Comics, Pulps, and Paperbacks: Why such a discrepancy in values?
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On 3/6/2019 at 10:01 PM, Randall Dowling said:

Of all paper collectibles, pulps are pretty much the hardest to grade in my opinion.  Much, much harder than magazines, comics, paperbacks, digests, etc. for a host of reasons.  I can very much see why some would want a shared standard for grading as buying pulps is ALL over the place.  However, it kind of bums me out to think of them sealed up in slabs where you can’t look inside to read the amazing writing and check out really special interior illustrations.  

I know, I know, it’s the same with comics.  But most all of my comic collection is ungraded.  I just like ‘em raw!

I find pulps pretty easy to grade if you use the Bookery grading scale. A lot easier than comics. 

I like my comics raw too because I look through them and read them. With pulps, I am primarily a cover guy. Having a slabbed pulp wouldn’t bother me as much as the folks who buy them to read. I love high grade as much as the next guy but am a lot less picky when it comes to pulps. They are so much harder to find. As long as the cover and spine is complete and they are not brittle, I’m OK.

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1 hour ago, Robot Man said:

I find pulps pretty easy to grade if you use the Bookery grading scale. A lot easier than comics. 

I like my comics raw too because I look through them and read them. With pulps, I am primarily a cover guy. Having a slabbed pulp wouldn’t bother me as much as the folks who buy them to read. I love high grade as much as the next guy but am a lot less picky when it comes to pulps. They are so much harder to find. As long as the cover and spine is complete and they are not brittle, I’m OK.

I think it’s the giant cover overhangs that mess with me.  Some have been trimmed, some never had an overhang to begin with.  How do you know which is which?  The condition of the overhang varies widely.  As you know, grading for books (paperbacks, hardcovers, etc) has a different grading scale than comics.  I’ve seen some pulp dealers use that scale, others use the comic book standard.  Anyway, I’m probably just more used to comic book grading.

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3 minutes ago, Randall Dowling said:

I think it’s the giant cover overhangs that mess with me.  Some have been trimmed, some never had an overhang to begin with.  How do you know which is which?  The condition of the overhang varies widely.  As you know, grading for books (paperbacks, hardcovers, etc) has a different grading scale than comics.  I’ve seen some pulp dealers use that scale, others use the comic book standard.  Anyway, I’m probably just more used to comic book grading.

Pulp grading isn't really much different than comic grading... it's just that one has to adjust to the fact that you aren't going to find much that will grade above an equivalent 6.0.

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1 hour ago, Robot Man said:

I find pulps pretty easy to grade if you use the Bookery grading scale. A lot easier than comics. 

I like my comics raw too because I look through them and read them. With pulps, I am primarily a cover guy. Having a slabbed pulp wouldn’t bother me as much as the folks who buy them to read. I love high grade as much as the next guy but am a lot less picky when it comes to pulps. They are so much harder to find. As long as the cover and spine is complete and they are not brittle, I’m OK.

Speaking of Bookery's guide... for what it's worth, after a 14-year hiatus, I've finally completed the 3rd edition (well, still have to add forward and cross-indexes), but the main body is done.  Much improved over previous editions, IMHO.  However... not sure how to get it published in today's market... or if I'll bother.  I can't self-publish like I did the last one... I was able to get a good deal from the printer (my brother) but he's no longer in the business, so getting printing from non-family will be much more expensive.  Besides, I no longer have the time to box-up and ship 1,000 separate books all over the world.  I also don't have a private pulp collection anymore from which to obtain scans (can't just go using folks' scans off the internet).  Most pulp people want a physical book... they aren't looking to download them onto a reader.  May contact Overstreet (a long time ago they showed interest in doing one), but market may be too small for them to bother with, and I'm not sure if they end up owning all rights or not.  Most of the old reference book publishers have bit the dust in the past decade.  Anyway... bit of a dilemma, but will figure something out.  If not... I at least have my copy for buying and pricing. 

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26 minutes ago, Bookery said:

I've finally completed the 3rd edition

Hooray!

26 minutes ago, Bookery said:

I was able to get a good deal from the printer (my brother)

Handy

26 minutes ago, Bookery said:

but he's no longer in the business

Drats!

 

I hope you find a way to make it happen.

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2 minutes ago, adamstrange said:

I hope you find a way to make it happen.

+1! :takeit:

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38 minutes ago, Bookery said:

Speaking of Bookery's guide... for what it's worth, after a 14-year hiatus, I've finally completed the 3rd edition (well, still have to add forward and cross-indexes), but the main body is done.  Much improved over previous editions, IMHO.  However... not sure how to get it published in today's market... or if I'll bother.  I can't self-publish like I did the last one... I was able to get a good deal from the printer (my brother) but he's no longer in the business, so getting printing from non-family will be much more expensive.  Besides, I no longer have the time to box-up and ship 1,000 separate books all over the world.  I also don't have a private pulp collection anymore from which to obtain scans (can't just go using folks' scans off the internet).  Most pulp people want a physical book... they aren't looking to download them onto a reader.  May contact Overstreet (a long time ago they showed interest in doing one), but market may be too small for them to bother with, and I'm not sure if they end up owning all rights or not.  Most of the old reference book publishers have bit the dust in the past decade.  Anyway... bit of a dilemma, but will figure something out.  If not... I at least have my copy for buying and pricing. 

