The fallacy of "IH181 is overvalued/overpriced"
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So this popped up in another thread where someone took the position that IH181 was overpriced (and he may have meant over valued, either way the discussion holds)...

I'd like to hear from the people who hold this belief and ask what is their rational for it?

I'll give my counter rationals in the next posts. 

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It's not worth what people are paying for it TO ME, but that doesn't mean it's overpriced.  As long as demand is higher than supply, the prices will continue to climb.  The real question is how many of these copies are getting turned over multiple times in quick succession, and could that drive the price up artificially?  It would be tough to know for certain.  The book has essentially doubled in value in most grades within a span of less than 2 years.  To me, that's troublesome, but the same can be said of almost everything else these days, and isn't exclusive to Hulk 181.

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My biggest concern is the doubling of price with really no reason for the doubling.  Is wolverine more popular then 2 or 3 years go?  I'd so no since he is dead in current comics (or was last i checked) and it's not like he is due to be in a movie anytime soon. Why the extra demand and price in such a sort time period?

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6 minutes ago, entalmighty1 said:

It's not worth what people are paying for it TO ME, but that doesn't mean it's overpriced.  As long as demand is higher than supply, the prices will continue to climb.  The real question is how many of these copies are getting turned over multiple times in quick succession, and could that drive the price up artificially?  It would be tough to know for certain.  The book has essentially doubled in value in most grades within a span of less than 2 years.  To me, that's troublesome, but the same can be said of almost everything else these days, and isn't exclusive to Hulk 181.

The bold is a very good point. I feel we're in a bull market now for comic keys. I don't see keys being able to grow at the pace they have been let alone being able to hold their value over time; i.e. 15 - 20 years from now.

Back to 181 though, if there's ever a recession or pop culture fans/Hollywood switch to another avenue, I could see 181 tanking. It grew in value too fast and there's a ton of them out there.

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3 minutes ago, entalmighty1 said:

It's not worth what people are paying for it TO ME, but that doesn't mean it's overpriced.  As long as demand is higher than supply, the prices will continue to climb.  The real question is how many of these copies are getting turned over multiple times in quick succession, and could that drive the price up artificially?  It would be tough to know for certain.  The book has essentially doubled in value in most grades within a span of less than 2 years.  To me, that's troublesome, but the same can be said of almost everything else these days, and isn't exclusive to Hulk 181.

Good points. I was just running some numbers around this type of question... here's some info on the idea if inventory turnover is causing IH181 to overinflate in value... 

 

It's a similar (though not identical) argument as the "there's so many of them (on the census and constantly in the market), there's no way it can be worth this much" 

 

As someone in the other threads said "I can find one any day of the week, in every auction all year"  And while that is true there are also multiple interested buyers every day of the week and in every auction all year that value the book equal to the market leading to realized prices at or above GPA in most cases. I count 65 being available through GPA tracking, and that doesnt include CLINK/CConnect and other marketplaces (heck there's a few in our marketplace right now).

If I had you guess how many IH181s have sold in the last 90 days (as tracked by GPA) what would your guess be for this very pricey book?  Have your number in mind? 

 

The answer is 193 copies (all grades, including SS copies), including 34 high grade copies (9.0 or better)

There are 11600 copies on census (so that's about 1.5% of the census being exchanged in a 90 day period)

 

Lets compare it's activity vs ASM129 another bronze age key. It has about a thousand fewer copies on census but it's within the same census ballpark (10600). Lets look at its transactional numbers. 40 in high grade (9.0 or better) and 205 all together.  Which is pretty close (1.9% of census involved in GPA transaction in last 90 days)  to the IH181 number. I expected the number to be much higher due to the lower cost of the ASM129 (lower cost of entry encourages transactions). ASM129 in CGC 9.0 will cost you $1900, an IH181 in the same grade will cost you 3x that at $6000. 

 

So with the 3x value despite similar census numbers? (since we know scarcity,in part, affects value).  One thing may be availability. There are 118 ASM129s available in the GPA market tracker, almost twice that of the IH181. For a book with similar transaction numbers, you would expect similar market avilable numbers, but in actuality there is far more "available" inventory, which is probably one of the things holding the price down. 

