investment opinions
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Panelfan1   
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hi,

This post is inspired by the current discussion going on over at  the comic aficionado thread

but also from the following:

the other day, a friend came by and told me he bought an amazing fantasy 15 in 2.0.  He had to trade and sell some stuff, so he is by no means a rich guy.

So I asked him, if he planned to try and trade up in the future. He said no, that he was satisfied, but also that there was no point moving up unless you go to the top (8+) because there are not a lot of buyers in the middle. In his opinion, there were a lot of folks who could afford the lower grades, but not the middle grades which might be in the 50k range.  Those with money on the other hand, would want trophy copies and go for the very high end stuff. so again - not as much demand in the middle.

got me to thinking - is there a parallel (if you believe my friend's argument above) with comic art? Is art at the bottom and a the top the most desirable to own and easiest to sell if one had to, while stuff in the middle could be difficult to unload (if one needed to?)  Again -if any of this makes sense - how would you break up -low, middle and high groups in art (under 10k, 10-50k, 50k+)? Feel free to add your 2 cents.

As a final point ( I collect for fun - but enjoy talking about the investment side, for those that believe there is one). Nobody knows the future, so this thread is simply to solicit your opinions and thoughts.

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Rick2you2   
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3 hours ago, Panelfan1 said:

hi,

This post is inspired by the current discussion going on over at  the comic aficionado thread

but also from the following:

the other day, a friend came by and told me he bought an amazing fantasy 15 in 2.0.  He had to trade and sell some stuff, so he is by no means a rich guy.

So I asked him, if he planned to try and trade up in the future. He said no, that he was satisfied, but also that there was no point moving up unless you go to the top (8+) because there are not a lot of buyers in the middle. In his opinion, there were a lot of folks who could afford the lower grades, but not the middle grades which might be in the 50k range.  Those with money on the other hand, would want trophy copies and go for the very high end stuff. so again - not as much demand in the middle.

got me to thinking - is there a parallel (if you believe my friend's argument above) with comic art? Is art at the bottom and a the top the most desirable to own and easiest to sell if one had to, while stuff in the middle could be difficult to unload (if one needed to?)  Again -if any of this makes sense - how would you break up -low, middle and high groups in art (under 10k, 10-50k, 50k+)? Feel free to add your 2 cents.

As a final point ( I collect for fun - but enjoy talking about the investment side, for those that believe there is one). Nobody knows the future, so this thread is simply to solicit your opinions and thoughts.

Well, yes. It's the "hollowing out" effect I had mentioned in another post. When this market eventually stalls out, it's the middle which will sink first.

I don't know about the top end, but I would put the bottom at less than $1,000. Ironically, I will spend more than that, but I don't call any of this a worthy investment-- so it doesn't matter. 

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Jay Olie Espy   
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I don't really buy into this "tier" argument. Okay, listen, we can agree that a $130K Ditko Spider-man interior is top tier. So, then, what's a $40K Jim Lee Batman/Hush or X-men page? Middle tier? And that's the first that's going to sink. Uh, I don't know... I just don't think you can classify everything that's in the 100K+ range as top, $50K-99K as middle, etc.

I think I subscribe more toward that, oh, someone help me here...that idea/question that was posed not too long ago that went something like, "Would you rather have the weakest page in The Dark Knight Returns or the best page in Sin City?" In any case, I believe that Jim Lee and Steve Ditko are A+, but in different categories. Just because one is in the 100K range and other isn't, doesn't mean the Lee stuff is going to become worthless first.

The thing about "investment," is that it presupposes what's going to be hot in 25 years and we just don't know that. Harley Quinn might be hot today, but meaningless in a quarter century.

At the risk of sounding optimistic, I don't believe that comic art is a good investment. Like Rick2You says, hobbies go in and out of favor. I'm saddened when I go to a yard/estate sale and see a ton of WWII memorabilia get dumped for pennies on the dollar. It's a dying hobby, no? Or how the vintage toy store owner who runs one of the biggest vintage toy shows in California told me that the "vintage porcelain doll show" went defunct because of lack of interest. My reaction was, "There was a vintage porcelain doll show here?" Our hobby can certainly suffer that fate, just not anytime soon. 

