Great analysis Chuck, let me see if I can add anything to that. As a full-on collector by 1974, I had no concept of hoarding or speculating comics. I was addicted to buying them and reading them. I had never bought more than one copy of any issue until just about that time - the summer of 1974. I had just finished my freshman year at college, and resumed my job at the local drugstore. Positioned as I was, I started to stash two copies of every title - one to read and one to put away. Honestly, that had never occurred to me before then. Only in my first year of college did I actually make friends who also collected comics. Before then, it was a purely personal and private pursuit. I certainly did not have any idea that someday they would be worth anything (but to me.) And Hulk 180 and 181 were just another couple of books in The Incredible Hulk run, a character I always liked from the beginning, but frankly, at the time it seem to be dog-paddling. It didn't seem to be relevant in any way, and although not dying, it didn't fly off the shelves. I think the drugstore actually returned copies of both issues to the distributor.
IIRC, It also took me a couple of months to get around to reading them. No big deal - Wolverine didn't change my enthusiasm either way for the title. I continued to buy and collect comics through college, and I think the last book I actively bought was in 1979. From there on, I lost focus (because of various life developments) and didn't buy or much look at another title, or look at my collection either for that matter . . . until 1995. So comics were a big part of my life from 11 to 22, but not much after that. In fact, I had moved to California in late 1979, and left my collection at my parents' house. They retired to Florida in '95 and I had to ship a bunch of my stuff out of the house just before the move, including my comic collection. It wasn't until the internet came along to widespread use and eBay popped up that I took notice of what books were selling for - 6 years later in 2001.
I saw copies of of IH 181 selling for upwards of $1,800 on eBay. YIKES! I knew I had at least one copy of the book from my hand-written inventory of my collection. My daughter was born in 2000, and to say the least we needed a little extra cash, so I went down to the "basement" (which wasn't really a basement because it was a California house) and pulled out a big old trunk of comics. There were 2 copies of each in plastic bags (no boards). So we cashed in. My wife till says to this day, "Don't you have any more copies of Hulk 181?"