But why arent as many IH181s on the market like ASM129? 

Possible reasons: 

1) Punisher TV show just ended so the Punisher IP status may be pointing to a "sell" signal until new plans for a future show or movie appearance is hinted at. I dont have historical market availability info, so Im not sure if todays numbers are a spike vs past or just standard. 

2) IH181 may be more of a "hold" book that people have in there permanent collections so there is less fishing with it than with ASM129. 

 

So what we see here
1) IH181 is being sold as often as ASM129 which makes sense based on the similar census

but

2) IH181 is being offered far less often in the market (about 50% less) than the ASM129

These conditions help IH181 valuate higher (less availability in market than similar bronze keys leading to price increase or at least price support)

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1 minute ago, 1Cool said:

My biggest concern is the doubling of price with really no reason for the doubling.  Is wolverine more popular then 2 or 3 years go?  I'd so no since he is dead in current comics (or was last i checked) and it's not like he is due to be in a movie anytime soon. Why the extra demand and price in such a sort time period?

Um.... didn't Marvel/Disney just get the rights to Xmen?  That news in itself creates the possibility of a Hulk/Wolverine movie

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2 minutes ago, gadzukes said:

Um.... didn't Marvel/Disney just get the rights to Xmen?  That news in itself creates the possibility of a Hulk/Wolverine movie

They better hurry up or Hugh Jackman is going to be too old to even play Old Man Logan.  They can bring in a new actor but I'm worried Jackman has been typecast as the only Wolverine and all other actors will fail miserably.  But even if Wolverine is reinvented are you saying a Hulk vs Wolverine battle is grounds for the doubling of IH 181?  That better be a damn good movie considering how good Logan was and prices still skyrocketed after that movie.

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2 minutes ago, miraclemet said:

Good points. I was just running some numbers around this type of question... here's some info on the idea if inventory turnover is causing IH181 to overinflate in value... 

 

It's a similar (though not identical) argument as the "there's so many of them (on the census and constantly in the market), there's no way it can be worth this much" 

 

As someone in the other threads said "I can find one any day of the week, in every auction all year"  And while that is true there are also multiple interested buyers every day of the week and in every auction all year that value the book equal to the market leading to realized prices at or above GPA in most cases. I count 65 being available through GPA tracking, and that doesnt include CLINK/CConnect and other marketplaces (heck there's a few in our marketplace right now).

If I had you guess how many IH181s have sold in the last 90 days (as tracked by GPA) what would your guess be for this very pricey book?  Have your number in mind? 

 

The answer is 193 copies (all grades, including SS copies), including 34 high grade copies (9.0 or better)

There are 11600 copies on census (so that's about 1.5% of the census being exchanged in a 90 day period)

 

Lets compare it's activity vs ASM129 another bronze age key. It has about a thousand fewer copies on census but it's within the same census ballpark (10600). Lets look at its transactional numbers. 40 in high grade (9.0 or better) and 205 all together.  Which is pretty close (1.9% of census involved in GPA transaction in last 90 days)  to the IH181 number. I expected the number to be much higher due to the lower cost of the ASM129 (lower cost of entry encourages transactions). ASM129 in CGC 9.0 will cost you $1900, an IH181 in the same grade will cost you 3x that at $6000. 

 

So with the 3x value despite similar census numbers? (since we know scarcity,in part, affects value).  One thing may be availability. There are 118 ASM129s available in the GPA market tracker, almost twice that of the IH181. For a book with similar transaction numbers, you would expect similar market avilable numbers, but in actuality there is far more "available" inventory, which is probably one of the things holding the price down. 

But why arent as many IH181s on the market like ASM129? 

Possible reasons: 

1) Punisher TV show just ended so the Punisher IP status may be pointing to a "sell" signal until new plans for a future show or movie appearance is hinted at. I dont have historical market availability info, so Im not sure if todays numbers are a spike vs past or just standard. 

2) IH181 may be more of a "hold" book that people have in there permanent collections so there is less fishing with it than with ASM129. 

