An Interesting Look at Overstreet's First Comic Book Price Guide
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I never met Carl, to my knowledge.  I definitely met Dave both at the LA Con and at a comic shop near UCLA.  Perhaps he did not own it but the only times I went to it were to meet him to purchase from a selection of SA Marvels that he had set aside years before and was then selling.

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11 minutes ago, Robot Man said:

That was Carl Macek. Maybe I was wrong on the photo ID. It was a LONG time ago. So, maybe the first photo is Carl and the second is David Belmont. Yeah, Carl had a cool shop for a while by UCLA after he broke away from Terry and David. The three of them had very large holdings of the San Francisco books. I bought several Timelys from Terry that sadly, I no longer own. I remember them bringing them down from the Bay Area and seeing piles of them. Beerbaum has stated, that he only sold a few at a time to many people. I suspect that is partly true because when I visited his shop he would only let only buy 3 or 4 at a time. I suspect though, if you had the cash like these guys did or Redbeard, you were obviously able to get quite a few at one time. 

And yeah, the old Shrine shows were epic. So much great stuff came out of there in the day. Now, it's mostly washed up movie stars, new comics and porn...

Carl became a massive player in early anime in this country. Controversial for sure but I was really sad when he passed. At the time of his death Scott Shaw posted this:

 

6EAAC8C9-DD83-4621-8184-91017AC75A13.jpeg.ed691ff856d07c4d8ca1319120454cb1.jpeg

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Macek

Scott Shaw! says

04/20/2010 2:18 pm at 2:18 pm

 

Carl and I had been friends since in the mid-70s before his animation career began, when he and I managed the retail shops owned by the American Comic Book Company (he managed the Westwood store and I did the same with the shop in Studio City not far from Hanna-Barbera) owned by longtime funnybook dealers David T. Alexander and Terry Stroud. “Rupe”(Carl’s nickname back then) and I even co-wrote a story for Larry Shell’s 1977 BARN OF FEAR COMIX, a funny animal horror comic starring a penguin cartoonist named “Tux Aviary”. Carl — who was not only talented but who possessed a hilarious gift of hyperbole (he once told me that “although ROBOTECH had already been created, he would have created it on his own exactly the same”!) — also wrote a huge and seminal book on film noire. When he started working with Charlie Lippencott, I distinctly remember astounding information he would leak to me about an upcoming film called STAR WARS; he specifically mentioned a never-realized “blue milk” STAR WARS tie-in product! Carl was a uniquely eccentric guy and I liked him very much. My sincere condolences go out to his wife and family.

Edited by N e r V

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I'm surprised no one else started with what was my first Overstreet Purchase - #10.

As a Marvel zombie at that time, the cover just leaped out at me. I had seen Overstreets before, but had never wanted to spend what was equal to buying 25 or so new comics for a copy. Most dealers sent their catalogs, so it was always pretty easy to keep tabs on the SA books I collected at the time, and while neat to see what guide was on an Action #1, it wasn't in my realm of possibility, so really didn't matter.

It does make me wonder though, for 40+ years now Overstreet is notoriously famous for keeping prices deliberately low on both hard to find and popular books (for example, even when this Overstreet #10 came out, everyone knew Caps sold for 1.5x Guide or more, now almost 40 years later the Guide is still just as behind on Cap) which makes comparing 10-20-30 year old guide prices to reality at the time difficult. So was Overstreet #1 the first and only time he actually tried to get the majority of prices correct? Or did he do it for the first few volumes, before trying to be the shepard and the leading proponent for slow and steady guide growth instead of market reality?

 

os10.jpg

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48 minutes ago, Crowzilla said:

I'm surprised no one else started with what was my first Overstreet Purchase - #10.

As a Marvel zombie at that time, the cover just leaped out at me.

Yeah a great one.  I am not much of an OA collector but I stumbled on the OA owner of the cover on CAF.  It's NFS but fun to look at.

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1 hour ago, Crowzilla said:

I'm surprised no one else started with what was my first Overstreet Purchase - #10.

