It’s a new year and so far 2022 is looking as exciting as ever - if you're in the antiques and collectibles world a least!
While we're still facing “real world problems” whether it be COVID-19 or global political unrest, I'm happy to report that Pop Culture is still on an upward climb since the pre-COVID world. If you refer back to our Top Picks article from this past December, you'll recall that the market had undergone a correction since the height of COVID. This is still the case, which is a good thing! The market for Pokémon, late Bronze and Modern Age comics, and anything in that 1985+ category with a high population has nicely plateaued and is maintaining since last quarter. For example, the New Mutants #98 CGC 9.8 we referenced in December is still averaging the same $1,500.00. However, important key issues, early Silver and Golden age comics, and truly rare gems are still aggressively appreciating.
On Saturday, February 26th Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers will host their Winter Comic, TCG, and Toy auction with 427 lots starting at 10:00am EST. More importantly, the auction will feature an incredible single owner collection of Alpha and Beta Magic: The Gathering trading cards, a never-before-seen category here on Bidsquare. When it comes to the world of TCG (Trading Card Game) it doesn't get any better. Magic: The Gathering is what started it all. Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Duel Masters, or any other card game you can think of would not have been created if it weren’t for the spark that is Magic.
Here are our Top 5 Picks with some useful collector-investor tips:
Lot 226: 1993 Magic: The Gathering Beta Black Lotus CGC 9
There's always an exception to the rule and Magic: The Gathering is just that. Created in 1993 by Richard Garfield in collaboration with Wizards of the Coast, the card game in today’s market is the true definition of rarity. Within the original set of MTG the most coveted cards are what are known as the “Power Nine” in the collecting community. Which, in laymen’s terms, are the best and most powerful cards of the game. Of the nine cards, the strongest and most desired is the Black Lotus. This one being a Beta print makes it one of only 3,300 printed examples but more importantly 1 of approximately 100 in graded 9 condition or better. To help express how rare this is in comparison, there are approximately 2,000 Pokémon 1st edition Charizard cards in graded 9 or better condition. That makes a Black Lotus twenty times rarer. This card is the equivalent of owning a Picasso, Pollock, or Modigliani in the art world. It truly doesn't get any better for TCG. If there was ever a time to make a serious investment in Pop Culture, this is the card you need for your portfolio. While its pre-auction estimate is $40,000 - $60,000, I wouldn't be surprised if it breaks the high estimate. They just don't surface every day.
Lot 219: 1993 Magic: The Gathering Alpha Ancestral Recall CGC 9.5
Continuing on the trend of the Power Nine, this Ancestral Recall comes in as a close second for the best investment card in the auction. The very first printing of Magic is referred to as the Alpha set and is incredibly limited in print, even compared to the Beta set which was extremely limited in itself. Additionally, Alpha cards were printed with a wider corner compared to all other Magic: The Gathering trading cards and all other TCG for that matter. Eventually, the Alpha print the cards were reshaped to be the same form as traditional playing cards. Now, considering how limited the Alpha print was, this being a 9.5 graded example makes it one of only approximately 15 in 9.5 or better condition. Just think of how limited that is for a collectible with international demand and an ever-growing audience. It truly is a piece of TCG history that only appreciates with time, and there has never been an example to sell cheaper than the one before it. Another way to put into perspective how serious Magic: The Gathering is, tournaments are played all year with prize money pots regularly reaching over $50,000.00. The current number one player in the world cracked a million in prize money in 2021. I’d say that’s a pretty important gig.
Lot 362: 1996 Magic: The Gathering Arena League Uncut Sheet
There's no denying that the tournament-league scene of Magic: The Gathering has hit the big money, almost professional athlete level. However, that's only over the past decade, and its roots are almost as deep as the creation of the game itself. The Arena League was first introduced on July 4th, 1996 to close the gap between casual and professional play. It first launched at conventions then spread as a series of tournaments hosted at card shops across the country. The Arena League also introduced the first promotional cards within Magic that were awarded as tournament prizes. The original set of promotional cards consisted of nine cards, five alternate art basic lands, Disenchant, Fireball, Counterspell, and Incinerate. Outside of the players judges were awarded an uncut sheet like this one for helping organize the events between 1996 and 1997. A very rare piece of professional Magic: The Gathering history and something to be appreciated by players for decades.
Lot 80: D.C. Comics Detective Comics #359 CGC 8.0
Within the comic collecting community there's been a huge uptick in the interest around female hero and villain characters. For the world of D.C. Comics, one of the biggest heroines you can follow is Batgirl. With D.C. making every attempt possible to compete with Marvel Studios there's a good chance we'll see a proper representation of Barbara Gordon on the silver screen very soon. Additionally, if you were to compare this comic to any Marvel Silver Age key from around 1967, you’d find this book significantly undervalued. It has everything going for it: iconic cover, major first appearance, and early print year with a low population. As an 8.0, it’s one of 104 copies in that grade with 180 higher. Plus, having white pages as a sub grade makes it a hard example to come by. To me, it’s a no brainer to have in your portfolio.
Lot 181: D.C. Comics Wonder Woman #7 CGC 3.5
Continuing on the theme of heroines, there's no denying that Wonder Woman is the greatest of all time. Having been created in 1941 by William Moulton Marston and D.C. artist Harry G. Peter, she may not have been the first but she's certainly the one who won everyone’s heart in the Golden Age and today. Outside of this being an early Wonder Woman comic, it's also an important wartime cover from 1943 showing Wonder Woman’s run for president of the United States. Any comic printed during World War II had a very low survival rate due to paper drives. So even as a 3.5, it's one of only 49 CGC graded copies. Golden Age comics, in my opinion, are like buying gold bullion. It might dip slightly and it might spike depending on what’s going on, but it’s always a consistent investment!