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About sfcityduck

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    If you have a dream about out-posting me, you better wake up and apologize.

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  1. sfcityduck

    CGC census is high, but there aren't enough keys

    While I generally agree with your sensible statement, I do have two caveats. First, CGC has changed the hobby. Covers matter more than first appearances. That's exactly why IH 181 is worth more than IH 180. What's the cheapest 1963 Marvel first appearance of a big character and why? That's also why many books in the GA market are surging despite having ZERO pop culture significance - the most obvious example being Suspense 3. Second, as the plentiful keys increase in value out of reach of buyers, the market's potential for sustaining a correction due to the "I can't afford my own collection" effect occurs. This effect happens because a lot more folks were buying, and are now holding, keys when they were much more common on the market. As the keys increase in value, the incentive for those "ordinary folk" collectors to cash in multiplies, and the potential for a supply correction increases. This is also true if the demographic of the holders of those keys are similar (e.g., the kids who were born in 1950 and buying Marvel's off the stands in the 60s are now 68 and entering retirement, thus the potential that they (and those born later in the 50s) will exit the market in greater numbers around the same time is a real and increasing risk).
  2. sfcityduck

    Anyone Else Experiencing The Joys of Downgrading?

    No. That's not it at all. For Maggie Thompson, who has long runs of everything, it is about enjoyment. Being able to read her comics without fear of damaging a "museum piece" like the Avengers 1 9.4. So she sells it for $90K, and then can buy a nice "reading copy" 8.0 for 1/10 that price, or a "beater" 5.5 for 1/20th that price, and pocket big bucks while also gaining the joy of being able to actually read her comics without concern or guilt. It's about enjoying your books, not enjoying the the numbers on the slab. Not that there is anything wrong with wanting high grade comics. But, owning a high grade comic to use for purposes that likely could impact the grade (casual reading and wall decor) just seems foolish.
  3. sfcityduck

    CGC census is high, but there aren't enough keys

    Comic books are not an "investment" in the same sense that business or real estate ownership is. Why? Became a comic book does not generate a stream of income. Businesses can generate revenues and real estate can generate rents and crops. Comic books generate no significant income. "But wait!," you say, "it is an equity investment!" That is just a fancy way of saying that a comic is only worth what the next guy will pay for it. In other words, while demand can drive the price higher, lack of demand can cause the price to plummet. The history of the hobby has seen both occur. We all know of hot books where the bottom fell out. Pretending that prices can only go up is naive. If you want to see this with a sound effect, watch an episode of "Vintage Antiques Roadshow" where they show appraisals from 15 years ago and then re-appraise the item for today's market. Most items are plummeting in price because the demand for many categories of antiques has dramatically changed ($30K Bowie knife in 2003 now valued at $15K is one example I noted on last week's episode). The comic market on the highest end, Action 1, is not the same market on the lower end for IH 181. The supply and demand issues are different, but they both exist. For IH 181, it is highly questionable that the demand for IH 181 slabs outpaces demand. 10,000+ copies of have been slabbed, and there seems to be an endless supply for sale on eBay, at conventions, and at stores. Lots of deals out there. And many older collectors, like myself, had raw copies we bought in the 70s and 80s before CGC that we don't bother getting slabbed because we don't intend to sell ... yet. So the prospects for a supply surge is present. For Action 1, high prices have shrunk the supply and demand pool down into double digits. There are very very few market participants on the highest end of the market, and it is notable that the guy who has paid the top two prices for Action 1s is now sitting on the sidelines. The buy who paid the fourth highest price is now dead. At most there are only four active collectors have ever paid more than $1M for a comic book. So the notion that prices for a high end book like Action 1 will continue on the present trajectory is by no means certain. Especially if the many collectors sitting on unslabbed Action 1s decide to sell off their copies. Most GA collectors believe that the 69 Action 1s on the Census is a minority of the total copies, with conventional wisdom suggesting there are between 150 to 300 copies out there. Many of us know collectors who possess unslabbed Action 1s. And, for example, the guy I know with one has vowed to sell his when he turns 65 in a few years. He has already started liquidating his massive collection that he first started accumulating in the 1960s. He's not alone in that profile. So the prospects for an increase in supply that will impact Action 1 price trajectories is also high. I would not be surprise if IH 181 and Action 1 prices flatten out within the next five to ten years. Will they drop? Much more likely for IH 181 than Action 1, but anything is possible. Buy what you love, because you may end up holding it for longer than you want or having to take a bit of a loss for the privilege of ownership.
  4. sfcityduck

    Anyone Else Experiencing The Joys of Downgrading?