As a Marvel zombie at that time, the cover just leaped out at me. I had seen Overstreets before, but had never wanted to spend what was equal to buying 25 or so new comics for a copy. Most dealers sent their catalogs, so it was always pretty easy to keep tabs on the SA books I collected at the time, and while neat to see what guide was on an Action #1, it wasn't in my realm of possibility, so really didn't matter.

It does make me wonder though, for 40+ years now Overstreet is notoriously famous for keeping prices deliberately low on both hard to find and popular books (for example, even when this Overstreet #10 came out, everyone knew Caps sold for 1.5x Guide or more, now almost 40 years later the Guide is still just as behind on Cap) which makes comparing 10-20-30 year old guide prices to reality at the time difficult. So was Overstreet #1 the first and only time he actually tried to get the majority of prices correct? Or did he do it for the first few volumes, before trying to be the shepard and the leading proponent for slow and steady guide growth instead of market reality?

 

os10.jpg

 

49 minutes ago, telerites said:

Yeah a great one.  I am not much of an OA collector but I stumbled on the OA owner of the cover on CAF.  It's NFS but fun to look at.

Not sure if it’s the same owner but it sold on Heritage back in 2007 about a grand short of 40k. They sold the other Schomburg cover to Overstreet #21 for slightly more too that year. #21 is probably a better cover between the two but I’d rather have the #10 given a choice. Memories...

 

08DF36DF-59B7-4D35-847F-74B90661B950.jpeg.133f5db63e8f6c847729d53d941dbc93.jpeg2E0B469A-A6CF-49D7-A4DD-76A3C6DAB468.jpeg.a7d8f06bf1915b8a92aad2f40f3f3bc0.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Crowzilla said:

 for 40+ years now Overstreet is notoriously famous for keeping prices deliberately low on both hard to find and popular books (for example, even when this Overstreet #10 came out, everyone knew Caps sold for 1.5x Guide or more, now almost 40 years later the Guide is still just as behind on Cap) which makes comparing 10-20-30 year old guide prices to reality at the time difficult. So was Overstreet #1 the first and only time he actually tried to get the majority of prices correct? Or did he do it for the first few volumes, before trying to be the shepard and the leading proponent for slow and steady guide growth instead of market reality?

 

I'd love to hear from others why they think Overstreet's values are historically low on the keys.  I agree with Crowzilla that it does seem deliberate.  I've wondered if there's concern that if Overstreet were suddenly  to list the true market values, sellers used to selling their keys for multiples of Guide may stay the course and continue to try to sell at multiples, and then the prices soar even faster into the stratosphere.  That couldn't be good.  Anyway, I'd love to hear the thoughts of other, more experienced collectors

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6 minutes ago, GreatCaesarsGhost said:

I'd love to hear from others why they think Overstreet's values are historically low on the keys.  I agree with Crowzilla that it does seem deliberate.  I've wondered if there's concern that if Overstreet were suddenly  to list the true market values, sellers used to selling their keys for multiples of Guide may stay the course and continue to try to sell at multiples, and then the prices soar even faster into the stratosphere.  That couldn't be good.  Anyway, I'd love to hear the thoughts of other, more experienced collectors

There are separate questions.

1.  Did Overstreet artificially suppress prices for books he didn't own and then raise them after he obtained copies?

2. Was Overstreet's policy of steady increases, using a 3 year weighted moving average, good or bad for the hobby?

3. Is Overstreet's policy of limiting how many comics he breaks out with individual prices good or bad for the hobby?

4. Has Overstreet under-priced particular subsets of comics (e.g. Timely's) for decades?

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Posted (edited)

1.  Did Overstreet artificially suppress prices for books he didn't own and then raise them after he obtained copies?  I have no knowledge one way or another.

2. Was Overstreet's policy of steady increases, using a 3 year weighted moving average, good or bad for the hobby?  In the era of dead tree media, this was probably a good thing.

3. Is Overstreet's policy of limiting how many comics he breaks out with individual prices good or bad for the hobby?   Overstreet's Guide and approach works as well as can be expected for the dead tree media era.  This era died in the year 2000 so my interest in this question is similar to me wanting to understand the bassoon playing community in southern Bavaria.