The people who are doing well "investment"-wise in this hobby are those who were buying art by the inch in the 80s, when no one thought is was going to be worth anything. That ship has sailed. Anyone who thinks they can beat the market in the long term is fooling themselves. We are in break-even territory, me believes.

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Michael Browning   
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I don't see comic art as going out of style anytime soon. This stuff will be looked upon as a true art form one of these days, especially since some pieces attract some big buyers, are collected by some major stars and are hitting near a million dollars each.

I think we are in the infancy of this hobby and there's still a lot of growth. I will say this: there are plenty of collectors making big bucks from pieces they bought years ago, but there are also collectors making big bucks from pieces they bought recently. That trend may taper off as we go along because all that more recent vintage stuff - 1980s and 1990s - is catching up in prices.

I think the fact that comic book culture is now part of pop culture (nerd/geek culture is the norm nowadays) helps comic and comic art collecting remain a viable hobby for the future.

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Rick2you2   
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11 hours ago, Jay Olie Espy said:

I don't really buy into this "tier" argument. Okay, listen, we can agree that a $130K Ditko Spider-man interior is top tier. So, then, what's a $40K Jim Lee Batman/Hush or X-men page? Middle tier? And that's the first that's going to sink. Uh, I don't know... I just don't think you can classify everything that's in the 100K+ range as top, $50K-99K as middle, etc.

I think I subscribe more toward that, oh, someone help me here...that idea/question that was posed not too long ago that went something like, "Would you rather have the weakest page in The Dark Knight Returns or the best page in Sin City?" In any case, I believe that Jim Lee and Steve Ditko are A+, but in different categories. Just because one is in the 100K range and other isn't, doesn't mean the Lee stuff is going to become worthless first.

The thing about "investment," is that it presupposes what's going to be hot in 25 years and we just don't know that. Harley Quinn might be hot today, but meaningless in a quarter century.

At the risk of sounding optimistic, I don't believe that comic art is a good investment. Like Rick2You says, hobbies go in and out of favor. I'm saddened when I go to a yard/estate sale and see a ton of WWII memorabilia get dumped for pennies on the dollar. It's a dying hobby, no? Or how the vintage toy store owner who runs one of the biggest vintage toy shows in California told me that the "vintage porcelain doll show" went defunct because of lack of interest. My reaction was, "There was a vintage porcelain doll show here?" Our hobby can certainly suffer that fate, just not anytime soon. 

The people who are doing well "investment"-wise in this hobby are those who were buying art by the inch in the 80s, when no one thought is was going to be worth anything. That ship has sailed. Anyone who thinks they can beat the market in the long term is fooling themselves. We are in break-even territory, me believes.

I would treat the word “tier” as a simplification of a sliding scale. So at the bottom, stuff won’t go below $50 because it isn’t worth the time to sell except in bulk. Prices will be softer at $1,000 to 900, than 900 to 800, and so forth. There is a psychological effect of paying $1000 instead of 900 or 10,000 instead of 9,999 which you can see in most retail stores, but otherwise, I don’t see hard tiers.

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PhilipB2k17   
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18 hours ago, Panelfan1 said:

hi,

This post is inspired by the current discussion going on over at  the comic aficionado thread

but also from the following:

the other day, a friend came by and told me he bought an amazing fantasy 15 in 2.0.  He had to trade and sell some stuff, so he is by no means a rich guy.

So I asked him, if he planned to try and trade up in the future. He said no, that he was satisfied, but also that there was no point moving up unless you go to the top (8+) because there are not a lot of buyers in the middle. In his opinion, there were a lot of folks who could afford the lower grades, but not the middle grades which might be in the 50k range.  Those with money on the other hand, would want trophy copies and go for the very high end stuff. so again - not as much demand in the middle.

got me to thinking - is there a parallel (if you believe my friend's argument above) with comic art? Is art at the bottom and a the top the most desirable to own and easiest to sell if one had to, while stuff in the middle could be difficult to unload (if one needed to?)  Again -if any of this makes sense - how would you break up -low, middle and high groups in art (under 10k, 10-50k, 50k+)? Feel free to add your 2 cents.

