Collecting High Grade Newsstand Editions for Investing in Comics

Remember when you could go to the grocery store with mom and get a comic book?  Or maybe the pharmacy?  You could even go to these ancient bookstores called Waldenbooks or B. Dalton Booksellers and could buy a comic book off the spinner rack!   That was a long time ago.  If you are a comic book collector now, in 2017, you buy your comic books on ebay, an online retailer, or even at a local comic store. In almost 30 years, this is what happened to newsstand edition comic books:

Newsstand Editions vs Direct Editions from Comic Retailers

Newsstand Editions vs Direct Editions from Comic Retailers

Because of all of this, I would be mindful and watchful for any 1992 or newer newsstand edition comic books that feature a UPC bar code on the covers – especially if they are high grade. Specifically, any comics that are in a grade of 9.4 or higher and newsstand edition are selling for significantly more money than regular market value. Examples include Batman Adventures 12 Newsstand Edition, and any other modern day key issue book:

1993 DC Comics BATMAN ADVENTURES #12 Newsstand Ed. CBCS 9.4

1993 DC Comics BATMAN ADVENTURES #12 Newsstand Ed. CBCS 9.4

For earlier titles, there are exceptions to the rule. Some comics have the bar code on the back, like Marvel Comics Presents #72.   Any books post 2002 would have a UPC barcode on them no matter what now, but the difference is they all state “DIRECT EDITION”. You are looking for 2002 and newer comic books that have UPC Barcodes that do not show the words “DIRECT EDITION” in bold letters above or below the bar code.

Okay I broke down some maths. Let’s look at Image Comics Spawn #1 by Todd McFarlane.

1992 Image Comics Spawn #1 by Todd McFarlane

1992 Image Comics Spawn #1 by Todd McFarlane

That’s a very publicly well known number having a 1.7 million copy print run in 1992. 15% of comics in 1992 were allegedly newsstand. 225,000 (1/4 million copies) I estimated the newsstand edition to be a 1:1000 ration of rarity. So 1:1000 is not accurate, that was hand grenade accurate. 32 is more accurate. I think it’s even more accurate to say it’s a 3:100. Or, 30 in 1000, if you will. That’s still a very low number. Still rare. But not even a 1:100.

In summary, here’s what you need to know about High Grade Newsstand Collecting for Investing:

  • High grade. 9.4 or higher is ideal. Pressing services for comic books helps greatly!
  • The years for comics in 1972-1990 doesn’t really matter. It was a 50/50 ratio split in distribution of direct editions over newsstand editions.
  • Search for comic books from the years 1990-2001 with UPC bar codes on cover.
  • Search for comics from the years 2002-2017 with bar codes that do not say “DIRECT EDITION”.
  • Newsstand Edition error or recalled books are also wise investments.

You can experiment with this with your own Spawn #1 Newsstand search terms on ebay.  Try it!  This is the new hunt, people!  Have fun! The only place where I can find modern day 2016-2017 newsstand edition comic books is:

  1. Barnes and Nobles bookstores
  2. Books-a-Million bookstores
  3. Wal-mart
  4. Toys R’ Us

Good luck!

Here are some examples of high grade newsstand edition rare covers of J Scott Campbell with his run on Amazing Spider-man. This is some of his earlier work, too:

Amazing Spider-man 476 Newsstand Edition Cover art by J Scott Campbell

Amazing Spider-man 476 Newsstand Edition Cover art by J Scott Campbell

Amazing Spider-man 492 Newsstand Edition Cover art by J Scott Campbell

Amazing Spider-man 492 Newsstand Edition Cover art by J Scott Campbell

Amazing Spider-man 493 Newsstand Edition Cover art by J Scott Campbell

Amazing Spider-man 493 Newsstand Edition Cover art by J Scott Campbell-newsie-001

Amazing Spider-man 601 Newsstand Edition Cover art by J Scott Campbell Very rare

Amazing Spider-man 601 Newsstand Edition Cover art by J Scott Campbell with rare $3.99 cover price.

1991 Marvel Comics Marvel Comics Presents #72 High Grade Newsstand Edition, 9.4 1st Weapon X, origin, etc UPC Bar code is on the back of cover, unlike most newsstand editions from 1991.

1991 Marvel Comics Marvel Comics Presents #72 High Grade Newsstand Edition, 9.4 1st Weapon X, origin, etc UPC Bar code is on the back of cover, unlike most newsstand editions from 1991.

1991 Marvel Comics Marvel Comics Presents #72 High Grade Newsstand Edition, 9.4 1st Weapon X, origin, etc UPC Bar code is on the back of cover, unlike most newsstand editions from 1991.

1991 Marvel Comics Marvel Comics Presents #72 High Grade Newsstand Edition, 9.4 1st Weapon X, origin, etc UPC Bar code is on the back of cover, unlike most newsstand editions from 1991.

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