Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Quintessential Hulk Artist

To me, the quintessential Hulk artist is Herb Trimpe (preferably with Marie Severin inks).  Most Trimpe Hulk art under issue 200 is very pricey, but I picked this Trimpe page from Hulk Annual 6 for a fraction of the cost of a page from a regular issue from the same time period.  It's still the classic late silver/early bronze age Hulk "look."  Go figure...  It's inked by Frank Giacoia and/or Mike Esposito.

And here's the cover to the issue in which this appeared...

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The Ghost Of Frangipani COAs Past

I received this email and thought I would share.  I removed the person's name to protect his privacy...

I was recently doing some research on an autographed baseball I have with a signature verification from Donald Frangipani.  The item in question is an autographed Mark McGwire baseball.  I received this item through a contest from ABC Sports.  Along with a letter from ABC Sports they also sent the letter from Mr. Frangipani.  I am not a collector and was looking to sell this item when I stumbled upon you while looking up information on  Mr Frangipani.  I read various reports about him and was curious about the authenticity of the autograph considering its source (ABC Sports).  Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  I received the ball back in 1999 and it is an official National League baseball.

My response...

While I can't say with 100% certainty, I'm sorry to report that the ball is likely a forgery.  I have yet to see a Donald Frangipani COA on an authentic signature.  I'm sure a few do exist, but the odds are overwhelming that it is a fake.

The 1999 time frame was when Frangipani was at the height of issuing COAs that appeared on eBay by the thousands.  They were all fakes.

Unfortunately, forgeries are commonly distributed through giveaways and charity auctions.  Often the people sponsoring the charity or giveaway know nothing about fakes and who reputable dealers are... and if they contract with the wrong person to provide the item for the event... you are stuck with a fake.  Stans Sports is an example of a company that every knowledgeable collector knew sold fakes...  but Stans had big flashy ads in magazines so the unknowing presumed they were legit... and so it goes...

I would send the ball to a reputable authenticator to confirm either way.  I recommend Richard Simon

It's Never Too Early For Movie Hype

eBay item 2259704437 - Fantastic Four #489-502 (60-70) Waid Wieringo Alba

Note the Alba in the title. For those that don't know, Jessica Alba is slated to play the invisible woman in the FF movie that is supposed to come out next summer.  As she starred in a failed tv show, I don't see her being a big draw at the box office... but who knows. 

Since the movie hasn't even started shooting yet, next summer is doubtful.

Monday, July 26, 2004

FF / X-men Limited Series

Years ago I swore off buying limited series.  They were almost always a complete waste of time and money.  This one will be hard to refuse however...  from

Marvel has signed an agreement with Dreamwave, the first fruits of which will be a Fantastic Four/X-Men limited series by Pat Lee which will begin in December


Detecting Color Touches

One of the most common forms of restoration on comic books is color touches.  Color touches can be professional (acrylic paint), or amateur which are usually marker or a dry powder rubbed into a crease.  Many people are not aware of the dry powder type color touch.

I bought a few silver age books on ebay that I suspect had this type of color touch.  Not a great loss because they were $20 books... but, this goes to show you any book can be restored -- not just expensive keys.

The touch is some sort of fine black powder that is rubbed into small creases.  It's hard to detect because the color rub only sticks to the creased area where the original inks are broken, so the touch is actually only as wide as the crease itself.  If you look at the cover at an angle, the affected area may be a bit duller than the gloss on the rest of the cover.  Also, if you gently rub your finger over the area, a tiny amount of black may rub off.

One way to detect color touch is to look for fine creases where the ink does NOT appear to be broken.  Then look much closer.  This is where many color touches will be found.

Regarding the ebay seller that sent me the color touched book, he replaced the first book that had a certain dry rub color touch with another one that I suspect had a smaller touch.  At that point, it wasn't worth pursuing any further.  I just avoid his auctions now.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Hulk 181 Coming Out Of The Woodwork

Given that this is a bronze age comic of a fairly popular title, one would have to think a ton of Hulk 181s exist, with many high grade copies to boot.  Predictably, as the prices go higher, more high grade issues are coming out of the woodwork.  On eBay at this moment, we see
Hulk 181 CGC 9.6
Another Hulk 181 CGC 9.6
An unslabbed copy claiming to be NM/M (uh huh...)
CGC 9.0
CGC 9.0 with a $1,120 Buy-It-Now
CGC 8.5
CGC 8.0
Plus 12 other slabbed and unslabbed copies in lower grades.  And this is supposed to be the slow time of year for online sales!