 

So what we see here
1) IH181 is being sold as often as ASM129 which makes sense based on the similar census

but

2) IH181 is being offered far less often in the market (about 50% less) than the ASM129

These conditions help IH181 valuate higher (less availability in market than similar bronze keys leading to price increase or at least price support)

Just to highlight this part about scarcity.  I don't say this to be high-handed, or holier-than-thou, but until I got into Golden Age collecting, I had an exceptionally skewed vision of what scarcity was.  There is almost NOTHING that is truly scarce, especially bronze age or later.  I'm nowhere near the level of most "hunters" on these forums, and I've bought and sold plenty of Hulk 181's.  The book isn't even close to scarce, in high grade or otherwise.

I've found most people that think this stuff is hard to come by generally aren't looking in the right spots.  The outrageous amount of graded copies on the census tells you this book is abundant, and readily available.  I can't remember the last con I went to that didn't have at least 2 of these in the room somewhere.

That said, with books like 181 or ASM 129, it has to fall back to supply and demand in some form.  I still feel like a lot of the price increases are related to the same book(s) being sold over and over again in rapid succession, but that may just be my tin foil hat tendency acting up. (shrug) 

Hulk 181 is the closest thing to cash in hand you can have in today's market, at least to my eyes.

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I would say that books like IH 181 and ASM 129 have a huge number of in-person sales that aren't tracked by GPA. I mean, I bet at C2E2 coming up, 10 or more copies of each will be sold.

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4 minutes ago, 1Cool said:

They better hurry up or Hugh Jackman is going to be too old to even play Old Man Logan.  They can bring in a new actor but I'm worried Jackman has been typecast as the only Wolverine and all other actors will fail miserably.  But even if Wolverine is reinvented are you saying a Hulk vs Wolverine battle is grounds for the doubling of IH 181?  That better be a damn good movie considering how good Logan was and prices still skyrocketed after that movie.

I think moving forward they will be using a new actor.  Didn't Jackman say he was done?  Of course, if they pitched a Hulk/Wolverine battle he might come out of retirement.

Jackman likes doing musicals.... maybe they could make it a musical:insane:

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18 minutes ago, DTM700 said:

Back to 181 though, if there's ever a recession or pop culture fans/Hollywood switch to another avenue, I could see 181 tanking. It grew in value too fast and there's a ton of them out there.

100% this.

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I haven't really crunched the numbers, but percentage-wise it almost looks like H180 has risen even faster than 181 over the last 3 years.hm

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2 minutes ago, DTM700 said:

The bold is a very good point. I feel we're in a bull market now for comic keys. I don't see keys being able to grow at the pace they have been let alone being able to hold their value over time; i.e. 15 - 20 years from now.

Back to 181 though, if there's ever a recession or pop culture fans/Hollywood switch to another avenue, I could see 181 tanking. It grew in value too fast and there's a ton of them out there.

I can understand the general argument for all comics, or comic keys, I just dont get the singular argument against IH181 vs other comics...

Recession: We had one from 2007-2009. High Grade comics did not tank during that period. If you look at the sales prices during that time, yes they stagnated, but considering that's in the early days of CGC growth where we should have expected to see prices drops due to a mix of the recession and the influx of graded comics to the market with the expansion of CGC. Demand was able to prop up values during the recession, mostly because our collector environment is a smaller number of people with a higher percentage of wealth and disposable income, and thus we were insulated enough in the recession to continue our hobby efforts enough so that prices didnt deflate during that time. 

What is your basis for it growing "too fast"? ASM129 trippled over 6 years from $600 to $1800+ (CGC 9.0), during the same period IH181 quadrupled. Yes thats more, but Wolverine has had the exposure of 9 global movies, while Punisher has had a 2 season netflix series. a 4x vs a 3x multiplier seems pretty scant considering how much more exposure Wolverine has had..

