At some point in the last couple of years, I purchased a stack of vintage Overstreet Comic Book Price Guides. The most recent is from 1984, and the earliest is from 1974. To put that into perspective, the latter is only the fourth edition of a book that is now in its 41st edition. It is a fascinating gateway back into what was undoubtedly both a simpler and yet far more difficult time for the hobby I love.
Though I had never gotten around to it before, I'd really like to discuss these artifacts of a different age for fandom. Today, we'll take a look at the 1973-74 era prices for some key Marvel comics in Mint (near perfect) condition. Remember, at this point in history, none of these books were even 15 years old.
Fantastic Four #1 (first FF) - $70
Amazing Fantasy #15 (first Spider-Man) - $40
Incredible Hulk #1 (first Hulk) - $30
Journey into Mystery #83 (first Thor) - $20
Tales of Suspense #39 (first Iron Man) - $15
Amazing Spider-Man #1 (first issue) - $40
Avengers #1 (first Avengers) - $14
X-Men #1 (first X-Men) - $10
Avengers #4 (first Silver Age Captain America) - $5
Daredevil #1 (first Daredevil) - $9
I know those prices were probably outrageous to some in 1974. Still, wouldn't you like to jump in a time machine and go buy some $10 copies of X-Men #1? Or how about scoring a like-new copy of Avengers #4 for the princely sum of five dollars(!)? As of right now, Lone Star Comics will offer you $336 for X-Men #1 -- in FAIR condition. Meanwhile, Avengers #4 could net you $123 -- in VERY GOOD condition. And those are just the prices that a major online retailer is offering for them, not what YOU could expect to pay to BUY them.
Oh, there's also at least one Bronze Age Marvel stalwart hidden in this 1974 Price Guide. In the listing for "Spider-Man" (they didn't recognize the "Amazing" until later), the prices go up through #130. And what is the price for Amazing Spider-Man #129, the first appearance of the Punisher?
20¢. In other words, cover price.