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My quest for a complete Captain America Comics run

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      As 2016 rolled around my focus on my Captain America Comics run momentarily took a back seat to other interests.  I was exploring Pre-code Horror, Matt Baker and Good Girl Art and even some hot modern books like Harley Quinn #1 Adam Hughes variant and Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #23.  Both of those later books I would buy in 9.8 and plan to get signed my Adam himself at Boston Comic Con but he cancelled at the last moment.  Throughout the year I ended up selling most of the non Cap books I bought which further cemented the fact that my real love is for Cap and that I needed to keep on track! 

      So...regaining focus on my Captain America run, I won a low grade (but fantastically presenting) copy of Captain America Comics #77 on ComicLink ending June 9th, 2016.



      Not even a week after buying the Cap #77 a sales thread was opened on the boards offering a Cap #74 CGC 4.0...Canadian Edition!  It had already sold by the time I opened the thread which had me bummed since I knew there were only two graded copies on the census and the chance of seeing either of these again might not happen for a while.  I expressed my :frustrated:in the thread and out of some miracle the seller realized the Canadian Edition was NOT the one he was looking for!  He offered it to me but I had to agree quickly.  I of course said yes even though I knew I'd have to sell my undercopy I had bought just a year and a half earlier to recoup funds.  So I sold my undercopy, which, when graded by the buyer came back a 2.5 WHITE pages to upgrade to what remains as the centerpiece to my Captain America Comics run! :cloud9::acclaim::whee:

      I will forever be grateful to the board member who sold this book to me.  It just goes to prove that there's no better comic book forum on the internet than here, folks!



      Here's a side by side of the 2.5 & the 4.0 -


      Keeping an eye on eBay for any low grade Cap books that were towards the end of the run, an auction for a Captain America Comics #70 CGC 5.0 was started on July 3rd.  Researching the book I found that it had sold on Heritage for $1,912 in February of 2008!  It is a cool white Sci-Fi cover but that seemed like a lot.  It turned out it was as the same book was listed on Heritage again in November of 2014 and sold for just $926!  Nearly a $1,000 decrease :o  Scary if the person selling it was the same person who bought it but it was good news for me.  Still though, I didn't want to pay $926 since this was technically above my 2.0-4.0 grade target.  So as the auction came to an end I put in a snipe bid $100 below $926 and much to my surprise, I won it! It became the highest graded Cap book I own (and still is today)!



      It was the middle of summer 2016 and I had picked up a Cap #77 2.0, Cap #74 (Can. Ed.) 4.0 and a Cap #70 5.0.  My collection was on a roll!  As happy as I was, I still longed for a Schomburg war cover as the only Schomburg cover I had was the very first book I bought (#53).  My hopes were soon realized as a fantastic Schomburg war cover (one of my top 3 favorites) was listed for sale on the boards in late July...


      It was now late July of 2015 and Boston Comic Con was approaching in less than a month.  I knew Ken Bald and Allen Bellman would be attending so I wanted to get a book that they both had artwork in that they could sign.  I also planned to have Stan Lee sign this book as well since I had a "Stan Lee VIP Experience" ticket which included a signature from him for free.  After doing some research I eventually found a Captain America Comics #73 on Metropolis Comics.  It was a CGC 3.5 which fit perfectly in my grade range and it featured artwork by both Allen Bellman and Ken Bald!  Also of note, this copy was a "Canadian Edition".  "What the heck is that?!" I thought.  It intrigued me and I quickly went to the CGC census to look at how many copies there were.  It turned out that this 3.5 was just one of three copies ever graded.  That's minuscule compared to the thirty graded US editions!  Perhaps Canadian editions are seen as inferior to the US editions since they came out after the US editions but I didn't care.  From this point forward I wanted to seek out the Canadian edition of any Captain America Comic I could.  According to the census, Canadian editions only exist for Captain America Comics issues #66(two versions? 4/1948 & 8/1948), #67, #68, #69, #70, #72, #73, #74 & #75.  The total copies graded for these issues is 4, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 3, 2 & 2 respectfully.  That's just 17 total Canadian editions graded from 11 different issues!  Are these really this rare or are collectors not getting them graded due to being Canadian? hm