I cant speak for a cultural recession (like the movie studios losing interest in comic IP). Maybe someone who was dealing comics during the Incredible Hulk TV show can speak to if interest in the Hulk waned enough for prices to fall after the show was cancelled in 1982. When the movies walked away from Superman (in 1987) and Batman (in 1997) did Action 1/'tec 27 take a hit? I know those are the gold standard for comics, but one could argue IH181 is the gold standard for the bronze age or even more widely the gold standard (in terms of conductibility) for the last 45 years of comics. If other books can weather  the aftermath of "Superman 4: Quest for Peace"  and "Batman & Robin" then IH181 can probably survive the movies leaving comic IP (for a while). 

And as far as "a ton of them out there" see my other post about market availability vs census... 

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Posted (edited)

ASM129 is high on my list for overvalued/overpriced too...so that comparison did little for me. I've also seen more pictures online of IH181 hoards than any other book in its realm of value, which leads me to believe this book is being fueled especially heavy by speculation (all books are, but this one more so).

Edited by Callaway29

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I can't help but think that Hulk 181 is now the beany baby of comic collecting, and the high prices are being paid by speculators.  

I paid $5 for my Hulk 181.  I have no desire to sell (and by extension CGC) because it is part of the New X-Men collection I put together in the late 70s and 80s.  I'm not an unusual demographic in today's collecting community, and when my demographic begins to sell our collections as we near retirement, it will impact the X-Men market profoundly.  I would not be seeking out that book today, as there are many cooler and much much much rarer books for the price.  

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13 minutes ago, entalmighty1 said:

Just to highlight this part about scarcity.  I don't say this to be high-handed, or holier-than-thou, but until I got into Golden Age collecting, I had an exceptionally skewed vision of what scarcity was.  There is almost NOTHING that is truly scarce, especially bronze age or later.  I'm nowhere near the level of most "hunters" on these forums, and I've bought and sold plenty of Hulk 181's.  The book isn't even close to scarce, in high grade or otherwise.

I've found most people that think this stuff is hard to come by generally aren't looking in the right spots.  The outrageous amount of graded copies on the census tells you this book is abundant, and readily available.  I can't remember the last con I went to that didn't have at least 2 of these in the room somewhere.

That said, with books like 181 or ASM 129, it has to fall back to supply and demand in some form.  I still feel like a lot of the price increases are related to the same book(s) being sold over and over again in rapid succession, but that may just be my tin foil hat tendency acting up. (shrug) 

Hulk 181 is the closest thing to cash in hand you can have in today's market, at least to my eyes.

as a fellow GA collector I agree with you about the skewed use of the term scarcity. I merely meant scarcity as in availability. and while IH181 is available, it is LESS available than ASM129, which I thought was odd given their similar census numbers. And again if the market inventory out weighed peoples interest in the book you would see prices drop, which we haven't seen. So yes while there are at least 2 copies in the room, there are at least 3 buyers!

 

10 minutes ago, RCheli said:

I would say that books like IH 181 and ASM 129 have a huge number of in-person sales that aren't tracked by GPA. I mean, I bet at C2E2 coming up, 10 or more copies of each will be sold.

Do you think they have a disproportionately high number of in hand sales vs other books? And while I know GPA is limited, Im using it as a baseline so its a data limitation across all the books. Though if you are saying IH181 and ASM129 are sold in person more than other books that would weigh one way over the other. 

Again, do you have some evidence that points to them disproportionately selling in hand vs through online ventures? (Im interested!)

I could actually argue the other way around. Due to their high price, they are LESS likely to be bought in hand out of peoples desire to not walk around a convention with that kind of cash in hand. So they are more likely to buy online where bank transfers and paypals are easier (though I can also argue against myself that buyers, when putting down big money, like to see something in hand before they spend big)... see I can have this whole argument with myself!

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6 minutes ago, Callaway29 said:

ASM129 is high on my list for overvalued/overpriced too...so that comparison did little for me. I've also seen more pictures online of IH181 hoards than any other book in its realm of value, which leads me to believe this book is being fueled especially heavy by speculation (all books are, but this one more so).

What book do you think is accurately priced based on its level of demand? 

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Posted (edited)

Oh I dunno...SC22 feels about right at the moment.... Or are you looking for a bronze book? In that case, Swamp Thing 1's valuations are reasonable, in my opinion. Making me think man...how dare you..

Edited by Callaway29
added bronze example

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