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)