4. Has Overstreet under-priced particular subsets of comics (e.g. Timely's) for decades?  See #3.

Edited by adamstrange

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25 minutes ago, GreatCaesarsGhost said:

  I agree with Crowzilla that it does seem deliberate.  I've wondered if there's concern that if Overstreet were suddenly  to list the true market values, sellers used to selling their keys for multiples of Guide may stay the course and continue to try to sell at multiples, and then the prices soar even faster into the stratosphere. 

There's no "seem", he's stated for years that it is deliberate, and I'm sure old-time dealers will tell you the joke used to be that nothing would ruin interest in a title/book than Overstreet suddenly raising the book price to market value (I think the most famous case of this is Mystery Men #1). The people most hurt by these inaccuracies, were those bringing collections to market - be they dealers that weren't used to dealing in certain books, or people bringing out their collections only to have them cherry-picked.

I'm not advocating for jumping on every trend, but for something that has sold at say, 10x guide for decades like A-man #22, can't he make a little bit better effort?

As for Adam's comment about prices on books Overstreet owned, we already know he was a speculator on many new books in the 80s, and maybe he had a slight temptation with them - but he also famously bought tons of books for the same multiples everyone else was paying on hot things (Atlas White Mountain, PCH, etc) and still didn't give most of those items significant bumps.

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I never knew if it was true or not either but I believe a lot of the talk had to do with him trying to “suppress” prices on books he didn’t own yet until he acquired them. This is a rumor that was pretty wide spread all along into the 1980’s because I heard it from dealer after dealer at the time including some who were selling Bob books and as the story goes after he got them suddenly the prices started moving more freely. Maybe a coincidence or not. According to some it happened enough times for this rumor to get started.

I dislike accusing anyone of wrongdoing without solid evidence so I’ll leave it out there that some believed it happened to often to be a coincidence but nothing that I’m aware was ever proven so draw your own conclusion. I think it’s one more wrinkle people look at in the history of the price guide however and you have to admit in the world of price fixing this was probably a more “soft” version if it did happen. Even in the 1980’s dealers were starting to “throw out the guide” of many, many books.

My problem with the Overstreet Guide has been it’s large number of lack or misinformation in its listings that take either years to correct (if ever) with a lot of actual false information in there since the 1970’s!!

The prices are often next to useless so they should at least try to provide more accurate information on its listings. It’s annoying because CGC seems to use Overstreet as their go to for at least some of the information they use on their label listings. 

Edited by N e r V

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On 6/14/2019 at 9:03 AM, Crowzilla said:

It does make me wonder though, for 40+ years now Overstreet is notoriously famous for keeping prices deliberately low on both hard to find and popular books (for example, even when this Overstreet #10 came out, everyone knew Caps sold for 1.5x Guide or more, now almost 40 years later the Guide is still just as behind on Cap) which makes comparing 10-20-30 year old guide prices to reality at the time difficult. So was Overstreet #1 the first and only time he actually tried to get the majority of prices correct? Or did he do it for the first few volumes, before trying to be the shepard and the leading proponent for slow and steady guide growth instead of market reality?

Sean;

Being a long time collector and/or dealer which you are, I believe you already answered your own question with your last statement above.  In fact, I actually believe this slow and steady approach was in there right from his first price guie back in 1970, even though others at the time tended to disagree by referring to it as the Overprice Guide.

As we all know, Bob grew up being a comic book collector and sincerely loved this hobby of ours. I believe he took this slow and steady approach as his best strategy to help the market to grow over an extended period of time.  You certainly can't argue with this strategy as the comic book market has definitely continued to move steadily upwards without abatement in terms of valuation for a near 50 years period of time now.  Of course, this slow and steady approach also does tend to mask some ups and downs in different parts of the market which tends to work itself out over time as the guide valuations continues to creep upwards with the occasional surges and pauses being the exception rather than the rule.  As we all know, he absolutely hates to ever show a valuation decrease in his guide, and this slow and steady approach helps him to avoid having to do this in most cases.

