Captain American #6 2004 Vol 5

By Ed Brubaker Steve Epting

CGC Census:
Total for regular cover: 535
Total for variant cover: 482
Regular 9.8: 276
Variant 9.8: 245
Comicchron total 46,360 (rank 35)
% of 9.8 base on 15% model: 7000 raw about 8% are graded.
Bay Average sale (pre trailer reveal) CGC 9.8 $180, Raw $50 (sporadic)

Buy The Numbers will be a regular (ish) series examining the value of a selected key title and why you should or should buy into the market value. Our first book we will examine is an undervalued modern key that I feel is ripe for market correction. Captain America #6 the first appearance of the Winter Soldier. The variant is the first cover appearance as well. Everyone knows by now the importance of the WS to the MCU but what makes this title really safe for spec opportunities is that Bucky is a historically important and significant player in funnies as well. 


Strangely enough sales have been sluggish for some time even though he counted as hero AND villain in the movies AND the comics. The character was in the well received film and comic counterparts that closely resembled each other. 

A tough one, nearly white all over it is susceptible to dirt and cover damage easier ( Mostly white and black covers are notorious for the difficulties in retaining grades over time). Both covers are fantastic and homage to the film The Scarlet and the Black by the underused Steve Epting. While there are not as many homage collectors as there once was (especially with this obscure reference) they do exist and this adds to the upfront value.

THE STORY: Obviously many of us have seen Captain America Winter Soldier (90% rotten tomatoes 23 on the their all time superhero movie list) and quite a few have read The Winter Soldier by now and know it's one of the best Captain America runs in the modern era (this writers favorite). So your fear of purchasing should be alleviated since the story itself was partially adapted into MCU AND one of the finer arcs from a very storied character. Double win.

THE BIG ONE, THE NUMBERS: Oddly enough this critical darling was quite controversial at the time. Bucky being dead was sort of anchor and fans were skeptical. The sales injustice reflects this and it sat at 35 overall with 46,360. Fairly low for a major title (we all know of comics struggles) and relaunch.  The same month DC had seen DC seriously putting it to Marvel. The Green Lantern relaunch was underway and was critical and sales darling. Securing 5 of the top 10 spots in sales with titles that now would be considered far worse than the WS. Villians United, Omac Project, and Rann Thanagar War….. But for collecting purposes this helps you. You should know that any time you want to invest (and I don’t recommend investing in comics but here we are) in something numbers rule. And lower sales mean less issues. Less issues mean less high grade (9.6 and 9.8) units and less availability. A nice cocktail for price increase for a very popular character that as we all know isn’t done in the media or the books. 

So if you're so smart why hasn’t this blown up? A few factors are hindering this title. The WS, while popular, is of course not the first appearance of Bucky. Captain America Comics #1 is and that title is well out of reach even for the highest of high rollers. This affects the perceived value of quite a few characters who take on mantles or new identities. This makes it less desirable even though the other is out of reach. The other is the market itself. Stagnant sales figures make it hard to invest in a book, even less to plunk down cash into multiple copies for a gain. Another problem is that spikes can occur (like now with the newest trailer) and warp data figures. MCU or media appearances don’t always mean long term gains. Luckily this book is attached to a great character(s) with a great story which anchors it to collectors.

Let's compare “similar” debuts for popular characters: 

NYX #3 X-23-mantle character, similar sales:

Total sales 40,040. 

Total Graded: 4167

Total 9.8's: 1679

So here we have a book that most speculators and collectors are very aware of. If you are new to this then welcome to your introduction to a blue chip spec title. Wolverines clone (not daughter that’s for another spec segment) first appearance. This title has been debated for  quite some time in the speculators market. This book in a 9.8 commanded a 1K price tag and sits in the 600-700 range now.

THE COMPARE: So why compare? On the surface now this doesn’t seem like you could compare. But at one time these two books could be purchased for the same price. This is also to showcase to you what the difference in a new character compared to older characters taking over a mantle (per se) does to books. This should also let you know that more 9.8's are out there and ungraded for Captain America #6. While I don’t see WS ever cracking a nice 1000 in our time, I do see gains.

Young Avengers #1 - Reason to compare? Tough Cover and characters who take over a mantle: 

Total Sales 87,991

Total Graded: 997

Total 9.8: 640 

THE ANGLE: Now this book can be seen from a different angle. Characters taking over pre established monikers. Tough Cover, similar graded data. This book is fully loaded and spec favorite right now. NM will run you around $100 raw and graded around $300. Sales have been climbing for this book. So in comparison around the same amount graded. Same amount at 9.8, around the same era so availability should be here or there. So why has this book taken off? Speculators think that this has a few characters that will hit the MCU and a big reason is Kate Bishop taking over the mantle of Hawkeye. Seen where this is going. Now this book may (big maybe) might settle back down but the forecast is up. Weirdly though our guy WS hasn’t seen the same love even though he has been well established in film and comics with more to come. 

If we use available data, which in part should be taken with a grain of salt for modern titles) and break it down there should be roughly 7000 9.8's (combined covers) floating around. 520'ish on the cgc census for 9.8's mean less than 8% of those have been graded. What does this mean? It means buying raw copies to flip in the long term can have substantial gains. Graded or ungraded. The effects of the films and streaming is volatile but are real and this book is primed for market correction. I’ve purchased multiple copies that can either be cleaned and pressed into higher grades or are themselves higher grades averaging in the 25-30 range and while you can you could snag copies in that price that could be easily upgraded or for as low as $50 for a high grade.

THE RISK: I would suggest getting in while the getting is good and the risk is low. Flipping once the show hits can net great gains and what is even better is that this is a possible long term hold as well. Stash a 9.6 or 9.8 for yourself and take the others and flip. As time rages on the character gets used in so many ways price correction is only a matter of time and the book has a nice cocktail for speculation. This being great for the personal collection is great as well and lowers the risk.

PRO'S: Tough Cover, Lowerish Sales, Homage Cover, First Cover Appearance, lots of high grade raws.

CON'S: Not a “true first”. Not for splashy gains.


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