Do you love low grade keys?
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60 posts in this topic

2,601 posts

I'm curious, how many of you love low grade keys?

 

It always makes me wonder when I see a really expensive (by my standards) and really low grade key book bought/sold. I'm not saying what I collect is better than what you collect, I just honestly don't understand spending 1000's of dollars, sometimes a lot more, on a book that's so beaten you can't even hold it without fear of damaging it further.

 

I love Spider-man, and I'd love to own an AF15 and an ASM1, but I would have no interest owning either book if it was visually unappealing and of such low quality that you would risk having the book fall apart in your hands. Don't get me wrong, if I new it was a deal and I could flip it for a profit I'd buy one and flip it, but that's something different entirely.

 

So are you in the camp that loves your CGC .5 grade and/or poor grade raw keys, or are you with me in that you'd rather not own a book than have a beaten copy?

 

EDIT for clarity: The 3.0 and VG- and up books aren't the types of low grades I'm talking about here. I mean the very Poor and .5-1.0 books that are beaten and holding together by a thread but still sell for thousands of dollars.

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19,985 posts

In a word: no. And I’m with you, I’d rather not own a book that is disgregating if I have to spend hundreds of dollars on it, go figure thousands.

 

I will probably strive to get a decent Fantastic Four #1, but I have to handle it. :)

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2,298 posts

I'm in your camp. I just can't do it. I have and do own really solid copies of low grade keys, but currently I can't see myself spending thousands on a book that would fall apart if it was handled.

 

Obviously if you collect GA to a certain extent this is an issue you would have to be able to accept to a degree.

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11,699 posts

nope

 

My keeper copies all fall in the 5.5 to 7.5 range. Not too expensive but will retain nice eye appeal

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19,908 posts

I'm in the camp that everyone's free to enjoy & collect whatever they please, but from a personal point of view, no, I do not love low grade keys and wouldn't consider adding them to my personal collection.

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26,592 posts

If its a 0.5 graded X-Men 1 which presented ok I'd be all over it. There is always a large market for the lowest grade books that are "cheap" and its cool to say you have a Spiderman #1 even if its a 0.5. I generally try to draw the line on graded books since I don't like to damage them further.

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16,366 posts

There's a difference between "low grade" and "falling apart." All of my early SA big keys are low grade but in the 2.0-4.0 range. They have good eye appeal and can be handled and read without worry.

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I suppose we all have a bunch of variables that determine what we purchase. I'm happy with my low grade keys and I also suppose that's what's ultimately important. The three best examples would be my Amazing Fantasy #15 in 2.5; Daredevil #1 in 3.0; and Showcase #22 in a restored 3.0.

 

For the AF15, it was a matter of market pressure and urgency to own one. I paid a lot for that copy, but I've always wanted one.

 

I actually was in the market for a much higher DD1 (6.0-7.0), but randomly came across that book at a smaller show recently for an incredible deal and so was happy how that turned out. In my opinion it looks like a 4.0.

 

The SC22 was actually a gift from my then girlfriend (now wife). I love that she bought it for me.

 

Very happy that I own them, but I certainly see your point and would love to own higher grade copies (and to flip through them). But those variables get in the way again!

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I like to call them "well-loved". :cloud9:

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Low grade doesn't necessarily mean that it's ugly or going to fall apart (even though it does on a lot of books). Would I want a brittle paged beater in my collection that's going to flake apart when I read it? Nope.

 

Would I take a technically low grade copy that looks good and that I can read? Sure. My Hulk 1 fits that bill. It's probably a technical 3.0/3.5 due to extensive water staining, but I'd take it over a lot of 6.0s I have seen.

 

hulk1.jpg

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It all depends on the book and the era. I never expected to own an AF15 in any condition, but ran across one at a price I could afford, so I bought it. Pegged it at around 1.0 to 1.5, sent it to CGC, came back 1.5. It's already worth about twice what I paid for it, and it is likely the only copy I would ever run across that I could afford. I look at it and smile whenever I see it. It's beat, but complete, and since it's slabbed, I won't be handling it any time soon anyway. But 1.5 is the lowest I would go on any book for my personal collection.

 

For Copper and Moderns, I am happy with a nicely presenting 9.6.

 

For Bronze, I'm looking at 9.4 to 9.8 depending on the cost. Bronze prices have come down considerably since the big buildup, but the 9.8's can still get prohibitively pricey on the big guns.

 

The bottom line is that I want a book, I'll buy the best looking copy I can find, slabbed or raw. "Buy the book, not the number" is a dependable motto around these parts, so if I see a book and it grabs my eye, that is what matters most of all.

 

Oddly enough, I've recently gained an appetite for low/mid grade SA DC's. Those are dirt cheap and I really dig 'em.

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Some of the lowgrade keys present very well at a fraction of the cost nowadays!

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I love lower graded keys...I'm of the mind that owning a complete copy is what matters first. I'll upgrade down the road if/when I can, which I've done several times over the years as funds have allowed.

 

My present AF15 is a 1.5SS and it presents really well for the grade and I can't stop smiling every time I see it. Would I like to upgrade, sure, maybe I will, but I also want a 1965 Mustang Fastback so there's gotta be funds left to spread around. lol

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163 posts

I collect mainly the lower grade key 1.0-2.0 pretty much that have great eye appeal. I don't think the higher grades are worth the extra money as I'd rather spend it on other things.

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3.0-4.0 books or VG- and up are what I'm talking about. I'm talking the .5 and 1.0 books that are holding on by a thread.

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As someone above mentioned, I think it's really all about the book. As a general rule though? No, I don't think I'd buy many of those .5s or 1.0s. However, my dream book is Superman #1. If, by some act of God, I could ever afford one in .5-1.0 I'd do it. Hell, I'd likely even break my own rule and buy it if it was incomplete. That's my line, incomplete books. No bueno for this guy.

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I don't love lo grades at all, however if it's a key, I'll more than tolerate it. Especially if I get the book(s) at an extremely low cost.

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I loved them (in my case, the SA Marvel variety), and owned them all...when they were $30 - $700 each (depending on the key), which wasn't really all THAT long ago (late 90s, early/mid 2000s). Pretty sure the last one I bought was a Fair/Good Avengers #4 from a dealer in PA for $40 in 2003 or so...

 

(not pictured: my AF 15, FF 1, Spidey 1, and some of the more "minor" ones...TTA 27/35, ST 110, and "intra-run" keys like FF 5, ASM 14, etc...)

 

All are long gone... :cry:

 

keys.jpg

 

 

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Here's my copy of ASM 1:

 

ASM1Front_zps10700c35.jpeg

 

I'll admit I sent it off for restoration, but at the price, I had no problem buying and enjoying it.

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No love here. If I'm trying to keep costs down, I'm picking up a slightly CT'd mid-grade or higher.

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