Unrestored is better?

I understand why amateur restoration (such as putting tape over a tear or trimming an edge) can seriously decrease the value of a comic book, but given a choice of a damaged comic book or the same comic book with the damages repaired using professional restoration (such as leaf casting), I would prefer the latter.

That’s why I’m a little uncomfortable with the recent case of an unrestored Action Comics #1. (Of the around 100 copies of Action Comics #1 that still exist, only 37 have been certified by the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) as unrestored.) The copy was graded 5.5 (from a scale of the lowest 0.5 to the highest 10.0), and was sold by Heritage Auctions last August 4, 2016 for $956,000. (The image below is an edited version of one from here.)

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The price that was realized is a little high considering that it was estimated to sell for $750,000 and that an unrestored Action Comics #1 graded 9.0 was sold a few years ago for (only) $3,207,852.

But the thing that disturbs me is that this CGC 5.5 comic book was originally graded an apparent 7.5 when it was bought in the 1990s for $26,000. (The CGC uses the word “apparent” in its grading to indicate a restored copy.) Quoting from Heritage Auctions:

This copy was previously certified Apparent 7.5 by CGC, with tear seals being the only restoration noted. The tears at the top and bottom of the spine had been sealed using an archival quality glue, which bonded to the spine without degrading the integrity of the paper. The book was recently submitted to Classic Collectible Services (CCS), who were able to safely remove the glue, returning the book to its former state.

It thus seems that removing the glue resulted in the value being multiplied by almost 37 times.

This veneration of unrestored copies is also seen in the unrestored coverless 0.3 copy sold in the same auction for $65,725. (The image below is an edited version of one from here.) (CGC does not grade coverless comic books, so this one was certified by Comic Book Certification Service (CBCS).)

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But it seems that CGC is making some effort to recognize the value of professional restoration. In 2014, it updated its restoration grading scale to differentiate restoration from conservation.

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Straight Arrow Jumbo Edition #44155

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441551 This Straight Arrow Jumbo Edition #44155 was co-published by South Pacific Publications Limited and Jubilee Publications and printed in the Philippines, most likely in the late 1970s. Excluding the covers, it has 72 pages (all story, no ads). (Click on the images to see higher-resolution versions.) It has 10 stories: Vengeance Trail (6 pages), “The Traps of Terror!” (7 pages), “The Man with the Scar!” (7 pages), “The River from Nowhere!” (8 pages), “The Flaming Trail!” (8 pages), “The Fence Stealers” (7 pages), “Straight Arrow, Bandit” (7 pages), “Doom of the North Wind” (8 pages), “The Menace of the Grey Wolves” (7 pages), “Doom Stalks the Treasure Seeker” (7 pages). The inner front cover is an article (The Plainsman: Trailblazer of the West) and the outer back cover is a comic strip (Ten-Gallon Allen).

This blog post is dedicated to Terry, who just bought all the Philippine reprints I’ve blogged about, including this one.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! True Ghost Stories #24087

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240871 I’m selling this Ripley’s Believe It or Not! True Ghost Stories #24087 co-published by South Pacific Publications Limited and Rosnock Publications and printed in the Philippines most likely in the late 1970s. (Click on the images to see higher-resolution versions.) It has 24 pages (all story, no ads). For some reason, it has the cover of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! #13 but not its stories. There are 4 stories: The Black Demon of Devon (8 pages), John Bell’s Devil Witch (6 pages), The Creature from the Loch (4 pages), The Horror Called Spring-Heel Jack (6 pages). The inner front cover (Prehistoric Americans: The Pre-Incas) and the inner back cover (Fish: Gobies) are 1-page articles in comic strip form. I read this issue many times when I was a child, so it’s in poorer shape than my other Philippine reprints.

Heroes of the West Jumbo Edition #45009

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450091 I’m selling this reprint of Heroes of the West Jumbo Edition #45009 co-published by South Pacific Publications Limited Hong Kong, Philippines and Jubilee Publications, Australia and printed in the Philippines. It has 64 pages (excluding the covers) of stories and no ads. (Click on the images to see higher-resolution versions of them.) It has a 1-peso National Book Store price tag, a ridiculously low price even during the time my father bought it (some time in the 1980s).

This issue has 8 stories: The Apache Kid: “Grey Wolf Strikes!” (7 pages), John Wayne: The Case of the Vain Bandit (10 pages), “Terror of the Range” (6 pages), Jesse James: Six Gun Terror (7 pages), John Wayne: Tall Timber (14 pages), John Wayne: Goddess Gold (6 pages), Inheritance of Death! (7 pages), Jesse James: Helltown Hold-Ups (7 pages). The inner front cover (Gunsights) and the inner back cover (Pride of the Hills) are each 1-page articles in comic strip form. It seems to be missing an 8-page story (Straight Arrow: Death from Nowhere!) that was in the original issue.

The Twilight Zone #33

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ttz331 I’m selling this reprint of The Twilight Zone #33 co-published by South Pacific Publications Limited and Rosnock Publications and printed in the Philippines. (Click on the images to see higher-resolution versions of them.) It has 24 pages: a 9-page story (The Bounty Hunters), a 4-page story (The Bookworm), a 1-page article in comic strip form (Lost in the Twilight Zone), and a 10-page story (Manolete’s Last Fight). The inner front cover (Calling the Twilight Zone) and inner back cover (Dinosauria: Pterodactyl) are 1-page articles in comic strip form. The reprint (most likely printed in the late 1970s) seems to be missing a 1-page story (The Killer Doll) and a half-page statement of ownership in the original (June 1970) issue.

Marvel Adventures #1

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maradv11 I’m selling this Marvel Adventures #1 reprinted by National Book Store most likely in the late 1970s. (This issue, in turn, is a reprint of Daredevil #22.) Note that the cover has the title Marvel Adventure, but the indicia on the first page shows that the actual title is Marvel Adventures. (Click on the images to see higher-resolution versions of them.) This reprint has 20 pages (all story pages), with the inner covers advertisements for NBS like the outer back cover.

Note that the white color of the outer cover is not as yellowed as my other Philippine reprints. This is probably because I had covered this comic in a plastic cover since it was somewhat new. This was one of my first superhero comic books, and one of the very few Marvel comics I have ever read.

Hanna-Barbera The Banana Splits #8

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240401 I’m selling this Hanna-Barbera The Banana Splits #8 reprint co-published by South Pacific Publications Limited and Rosnock Publications and printed in the Philippines, most likely in the late 1970s. (Click on the images to see higher-resolution versions of them.) It has 24 black-and-white pages, a set of comic strips in the inner front cover (Quick Takes), and a collection of jokes in the inner back cover (Jest for Fun). It has two stories: the 18-page “The Treasure Trackers” and the 6-page “Ghost Town Jamboree.”