Comics, Pulps, and Paperbacks: Why such a discrepancy in values?
9 9

1,294 posts in this topic

17,438 posts

All good points. Especially market size. I do think collectors of pulps are like early 78 rpm record collectors. Small in numbers and very under the radar and secretive but very passionate. Not exactly CGCs target audience. 

I heard a rumor last weekend at the paperback show that a photo journal book for pulps might be in the works. You know what it did for comics. I suspect that once comic collectors see it and the low prices pulps bring in comparison to comics, pulps could be front and center. Talk about a market that is truly unknown. I see stuff all the time I never knew existed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,549 posts
5 hours ago, RedFury said:

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.  

Reasons 3 , 4 and 5 are particular problems with the concept of slabbing pulps.  But I am a bit surprised no company has considered slabbing paperbacks.  There are more paperbacks on the planet than comic books.  Unlike pulps, which had a finite lifespan which ended in the 1950s, paperbacks are still in existence, and just as there are folks slabbing last week's comics, there would be collectors who would want their favorite authors, even contemporary ones, slabbed.  The collector market is fairly small for vintage paperbacks, but once graded, I suspect that alone would increase demand many-fold.  The slab would have to be completely different, of course... likely something that could be shelved like a book spine-outward.  But if they can grade carded toys, they can certainly come up with something for books.  You would need experts on hand, however... knowing which books/publishers used lamination and which didn't, which books came off the presses with certain defects, which books have pages that yellowed over time, and which books just looked that way from day one, etc.  There are a multitude of thicknesses to deal with, and two or three different height-dimensions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17,438 posts

I would say the paperback market also pretty small. But the show I went to on Sunday was real packed. Most paperback collectors read their books as opposed to cover collectors like me. There was, however, a very long of people getting them signed by eager collectors. Perhaps, these folks would love Signature Series slabs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
414 posts

IMO, I wouldn't think that too many paperback collectors would be interested in the added costs of slabbing, which would probably be higher than the value of at least 80% of the books themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,549 posts
On 3/28/2019 at 4:09 PM, moonpool said:

IMO, I wouldn't think that too many paperback collectors would be interested in the added costs of slabbing, which would probably be higher than the value of at least 80% of the books themselves.

At present, yes.  But how many $10 comics became $100 comics in short order once CGC came along and gave them "official" high grade status?  Would a common comic like Hulk 181 (one of a thousand examples) be worth only a fraction of its current value had CGC not come along.  Almost certainly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
414 posts

Paperbacks just seem too limited to me, and I say this as someone, who, as a kid, pretty much skipped comics in favor of sci-fi/fantasy novels.  But I can see the "fullness" of comic collecting, versus a scattershot in paperbacks.   Cover art in most genres has been gone for 30 years at least.  Hardbacks generally are the first prints, or just digital.   There are relatively few long running characters.   I just don't see it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
213 posts
On 3/24/2019 at 9:03 PM, Randall Dowling said:

Nice copy of RSG!!

For sure! Slab worthy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17,438 posts

Yeah, me too Avons and Popular Library with those great Belarski covers sucked me right in. I liked the Dell map backs as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,913 posts

Well, well, well...Heritage has two CGC graded pulps listed in the May Signature Auction. :whatthe:

I've seen a few pulps graded before (Flash Gordon Strange Adventure Magazine and the Lone Ranger Ashcan), but those are saddle-stiched format with no overhangs, so very similar to comic book.

These Ghost Stories are large, bed-sheet sized, 96 pages, and square-bound.  So the 96 pages didn't deter them.  Since these are factory trimmed with no overhang and they fit in the slab, they took them.

From CGC's site, this is what they say about Magazine grading restrictions:

  • 11-1/2" tall x 8-7/8" wide x 1/2" thick 

I'd have to check the measurements, but I think this might open up Gernsback bed-sheets to CGC grading.  They're basically the same format, although some like the Quarterlys would exceed the 1/2" thickness limitation.  

And if that's true, then what about regular sized pulps that are within the 1/2" thickness limit and have no overhang (factory trimmed)?  Are they OK?  So many questions.

Xr1u58Nl.jpgfIZYMlzl.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,510 posts

In one of these pulp threads was posted this book, and I had to have one.  It came up on ebay today and I hit the BIN.

s-l1600.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,156 posts
Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, pmpknface said:

In one of these pulp threads was posted this book, and I had to have one.  It came up on ebay today and I hit the BIN.

s-l1600.jpg

Nice pickup.  This cover was reused in Pushover by sleaze author Orrie Hitt.

https://jamesreasoner.blogspot.com/2011/03/forgotten-books-sin-is-redhead-steve.html

 

Orrie Hitt Pushover.jpg

Edited by BitterOldMan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,510 posts
45 minutes ago, BitterOldMan said:

Nice pickup.  This cover was reused in Pushover by sleaze author Orrie Hitt.

https://jamesreasoner.blogspot.com/2011/03/forgotten-books-sin-is-redhead-steve.html

 

Orrie Hitt Pushover.jpg

In looking for a copy of this book I came across that!  However 1/2 the coolness of this book is the title!  I had to have "SIN IS A REDHEAD!" 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
9 9