    For a lot of GA comics it is. But, I'm usually not going that esoteric. What I'm really trying to say is the nice presenting copies that aren't on the part of the price curve which is heading straight up. The two rarest comics I've owned both had significant defects. But, they each are 1 of 2 still in collector's hands. Those I feel a strong duty to keep preserved and don't put on display.
  5. sfcityduck

    Anyone Else Experiencing The Joys of Downgrading?

    I must admit that your visual meme means nothing to me. I also do admit to being folicly challenged and wearing baseball caps. We are probably around the same age since the kids don't even know who Seinfeld is anymore.
  6. Maggie Thompson shared some wisdom when she was auctioning off portions of her collection, mainly high grade books like the 9.6 (ow) Thunda'a 1, including this nugget: She went on to elaborate in other interviews that she felt a great responsibility to be a steward for her highest grade comics. She put it this way: "A collector should care for what is in the collection. No matter how long our life expectancies may be, we are all only caretakers for the collectors who will come after us." I like her philosophy. I'm not buying comics as "investments." Instead, I am buying them to enjoy. Which, due to the increasing prevalence of reprints of the classic material I want to read (e.g., all Barks Ducks, all EC, most classic DC and Marvel, etc., etc. etc.), means I'm buying comics that I want to display. Covers that I find cool or significant decor (which I slab), or stories I want to be able to open and up show guests (far fewer of these, which I don't slab, like Impact 1, etc.). But, here's the thing. I feel guilty about putting rare high grade comics up on my wall. I don't want to be the guy that causes a top of census book to experience fading and diminished page quality due to light and heat. If I viewed comics as an investment, I'd lock them away in a climate controlled cool dark safe deposit box. But that's not what I want to do. So my solution when I find myself with rare high grade comics has been to sell and downgrade to the 8.0 to 9.0 range. I'm talking about comics like the late 40s and early 50s Barks Ducks I've recently been getting CGC'd which came back as top of census. Comics I can sell for many multiples of the cost of a good looking replacement. So that's what I'm doing. It seems like a win-win-win. I win because I end up with cash to buy adequate lesser graded replacements with lots of cash left over for other purchases, the collecting community wins because the comics end up with buyers who have a lot more incentive to keep them preserved than I do because that's their collecting goal (whether they are investors or just better caretakers who will have more incentive because the amount they have sunk in the books dwarfs what I paid), and the buyers win because they get the opportunity to own the high grade comics they have been searching for. Anyone else have this philosophy - downgrading to get comics that fit my collecting goals?
  7. I guess comic collecting demographics are trending younger than I thought!
  8. What surprises me is that RedBeard first became a serious collector/dealer at the time of OSPG 4. I didn't really start collecting until the time of OSPG 9 and I remember his ads. I would have guessed he'd been part of the first generation of collectors. I double checked OSPG 10 (the first I bought when it came out), and he's got a double page spread ad, which was unusual,in there. So he really must a great net-worker who went from 0 to 60 in a very short amount of time to end up having the connections and opportunities he obtained. I'm reading behind the lines to think that it didn't hurt that he probably had the resources to buy great stuff, but the relationships back then were probably everything. Says a lot of good things about him that he was able to accomplish that. I view Redbeard as a different "generation" of collector/dealer than guys like Bangzoom and others who were active in the 60s. It's interesting to hear his take on the mid-70s and later scene. The way I see it is the guys in the early 60s created the hobby and some small businesses. The guys in the mid-70s made it a big business.
  9. sfcityduck

    Show Us Your Ducks!

    Purely a guess, but I tend to think that Fishler's source was the same employee who sold books in the 70s. Think about it. The Poughkeepsie file copies showed up in the late 70s, and Fishler's employee source died in 1980. Ultimately, 23 years later, the employee's daughter sells what's left of the employee's holdings to Fishler. Fishler, who knows the history of the Poughkeepsie file copies, calls the books he buys in 2003 Poughkeepsie file copies. I infer, a guess, that Fishler called them that because he knew they were the last bit of the batch taken by the employee. The books the employee had left when he died.
  10. sfcityduck

    Show Us Your Ducks!

    The Random House Archives were sold by Heritage in 2005. I still have an auction catalog. And this is what Fishler has to say about Poughkeepsie File Copies, but it appears he's talking about a batch he bought around 2003 (adding further confusion):