You definitely won't find Bob taking the Wizard approach to comic book valuation because that is simply not in his makeup after almost 50 years of porducing the guide.  I think he sincerely believes that constant gyrations in valuations to try to react to every single movement in the real life market would actually hurt the market over time.  Hard to argue with him on this point if we just take a look at where so many of the books that Wizard once had on their Hot List are now at, after using their approach in terms of valuing books at their top dollar if not more.

Being a long term collector myself, although I certainly don't mind Bob's approach since there has been constant and steady growth in the comic book marketplace over the decades, I also wouldn't mind if he did pick up his pace a bit on some of the HTF and classic cover books.  Although he has gotten a lot better with this in the past few years, a simple way is to break out more books from some of his groupings because he is still behind the play in this aspect of the market.  This would then allow him to continue with his slow and steady approach to the overall market, and yet at the same time, recognize the books that have clearly broken out from the pack to a much greater degree.  hm  (thumbsu

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On 6/14/2019 at 11:30 AM, GreatCaesarsGhost said:

I'd love to hear from others why they think Overstreet's values are historically low on the keys.  I agree with Crowzilla that it does seem deliberate.  I've wondered if there's concern that if Overstreet were suddenly  to list the true market values, sellers used to selling their keys for multiples of Guide may stay the course and continue to try to sell at multiples, and then the prices soar even faster into the stratosphere.  That couldn't be good.  Anyway, I'd love to hear the thoughts of other, more experienced collectors

From my previous post, you can see that I agree with Sean's thinking that Overstreet's slow and steady approach to comic book valuations are clearly deliberate to help ensure continuing growth in the comic book marketplace.  (thumbsu

As for your second question with respect to suddenly valuing books at their true market values, we need only to think back to the big GA hot period of 1995 and the classic case of Mystery Men #1.  This was a time when the market heat had cycled through to the GA books after the big runup in prices on the SA books and the silliness in the Modern Valiant and Image books had come crashing back down.  You can tell when a market is hot when even dealers are offering ridiculous multiples of guide for books at the time, which was certainly the case with GA books back then for a couple of years.

It was clear during that time that the early Fox books were red hot with Mystery Men #1 leading the pack and one of the poster childs at the time.  After a few significant sales of this book, including Bob's own 2 copies (Church and supposedly the Denver) followed by significantly higher follow through sales by the big East Coast dealers at the time, it was expected that a valuation increase would be fully warranted for Mystery Men #1.  To everyone's surprise though, Overstreet jumped the valuation up from a mere $2,100 in his previous guide all the way up to $8,500 in the 1996 guide for an astounding percentage increase of 305%.  Sad to say, but instead of continuing to sell at multiples to guide with prices soaring into the stratosphere, the once red hot demand for this book immediately softened and cooled right off to the point that the book seemingly lost its mojo for years, if not almost 2 decades after that.  Being one of the flagship books for the Fox line, it also seem (at least frommy point of view) to dampened the interest in most of the other early Fox books for several years after that, with only a few exceptions.  Of course, the overall market had cooled off by then, so the Fox books might have cooled off on their own anyways.  (shrug)

My rationale for what happened there with the huge drop in interest for Mystery Men #1 after that huge guide increase is that it's all about the pyschology of any collector or investor.  Similar to investors in the stock market, they all want to buy or invest in something when they perceive it to be undervalued and lose interest in it when they perceive it to be fully valued or near fully valued.  For what it's worth, Overstreet's valuations still counts for something in the marketplace and when he had Mystery Men #1 at only $2,100 in the guide, it was perceived to be a hugely undervalued book with collectors chasing it to the point that they were happiely willing to pay multiples of guide to acquire a copy.  Jack it up to $8,500 which was just so un-Overstreet like and all of a sudden, the entire sentiment seem to change on the book as it was now deemed to be fully valued with possibly not much further upside left on it for the foreseeable future.  hm

At least, that was my take on the whole Mystery Men #1 debacle and probably only helped to reinforce in Overstreet's mind that the slow and steady approach was the right path to continue to take.  

