The month of July; a month typically filled with family barbecues, beach days, and a bright, full sun in the sky. July also marks the end of the second quarter of 2021, making it a good time to reflect on how the Pop Culture collectibles market has changed.
If you refer back to our Top Picks article from March, 2021 the market had been at an all time high compared to years past. Record results were continually being set and broken within weeks’ time. There was vast concern through the trade - is this a bubble fueled by the pandemic? Will there be a market correction with the world attempting to return to a post-COVID environment? Or with society beginning to return to normal with activities and entertainment would collecting enter a recession? I’m happy to report that restaurants are open, you can go to Disney World and none of those wonderfully positive happenings has affected the market. Pop Culture is on fire! The market has been experiencing growth across the board with values continuing to rise. Collector-investors are proving to us that the commoditization of pop art collectibles is more than just a quarantine fad. The Avengers, Charizard, and Super Mario Bros. are here to stay in your portfolio - right next to your Apple or Tesla stock.
With that being said, on Saturday July 10th Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers will host their Summer Comic, TCG, and Toy Auction starting at 10:00am est. Here are our Top Picks with some useful collector-investor tips!
One of the most important pieces in the puzzle of determining a collectibles investment potential is the age demographics of the collector. All collectibles, Pop Culture in particular, have a very cyclical in nature. Market values may fluctuate based on the age of the clientele pursuing it. This is why we are seeing leaps and bounds in the market for items from the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Every day new collectors enter the market, college kids are becoming professionals with expendable income, and they want a piece of their childhood back. For most kids, some of the most memorable and impressionable moments were the ones spent in front of the living room television set.
As part of their upcoming auction, Bruneau & Co. will be featuring items from the collection of Eric Baker, creative lead of props and set dressing for the Wizarding World of Harry Pottery at Universal Studios, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney World and Disney Land, and 1990's Nickelodeon prop master and fabricator. Eric’s collection includes props from live-action Nickelodeon classics Clarissa Explains It All, Allegra’s Window, and Double Dare amongst others to which several were crafted by the man himself. Out of all his props, our top choice is the Upside-Down Compass of Henry Hudson from Legends of the Hidden Temple. LOTHT is one of the most iconic shows to come out of the 1990’s, with props rarely surfacing on the market. Nickelodeon props as a whole are nearly impossible to find. Unless preserved by crew members most were disposed of when Nickelodeon Studios moved from Florida to California. Making this truly a treasure of Pop Culture legend. With the market for Nickelodeon props being so fresh and new, it is going to see where this compass lands through the uncharted territory of the market.
For collector-investors today, a large majority of the comic market is fueled by speculation. Which character is going to appear in the next movie or television series, who’s going to get their own spinoff, or who might kick the bucket in the next episode. These are all things that create rapid change in a comic’s value. But, while speculation can lead to rapid increase, it can also lead to rapid decrease! For those who rather have a more stable investment, the grand old theory of quality over quantity is what you should practice in your collecting habits. This Amazing Spider-Man however creates a good mix of both for the collector seeking a serious investment equivalent to a piece of fine art. This book features the first appearance of the Green Goblin, the alter ego of Norman Osborn. He is one of (if not the most) iconic Spider-Man villain in Marvel history. It’s a 1964 comic with a killer cover by Steve Ditko, and in very hard to find in high grade condition. This one being a CGC 9.0 makes it one of 83 in said condition, with only 108 copies graded higher. When you think of how vast and global the comic collecting community is, that is very little supply for the overall demand. The speculation is that the Green Goblin has yet to make his Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance, and fans speculate it is only a matter of time. So, when that time comes, your portfolio is best served with the greatest copy you can possibly find.
Continuing the quality over quantity theme, this Avengers #1 serves as a perfect example. When you reflect back over the past thirteen years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers have always been the focal point. While the members of the team may change, the title hasn’t differed. Which also keeps true to the history of the published comic stories themselves. No different than how the Patriots have lost Tom Brady, just because Iron Man is no longer with us in the MCU, does not mean the Avengers won’t live on. We know for certain the brand is here to stay on the silver screen, at least for the next decade anyway. So, the comic that started it all, is a very important piece of Pop Culture history. This example comes from the same collection as the aforementioned Amazing Spider-Man #14, an original owner grouping out of New Jersey. It was recently graded an 8.0 by CGC, making it one of only 49 comics in the grade with only 95 higher. Being from 1963, there isn’t going to be a newly discovered treasure trove of high-grade copies next week. They are exceedingly hard to find, making for nothing but an upward market trajectory.
When it comes to Pokémon in relation to our Top Picks articles, there are two themes that never change. Factory sealed cards are king, and there is no greater character than Charizard in the marketplace. This Gym Challenge booster box offers a beautiful combination of those two things. The Gym Challenge series of cards included the Blaine’s Charizard as one of the holographic rare cards. This Charizard is important as it is the third Charizard created within the original game published by Wizards of the Coast. It featured an alternate and very cool representation of the beloved character compared to the 1999 Base Set. Collector’s today fight the urge of whether to leave this box sealed or to roll the dice and open the packs to see what rare cards they can uncover. It’s going to be very interesting to see what the lucky buyer chooses to do! It’s not uncommon to see five and six figure boxes of cards opened chasing that all-time collecting high.
You might be confused reading the lot title then looking at the card with the name “Dracaufeu”. That’s because while this is a Charizard, it’s one with a love for wine, cheese, and strolling through the Louvre...this Charizard is French! What this card also offers to collectors today is a much cheaper alternative to that of a North American Charizard in the exact same BGS 9.5 condition. That also means there's plenty of room in the market for growth. For example, if this was a North American card in BGS 9.5, it would easily sell in excess of $100,000.00. In today’s market I’d expect this French card to sell for about 1/10th of that, but who knows where it will be 6 months from now. Certainly, a card worth buying for the safety deposit box.
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.