Last Saturday night (9/23/17) I was doing my usual late night surfing of the boards and I came across a WTS post from labratnotincluded selling one of his copies of Wolverine 102.5 CGC 9.8. This is probably the rarest book from the 1988 set so I immediately open the post to check it out. As expected the book was awesome but also as expected it was way more than I can spend on a book. Where this entry get its name was something he wrote in the section talking about possible trades.
“I'd consider a decent offer of a 1988 Wolverine Issue 88 CGC 9.8 True Non-Deluxe with something else enticing…”
One of the first things I did when I came back to collecting was to make excel sheet with the current census numbers for every issue in the 1988 run. This was my way to get a quick glimpse of what is rare right now. 102.5 was at the top of the list… 88 (Non-Deluxe) is very far down that list. I knew that 88 was an issues I was planning on submitting and I figured that he must have had some bad luck finding one. So I reached out saying that at some point that I’ll be sending some copies into CGC and I could possibly send a few extra in if he was interested.
The whole time something didn’t add up in my head. How is it possible that someone has two of the rarest comics in the set but doesn’t have an 88. The Census shows (42) 9.8 of the regular and (16) 9.8’s of the Deluxe, by those numbers the Deluxe should be much harder track down.
Well, after a few PM back and forth with labratnotincluded and some research it looks like the census could be wrong and there is likely far less of non deluxe versions.
From what I understand the theory goes like this: Originally there no distinction by CGC between normal and deluxe versions and they were all labeled as the standard. At some later date CGC added a variant for the deluxe version. But all graded copies prior to that date kept there designation of the standard copy. This would completely nullify the accuracy of census number and mess up people’s registry… but I don’t know if there is a reasonable way that CGC could fix it.
All this might be old news to the seasoned Wolverine collectors out there but it was new news to me. I found some posts that talk about how all the X-Titles between Nov 94 through Feb 95 had a similar standard and deluxe set up and that the 88 non deluxe is on rare side of things but nothing specifically about this book (could just be operator error using the search function). I hoping that this entry will be there to help some of newer wolverine collectors out there understand what’s going on with this issue.
I do have some questions for seasoned Wolverine Collectors out there that would help me wrap my mind around this book.
Exactly how rare is the 88 Non-Deluxe? – Since the census numbers aren’t useful in this case, how can we know? I looked at the top 20 sets in the wolverine 1988 and I could only verify 1 copy with a picture was a true non-deluxe. Some don’t have pictures, some note that the book is indeed a deluxe in the non-deluxe slot, others have a picture confirming that it is indeed a Deluxe in a non-deluxe slot. I searched all the usually online auctions/sales and I did not find any non-deluxe.
Is there a way to get more detailed census data? – I think a good indicator on the true numbers could be had by finding out the date that the deluxe variant was added to the registry and then see how many standard copies were added to the registry after that date. Is this possible? And if so how?
Is there a way to fix the census data? – This does not seem likely because they would likely need a photo of all non-deluxe CGC.
Also please chime in if anything that I wrote is incorrect or if there is a big piece of the puzzle that I’m missing.
Lastly, with all this in my head I went to my stacks and pulled my copies and bagged and boarded them up (out of the order that I mentioned in the previous post).
Wolverine #88 (51 Copies)
In my first entry I mentioned the lot of wolverine back stock I purchased around 2009 that has just been sitting in my old bedroom at my mother’s house. I recently went and got those and decided to finally make my way through them all and see what I have. This is a huge task for me because I’ve never really had to handle this many comics but it will also be instrumental in helping me get to my end goal of my CGC 9.8 run. I didn’t really know where to start so I just set up as many folding table that I had where ever I could fit them in my basement and started laying them all out. I would find 20 of an issue in one box and then another 20 of the same issue 4 boxes later so now at least they were together.
I’m used to looking though long boxes at LCS trying to find one minty back issue that might have a chance of getting that coveted 9.8. What I typically come across at the LCS is from collections sold to shop and not so much back stock that have left over. So when I look at these stacks of these uncirculated books I just get a little happy inside. I know that most of these books would end up in the $1 bin (or less) for a lot of people but I really do enjoy them. I guess to each their own. This is also why my wife calls me a comic hoarder and not a collector.
So every night after the wife and kids go to bed I descend into the basement to bag, board, sort, index, etc. My goals at night are pretty simple. I take a stack of one issue, I pick out one that I’m planning to send to CGC to grade, I pick one nice one to save for myself raw (because even though I like my slabs there is something special about a high grade raw in a bag and board) and then I take the worst copy for my reader. So 3 copies for me and the rest will get bagged, boarded, indexed and filed away in a long box. I will eventually use a few more for full runs for some family members, but for now we will consider them filed away.
I’m starting with all the issues that I already have CGC 9.8’s of. That way I just take a nice raw and a reader and never have to worry about them again.
This is my progress so far:
Wolverine #50 (57 Copies)
Wolverine #62 (75 Copies)
Wolverine #65 (79 Copies)
Wolverine #66 (29 Copies)
Wolverine #86 (12 Copies)
Wolverine #89 Deluxe (88 Copies)
Wolverine #91 (27 Copies)
Wolverine #109 (30 Copies)
Wolverine #169 (37 Copies)
This is a picture of the stacks. They are on tables throughout the basement. Something about them makes me smile.