      Ken Bald and Allen Bellman signed very neatly on the bottom where it did not cover any art.  Stan Lee, on the other hand, grabbed my book out of my hand and scrawled this big old signature right in the center of the cover.  I've never seen a signature that big...like ever :eek:  I know some collectors distaste signatures on comics, especially GA books but all three of these guys are in their 90's and it was my first time meeting all three of these guys so I figured why not?  I, for one don't mind signatures on books if the signature is done in a non obtrusive manner.  I still absolutely love this book though and will probably never sell it.

      After my spate of purchases leading up to BCC and the cost of BCC itself I was pretty much tapped out for my yearly comic budget!  I only purchased two more Captain America Comic before the end of the year.  Randomly logging into the CGC boards marketplace at 1am on October 26th I came across a board member selling a raw Captain America Comics #75...and it was a Canadian edition!  I couldn't believe it!  I instantly hit the :takeit:and inside a week I had it in hand.  There are only two copies graded on the census but including this copy and one other raw copy I've seen, there are only four copies I know of to exist at this point.



      My last Captain America Comics purchase of 2015 was issue #71 CGC 3.0 which I had been watching on eBay for a while.  Week after week the book would not sell so the seller dropped the price by $50 each week.  This went on for three weeks before I pulled the trigger.  I didn't think the original price was too bad to begin with so I had expected to see someone buy it at any time.  Fortunately, I must have been the only one paying attention to this auction as I was able to 'Buy-It-Now' three weeks later for $150 less than original asking price.  It took longer than I would have hoped to receive it (which is saying something since I am patient to a fault) but I finally received it almost three weeks later.



      I now had ten Captain America Comics issues since my first purchase (#53) a year prior!  These were #44, #53, #66, #68(x2), #71, #73(Canadian SS), #74(!), #75 & #76.  I was making headway but excluding #74 these were the "easy" issues!  Non war covers and mostly non Schomburg covers!  Overall I was just 7.9% complete :fear:I still had a long way to go but at least I had my feet in the water.  I couldn't wait to see what issues came up for sale in 2016...


   Just one month after buying the Cap #68 that was missing 1/4 of the front cover, another copy came up for auction on eBay.  Luckily it wasn't much of a bidding war and I won the book!  It was quite the upgrade!59bdbf2c9f771_CaptainAmericaComics68.thumb.jpg.e9046a406b88735a71c2989155bd8bc7.jpg 


     My next purchase would not be until three months later in June of 2015 when I would pick up a very low grade Cap #66 on eBay.  Big chunk missing out of back cover!!  :shy:59bdbfec20a73_CaptainAmericaComics66.thumb.jpg.0102de1b20a30cffed636f32a97ace1f.jpg


   My next win (three weeks later) on eBay would be a Buy-It-Now of one of my favorite covers.  Cap #76.  If not for a 1.5'' spine split at the bottom it would grade much higher.  The cover, however, has very minor flaws.  Other than the boarders of course.  Got to love great presenting low grade books :cloud9:



      Less than two weeks after the Cap #76 an auction for a 2.0 graded Cap #44 would come up on eBay.  I won that one as well!



      At this point I had bought four books in as many months!  My wallet needed a break but...with Boston Comic Con approaching in a months time I needed to grab one more book because there was going to be not one, but two original golden age Cap artists there!  Time to research which book featured artwork by both Ken Bald and Allen Bellman...