Hope it sees print. I love your book. I don't collect pulps as much as I used to but always refer to your guide. I don't think the market is that strong but I would love to see a book like the photo journal guide to pulp covers. I think the market would soar if people know what was out there. The thing I love about them is that they are so rare. So hard to put together a collection other than just here and there,

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Nice copy of RSG!!

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27 minutes ago, path4play said:

I just snagged this off feeBay.  Just couldn't help myself - if it was a comic it would be on the top of the GGA and Planet collector's list.  This is my second Pulp the other being a doppelganger for a Wings comic I own.

Are there bags or mylar sized for Pulps?  A few cursory searches haven't turned up anything.

 

s-l1600.thumb.jpg.056b21dc3e653d179f6ee4f1f425c7ac.jpg

 

They missed the boat not using that cover on a comic book :headbang:

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1 hour ago, path4play said:

I just snagged this off feeBay.  Just couldn't help myself - if it was a comic it would be on the top of the GGA and Planet collector's list.  This is my second Pulp the other being a doppelganger for a Wings comic I own.

Are there bags or mylar sized for Pulps?  A few cursory searches haven't turned up anything.

 

s-l1600.thumb.jpg.056b21dc3e653d179f6ee4f1f425c7ac.jpg

 

Super cool. Most of the Planet pulp covers are every bit as cool as their comic book counterparts. In this cover driven hobby, I can’t understand why these are worth so much less. This is true for all pulps. They are also SO much harder to find than comic books. As soon as CGC decides to slab them watch out.

In the meantime, I store my pulps in GA mylars with fullbacks. They are just thick enough with a full back to actually “suspend” protecting the overhang edges.

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I use Super Gold sized Mylite 2s and Full Backs from E. Gerber.  Perfect for pulps.

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With the new CGC cases that use pressure to hold the book in the holder, wouldn’t it be possible to grade pulps? The old argument was the overhang. I think that might have been solved now. 

There would have to be new grading standards for pulps because of their metheod of manufacture of course. 

I have heard there could be a lot of pushback from pulp collectors much as there was a when comics were first graded but we have gotton over it.

I think it would give the pulp market a real shot in the arm. Any thoughts?

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I'm quite happy with paperbacks and, to some extent, pulps, being ignored.  In 25 years the most I've spent on a single book is $350 and I've liked it that way.

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6 hours ago, Robot Man said:

With the new CGC cases that use pressure to hold the book in the holder, wouldn’t it be possible to grade pulps? The old argument was the overhang. I think that might have been solved now. 

There would have to be new grading standards for pulps because of their metheod of manufacture of course. 

I have heard there could be a lot of pushback from pulp collectors much as there was a when comics were first graded but we have gotton over it.

I think it would give the pulp market a real shot in the arm. Any thoughts?

Overhang is too gnarly to deal with. Bedsheets and digests for me.

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21 hours ago, Robot Man said:

With the new CGC cases that use pressure to hold the book in the holder, wouldn’t it be possible to grade pulps? The old argument was the overhang. I think that might have been solved now. 

There would have to be new grading standards for pulps because of their metheod of manufacture of course. 

I have heard there could be a lot of pushback from pulp collectors much as there was a when comics were first graded but we have gotton over it.

I think it would give the pulp market a real shot in the arm. Any thoughts?

I'd support grading pulps.  I really think the market needs it.  Pulp grading is still in the dark ages, with the old G/VG/F spread still dominating the landscape.  It's a problem when "Fine" covers everything from nicer VGs to incredibly nice VFs and pedigree books.  Professional grading would add efficiency to the market that it is so sorely lacking right now.

Obstacles

  1. Overhang - how to slab pulps without damaging the overhang?  I think it could be accomplished by using a mylar sleeve, so the edges taper.  I haven't seen the new CGC slab, but maybe it does solve the issue.
  2. Pulp collector resistance - yes, of course there will be resistance from some, and the same old arguments we heard 20 years ago from comic collectors.  I'm not really worried about this.  
  3. Market size - this concerns me.  Let's say CGC did start grading pulps.  If they didn't need to make any changes to their current process, then it wouldn't cost them anything to add pulps.  But if they need to create new holders, new grading systems, train new graders, well that's a huge expense.  And the pulp market is small, nowhere near the size of the comic market.  Would they do it?  I doubt it.
  4. Varying pulp sizes - early pulps (1900-1920) are really thick, maybe 1 inch.  In the 1920s they're maybe 3/4 inch.  The 30s, maybe 1/2 inch, and the 40s and 50s maybe 3/8 inch.  There are even some phone book thick pulps from the 40s.  Then there's bedsheets, which vary in size quite a bit.  I think you could cover the vast majority of pulps of the standard size with maybe 3 or 4 different thickness slabs, and then at least 1 for bed-sheets.  .
  5. Page counting - I think this is another huge problem.  Go try to count pages in an untrimmed pulp.  I'll wait.  It takes a long time doesn't it?  How could you profitably grade pulps while counting all those pages?  I think you'd have to reduce the service to something like checking that first and last pages are present, and a quick flip through looking for loose pages, tears, tape, missing coupons, and then finally assigning a page quality grade.  

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