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Old 12-04-2019, 08:06 PM   #1
IMJ
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TMNT #1 (1984, Mirage) | CGC 9.8 Listed

Looks like a grail copy has come to market. For anyone who doesn't know, Comic Link is a comic auction website that caters to the more hard-core side of comic book collecting. You wouldn't list this book on eBay, but you would put it on Comic Link or Heritage Auctions.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles # 1 | CGC 9.8/White Pages




If I had any kind of pre-notice that this was coming to market I'd have had the prep time to put a bid in, but I just found out about it today. I'd have to move too many assets around in the blink of an eye to be competitive in a bid. In another ten years, this will be a $200k copy.

There is a reserve on it. I'm very curious as to whether or not the seller will let it go if the reserve isn't met.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:36 PM   #2
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Several of these have come to market in the last few years. If you're serious about getting one, get the money ready now and just wait a few months until the next one comes along. Though be advised, the last sale did seem a bit sketchy with the price finishing up much higher than previous sales at $90k and then immediately relisted. Between this book and Turtlemania Gold, it seems there's a bit of price manipulation being attempted at the moment...at least from where I'm sitting.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:57 PM   #3
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You've got a nice TMNT slab set, btw. You've got a clear focus on your build, similar to how I curate Iron Man books although I'll go as low as 9.0 on some Silver Age books.

This is part of what interests me about the reserve on this one. I understand not wanting to take a loss, but let's face it -a reserve on an auction tends to actually hamper action on bids. People don't want to bid against a reserve because the reserve itself sets a threshold against a "psychological deal" that a bidder "could have had". Better off just listing and let it ride after holding long enough that the current market justifies your profit.

I've got a certain amount of money in some Silver Age key investment grade books that I put together back in 2007, for example. I had them slabbed, I think in '15, and at this point I could list them on nothing more than open auction and they've appreciated so much that I'd make magnitudes of percentage on the money even if they came remotely close to the current FMV. Comic books are only quick flip investments when one happens to pop as a spec book, or if you dig up the unheard of treasure trove in an old guy's attic. But a book like this should have no reason to reserve.

Where was that last sale that you saw? I'm curious... are you looking at a price aggregator like GoCollect or do you have an archived listing link? I'd like to bring it over to another forum where we are discussing this as well...
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:09 AM   #4
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I wonder if I would be foolish enough to try and read the thing, were I the winner.
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Old 12-05-2019, 12:26 PM   #5
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I wonder if I would be foolish enough to try and read the thing, were I the winner.
That book's been reprinted so many times that you'd be able to forego the temptation. I also throw reprints or reader copies into my slab bags. Cool story about this:

I went to convention last week and found an absolutely unusual book in low grade in the bins for two bucks - it's recently been considered more of a minor Key that has had recent interest due to the movies, but it was a super unique find for me because I needed a reader for my slab. But it was just a strange book to find a reader like this for, let alone for the price.....

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Old 12-07-2019, 02:57 PM   #6
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For anyone interested the active bidding on this ended at 50k with 36 bids.

Now the real question for the winning bidder is whether or not he or she will spend time and effort trying to remove that annoying ComicLink sticker from the slab that they are bound to put on the back of it...

-facepalms- @ the Comic Link sticker!
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Old 12-07-2019, 04:47 PM   #7
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Im about as big a TMNT fan as they come, but this is just a waste of money. To spend that on one comic that has so many prints is crazy. Sorry if you disagree. Do I wish I had it yes, however, that could be used to help so many people. Even if I made 10 mill a year, I think I might feel guilty to buy something like this. As I always say, to each their own.
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Old 12-07-2019, 07:35 PM   #8
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Owning a TMNT first print #1 is on my bucket list. It sucks bc I will probably never own one now...... Whats even more depressing is the fact I probably could have had one a few years ago before they shot up in value if I was better with my money......
Its crazy bc I read in 2011 a comic book price guide that the record sale for this book was like 9k...... and that record has been obliterated.....
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpugh2424 View Post
Im about as big a TMNT fan as they come, but this is just a waste of money. To spend that on one comic that has so many prints is crazy. Sorry if you disagree. Do I wish I had it yes, however, that could be used to help so many people. Even if I made 10 mill a year, I think I might feel guilty to buy something like this. As I always say, to each their own.
One reason it's worth so much is that there aren't as many prints as people who want it. There are only 3,250, and some have probably been destroyed over the years. There are many more than that number of fans out there.

The market this book appeals to, outside of tmnt fans, is comic book key collectors. It's the most important book of the Copper Age of comics. In that regard, it's on the level of Action #1 (most important Golden Age), Amazing Fantasy 15 (most important Silver Age), Hulk 181 (most important Bronze Age), and Walking Dead #1 (most important Modern Age). And if the property stays in the public consciousness, which it seems to be doing, the sky's the limit. So with all that in mind, a print run 3,250 really isn't very much.