As a final point ( I collect for fun - but enjoy talking about the investment side, for those that believe there is one). Nobody knows the future, so this thread is simply to solicit your opinions and thoughts.

I don’t think the same dynamic applies to comic art. Each piece is unique. What may be “middle tier” to one buyer may be top tier to another. 

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PhilipB2k17   
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15 hours ago, Rick2you2 said:

Well, yes. It's the "hollowing out" effect I had mentioned in another post. When this market eventually stalls out, it's the middle which will sink first.

I don't know about the top end, but I would put the bottom at less than $1,000. Ironically, I will spend more than that, but I don't call any of this a worthy investment-- so it doesn't matter. 

I totally disagree. It’s the bottom end that is cratering right now. 

New art is selling for more, on average, than older stuff that isn’t otherwise special. 

 

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trimpehulk   
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What is middle is in the eye of the beholder. How many black hole collections keep values and demand high? Many collectors are still trying to put books back together some going on 2-3 decades to no avail no matter how they beat the bushes or overpay. The real question is why do people call comic art a hobby. Even Stan Lee wanted to open a muesem with marvels holdings.

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vodou   
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1 hour ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

I don’t think the same dynamic applies to comic art. Each piece is unique. What may be “middle tier” to one buyer may be top tier to another. 

Completely disagree. Your assumption is there is a vast and endless pool of demand (money) at the other end of the rainbow. Not an assumption I can work with. A few others, me, think...there's a piper to pay for the last 70+ years of post-War prosperity, and that dynamic shifting is more than a burp on an indexing chart somewhere. It's rather a paradigm shift as part of a larger cycle completion. Nothing goes up forever. Including "America". My pov boils down to: don't lose sight of the forest for the trees.

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Rick2you2   
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2 hours ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

I totally disagree. It’s the bottom end that is cratering right now. 

Could you give me a bit more information on this? A dealer had said the bottom end was dropping, too, but how low can something go when it's already down below $100? I'd like to get a better sense of the dynamic here. 

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Rick2you2   
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2 hours ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

New art is selling for more, on average, than older stuff that isn’t otherwise special. 

By the way, this would confirm something else I had mentioned, namely, that younger buyers are buying stuff to which they can better relate. That would suggest a portion of the market is at or close to its peak of supercharged appreciation in pricing.

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PhilipB2k17   
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26 minutes ago, Rick2you2 said:

By the way, this would confirm something else I had mentioned, namely, that younger buyers are buying stuff to which they can better relate. That would suggest a portion of the market is at or close to its peak of supercharged appreciation in pricing.

There’s also an element of investment mentality. Brand new published pages have the potential to become valuable. But stuff that’s been sitting around for a few years has theoretically reached its level. 

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SquareChaos   
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6 hours ago, trimpehulk said:

What is middle is in the eye of the beholder. How many black hole collections keep values and demand high? Many collectors are still trying to put books back together some going on 2-3 decades to no avail no matter how they beat the bushes or overpay. The real question is why do people call comic art a hobby. Even Stan Lee wanted to open a muesem with marvels holdings.

This is certainly true for the individual, but as a group (such as the set of all comic art collectors) there are objectively enough aligned opinions to create a definitive market with somewhat predictable pricing... at least for those that follow along. The entire utility of markets operates on similar principles. If somehow given access to all of the data that exists from all collectors, reports could be generated detailing what is and isn't 'mid' tier for the various groups within groups that make up the collecting community. Inevitably one of those reports would contain enough data points to enable these imaginary data collators to suggest that this particular definition of top / middle / bottom tiers could be generally assumed as the dominant definitions in the hobby. Inevitably these findings would not hold for many, we do have a widely fractured hobby, but in general it would still be factual and difficult to argue with, at least from a thought experiment perspective. 
 

