Friday, February 03, 2006

Carson City/Comstock pedigree

CARSON CITY/COMSTOCK - This collection surfaced out of Carson City, Nevada and was sold as two separate accumulations to two different dealers, hence the two accepted names of the pedigree. The first purchase was made by Mark Wilson.

In 1992 an old woman contacted Wilson via his mail order business in Washington state and offered him a few various comics she had found. Her husband had owned a tobacco and candy store during the 1930's and 1940's and saved practically every periodical that passed through his store. He had stored them in various shacks on his property, where they stayed until the 1990's. His wife, deciding to clean the shacks out, threw all of the contents of one shack out, consisting of nothing but old newspapers. Upon cleaning out the second shack she noticed that inside each newspaper was another periodical, usually a magazine such as Life, or even a comic book. Upon discovering that some of the hidden periodicals held value she realized the fortune she threw away from the first shack.

Once contacted, Wilson quickly flew down to Nevada to purchase the comics from the second shack. The accumulation was small, about 50 books, but almost every comic was a #1 issue. In addition, the grade was immaculate and the page quality was beautiful.

As a gift Wilson gave the woman a new price guide and a set of Ernie Gerber's Photo-Journal. Upon inspection of the photo-journal the woman found Gerber's address and realized she was only about 30 miles away from him. She contacted Gerber and offered him the second batch of comics from the next shack she had since cleaned out after Wilson left. Gerber, unaware of Wilson's involvement at the time, gladly accepted. A deal was consummated, this time for about 200 comics, and Gerber left with the books. Wilson, expecting to purchase the second batch from the woman, tried to set up another visit, but she kept stalling. Ultimately, Wilson discovered she had sold the books to Gerber. In spite of the woman's questionable handling of the collection, neither Wilson nor Gerber harbored any ill will toward each other.

The earliest books were from 1939 and continued on into the 1940's with a few stretching into the 1950's. Some highlights of the collection included a Marvel #1, All-Star #1, Mysterymen #1, Science #1, All-Select #1, Boy Commandos #1, and reportedly the nicest existing copy of Big All-American #1 and New York World's Fair 1939. The average grade was VF-NM and the page quality ranged from slightly yellow to stark white. The occasional yellowing of pages was due to the various placement of comics in the six-foot stacks of newspapers in the shacks.

IDENTIFICATION-Because there are relatively few comics in this collection tracking the ownership of a copy in question is fairly easy. There are two other ways one can identify a Carson City/Comstock copy as well. 1)Most of the comics in the collection had "no.1" or "1" written on the cover, identifying it as the first issue in a series. 2)A date stamp can be found on a small number of authentic copies, usually on the back cover and in red or blue ink.

DESIRABILITY-Even though the Carson City/Comstock collection is relatively small in size the magnitude of books in it are substantial enough to warrant a pedigree in many collectors' eyes. This, coupled with the high grade and beautiful page quality, allows copies from the collection to fetch multiples of guide when sold.

When the collection was first sold by Wilson the asking price for the books was 1.2x to 1.3x guide, which was unheard of at the time. This was partially due to the slump in Golden Age comics during that period; the Marvel #1 was actually sold for under guide. Since then, movement of copies from this pedigree usually results in multiples as high as 3x to 4x guide, depending on the comic for sale.

--frm Matt Nelson's

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