Ask Antique Trader: One needs a critical eye when assessing comic books

Will you try and look these comics up for me for any value estimate? They are in Mint condition except for the smudge on the back. I hope to see a reply in a future issue.
—F.W., Chicago, Ill.

A Comics Buyer’s Guide Editor Brent Frankenhoff replies: Unfortunately, Frank, that smudge on the back appears to be a water stain on the Marvel Super Action #33 and mold on the Marvel Two-in-One #78. There’s also additional damage to the upper right-hand corner of the front cover of the Marvel Two-in-One and the cover of the Marvel Super Action is not square with the interior any longer. All those factors put each book in the Good grade, which, for comics, is equivalent to a “C” letter grade, where Mint would be an “A+” and Near Mint is equivalent to an “A.”

According to our 2009 Comic Book Checklist and Price Guide, each book is worth about 15¢. Neither is particularly scarce or highly sought after. If they were in Near Mint, they’d be worth about $1.50 each. Thanks for sending them in.

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Reader Carl Mustin sent in these comic books for valuation. The books are War Birds No. 2, Mopsy, No. 14, Doctor Strange, No. 26, Beware, No. 2 and Batman, No 276.

Please bear in mind that all these appraisals are based simply on the cover scan. Without having the actual comic book to check for such defects as rusty staples, missing pages, and damaged back covers, it makes it more challenging. However, these should give the novice collector some idea of what to look for. Do your homework and don’t buy for investment, buy for enjoyment. If it goes up in value, that’s a bonus; if not, you’ve still got something enjoyable in your collection.

War Birds #2 (1953). In Very Good condition (which is in the C+ category if trying to assign letter grades to the major comics grades). In Near Mint, it would be $85. In this condition, $35.

Mopsy #14 (1951). The out of focus photo makes it difficult to grade, but looks to be in Good condition which is average for comics from this time period. In Near Mint, it’s worth $30. In this condition $3.

Doctor Strange (2nd series) #26 (Dec 1977). In Fine condition (comparable to a B letter grade). In Near Mint, it would be $2. In this grade, 60¢.

Beware #2 (May 73). In Fine condition. In Near Mint, it’s worth $5. In this grade $1.75.

Batman #276 (Jun 76). In Very Good condition. In Near Mint, it would be worth $8. In this grade, $1.25.