Our hobby isn't really as special as a lot of us intuitively think, it is just more highly specialized than most others that I know of  - I like to think that characteristic can give the hobby depth and longevity over many generations, but it will not provide economic stability. 

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Squeezy McSphincter   
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I'm going on the assumption that today's mid tier will be tomorrow's bottom tier.  There will be top tier stuff in every era, but that stuff is a very slim portion of what's available.  The nostalgia bump and hope eventually washes out of everything.

Overall I think prices will decline just because I can't imagine that the interest in comics will last forever.   What happens in 10 or 20 years when the guys that bought in the 80s sell their stuff off?

I'm buying, but factor in a 75% loss on anything I hold long enough.

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PhilipB2k17   
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16 hours ago, SquareChaos said:

This is certainly true for the individual, but as a group (such as the set of all comic art collectors) there are objectively enough aligned opinions to create a definitive market with somewhat predictable pricing... at least for those that follow along. The entire utility of markets operates on similar principles. If somehow given access to all of the data that exists from all collectors, reports could be generated detailing what is and isn't 'mid' tier for the various groups within groups that make up the collecting community. Inevitably one of those reports would contain enough data points to enable these imaginary data collators to suggest that this particular definition of top / middle / bottom tiers could be generally assumed as the dominant definitions in the hobby. Inevitably these findings would not hold for many, we do have a widely fractured hobby, but in general it would still be factual and difficult to argue with, at least from a thought experiment perspective. 
 

Our hobby isn't really as special as a lot of us intuitively think, it is just more highly specialized than most others that I know of  - I like to think that characteristic can give the hobby depth and longevity over many generations, but it will not provide economic stability. 

There are 3 factors that drive Original Art sales: 1) Nostalgia; 2) Investment speculation 3) Fandom.

Art commissions are heavily driven by 1 and even moreso by 3. There is very little of 2.

Published OA collecting is far more heavily influenced than people want to admit by 2. The wealthy nostalgia buyers set the market, and the speculators then seek out pieces that they think will appeal to the wealthy collectors. Eventually, this creates a feedback loop where certain pieces develop a consensus on value that is not necessarily sustainable past the collecting lifetimes of the high end market driving collectors.

I think NEW art collecting is heaving driven by 3, with a significant dash of 2. By definition, "nostalgia" plays little role in the collecting of new, fresh to market art mostly direct from the artist, or his or her art rep.

As I said earlier, brand new published OA is generally priced at a premium vs most published OA that hasn't been bid up via nostalgia and speculation.  This is because (until recently, at least, which is the subject of multiple thread here), NEW art has the POTENTIAL to be highly valuable down the road, whereas the stuff that's been sitting around for several (or even 20) years that people can't sell at $175 BIN auctions on eBay, are probably at their level and the market has decided they are not among the special pieces that go up.

So a run of the mill, 80's Defenders panel page is not going to sell for much more than $100 on most days (if that). Whereas a brand new Geoff Shaw Thanos page will sell for several hundred. Felix, in fact, had to adjust the prices for Geoff's second Thanos offering quite a bit upward after he saw the first offering sell out quickly, and he got a lot of secondary offers for pages much higher than the initial sales price point. That's fine. That's how supply and demand works.

Will these Shaw Thanos pages be selling for that much in 5 years? Who knows. But, the potential for that is why his pages sell for a premium. (And this can be replicated for many other artists and current runs as well).

 

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trimpehulk   
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18 hours ago, SquareChaos said:

This is certainly true for the individual, but as a group (such as the set of all comic art collectors) there are objectively enough aligned opinions to create a definitive market with somewhat predictable pricing... at least for those that follow along. The entire utility of markets operates on similar principles. If somehow given access to all of the data that exists from all collectors, reports could be generated detailing what is and isn't 'mid' tier for the various groups within groups that make up the collecting community. Inevitably one of those reports would contain enough data points to enable these imaginary data collators to suggest that this particular definition of top / middle / bottom tiers could be generally assumed as the dominant definitions in the hobby. Inevitably these findings would not hold for many, we do have a widely fractured hobby, but in general it would still be factual and difficult to argue with, at least from a thought experiment perspective. 
 

