character. Batgirl 23 is a perfect example. I do like a title banner that matches the color scheme or enhances the design of the cover. 

9AC43DE5-A957-4BDB-9993-B9D636BF9C23.jpeg

5C1AB643-623B-4149-9C89-D74DE8E2F3D6.jpeg

Agreed. This is a good look....

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On 8/28/2020 at 2:45 PM, valiantman said:

Rarity is debatable.  When every comic has "rare" variants, then there are hundreds of thousands of "rare" variants - even if they're limited to 100 copies... there's so many in total that there will eventually be a shift in comics where the book itself will need to matter, otherwise the variant is a rare version of "nothing special" and the prices will not hold up as the "rare" variants are continually printed by all publishers in smaller and smaller quantities.

Tradition is a good word because, traditionally, it mattered what was on the page inside the comic.  Value and desirability were more closely connected to those (now mostly ignored) interior pages - and it seems likely that interior pages may matter again someday.

"Rare variant" is almost becoming a joke when it's becoming "rare" to find a CGC graded book that ISN'T a variant.

cgcvariants.png

a) looking forward to that time you describe. It is kinda nuts that there are golden age books where we don't even know if more than 100 copies survived, and those are being sold for waaaay less than "rare" variants.  But then again, if something is so rare, it's hard to get a momentum going. Variants are rare enough to stirr some interest but common enough to have several copies readily available for purchase so what whoever wants to pay more right away can get the variant they want. And that creates the momentum.

b) of course most moderns would be variants. Their comparative scarcity is the only thing stirring some interest that would get the value worth enough to get it slabbed. 

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