If anyone out there has any experience with processing these big lots I would love to know the tricks of the trade to do this as efficiently as possible.
I started reading Wolverine comic somewhere during the winter of 1993, right after the cartoon started playing on television. I remember it all pretty well. I lived in Boston, me and my friends would shovel people houses out when it snowed for money. Then we would take our hard earned money and jump on the No 35 bus to West Roxbury to spend it all on comics. I remember the issues in mid 60’s and I remember being blown away by Issue 75 later on that year. I was always on hunt for the back issues to try and get a complete run, but the earliest issue I was able to get my hands on was #8 and it holds a special place in my collection. Summer of 1997 I moved from Boston out to the suburbs and that was about the end of my comic reading days… for then. It was only about 4 years but they were a great 4 years.
Fast forward to 2004, I just finished college and moved down to Virginia for a job and more school at night. I didn’t know anyone so I had a lot of time on my hands and I did a lot of reading, mostly books. One day I came across the Essential Wolverine TPBs, cheap, black and white and complete runs. So I decided to pick up them up. I never had a full run before so the story line was always broken up and this was perfect. I wasn’t long that I decided to splurge on my next prized possession, Wolverine #1 (1988). At this point I didn’t know the difference between raw and slabbed (I didn’t even know slabs existed). I had no idea how to grade a book, but looking back it was probably a 7.0 on a good day. By the time I was on Essential Wolverine Vol 4 I started to get bored of the black and white images, the paper, and the book size. So off to EBay I went to hunt down 189 issues (still just raw).
To minimize the dreaded “wall of text” I’ll give cliff notes version of the next few years. I got my 189 issues and all that time on EBay I started to notice more and more of these CGC slabs. So next came Wolverine #1 CGC 9.8, then #10, then why not get 1 thru 10, then why not go to 20. About that time I found the CGC Registry and then the forums. This is when I found out that I was just a little guppy a sea of whales. I realized that I knew nothing about comic collecting so would lurk on the forums for hours a night absorbing as much as I could. I registered my small collection in October of 2008 and the real fun started. At this point nobody had a full run, there were no #35’s graded in 9.8 and a good amount of the books had very low census numbers. So the hunt was on. I would check EBay daily for slabs or 9.8 candidates raw. I shortly learned that NM/M on EBay seller’s descriptions and NM/M from CGC were two different animals. So the weekends I was in my car driving around to find my 9.8’s. Somewhere in there I moved back to Boston where life was ready to take some more interesting turns.
Around 2009 I had the opportunity to buy some old dealer stock of wolverine comics. There we a lot of very nice Wolverine #1 (Mini Series) in there and I convinced myself that I could flip them and a few others and pretty much be even and then have 20 or so wonderful long boxes of wolverine back issue where I could pull the rest of CGC 9.8 collection from. But it didn’t last long. Bringing 20-25 long boxes into my small apartment and trying to sort through them all was a task that I had neither the time nor space to handle. It wasn’t long until my then fiancé wanted the boxes out of there. So off they went to my parents’ house in my old bedroom until we had a house of our own. That was my next big stop, When I left I think I had a little over 50 slabs and it was ranked #7 in the registry.
Fast forward again… Marriage, built a house, 3 kids, started a company… August 2017.
My family has always informed me that I am impossible to buy presents for. Over the years, I have ended up a closet full of unworn sweaters, a pile of unopened gismos and stack of unused gift cards. In my mind, I’m just a simple man who doesn’t really want/need much but to my family I guess I’m a constant pain. They have tried to buy me comics but it never ends up very well and they always paying way more than they should for things. This year is different. I had an idea. I proposed to my wife that I would buy comics I needed throughout the year and hand them over to her on arrival. Then when people came asking what to buy me she would just “sell” them a book from her inventory. The whole extended family loved the idea. They never had to worry about me again.
So I’m back and I’m going to do my best to keep the “inventory” stocked. Some might say that it takes away the spirit of gift giving but I really think that it will add a whole new level of meaning to my collecting. I could never sell a book my son gets me for father’s day or my wife get me for my anniversary. There will still be an element of surprise because I won’t know who is giving me what and nobody says they have to give me a comic in the first place.
My first stop was to the boards to see what’s been going on for the last 8 years… and it was a lot. There were new names on top of the leaderboards, #35’s have been found, new books were added (what’s Doombringer?) and people were getting a lot signed. I also had to reach out to see if I could start sourcing some of these books. I’m going to be honest, I got a little ahead of myself and my first purchase was for 50 slabs. I got those home and decided that I would just hide them among my other comic boxes and start again with filling the inventory.
The last piece of the puzzle I mentioned a little earlier. The massive amounts of back issues I had horded and stored at my parents’ house. Well, I have them now at my new house and I’m starting to go through them. I’ll be bagging and boarding every night until they are all sorted, categorized, and filed away.
This journal is to track my progress on my Wolverine 1988 run and working my way through my horde.
Current Status: 102/229