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Posted (edited)
On 6/14/2019 at 11:30 AM, GreatCaesarsGhost said:

I'd love to hear from others why they think Overstreet's values are historically low on the keys.  I agree with Crowzilla that it does seem deliberate.  I've wondered if there's concern that if Overstreet were suddenly  to list the true market values, sellers used to selling their keys for multiples of Guide may stay the course and continue to try to sell at multiples, and then the prices soar even faster into the stratosphere.  That couldn't be good.  Anyway, I'd love to hear the thoughts of other, more experienced collectors

he put the brakes on the market to create an upward trend such that his 80% prices no matter what would go up next year...it created a real market especially after he began charting the top 25 etc....Also early on the rumor was that if he did not own the book he would keep the price down....just a number...the major shift from #1 to #2 was epic...you knew this was real and gonna take off....that was the feeling among collectors...would there  be a second and would it be better in format... when would it come out? and he hit it out of the park on the second one.......and the rest is history.

Edited by Mmehdy

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On 6/14/2019 at 11:44 AM, adamstrange said:

2. Was Overstreet's policy of steady increases, using a 3 year weighted moving average, good or bad for the hobby?

I believe you are giving Overstreet more credit here than he actually deserves as I think it's really more like a 5-year weighted moving average.  :taptaptap:  lol

 

On 6/14/2019 at 11:44 AM, adamstrange said:

3. Is Overstreet's policy of limiting how many comics he breaks out with individual prices good or bad for the hobby?

Wasn't one of his main rationale for this was his concern that the guide would have simply gotten too big if he broke everything out.  Didn't make much sense to me when you see so many unnecessary breakouts or much less significant breakouts in many of the more recent BA and CA books. 

For example, should More Fun 41 through 50 still be lumped together as per his usual standard groupings of 10, or should there be a breakout for the seemingly more highly desired More Fun 47 with the classic Guardineer African theme cover or the More Gun 48 with the classic Flessel dinosaur cover?  Although it ook Overstreet the longest while before he finally broke Archie 50 out of that standard Archie 41 through 50 grouping, truth be told, there are probably still a couple of other hidden gems within that remaining 9-book grouping that really should be broken out.  hm

 

On 6/14/2019 at 11:44 AM, adamstrange said:

4. Has Overstreet under-priced particular subsets of comics (e.g. Timely's) for decades?

Not sure if this should just apply to Timely as a whole since there have also been a few of the lesser Timely runs that have not been particularly hot in the marketplace.  Personally, I feel that Overstreet just needs to up his game a bit more with respect to particular in-demand issues within a particular run and be a little more aggressive with these more obvious undervalued (in his guide at least) books relative to the real marketplace.  At least, that's my take on the situation here.  (shrug)

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On 6/14/2019 at 11:44 AM, adamstrange said:

1.  Did Overstreet artificially suppress prices for books he didn't own and then raise them after he obtained copies?

 

On 6/14/2019 at 1:02 PM, N e r V said:

I never knew if it was true or not either but I believe a lot of the talk had to do with him trying to “suppress” prices on books he didn’t own yet until he acquired them. This is a rumor that was pretty wide spread all along into the 1980’s because I heard it from dealer after dealer at the time including some who were selling Bob books and as the story goes after he got them suddenly the prices started moving more freely. Maybe a coincidence or not.

 

1 hour ago, Mmehdy said:

Also early on the rumor was that if he did not own the book he would keep the price down

 

From looking at the pricing in Overstreet's guides over the years, including the last almost 25 years since he disposed of his collection, I would tend to lean on the side that it was more of a coiincidence than anything else.  Or it could also have been a bit of sour grapes on the dealer's part after seeing the prices go up (as they probably would have anyways) after selling the books to Overstreet.  (shrug)

I think Sean had a good answer to this long held rumour from his post above:  (thumbsu

On 6/14/2019 at 12:11 PM, Crowzilla said:

As for Adam's comment about prices on books Overstreet owned, we already know he was a speculator on many new books in the 80s, and maybe he had a slight temptation with them - but he also famously bought tons of books for the same multiples everyone else was paying on hot things (Atlas White Mountain, PCH, etc) and still didn't give most of those items significant bumps.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

None of it matters one way or another if prices were somehow “held back” for personal reasons or not. It’s a price guide made by someone who was attempting to guess average market prices. Pretty sure he was never going to jail even if the rumor was true. The only thing at stake was his credibility with some dealers or collectors and since there were attempts at a price guide standard before and after Overstreets publication we all know who won out in the market as the standard.