Monday, July 19, 2004

Slab Damage

One of my concerns with the growing and aging comic book slab market is the increasing occurrence of slab damage.  Slab Damage is when a book is damaged during the encapsulation process, or more commonly, when a book is damaged by sliding around in a slab.  The damage most commonly takes the form of blunted or creased corners and is especially prevalent when there is a bit of an overhang on the cover.
I think I have the dubious distinction of having the worst slab damage ever. The label says 9.4 and that's the price I paid for it.

So, now I'm stuck with it.  Makes you want to think twice about dealers with no return policies on CGC books, huh?

35 Cent Variant Madness

As predicted in my 7/14 entry, the Iron Fist 14 35 cent variant closed at a mortgage level price - $1,296.58... although I expected it to go higher.

Here's another 35-center with a $300 Buy-It-Now - eBay item 2257851918 (Ends Jul-24-04 15:48:13 PDT) - Fantastic Four 186 CGC 8.5(ow-w) 35 cent variant

A pretty copy, but is it worth 4 times what I paid for this copy?

I'd grade mine at 7.5 (VF-)

Friday, July 16, 2004

A Byrne Namor Page

I picked this up a few years ago.  I'm sure it would cost me much more now.  It's not an action packed page, but I really liked it because the linework is so clean, and it captures Prince Namor at his most regal.  Namor is wearing the same type of crown he did on the classic cover of Fantastic Four Annual #1.  A very nice example of the Submariner signed by John Byrne...

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Comic Book Trifecta

IRON FIST #14 35 Cent Cover NM+ High Grade Sabretooth

Here's a trifecta that's sure to pay off big.

* Key issue - First appearance of Sabretooth (I don't personally get it, but I guess many others think Sabretooth is an important character)
* High Grade - I don't know if it's NM+, but given the scan, it looks pretty darn good and could be a NM+.
* 35 Cent Price Variant - The hardest to find price variants, and 35 cent variant collectors are crazy.

With over 2 days to go, this baby is at $400, and none of the big variant collectors have weighed in yet. Sniping will be brutal. This "funny book" will go for mortgage money. And I'm talking about a NYC expensive home type mortgage...

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Odds & Ends for Sale - CHEAP!

Shameless Plug

I'm not a dealer, but I do sell some items once in a while to make space and/or raise cash. I have a few signed items on eBay now... all guaranteed authentic. Stay tuned... more to come.

Stuff For Sale - CHEAP!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Babe Ruth Bat - A Million Dollars?

From E Sports Collectors Digest...

After 80 years in hiding, the bat Babe Ruth used to slug the first home run in the new Yankee Stadium on Opening Day, April 18, 1923, will be auctioned, along with many other prized and valuable memorabilia items, by SportsCards Plus. The sale will take place Oct. 4 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan.

The bat -- which received a perfect grade of A10 by SCD Authentic -- will headline the New York-themed auction, which will also feature autographed game-used memorabilia and personal mementos from many of New York's baseball legends.

After his 1923 home run, Ruth, always supportive of kids and young ballplayers, autographed the bat he used and donated it to the Los Angeles Herald to be awarded as the top prize in a high-school home run hitting contest. On the bat, he inscribed, "To the Boy Home Run King of Los Angeles, "Babe" Ruth, N.Y. May 7, 1923." The bat was awarded to Victor Orsatti by the Herald in June of 1923. It has remained in the Orsatti family for the past 80 years, until recently being presented to David Kohler of SportsCards Plus for auction. The bat's new owner will also receive all of the accompanying documentation, including a congratulatory telegram from The Babe to Orsatti.

For complete auction details see the July 23 edition of SCD

Friday, July 09, 2004

Paypal: The Scammer's Best Friend

I found this interesting missive on a sports collectibles message board. It's a story I've heard over and over again, but this poster put it very well...

In a scam earlier this year I received a handful of worthless 2003 commons instead of the 1965 Mantle PSA 8 that I paid for. The scammer used delivery confirmation, so had a tracking number. PayPal's response? They would not do a chargeback because delivery was made and it was simply a dispute over the quality of the goods. Work it out with the seller, they said. Well, the seller had skedaddled and was NARU, but PayPal still would not get involved.

