I recently wanted to pick up a Stan Lee signature series for my P.C. and realized I didn't know what the current market dictates as a reasonable price increase for the signature. So, I thought others might benefit from this information because I did a lot of research. Now, you can find this information all in one place. I found that across the board, witnessed signatures add value to the book. It's imperative to note that this only applies to witnessed signatures. If you have a raw book with a COA, you are limited as to what you can do.
You have three options: Keep raw with the COA, grade with CGC and get a green-qualified label that will almost always decrease the value compared to a blue label without the signature, or grade with CBCS and use their verified signature program.
Stan Lee Comic Books
The book I purchased for the P.C. was Fantastic Four 36, signed by Stan Lee. I bought this F.F. 36 CGC 6.0 SS Stan Lee on eBay for $699. However, that was pretty reasonable as I found another recent sale of the same book in 6.5 SS Stan Lee for $750. I knew the guy was in the right ballpark, so I decided to search the same seller name on I.G. I found the guy, asked him for a reference, and then got the reference. The guy checked out and settled on a price of $630. I saved on sales tax, he saved on fees, and we're both still protected because I used PayPal’s goods and services feature. This is just an excellent example of how you can save money securing these bigger books.
I've never had a problem doing that; I sold a $3400 book this way, no problems. If you do that, make sure you vet the person and ask for a reference. If anything seems fishy, don't do it, but one important consideration is that you seek this person out, not some scammer trying to find you.
Anyways, a CGC 6.0 of the book goes for around $240, so this was about a $400 price increase for the Stan Lee signature. That is a hefty price increase, I could have got the same book in a CGC 8.5, or two copies of the CGC 6.0 for the same price, but this was for the P.C. and it's tremendously valuable to me to have Stan Lee's signature on the book.
Stan Lee SS isn't scarce, he did a lot of signings, but there won't be any more created. Thus, they come up for sale a lot less often, collectors are less willing to part with them, and I expect this trend to only continue. Since Stan's passing, his signature has dramatically gone up in value. So I found precedence for this $400 price increase for this book, but what about other books with his signature, and does the premium go up exponentially with grade, or is it linear?
For example, is the premium higher on a 9.0 than a 6.0, or is it a $400 increase across the board no matter the grade? What I found is that it is indeed exponential, the higher the grade, the higher the premium for his signature.
An example of some well-known books:
- Fantastic Four 52 CGC 8.5 SS Stan Lee sold for $5711 while a blue label CGC 8.5 sold the same week (both at auction) for $4,800. An increase of $911.
- Fantastic Four 45 CGC 4.0 SS Stan Lee sold at auction for $321, same book blue label at auction similar time frame, $152.50. An increase of 168.50.
- Amazing Spider-man 300 CGC 9.2 Direct SS Stan Lee $1399, same book blue, same day multiple sales for $750, an increase of $650.
- Same book in 9.8 - S.S. $7000, blue label 5,200 same day, an increase of 1800.
So as you can see, the premium is exponential. For silver and bronze age books, this is what I've found to be true:
- For low-grade books, valued around $150-200, a Stan Lee signature about doubles the values, or in other words, adds about a $150-200 premium.
- A Stan Lee signature adds about $400-$500 in value to the book for mid-grade silver and bronze.
- A Stan Lee signature can add anywhere between $800-1800 in high-grade silver and bronze value.
For all of the above mentioned, the thing that plays the most significant role is scarcity. Silver and Bronze age books are more plentiful in low to mid-grade, so the premium is pretty constant. For high-grade silver and bronze, scarcity can play a much bigger role, and the premium increases exponentially. For example, many silver age Stan Lee signatures only have one or two in the investment level grades. And if you have only one of something, you can start demanding your price, and if someone wants it bad enough, they'll pay. Free market at its finest — the market dictates.
But What About Modern Books With Stan Lee's Signature?
This is a little bit of a different comparison, and the numbers are a lot easier to work with. Most moderns books are in super high grade. So let's look at some examples:
- ASM 700 CGC 9.8 SS $550, same day, blue label $150, and increase of $400
- Spiderman 1 CGC 9.8 SS Lee Silver $375 auction, blue label $65, increase of $310
- AF 15 True believer 9.8 SS Lee, $400, blue label $50, $350 increase.
I found many more examples, but I think it's safe to say that a SS for a modern book adds about $300-$400. It’s super interesting that high-grade moderns demand more of a premium for SS Lee than low-grade silver. It seems like the best bargain for a Lee SS is a low-grade Silver age book! It's cool, considering you can pick up such an important piece of comic book history.
It's important to remember that the artist signing the book plays a huge role in this. If it's a modern book and the artist only charges $20 for a signature and is at every con, you can expect the signature won't add much value. Again, it's simply supply and demand. In other cases, if the artist is a social recluse and never does signings, the value can skyrocket. While the figures in this article are for Stan Lee specifically, you can look at recent eBay sales to gain information so you can make informed decisions when purchasing comic books.
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