I applaud your wanting to help people with the money rather than spending it on high dollar books. I think hypothetically, if you had the money, you can enjoy collecting these books while simultaneously helping people out.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:47 AM   #10
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This is why I took a punt on getting a signed raw copy about fifteen years ago. It wasn’t cheap, but a hell of a lot cheaper than you’d pay today! And I agree, it’s only going to increase as time goes on due to its provenance in the comic industry.
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by wpugh2424 View Post
Im about as big a TMNT fan as they come, but this is just a waste of money. To spend that on one comic that has so many prints is crazy. Sorry if you disagree. Do I wish I had it yes, however, that could be used to help so many people. Even if I made 10 mill a year, I think I might feel guilty to buy something like this. As I always say, to each their own.
I completely understand where you are coming from. And I also think that you pointed out print runs as part of your thought process shows your deeper thought on the subject. But give the rest of my post here an actual read....

Let's put it like this - as long as there are people across time who are willing to lay down the money on these books, which we've seen that as absolute fact, then these books actually evolve into investments therefore taking on another archetype of expense entirely. When you shape your buying in that manner, then you wouldn't feel guilty at all. But, people who do shape their buying in that fashion tend to be informed enough to follow one of Stephen Covey's tenets and would know how to get out of the book when you needed to. You'd begin with the end in mind.

I have bought and sold some fairly expensive comic books in the past and I can tell you that sure, many of these big sales go to hardcore collectors, but many more of them go on quietly as investment transfers. And I can tell you that, believe it or not, the three biggest spenders on these commodities? From my experience, it's lawyers, Doctors and big-time real estate guys who drop this kind of coin, often through an arranged deal and sometimes at open, anonymous auction.

Now the paragraph with the tough love information. But now let's put some perspective on spending and talk about the money that a completist collector blows through. Take a moment to consider the reality of the expenditure of that style of collector. What would you rather have? A $50k, single issue, truly hard-core liquid investment from a pop culture I.P. known as a household name. OR, you spend that same 50k on a collection of random slabs from that same pop culture staple, but you don't have the actual key book? Instead, you've got a pile of high grade expensive books on your hands that have a significantly less liquid market believe it or not, than the single 50-60k investment book. This is something that smart buyers actually consider - that exact distribution and reclamation of their money that I've illustrated in the comparison.

Now look, there's nothing wrong with that $50k slab collection of various books that the greater market doesn't care about. Hell, I've got a lot of Iron Man books like that myself. But it doesn't change the fact that in many, many cases that single high grade key is a much better investment with better return than a fairly encompassing collection of common, unimportant back issue CGCs is. But remember, before anyone jumps my **** for "collection shaming" or some such nonsense, I'll point out again that I've got a ton of Iron Man cgcs that most collectors will never care about. Sometimes you make that choice because you like the hobby. But most people don't even consider this at all. So to be clear, quite often from an actual investment perspective, you'd be better off dropping the 50k on TMNT #1 than you are dropping 40 - 50k on 100 - 150 random slabs from the run, unless you could guarantee that all of those random issues are going to appreciate 20 - 30 bucks a year in actual saleable value and that you had an actual outlet to sell them and to do it quickly.

Quote:
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This is why I took a punt on getting a signed raw copy about fifteen years ago. It wasn’t cheap, but a hell of a lot cheaper than you’d pay today! And I agree, it’s only going to increase as time goes on due to its provenance in the comic industry.
Exactly. And TMNT #1 is argued, in many circles, as being a more valid commodity of the Bronze era that Hulk #181, believe it or not. Now where I fall in that particular argument is complicated, but I'm just saying that it's a real discussion in the arenas where hard core collectors and investors go.

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There are only 3,250, and some have probably been destroyed over the years. There are many more than that number of fans out there.

The market this book appeals to, outside of tmnt fans, is comic book key collectors.
Other than TMNT #1 actually being a Bronze era book, I'd say yes exactly to this post. Exactly. And the print run is still small by today's standards even though modern print runs are diminished completely from what they were in the 80's.
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:15 AM   #12
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I usually see the book referred to as Copper, especially on the cgc boards. Some even claim it marked the beginning of the Copper Age. It was released right at the edge of both eras, so it can probably be either.

I have a feeling most tmnt fans are not in it for the investment, but for the love of the property. I see plenty of tmnt collections full of items which are not worth very much money, but give the fan much joy. I would venture to guess the high end sales of this book (and maybe even the Turtlemania Gold) are more key collectors than fans.

