Are comic price guides still relevant?
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Hey everybody! I'm a long-time collector who took a break for several years from the hobby, but came back.

Had a chat last week with a dealer who is also an Overstreet adviser. He mentioned that he took out an add in this year's Overstreet edition and that I should check it out.

I responded politely, but after I wondered if price guides are still relevant, or if they are slowly fading into irrelevance?. I see that Comicspriceguide.com has 1 million users/members, but all I hear about are Ebay comps to confirm values. Is GPAnalysis worth the cost? Just wondering what the current situation is, and if any sage members can peer into their crystal ball and offer up some forecasts or analysis.

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Overstreet still has its purpose. From a grading and informational perspective, it's still relevant. 

For getting pricing information its outdated and has been for some time. GPA is better and depending on what your doing, it's probably worth the $$.  For commonish books, you can also use eBay sold prices. 

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My Sister just gave me a stack of lower grade Romance Books ranging from the 1950's through the 1970's that she asked me to sell for her, unfortunately I cannot determine a FMV for these books since they are not commonly for sale either on eBay or MCS, what is my alternative in this situation, The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.

The Overstreet Price Guide and Grading Guide are great to have for reference and other comic book related info.

Also the https://comicspriceguide.com/ is not even close on actual "Real" FMV of books selling today, they are Way Underpriced, not even close on many issues compared to what they are actually selling for at auction.

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As a price guide, the OPG is all but worthless. As a reference guide, the OPG is about as relevant as ever, which, sadly, is not the compliment that it could/should be.

CPG had potential, but is now basically just Overstreet Online, with slightly fewer ridiculously out-of-date prices.

GPA is a record of (hopefully) real past sales of CGC slabs from specific venues.

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Thanks for the responses so far.

I notice that it's mostly the older gents that still lean on the OPG, whereas the younger demographic seem to use Ebay or other online resources mentioned.

I've always enjoyed the annual Overstreet market reports from various dealers, and found it to be a fun section that had some good insight.

When I was 11, my aunt got me the 16th edition of the OPG for my birthday (25th Marvel anniversary cover). I still remember the cool adds and illustrations for stores like Fantasia (a small store in Yonkers NY) with multiple Golden Age mega keys in the display case. I was immediately hooked.

As Marvelmaniac mentioned, sometimes the guides are nowhere near where the market is at - too low for high grade books, and too high for low grade ones.

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I use Overstreet on a near-daily basis.  Most of the titles/issues I trade in have extremely limited sales records.  There may be only a few CGC-certified copies, and/or the most recent sale may be several years old.  There are simply not enough actual/recorded sales for that data to be statistically reliable/significant.

Of course, if your primary focus is on Bronze Age keys (where dozens of copies trade each year), a resource like GPA is solid gold.  (thumbsu  Here's a snapshot of GPA-documented sales for Hulk #181 in CGC 5.0 for each of the past six years.  Way, way, waaaaay more extensive than you'd see for 99% of the issues published in the 1950s.

IH181-50.png.2ff4550df5477c69552ad9869b41b6e8.png

Bottom line: the valuation resources that will be most useful will depend heavily on what you trade in.  :preach:

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On 6/11/2022 at 3:36 PM, marvelmaniac said:

My Sister just gave me a stack of lower grade Romance Books ranging from the 1950's through the 1970's that she asked me to sell for her, unfortunately I cannot determine a FMV for these books since they are not commonly for sale either on eBay or MCS, what is my alternative in this situation, The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.

 

On 6/11/2022 at 6:18 PM, zzutak said:

I use Overstreet on a near-daily basis.  Most of the titles/issues I trade in have extremely limited sales records.  There may be only a few CGC-certified copies, and/or the most recent sale may be several years old.  There are simply not enough actual/recorded sales for that data to be statistically reliable/significant.

Good points here. For those issues that have limited sales data, Overstreet is as valid as anything. Additionally, I still see small dealers using it at local cons. As long as it's still being used as a price guide it has some relevance. Nowhere near the relevance it once has as the "bible" of the hobby but it's still there in a small way.

These days, ebay completed sales might be your best gauge. 

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On 6/11/2022 at 2:39 PM, Lazyboy said:

As a price guide, the OPG is all but worthless. As a reference guide, the OPG is about as relevant as ever, which, sadly, is not the compliment that it could/should be.

CPG had potential, but is now basically just Overstreet Online, with slightly fewer ridiculously out-of-date prices.

GPA is a record of (hopefully) real past sales of CGC slabs from specific venues.