      I was a crazed man on the lookout for a Cap 74 starting in May 2014.  I was constantly checking the major auction houses, eBay, these boards and even craigslist!  A handful of months went by and my intensity diminished some.  At the time there were roughly 45 copies on the census which may seem like very few but there are tons of golden age comics with fewer copies known.  Despite Cap 74 not being technically rare, someone listing one for sale certainly was!  Truthfully, I did not expect to see one listed in a grade that I could afford any time soon.  That all changed when I checked the boards "GA/SA/BA for sale" threads on Christmas night.  Yes, Christmas night!  Someone had a raw one for sale with an approximate grade of 2.0-2.5!  Perfect!  The asking price was above $2,000 which would be my largest comic purchase ever by multiples.  Thankfully, the seller agreed to a payment plan that I could work with and in a few months time I owned my HOLY GRAIL!!!



      Sure, it had rips, tears, a subscription crease and some writing on the cover, but it was complete with cover attached (barely, at the one center staple) and great condition pages.  Short of Cap #1 or #3 there wasn't a issue I wanted more in the entire run!  This was my completely unexpected, yet fantastic Christmas gift to myself! :cloud9:

      Since it took me a few months to pay off this grail, I did not have many funds to buy other Cap comics during that time but I did win a fair copy of Cap #68 off eBay in February of 2015.  The book was great except for green staining across the front cover...as well as a quarter of the front cover missing :shy:  At the time there were only 13 unrestored copies of this on the census which was the fewest of any issue in the run so I did not know when I would see another copy surface.  I figured it would at least be a place holder until I got a chance to upgrade. 



Little did I know, in just one months time, I would have a chance to do just that...


      Hey all!  I've been on the boards for a few years and I've enjoyed every minute of it.  You really cannot beat this place in terms of the collective knowledge provided by its members, the images of their books/collections or the general kindness displayed not only for other members (who actually know each other) in times of need, but everyday from stranger to stranger.  Ok that was a crazy long sentence.  Hopefully I won't have too many of those in my entries lol  

      I've always been a huge Captain America fan.  I feel like I gravitated towards Captain America due to the fact that for all his might and fighting ability, at the end of the day he's just flesh and blood.  He cannot shoot beams out of his eyes.  He cannot fly.  He cannot turn invisible or read your mind.  Sure, he's been enhanced beyond that of a average human being but he still remains one.  For all his super powers he lacks, he makes up for in raw grit and determination.  At the end of the day he still gets the job done...and he doesn't back down to anyone.  After acquiring his complete silver, bronze and modern series (up to 2006), I knew I had to have his original golden age series!  This of course, I knew was going to be a lifelong journey as I am just an "average" guy with a "average" paying job!  There's only 79 issues issues in the GA Captain America run (counting the annual of course)...how difficult or expensive could it be?! xD

     With my budget it wasn't difficult to see that I'd have to settle for grades between 2.0 - 4.0.  Some cheaper issues I am sure I can grab above a 4.0 but that will have to be my top grade most of the time if I plan to collect them all.  This was fine with me as GA books in this grade range can still be plenty presentable.  I planned to stay away from detached covers, restored or incomplete books except for the most expensive issues.

     My first Captain America Comics issue I bought was a raw #53 off eBay in the summer of 2014.  I would grade it at a 1.8 - 2.0 due to some heavy staining on the back cover that goes into the last few pages and some water damage at the top on the comic that is on every page.  It doesn't affect the art.  There is a also a few tears up to an inch long on two pages inside.  No missing pieces though.  Pages are light tan to cream colored and supple.  There are no significant detractors from the front cover which is great!  Despite it's flaws, I still got quite the rush when reading it for the first time.  To think where this book had been in the 68 years since it was first put on the comic rack and how many people had read it prior to me?  It was now mine and it was the 1st of 79 in my quest to own them all! 



      I wanted to approach the accumulation of these GA comics in a semi organized way, but how?  Starting from #1 wasn't possible since those early issues were too far out of budget.  So, I decided to start at the last issues and work my way towards #1.  I wouldn't, however, limit myself to picking up a book randomly in between if it was a decent deal.  Looking at all of the Captain America Comics covers, one caught my eye in particular. Captain America Comics #74!  Awesome red frame cover with the Red Skull and a strange horror vibe.  I had to have it!  So did many other collectors apparently and I quickly learned it was in high demand and price.  The hunt of #74 was on...