Our hobby isn't really as special as a lot of us intuitively think, it is just more highly specialized than most others that I know of  - I like to think that characteristic can give the hobby depth and longevity over many generations, but it will not provide economic stability. 

First the three levels or tiers I do not in anyway subscribe to. We have three volumes of comic art value books that instituted these placements all became outdated quite quickly. I will not argue that comic art is a marketplace. As far as economic stability the needle still looks really good considering that new art moves everyday

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Andahaion   
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3 hours ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

Will these Shaw Thanos pages be selling for that much in 5 years? Who knows. But, the potential for that is why his pages sell for a premium. (And this can be replicated for many other artists and current runs as well).

This is an interesting take.  You may have seen a recent post of mine where I offered the owner (if they happened to be on the board) of one of those Thanos pages double what they paid.  Felix helped extend the offer, graciously.  It didn't work out with the current owner.  No biggie, it happens.  Everyone's motivations are going to differ some, of course, when they purchase art.  I haven't read the Thanos book, and frankly didn't know it existed until Felix's first email notice about the art drop.  I just loved the art and loved the characters on the page, the composition, etc.  When it comes to art, more specifically comic art, I have a difficult time shoehorning pieces into what I think they should sell for.  In my example, say the owner of that page had gone through with the deal, which he was close to doing.  That would have been a modern piece paid double for, with zero nostalgia, nor any real thought for investment on my end (the offer was less than $1,000).  It's just money paid for a skill, an expression, an art that in my view was worth the offer.  And I likely would have paid more, I loved it that much.

I don't know.  Writing these posts are sometimes more therapy, self-help, to try to understand this market/niche/world than anything else.  There are lots of examples for just about any scenario in the art world to justify any number of thought processes.  

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PhilipB2k17   
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9 minutes ago, Andahaion said:

This is an interesting take.  You may have seen a recent post of mine where I offered the owner (if they happened to be on the board) of one of those Thanos pages double what they paid.  Felix helped extend the offer, graciously.  It didn't work out with the current owner.  No biggie, it happens.  Everyone's motivations are going to differ some, of course, when they purchase art.  I haven't read the Thanos book, and frankly didn't know it existed until Felix's first email notice about the art drop.  I just loved the art and loved the characters on the page, the composition, etc.  When it comes to art, more specifically comic art, I have a difficult time shoehorning pieces into what I think they should sell for.  In my example, say the owner of that page had gone through with the deal, which he was close to doing.  That would have been a modern piece paid double for, with zero nostalgia, nor any real thought for investment on my end (the offer was less than $1,000).  It's just money paid for a skill, an expression, an art that in my view was worth the offer.  And I likely would have paid more, I loved it that much.

I don't know.  Writing these posts are sometimes more therapy, self-help, to try to understand this market/niche/world than anything else.  There are lots of examples for just about any scenario in the art world to justify any number of thought processes.  

I’m sure there were others.  Who offered more for a page. I was lucky to get one. 

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Nexus   
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3 hours ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

Felix, in fact, had to adjust the prices for Geoff's second Thanos offering quite a bit upward after he saw the first offering sell out quickly, and he got a lot of secondary offers for pages much higher than the initial sales price point. That's fine. That's how supply and demand works.

Actually, like-for-like, prices were in the same range. There were higher-priced pages this time around, though, due to more desirable content. Action cover, dps's, etc. That may have skewed perception. But otherwise, very comparable.

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PhilipB2k17   
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1 minute ago, Nexus said:

Actually, like-for-like, prices were in the same range. There were higher-priced pages this time around, though, due to more desirable content. Action cover, dps's, etc. That may have skewed perception. But otherwise, very comparable.

Fair enough. I thought there was a bit of a premium, but I’ll concede the point as you priced them. 

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