Also it's no wonder these books are so high with buyers like that. I can't compete with doctors and lawyers, haha. Glad I got my TMNT 1 years ago, but at this point I'll never get an AF 15.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:58 AM   #13
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One reason it's worth so much is that there aren't as many prints as people who want it. There are only 3,250, and some have probably been destroyed over the years. There are many more than that number of fans out there.

The market this book appeals to, outside of tmnt fans, is comic book key collectors. It's the most important book of the Copper Age of comics. In that regard, it's on the level of Action #1 (most important Golden Age), Amazing Fantasy 15 (most important Silver Age), Hulk 181 (most important Bronze Age), and Walking Dead #1 (most important Modern Age). And if the property stays in the public consciousness, which it seems to be doing, the sky's the limit. So with all that in mind, a print run 3,250 really isn't very much.

I applaud your wanting to help people with the money rather than spending it on high dollar books. I think hypothetically, if you had the money, you can enjoy collecting these books while simultaneously helping people out.
Well said, good sir. I learned a thing or two.
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:49 AM   #14
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Looks like a grail copy has come to market.
"grail copy"?
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:01 PM   #15
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"grail copy"?
Meaning a copy that is likely a key treasure amidst treasures. There are many ways to get into a TMNT #1 - different grades, different prints, but a 9.8, authentic copy is about all most collector's could hope to own. And so the term "a grail copy".

This term is often flung around the hobby in different contexts as well. For some people, a personal collection grail might be some kind of copy of Tales of Suspense #39, or Action Comics #1, or maybe in TMNT circles a grail figure is a MOC Shogun Shoate, or for other people a grail set could be as simple as a MOC set of soft heads even if that's not super hard to find.

So the term tends to mean "the thing that a person wants the most" or it means "a thing that most people would agree is the definitive example of a given thing".

-thumb's up-
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:17 PM   #16
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The "ComicTom" podcast discusses TMNT #1 sales, including the one in this thread.

Podcast here, TMNT at 29:40 of the video. They do a nice CGC census breakdown as well. Not super analytical, but their final determination was that the 90k 9.8 sale was a strangely high sale price.

They also talk about the Metropolis Comics Turtlemania books, which was interesting.

The Comic Tom stuff usually focuses on speculation, so their analysis is sometimes pretty simplistic (i.e., it's got a low print run so it's worth money), but it's an entertaining thing to watch.
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:01 PM   #17
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It is on my list along with the 1952 Mantle rookie. Prices climb on such items every year.

For now I am content with my third print which I picked up in 2013.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:16 PM   #18
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It is on my list along with the 1952 Mantle rookie. Prices climb on such items every year.

For now I am content with my third print which I picked up in 2013.
Work your way towards it! A solid second print isn't too hard of a task.
That Mantle rookie would be such a great card to own. I've got several cards like that on my "list" so to speak. Like a Mike Schmidt RC - a totally attainable card, but it's not on my active radar.

I agree with your point though. There are certain pieces of collectibles that are always going to be *the* item, even if a market around them tanks. The stuff that can represent a hobby as an archetype are always going to be desirable. Action Comics #1 stuff.
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:01 PM   #19
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What's the sliding scale on the value of TMNT #1 these days? I'm in the process of having mine pressed and graded. It won't be 9.8, but a friend thinks it'll come back 9+.
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:24 PM   #20
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What's the sliding scale on the value of TMNT #1 these days? I'm in the process of having mine pressed and graded. It won't be 9.8, but a friend thinks it'll come back 9+.
I hope it does come back that high for you! There are always anomalies - even guys that follow the "no more than two spine ticks for a 9.2" get flabbergasted when their book comes back an 8.5. And remember - so many guys talk grading, but when you ask their opinion they don't look past the cover. They don't count pages or take staple integrity into account, etc. Just some high level heuristics to be aware of. But helll, even an 8.5 TMNT #1 is a great book, so.... If you knew all of that already, then just shift my intention to help over to intention to discuss.

As for that sliding scale of pricing you mentioned? Back when I was writing back issue market reports I was literally cultivating whatever online + brick and mortar retailer data I could farm for my examples. But nowadays you can just go to a market sales aggregator like Go Collect.com for real sales data. ComicsPriceGuide.com is supposed to do this as well and it's free although I'd argue that site will get you "in the ballpark" rather than any specifics. There are some recently sold examples over the last two months of eBay history, but several of those had some best offer negotiation involved so you'd want account for that a bit.

I'm curious as to what you find. If you haven't updated here by the time I'm done running this game sale thing I'm doing, I'll try to dig up some wider sales data. It'd be good for me too anyway if I plan on diving into another copy of this book anytime soon. -thumb's up-
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