I really, really wish that Overstreet would refocus on being a comprehensive reference guide. They have the resources and available expertise to do it right, and that's the sort of the material that is actually beneficial to have in print (or e-print) format. As opposed to pricing information, where the speed of commerce is always going to favor data spigots like GPA. And yeah, I know that weird stuff and rare stuff (whether that's GA books, small press items, or promotional oddities) aren't going to have reliable GPA data; that doesn't make OPG's prices for them any less of a melange of guesswork and garbage.

Sadly, and despite the efforts of people far more influential than I am, Overstreet has strenuously resisted answering that particular call.

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On 6/13/2022 at 6:35 AM, theCapraAegagrus said:

Every "price guide" is relevant to a degree.

Strong agree.

Some (dwindling but not insignificant) percentage of the population uses paper price guides still.  If you are out searching for comics or even trying to sell comics, assuming you have enough knowledge of the prices in those price guides and knowledge of the market, there are certainly avenues of arbitrage where profits can be made, or time saved (which is often as valuable or more valuable than money).  But just like any other financial endeavor, the more aspects of pricing and the markets that one understands through time spent and experience, the more likely you are take advantage of potentially profitable opportunities when they arise.

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On 6/14/2022 at 9:42 AM, rexinnih said:

I like using them as a timestamp to record what(ish) prices were and thoughts. I look back to my 1983 Overstreet and like to see what thoughts/prices were. 

I love my old guides..especially the 1982..they are great for looking back at the history (comic prices, conventions, ads, etc).

Edited by Ed Hanes
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On 6/13/2022 at 10:23 PM, Qalyar said:

I really, really wish that Overstreet would refocus on being a comprehensive reference guide. They have the resources and available expertise to do it right, and that's the sort of the material that is actually beneficial to have in print (or e-print) format. As opposed to pricing information, where the speed of commerce is always going to favor data spigots like GPA. And yeah, I know that weird stuff and rare stuff (whether that's GA books, small press items, or promotional oddities) aren't going to have reliable GPA data; that doesn't make OPG's prices for them any less of a melange of guesswork and garbage.

Sadly, and despite the efforts of people far more influential than I am, Overstreet has strenuously resisted answering that particular call.

People don't buy a reference guide every year.  For example, I bought the Overstreet Grading guide the week it came out a generation ago, and still use it. I've bought a dozen price guides since then. 

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If you plan to ever spend more than a Benjamin or two on a single book, GPA is more than worth it. It’s not perfect and there’s room for potential manipulation, but it’s an incredibly useful tool that records actual sales from a variety of sources, there’s no algorithmic projections. It costs about the same per month as what some folks spend on a couple cups of coffee.

Overstreet really gets a bum rap, especially here on the boards. Most of the dealers I know use one, as well as myself if I’m selling. For hot books that are starting to pop or big keys that have a steady, upwards trajectory it’s not necessarily useful. For more common, everyday books it looks right in the ballpark to me.  

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Does Overstreet add new blood to their panel of advisors, or is it mostly the same group of people for decades who submit pricing data and write an annual market report? Is there a good balance of fresh talent and innovation in this area?

 

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I know some buyers that only offer a low percentage of OPG and still are successful with buying collections. For them it is extremely relevant, but for the sellers :wavingwhiteflag:

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On 6/16/2022 at 4:17 PM, mintcomics1 said:

Does Overstreet add new blood to their panel of advisors, or is it mostly the same group of people for decades who submit pricing data and write an annual market report? Is there a good balance of fresh talent and innovation in this area?

 

They added many new people over the last few years. The last time I got the guide several years ago I looked over the advisor list and thought to myself, who are all these people? lol I still don't know who they are. I'd love to know the criteria they use to pick advisors.

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The thing I can't get past with EBay comps is how seemingly easy it would be to manipulate value. A few well placed Buy It Now's, where you end up buying it yourself under a different account, could significantly increase an issues value with a small investment in the EBay fee. A handful of manipulations is all you'd need because there isn't enough volume on any one book to factor it out completely.

I recently saw the $5 blank, white cover of Hulk #1 jump up to something like $50+ on CovrPrice (which appears to only calculate FMV by EBay comps) due to a single $135+ EBay sale of that cover. That sale could NOT have been legit. In that case it was so egregious that it looks like they factored that outlier out, but it got me thinking how easy it would be to do it and how untrustworthy comps can be.

Seems to me, price guides give a bit more of a sanity check on outrageous and unjustified market swings. JMHO

 

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