Looking for the link between market prices, CGC Registry points, and personal value
Since I started my personal collection of slabbed books, I'd been maintaining a detailed record of purchase price, dates acquired, sellers, cost and Registry Points. These would either be slabbed books I won bids for or purchase outright, or unslabbed issues I send over to CGC.
This personal record really helps me keep track, as I'm not really a professional comic book dealer BUT I am interested in keeping tabs on my collection and investment.
Coverage is for 260 slabbed books which I have purchased to date. Procured(either outright or negotiated) or won via online bidding over the last 5 years or so (but significantly from the last 6-12 months) from nearly 100 different sellers ranging from reputable dealers such as Mile High, Metropolis/Comic Connect, Neat Stuff Collectibles, Harley Yee and World Wide Comics, to individual sellers in Ebay. With a nice combination of mid and high grade books, and with my final price including shipping/handling to California.
Here's my hypothesis:
1. Registry Points DO approximate market value
I have a collection of 78 Turok Son of Stones, different grades, which I had been able to secure in total for about +41% higher than Registry Point value. Similar, slightly above Registry point trends for the other sets/collections Im trying to actively pursue (e.g. Marvel Avengers/ 99 books/+21%, Marvel Avengers/Invaders/ 37 books/ +31%, JLA/Avengers/ 6 books/ +10% etc). And when you actually deduct shipping costs, the gap narrows.
Obvious exceptions would probably be high grade books sought after to complete personal collections, with the best example probably being the recent Comic Connect $ 1.075MM sale of a CGC graded 8.0 Action Comics 1 (Registry points = 180 thousand, so the final price went for a 6x multiple of Registry points).
2. The more one pursues set completion, the wider the gap (price willing to pay is higher versus Registry points).
Action comics example above clearly illustrates this. I see the same trend is the sets Im collecting. I have about 32 books which I'm not really that interested in collecting or high grading further, and which I will probably sell someday. Either got them when I was just new to the hobby and buying from bargain bins, or part of a set being sold which included books I'd wanted. This set, cost me about -54% LESS than equivalent Registry Points. One of the highlights are 3 9.8 Justice League of America books I was able to purchase last year for a combined price of $127, with a corresponding registry point score of 992.
So, what are the insights, from the data?
Nothing really shocking here. All of the above, very intuitive. Selling prices would tend to be higher for people who ascribe more value to the item (eg serious collectors). Less, for items with lower demand or ill-timed intersection between the buyer (maybe not really that interested in the book) or the seller (perhaps rushing to dispose). CGC registry points, appear to be a relatively reasonable "general" guide to slabbed book prices, basis my collecting and buying experience its +/- 40% or so.
Do I enjoy paying relatively high double-digit "premiums" over CGC Registry Point or Overstreet guide prices for books I really want? Well, I wouldnt really say I love it, and of course there are limits but then again a guide is simply a guide right? I always do shop around online, use Overstreet plus Registry points etc to determine my default "reserve" when I participate in online bids. But nevertheless, I've always felt its all about the somewhat "priceless" satisfaction in hunting for, finding, haggling, paying for, and ultimately getting on hand and enjoying, that singe comic book or slab I'd always aspired to have. So I end up thinking of every purchase, for books I really want, as a case by case decision, and go with my gut.
Love this hobby.