On The Square

Top Picks with Travis Landry: Pop Culture Is Thriving Through The Pandemic

By Travis Landry, Director of Pop Culture at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

Oct 12,2020 | 13:00 EDT

It's October 2020 and most people are currently thinking that life is pretty crazy. Even outside of the pandemic, there's endless political unrest, natural disasters, financial uncertainty, and let us not forget about murder hornets. However, outside of these happenings, the Pop Culture collectible marketplace is hotter than ever before. Comics, toys, trading cards, video games (you name it) have been selling for record prices the past eight months. In my opinion, many collectors are home and the expendable income they might have spent on vacations, movies, etc. has ceased! Simply put, there's more money in the kitty to spend on Pop Culture goodness. My quick synopsis: the Pop Culture market is roaring through the current chaos and the auction scene has been quite the spectacle to watch.

On October 17, Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers will host a Pop Culture auction featuring comics, toys, trading cards, and dolls - all at no reserve. The auction consists of 592 lots and will begin at 10:00am!

Here are our Top Picks from the upcoming auction with some useful collector tips:

Lot 5: Marvel Comics Amazing Spider-Man #1 CGC 1.0

Spider-Man is to Marvel what Superman is to D.C. Comics. If you're a comic fan you'll understand what I mean by that. But for the laymen out there, what I'm saying is Spider-Man is the face of Marvel in the modern-day collecting world. He's the character every fan and child alike loves with his first appearance Amazing Fantasy #15 being arguably the most valuable Silver Age comic. For collector’s - Amazing Fantasy #15 is the holy grail next to Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27, and Fantastic Four #1. Right now, an AF #15 in CGC 0.5 condition will run you close to $9,000. Due to the huge price hike, collector’s have been opting for Amazing Spider-Man #1 - the second appearance of Spidey and a debut solo title. This CGC 1.0 graded copy is the perfect fit for the collector who wants to get their feet wet in big key books. Plus, for the near future (say five years minimum) it presents as a sound investment with Tom Holland in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There's a bright future ahead for the web slinging kid.

Lot 91, Marvel Comics Journey Into Mystery #83 CGC 1.8

In August of 1962, Amazing Fantasy #15 introduced Spider-Man to the world. That same month, Journey Into Mystery #83 introduced Thor! The Mighty God of Thunder played by Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Both canonized key issue books of historical importance to comic fans. The difference in 2020 is an AF #15 in CGC 1.8 condition trades on average for $12,000 at auction, compared to a JIM #83 CGC 1.8 at $3,000. When you refer to the CGC census 66 JIM #83 exist in 1.8 compared to 138 AF #15. Overall, there are 2,135 graded copies of AF #15 while only 1,459 of JIM #83. The point here is Journey Into Mystery #83 is a much rarer comic, same age, same level of historical significance (1st app.) yet a quarter of the price. Plus, we know Thor is here to stay with a confirmed fourth solo film Love and Thunder planned for a 2022 release. There's a lot of room to grow here.

Lot 242, 1999 WOTC Pokémon Charizard Base Foil Pack PSA 10

One of the hottest trends in Pokémon collecting today is “ripping packs”. This is the practice of buying factory sealed packs and opening them to find the rare holographic cards. While this can be a good idea if you want to submit cards for grading and hopefully get a 10, collectors are making other sealed merchandise more valuable. Take this Unlimited Base pack for example, you can go on YouTube and Facebook to find endless videos of collectors opening boxes upon boxes of packs. This has caused the value of said pack to rise from $75.00 to $250.00 in unopened condition over the past six months. In PSA, 10 shape went from $400.00 to $800.00 (in some cases) or more. Buy enough of sealed Pokémon and it will yield you a better return than any mutual fund.

Lot 180, 2000 Korean Pokémon 1st Ed. Charizard PSA 9

For Pokémon collectors, Charizard is the most coveted character to have from any series. There are exceptions but that's a basic rule to use if your ever looking at a collection of cards. In today's market, an English first edition Charizard in PSA 9 condition averages $25,000-$30,000 at auction. The continuous price hike of Charizard cards are forcing collectors to look else where and buy up the foreign first edition examples. This Korean card is a prime example to put away seeing the average over the past year is $1,200.00. I would say there's plenty of room to grow - you could sell in a year and make a sizeable profit.

Lot 251, 2003 WOTC Pokémon Aquapolis Entei Foil Pack PSA 10

Continuing on the trend of sealed packs, this Aquapolis Entei art foil pack is the cream of the crop. The Aquapolis series is significant for multiple reasons, primarily for being the second to last original Pokémon series published by Wizards of The Coast. In addition, it's also one of three sets to feature an E-Reader code which made the cards interactive with the Gameboy Advance game.  This feature destroyed countless cards compared to prior years, so Expedition, Aquapolis, and Skyridge cards are very hard to find in high grade, let alone sealed. The cherry on top? This pack features Entei, one of the legendary cards in the series. You could not ask for a more perfect package!

View the full catalog for Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, 'Comic, Pokemon, Toy & Doll Auction' coming up on October 17 and register to bid live on Bidsquare.


Travis Landry is the Director of Pop Culture and Auctioneer for Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers of Cranston, Rhode Island. He is also an expert appraiser on PBS' Antiques Roadshow in Collectibles and Toys & Games.