So if you do file a complaint, do NOT click the button next to "Item delivered, but not as expected." That's the same as clicking "Never mind, I don't want my money back after all."

Thursday, July 08, 2004

A Multi-Tier Grading Scale

As I was pontificating in one of the forums I frequent, I suggested the notion of a multi-tier grading scale for CGC - or any other comic grading company. Here it is...

Grading is constantly evolving. Who is to say that a few years down the line CGC (or some other company) may adopt a multi-tiered grading system that accounts for production quality, eye-appeal and restoration. (Don't be surprised if this happens when submission levels start to steadily decline. They have to find some way to get people to continue to slab a finite number of books... but I digress...)

As it has been noted, production quality varies greatly between books often creating a vast difference in the appeal of books which have the same exact grade label.

It would be interesting to see a grade like 8.5 / A / 0.0

8.5 structural grade / A production grade (perfectly cut and centered, bright inks) and the 0.0 is the restoration scale. My feeling is that the purple label stigmatizes restoration and puts books with tiny color touches or dots of glue in the same category of re-created franken-books.

For instance would you rather have a FF #1 that is

6.5 / A / 2.0 (slight color touch)

or a

4.5 / C / 0.0

The way the market is now, the latter choice would be worth a lot more than the former. But on paper, the former seems more appealing doesn't it?

In any case, doesn't this system tell you a lot more than the current single number grading scale? And it tells you the level of restoration rather than simply stigmatizing it with a purple label.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

A Fantastic Four Page

For your viewing pleasure, another page of original art... this one from Fantastic Four #225, page 12. Bill Sienkiewicz drew it and Joe Sinnott inked it.

Not the most action-packed FF page in the world, but I am finding that FF pages are very tough to come by. Part of the difficulty is that with a team comic, there are not many pages that feature all 4 team members - let alone all 4 in action!

I'd love to get a Perez or Pollard page in the issue 170 - 200 range, but I just can't find any. And, I'd hate to think how much one might be!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Donald Frangipani... The Bad Penny of Authenticators


I thought this bum was out of business and his COAs were banned from eBay? I know he weaseled out of trouble by claiming others were forging his COA... the irony... an "authenticator" that wouldn't know a forgery if it bit him, uses forgeries as a defense. Keen minds should be able to see the truth of the matter.

This auction features a COA from Donald Frangipani dated 5/2004. Note that he has a snazzy DF hologram now... so he MUST be knowledgeable and legit. LOL

eBay Users: Free Negative And Neutral Lookup Page

Earlier I noted that the eBay Negative and Neutral Feedback page was out of commission. Well, a visitor was kind enough to point me to a similar online tool. It works fairly well, but does not allow the user to look up Negative/Neutrals left by a user, only those received.

eBay Users: Free Negative And Neutral Lookup Page

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Happy 4th of July

I'm not going to let Socialist haters like Michael Moore ruin my day. The USA may not be perfect, but that should not cloud all the good that it does -- even to ingrate countries that have no concept what opportunity they have been given.

God Bless America and the freedom she stands for.

Apollo 11 Autopen - Only $1,473

eBay item 2253486304 (Ends Jul-03-04 12:33:29 PDT) - NEIL ARMSTRONG APOLLO 11 CREW SIGNED OFFICIAL NASA 8X10

Here's the eBay rip-off of the week. Some sucker paid $1,473 for an Apollo 11 Autopen crew portrait. You can get one of these for free if you only send away to NASA and ask for one.

This seller was informed by more than one person that these signatures were not authentic, but I guess they don't care. Greed rules.

I also find it interesting that they guarantee PSA/DNA will authenticate the signatures. This illustrates how dumb the seller is, or how far PSA/DNA has fallen.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

If I Only Had $5,495, plus shipping.....

eBay item 2254411960 (Ends Jul-11-04 08:59:59 PDT) - Batman 1 Spring 1940 CGC 1.5 Detective Comics

Other than the spine and centerfold, this comic appears to be structurally sound with good paper quality.

If I had 5 grand to spare, I'd buy this and have it in a professional restorer's hands in no time. It just needs a good press, cleaning and some mending... 99% of the book would still be original parts. I'm sure it would restore to Fine 6.0 or better with moderate (or less) pro work.

Perhaps if I skipped a few mortgage payments...

Free Comic Book Day 2004

Free Comic Book Day 2004

Don't forget... this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day! Who can resist free comics?