In my six years at Metropolis Collectibles I have had the privilege of not only viewing some of the rarest and most valuable comics in the hobby, but I have also received a profound education about the rich and fascinating history of this most American of art forms. The stunning scope of subject matter, style, and skill involved in the creation every issue printed, from the birth of the industry to the modern day, speaks volumes about the very human and humbling contributions made by the creators of comics, be they famous “rock star” illustrators or the unsung workhorses that provide a solid backbone. There is one undeniable truth about comics, they are the gift that keeps on giving, once considered disposable entertainment, the hobby has grown beyond all imagination to dominate pop culture the world over. Thanks to a burgeoning film and TV market for all things comic related, once insignificant issues are being converted into key books at a rate previously unseen. With each announcement of a property scheduled for inclusion in the MCU, DCEU, or other media entity, the marketplace responds immediately and with great energy, and 2019 has seen plenty of action as books fly out of our stockroom so fast, we can barely keep up.
The resounding success of our auctions has set the tone for an incredibly successful year for our business, beyond the record-breaking sales of Golden Age keys, the Silver Age has risen to new levels of value, led by the absolute king of the SA pack, Amazing Fantasy #15, while other issues like Fantastic Four #48 & #52 continue to astound. One of the most interesting aspects of the market in the past year has been the growth of Bronze Age books, Marvel Spotlight #5, and Amazing Spider-Man #101 have joined Hulk #181 and Spidey #129 in the annals of Bronze keys as these desirable issues are not only still affordable but are also fairly easy to find. We expect the Bronze market to continue to expand as collectors from the era age into the investment buyer pool. While the treasures of the 70s and 80s begin their upward climb, there is still plenty of room for growth in the Golden Age, the breathtaking prices for the Phantom Lady Collection, particularly for Phantom Lady #17 broke all expectations, proving that Good Girl Art has yet to reach its peak. The unearthing of previously unknown collections is truly one of the great pleasures of this business, and there is more to come from the Phantom Lady Collection in 2020.
Some of our top retail sales of the year reflect the continued enthusiasm for Golden Age investment comics, with a Flash Comics #1 CGC 4.0 notching $83,000, Batman #3 CGC 9.4 sold for $75,000, Marvel Comics #1 CGC 6.0 R at $65,000, a Batman #1 CGC 1.5 went for $63,500, and a Captain America Comics #1 CGC 9.4 R earned an impressive $55,000.
Another avenue of diversification in collecting has been underway at our offices, as, rather than simply dipping our toes into the video game market, we have jumped in on the deep end of the pool as we intend to make a splash into this quickly spreading field. Much like Bronze Age comics, video games also spark that gleam in the eyes of collectors of a certain age, as much as comic books and collectibles are investments, they also provide an avenue for fans to reconnect with their youth, and we feel the time is ripe for the video game collecting hobby to finally come to fruition.
Original Comic Art has always been an important aspect of what we do here at Metropolis as can be attested to by our top sellers of the year: a cover to Amazing Heroes #25 by Frank Miller went for $55,000, another piece by Miller, his cover for Batman and Robin #7, also sold for the hefty sum of $45,000, and J. Scott Campbell’s Black Cat #1 variant cover realized a very impressive $24,000.
It is with great pleasure that we get to spend time with the all the collectors and attendees at SDCC, this year we acquired lots of great books while we stared in wonder at the elaborate and ever more convincing costumes donned by the cosplayers. We always love to see our loyal customers in person when we take our annual sojourn to the left coast, and we look forward to placing faces to names, discussing comic history, and forging new friendships every time San Diego Comic Con rolls around. Meanwhile, just a few blocks away from our offices in Midtown Manhattan, we set up camp at the renown Jacob Javits Center for the annual NYCC, where acquaintances old and new flock to our booth to gape in awe at our breathtaking display of keys, and wheel and deal for the finest books in the hobby. We are continually stunned at the pure mass of humanity that we see in attendance as our industry expands to reach fans once never thought attainable, people of all ages have joined in on the fun that comics have to offer, and conventions are without question the best way to experience this fervor first hand.
There are great things in store for Metropolis in 2020, first and foremost being the imminent launch of a new website, same goes for our auction house ComicConnect, a new look and interface will be on full display, with this updated look, and a new database, Metropolis expects to streamline our processes, handle more traffic, and bring much more content to our storefront as well as increase our social media imprint. Plans are in the offing for a mini-con at our offices, as well as several high-profile shows in the Metropolis Gallery, expansion into other collectibles markets, and plenty of other surprises are in store at the dawn of a new decade.
Everyone here at Metropolis is looking forward to an action-packed year, while we try and recover from 2019’s flurry of sales, auctions, catalogs, and collection hunts. The wide world of comic books is looking to be in superior health, as our industry shows so signs of slowing, prices are trending ever upwards, engagement is at the highest level ever as the marketplace continues to open up and the common citizen becomes aware of the deals, history, and pleasures offered by the hobby, we look forward to the next decade with great optimism. Once considered a niche market populated by young boys and dedicated cult followers, comic books have saturated to all levels of society from babies to grandparents, everyone has been exposed to the joys of caped heroes, fiendish villains, far flung adventures, and fulfilling the eternal human dream of wielding superpowers.
We endure all the hard work, late nights, early mornings, and weekends away from home in order to bring the best and most valuable books to our clientele. Metropolis Collectibles and ComicConnect wish all our friends, fans, and followers a wonderful 2020, and can’t wait to find out what the coming decade has in store, for us, and the comic book hobby we all love so passionately. A heartfelt thanks to everyone that makes this such a rewarding profession, and a big congratulations to the Overstreet Price Guide for reaching the half-century mark.