Sunday, July 30, 2006

More Newtons: Pricing

One of the main questions I get asked, especially since I started documenting the Newton range, is where can they be bought from and how much do back issues sell for. First up, where can they be bought from? Clearly the answer is dealers, but it's not that simple. A lot of dealers, especially in Australia, don't take the Newton line all that seriously and as such they'll throw the titles into dollar boxes or worse. One dealer I spoke to here in Adelaide told me how he just throws out any Newtons that come into the store. And that was after I told him that I'd happily buy any Newtons he came across, and that he could name his own price. His reply, "Yeah, but you'd be the only one buying them." Again I reiterated that he could name his own price, only to be told that it'd be a waste of time keeping comics for one person only - no competition I guess, thus no-one to play me off against. His loss, not mine, as I go elsewhere.

Most comic shops in Australia have that mentality when it comes to the Newtons, but of late more than a few have pricked their ears up when they see the prices being realised on places like eBay. The first place I look for Newtons is eBay (using this link which brings up all the Newtons) however even there some people are just insane with their pricing. However if we go back a few years we're able to see some of the prices that were realised and perhaps the insanity of today isn't that misplaced.

Back in mid 2002 a collector threw all his high grade Newtons up on eBay and realised some incredible prices. I can remember bidding on lots only to see the bidding reach crazy levels which caused me to drop out early. The available data (and I'm going on both memory and saved data from the time) shows that, from the one collection, prices for the first issues of the following were realised:
The Amazing Spider-Man: $350+
Fantastic Four: $200+
X-Men & The Avengers: $200+
The Incredible Hulk: $200+
Silver Surfer: $110+

Subsequent issues went for slightly less, but generally the going rate was anywhere up to $100+ for second and third issues and then it went down from there. I can remember asking a dealer here what the hell was going on only to be met with a reply of, "Too many people not knowing that they're buying crap." Possibly he was right, but only partially. I don't consider the Newtons to be crap, but there might have been a lot of people not knowing what they were buying. The attitude that the Newtons are 'crap' to this dealer speaks volumes though. At the time a friend of mine listed his Spider-Man #1, without the poster, and still managed to get over $150 for it. Incredible.

The prices eventually dropped off and went down to almost nothing. Then they started to rise once more as collectors (such as myself) attempted to finish runs and buy the elusive one-shot issues. Still, most dealers didn't take the comic range seriously. I've had Newtons thrown into deals as freebies (always appreciated) for other comics and I've paid more for other Australian Marvel reprints (such as the early '80s digest comics - more on those later down the track) than I have Newtons which is also insane as the latter Newtons were printed in incredibly small numbers and were pulped upon return - as we now know (and suspected even then).

The one fair I regularly attend (as regular readers of this blog would know) is the Camberwell Collectors Fair held in Melbourne about three times a year. The next such fair is on the 13th of August and we'll be there, with a few boxes of Phantom comics, some key issue Marvels & DC, a few boxes of trade paperbacks and a box of Newtons and other Australian reprint comics (end of shameless plug). Each time I've gone over to the fair my collection of Newtons has grown as there's about three dealers who will bring them into each fair and price them accordingly. It eventually got the stage where I bought a second hand PDA from one of my close chums Tim just to keep track of what I was buying - too many doubled up issues would come home. Armed with that tool I look forward to heading to Melbourne, where Newtons were printed and are in greater number than other Australian cities. So my advice would be to head towards that fair, the Supernova Conventions or check out the eBay link I provided earlier.

Do be careful when looking at the eBay material. There's always a few dealers who are happy to list Newtons at top dollar prices for comics in poor to fair condition, missing posters or swap cards. This week has seen two comics in fair grade (at best) sans posters passed in at AUST$50 - and so they should be. The same comics would be found in most people's dollar boxes, or less. If it's got the posters/swap cards and is in high grade then the sky can be the limit. Low grade copies are common and shouldn't command that much in price, however even decent graded material, without the posters/swap cards, can still set you back a bit. A lot of it will come down to whom you're competing with when making the purchase, especially on eBay. As Newton released a finite amount of books, the temptation is there to buy the entire output. I have that goal in mind and am now about 25 to 40 books away from having every known Newton comic - and I'm not alone there. I know of at least four other collectors who remain closed mouthed about which Newtons they have, but are just as keen to finish the collections. I recently paid over USD$100 for a lot just to get one Newton - and was very happy to discover I could upgrade/replace and just add to my collection with the rest of the Newtons in the lot. Complete runs will draw good bids, but if it's one issue with a high price and you're not sure then hold off - I'm convinced that at least one person who is reading my latest entries is listing comics based on what I've written and the general comments and is listing Newtons targeting people who've made comments requesting certain issues. I'll leave it up to individuals to decide if they want to pay the prices, but remember - feel free to ask and I'll give you my opinion on any auction/listed item.

1 comment:

ChrisG said...

Can you give guidance on finding a new home for my copy of Newton's Silver Surfer #1? It isn't in absolutely mint condition because it simply lives in the storage box with all my Marvel Volume 3 issues: no rips or scuffs but a little dog-eared on the corners. I look after my comics but how do I determine if it's good enough to offer on eBay?