The past year has been a good one for The Avengers and all of the team's members — particularly when it comes to vintage comics sales. The lastest record to fall is for the first appearance of Thor in Journey Into Mystery #83. A CGC 9.4 copy of the comic was sold by Pedigree Comics this week for $222,200.
Journey Into Mystery #83 is cover-dated August 1962 and hit the newsstands that June. The title began in 1952 and was originally a horror anthology, but issue #83 introduced Thor in a 13 page story titled "The Stone Men From Saturn" by Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, Stan Lee, and Larry Lieber. Thor appeared in the book from #83 through #125, and the title was renamed Thor with issue #126 in 1966.
This CGC 9.4 copy is tied with two other copies for 2nd best copy ever evaluated by the industry's third-party grading service Comics Guaranty Corporation, which maintains a census of the comics it has graded. The best known and census-topping CGC 9.6 copy from the famous White Mountain pedigree last changed hands several years ago in a private transaction, before the most recent escalation of Marvel key comic prices of the past few years. The previous record for a copy of this issue was for a CGC 9.2 copy for $100,000 in October 2011, also from Pedigree Comics.
"The book is characterized by unbelievable color strike, perfect centering, tight staples, razor sharp corners and phenomenal white pages," says Doug Schmell of Pedigree Comics. "It is easily the second nicest existing copy and it comes from the best known run of Journey Into Mystery (the "Canadian Original Owner Collection"). Founded in 2002, this unbelievable run of Journey Into Mystery (28 books in total) contains many of the highest graded examples of each issue, most of which are in certified 9.4 and higher. "
With Marvel's visibility at an all-time high among the general public, last year was a banner year for high grade copies of vintage Marvel comics. In 2011, Bleeding Cool noted record sales of X-Men #1 for $200,000, Fantastic Four #1 for $300,000, Captain America Comics #1 for $343,000 , Avengers #1 for $250,000, Avengers #4 for $91,500, and Tales of Suspense (first Iron Man) for $147,500, with the best copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (first appearance of Spider-Man) shocking the vintage collecting scene with a $1.1 million sale in March 2011.
This Journey Into Mystery #83 sale looks like our first big record of 2012, kicking off the year right by more the doubling the previous public sale of any copy of the book. With an absolutely astounding slate of vintage comics coming up from Heritage Auctions next month, we will soon see if 2012 maintains the pace set last year.