Pedigree comic book collections are one of the most exciting parts of the comic book hobby. In this post we’ll talk about what they are, why they’re important and where to find them.
What’s a Pedigree Comic Book?
To become an accepted pedigree, a collection usually has three characteristics. These are a traceable origin, the quality of the books and the consistency of the collection.
The origin of the collection means that typically one person collected the comic books over a period of time. It could have been early in the history of comics (the Golden Age), or even later, typically the 1970’s (bronze age) being the newest books accepted into the group. One of the most famous collections, the Mile High Pedigree, was collected by one man, Edgar Church, from the late 1930’s to early 1950’s. He stored the books in his cool, dry basement in Colorado and they sat until discovered in 1977.
The quality of the books always enters into the acceptability equation. To qualify for pedigree status, the comics typically have to be in top condition. In the case of the Mile High books many of them are the highest quality, or highest graded, books in existence. Sometimes there are lower condition books, but this usually occurs in very large collections.
Finally we have the consistency or content of the collection. The Mile High Collection contained virtually every comic book published in the years the comics were stored. In other instances, such as the Denver Pedigree, only first issues were collected and stored. The collection could consist of particular years, genres, etc. Basically, there is a common thread that ties the collection together.
If a collection meets the three criteria above, there is a chance it will be accepted as a pedigree by the collecting public.
Why is a Pedigree Collection Important?
Perhaps the most important aspect of a pedigree collection is it captures and saves a piece of American history. When these collections are uncovered it’s like going back in time and finding the books on the newsstand. The smell of the ink and paper, the brilliant colors of the covers all add to the mystique.
From a collecting and investing point of view these collections are important because they bring several multiples of Guide when they are sold. They are unique, one of a kind books that are consistently hoarded in collections and infrequently offered for sale. In future posts I’ll show some of the sales prices and you’ll see what I mean.
Where to Find Pedigree Comic Books For Sale
Since these books are rare, you have to do some hunting. You can find them on E-bay, but the issues are sporadic. Major auction houses such as Heritage also offer them for sale. If you want to claim a book from a particular pedigree you have to take the time and search. Also, be ready to act if there is a specific book you want for sale because once it’s sold, they have a tendency to disappear into individual collections for years!