Wolverine 1988 Run

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"1988 Wolverine Issue 88 CGC 9.8 True Non-Deluxe"

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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)



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Really enjoy reading your Wolverine-centric journals.  As a well seasoned collector, I can tell you that copies of the non-deluxe versions are relatively easy to find with a little digging, just not in high grade.  I owned the first SS 9.8 copy of the 88 N/D (frostking now owns it as I did some paring of my collection), which I originally acquired taking a small risk on a group of books that was undergraded on eBay.  It's the only potential/eventual 9.8 copy I've ever seen of that issue in my shopping travels.  Coincidentally that same group of books also yielded SS 9.8 copies of the 87 and 90 non-deluxe versions.  Memories...

I actually went through every back issue box that I could at WW Chicago trying to find a potential 9.8 copy for labrat, but the only two copies I turned up looked more like 6.0s.  Luckily for him you seem to have a whole lot of high grade copies in that stack (thumbsu

As far as fixing the census, I think we're excrement out of luck on that.  There's just too many mis-labeled copies out there, and I would guess that most of those owners either don't know or don't care about the Deluxe/Non-Deluxe problem.  On top of that there's the hassle of actually getting the re-label done.

Anyway, here's hoping you've got a large stack of 102.5 9.8s lurking in those back issues! 

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Oh btw, keep your eyes open on 158 as well.  The book came poly-bagged with a bunch of extraneous garbage included, and experience has led me to believe that said garbage damaged most of the copies that are out there.  I've never seen another potential 9.8 copy since I dug one out of my extras box a few years back (now the sole SS 9.8 in the census). 

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Thanks for taking the time to read all that. I'm glad you enjoyed it. 

Sadly I have not come across a stack of 102.5. I haven't even come across one. I figure that issue will give me something to hunt in the wild. 

I probably have the other non-deluxe issues hiding somewhere too but I don't think there any more hidden gem issues in my stacks. These 88 are kind of an odd situation.  The only long shot in there is Wolverine #80 where people are pushing the whole X-23 test tube thing :screwy:. I think its kind of crazy but if it were to ever catch on, I have a big stack of those. 

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17 minutes ago, mattn792 said:

Oh btw, keep your eyes open on 158 as well.  The book came poly-bagged with a bunch of extraneous garbage included, and experience has led me to believe that said garbage damaged most of the copies that are out there.  I've never seen another potential 9.8 copy since I dug one out of my extras box a few years back (now the sole SS 9.8 in the census). 

I know I have a stack of 157 and 159. I'll keep my eye out for 158. Thanks for the heads up. 

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Well I got my non deluxe 88 finally and recently found another.  What is it with me and rare ones x 2 for this set!  When it rains it pours, so best to keep em in a dry place when that happens :D

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