The 1981 guide was my first as well. I remember liking the Cole pieces, but when it came to the commissions he was doing, I also remember wondering why anyone would pay a significant amount of money to get Cole to recreate one of his covers for them. My thinking was that why would anyone want a copy instead of the original? I was young and clueless
As it was, I grew up and was living in Montana at the time. I didn't even see a Cole cover in person until I was in my early thirties and moved to Minneapolis in 1999 where I found a copy of The Terrors in the Comic Book College in uptown.
The ones I've got nowadays aren't super high grade, but his covers now comprise the best part of my collection.