Star Wars #1 35 Cent Variant Facts, Values, Sales and Investment Review

The Star Wars #1 35 cent variant has been one of the most valuable and sought after comic books of the Bronze Age for several years. In the past week two copies sold on E-bay and I wanted to take a few minutes and review the results with you. We’ll discuss how to determine an authentic 35 cent variant, value and sales history, and future outlook.

What is the 35 Cent Variant?

If you look in the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide for Star Wars #1 you can’t help but be drawn to the high values of the 35 cent variant. It’s important that you don’t confuse this with the normal 30 cent edition or the reprint 35 cent edition – two very common mistakes.

Why is there a variant?  Marvel typically tested price increases on a limited basis before rolling out the increase over all their comic titles. Star Wars isn’t the only title with these variants, and there is a subset of people who collect these “35 cent variants.”The 35 cent variant of Star Wars #1 had very limited distribution, and although the exact numbers aren’t known, the Overstreet estimate is about 1500 copies.

The most important piece of information you must know about the Star Wars 35 cent variant is the true variant has a bar code in the UPC square. There are copies that were distributed in 3 packs with the 35 cent price tag but the square where the UPC code should be is blank. These typically also have “REPRINT” along the upper left hand spine next to the Luke Skywalker picture. I’ve included some photo examples below.

The “Authentic” Variant

First we have an example of an authentic 35 cent variant. Notice the square price box and the bar codes in the UPC box.

star wars 1 35 cent

The “Fake” Variant

Next we have an example of a 35 cent edition that is not the real deal, but unfortunately many people get fooled into thinking it is.

Star Wars 1

Here is how these “fake” editions were originally sold in stores (I remember seeing them in the toy section of our local grocery store!)


Now that you know what to look for let’s take a look at the values and price performance of this issue over the last several years.

Value and Sales History

Our first stop is the CGC census to see how many of this particular comic they’ve graded. This gives us a starting point and one concrete piece of the classic supply and demand formula.

As of the posting of this article CGC has graded a total of 143 issues. Remember, this is out of a potential 1500. The highest grade is 9.6 with two copies, followed by 10 9.4’s, 6 9.2’s and 19 9.0’s. For this example I’ll also look at a 4.5 copy like the one recently sold on Ebay – 10 copies graded.

Now let’s move on to the sales.

The two most recent sales on E-bay were a CGC 9.0 copy and a CGC 4.5.  The 9.0 sold for $4,383.00 and the 4.5 sold for $1,079.80.

The CGC 9.0 copy is a great example because the exact same copy (as verified by the CGC certification number) sold in December 2012 for $4,200.00.  In two years that’s an increase in $183, not too great a return once you factor in E-bay and Paypal fees.  Actually if you plug the number into the E-bay Fee Calculator you end up with a loss.    Remarkably, a CGC 9.0 (different certification number) sold in 2013 for $8,000.  The volatility of this comic in 9.0 is impressive to say the least!

The last comparable CGC 4.5 copy sold in 2010 for $426.00.  Compared to the recent sale for $1,079.80 that’s a nice return!

Lessons Learned and Future Prospects

The main reason I wanted to research Star Wars comic books is the franchise resurgence since the Disney purchase and announcement of new movies.  My gut instinct is bullish on these comics due to increased press hopefully resulting in higher demand.  If I only looked at the CGC 4.5 copy I would say I was justified and we may see even more increases as the movies get closer.  But the CGC 9.0 sale presents a problem.

Why did the CGC 9.0 do so poorly?  We can only speculate.  The 2013 sale for 8,000 of a different copy may have been an outlier based on speculation for the new movies.  The buyer may have thought the copy was worthy of a crack out and resubmission for a higher grade.  We don’t know.  The only concrete data we have is the latest sale is disappointing as a speculation.

So what’s my opinion going forward?

I regard these Star Wars comics as highly speculative and I believe the data supports my position.  I am still bullish on the comic books, especially rare copies like the 35 cent variant.  As always, and probably even more so now, I would be very careful about the price paid for the comics if you have any hope of selling for a profit when the movie hype ramps up.

I’ll continue to watch sales as we approach Star Wars VII 2015 release.



One Response to “Star Wars #1 35 Cent Variant Facts, Values, Sales and Investment Review”

  1. […] comic book is the “grail” issue (make sure you choose the correct one, not the reprint, learn how to tell them apart here), but the standard 30 cent edition is going strong too. Who knows what the future will bring? Go […]

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