The Last Jedi hit theaters over the past weekend, and that’s had Star Wars on everyone’s lips.
Having the newest Star Wars generating lots of buzz definitely puts the collector’s spotlight on key Star Wars issues. Word of warning if you’re looking to buy a classic SW comic: the markup is insane. I attended the Atlanta Comic Convention Sunday afternoon, and one vendor had a CGC 9.2 Star Wars #1 (original 1977 series) priced at $300. The average selling price for that comic at that grade is $167.
I mention that story because it raises the question: Are the classic Star Wars comics worth the investment? Granted Star Wars is a pop culture behemoth, and it always helps to ride the wave of popularity while it’s cresting, but if you’re looking to invest, are you going to see a return?
The Dropping Values
Two years ago when The Force Awakens kicked off the Disney-owned additions to the franchise, sales of the 1977 movie adaptation spiked. According to the website GPA for CGC Comics, a CGC 9.2 averaged over $200 in 2015. Even an 8.0 was bringing $122 largely from interest in the first new Star Wars movie in 10 years. Generally speaking, all grades of SW #1 had inflated prices as a residual effect of The Force Awakens.
You’d think that with all the hype and hysteria surrounding the premiere of The Last Jedi that sales of Star Wars #1 would spike again. After all, it worked when Episode VII debuted, so why not Episode VIII? Unfortunately, those 2015 prices are a thing of the past.
Over the past two years, the average selling price for most grades of SW #1 have dropped. We are seeing a small spike in prices compared to last year, but the prices are not matching those from 2017. That 9.2 I saw at the comic con? It went from averaging $209 in ‘15 down to $169 last year, and it’s now at $177.
The Power of the Force
And by “the power of the Force,” I mean the excitement over the new movie. And excitement may not be the best word. Fan reaction to the newest installment to the saga has been mixed. One thing that’s true when it comes to comic collecting is that bad movies can - and usually do - hurt the value of comics associated with that title.
The 90-day average selling price for SW #1 has gotten a boost from the movie, no doubt. A CGC 7.5, which was averaging $104 in 2015 and $97 for most of 2017, has jumped to $122. However, as last year’s drop in values across the board for this particular issue can attest, that inflated price won’t last. In a couple of months, those selling prices will come back down to the $100 range, I predict.
To answer the question, the statistics say that Star Wars #1 isn’t the best of investments, especially right now. At the moment, it is a seller’s market, and that translates into higher asking prices. My advice is to wait it out and let the wave crest before you buy. Even then, be cautious of those bloated prices at the conventions.
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