The fact that his own old price guides have collectibility speaks volumes to the guides impact. I find it more scandalous that over the years a numbers of dealers and collectors used the price guide prices to unsuspecting sellers of comics when purchasing collections when in reality the market prices were many times higher. I could tell you stories about that...

Edited by N e r V

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Posted (edited)

Mystery Men #1 now guides for $1450.00 in Good. lol

Edited by comicnoir

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12 hours ago, N e r V said:

I find it more scandalous that over the years a numbers of dealers and collectors used the price guide prices to unsuspecting sellers of comics when purchasing collections when in reality the market prices were many times higher.

The savvy collector (as usual) knew more about current market value and "hot" books undervalued in the Guide. But, for the average Joe/Josephine, current Overstreet was really the only source to get some sense of value in the pre-internet days (no GPA, auction archive results, etc.). Better than getting offered cover price (10 cents per) on a collection.

What was not right was some dealers (and collectors) using old, past years Overstreets to show potential sellers current value. Not good.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/16/2019 at 11:22 AM, Mmehdy said:

he put the brakes on the market to create an upward trend such that his 80% prices no matter what would go up next year...it created a real market especially after he began charting the top 25 etc....Also early on the rumor was that if he did not own the book he would keep the price down....just a number...the major shift from #1 to #2 was epic...you knew this was real and gonna take off....that was the feeling among collectors...would there  be a second and would it be better in format... when would it come out? and he hit it out of the park on the second one.......and the rest is history.

Mitch;

Good to hear the opinions from the real collectors who were actually there back in the day and already active in the hobby.  (thumbsu

I would agree with you that his Top 25 which then became his Top 50 and then finally into his current Top 100 was a definite asset which certainly help to highlight and place a focus on the top books in the hobby.  His eventual introduction of the market reports was also a pretty big thing and a must read in those days prior to the internet and magazines such as CBM.  Definitely not so much the case now where we have information about sales and other marketplace activity pretty much right at the click of a button.

What was the epic major shift that your are referring to from the first Overstreet guide to the second Overstreet guide?  Was it from a pricing point of view with repsect to some of the books or simply the mere fact that there was a follow-up second edition which gave an indication to the marketplace that there would now be an ongoing price guide going forward?  hm

Edited by lou_fine

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Just now, lou_fine said:

Mitch;

Good to hear the opinions from the real collectors who were actually there back in the day and already active in the hobby.  (thumbsu

I would agree with you that his Top 25 which then became his Top 50 and then finally into his current Top 100 was a definite asset which certainly help to highlight and place a focus on the top books in the hobby.  His eventual introduction of the market reports was also a pretty big thing and a must read in those days prior to the internet and magazines such as CBM.  Definitely not so much the case now where we have information about sales and other marketplace activity pretty much right at the click of a button.

What was the epic major shift that your are referring to from the first Overstreet guide to the second Overstreet guide?  Was it from a pricing point of view with repsect to some of the books or simply the mere fact that there was a follow-up second edition which gave an indication to the marketplace that there would now be an ongoing price guide going forward?

The first guide was sold out..as I recall two different colors or editions....there was no guarantee if another one would be made, or when, back then no internet and you just had to wing it by going to the bookstore and discover its out....so we were in the dark, me and larger number of Sacramento serious collectors which for the time was significant, possibly because we were in the state capital city and had a number of great book stores which sold back issue...BEER's was one that was incredible.

 The improvement from 1 to 2..with color cover etc..generated the most buzz I have ever witnessed among collectors..I believe everybody got the same idea as me....comics are gonna be worth MORE in the future...no question. Everybody kinda kept to themselves and went looking for EVERYTHING they  could find. I went on a buying spree after getting that book KNOWING there was a gold mine out there....I think the other major revelation was the fact that I started buying underpriced duplicates with the hope of selling those at guide and making more money for my collection...that was the second major effect on the market at that time. #2 just felt bigger and the fact that the first edition was accepted and is no longer price wise ...current......made the second edition more credible.

 you had be there and live it to understand it.......

 

 

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