Welcome to the vault! People ask us all the time, "What do you collect?" The answer for the longest time has always been that we don't collect anything as we were trying to grow a fledgling business. If we were to hold on to everything that we really liked, we would have nothing left to sell!
While that sentiment remains true, there have always been a few things that are simply too cool for us to pass up. In an homage to our past, we have reopened the Vault of Collectibles to include some pieces that for the time being, we are keeping in our personal collection.
But what fun is it to keep these things hidden away? That's why we started the Vault. We want to share some of the things that we think are too cool to let go and hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
- Batman #1
- Batman #49
- All-Star Comics #8
- Showcase #4
- Marvel Spotlight #5
- Batman: The Cult Issue #1 Story Page 18 Original Art
- 1999 Wizards of the Coast Shadowless Base Set Pokemon Cards
- Black Lotus Unlimited
- Super Mario Bros Wata 8.5 B Seal
- Tecmo Bowl WATA 8.5 A Seal
- Jackie Robinson 1948 Leaf Rookie Card
- Willie Mays 1951 Bowman Rookie Card
A book that has long been on our personal and professional bucket list, we were finally able to cross this one off earlier this summer. At first, a goal that felt impossible and more of a lofty dream was eventually turned reality through years of work! This book is one of the most iconic of the Golden Age and features the first appearances of both the Joker and Catwoman! With just 144 Universal copies on the census, we knew we had to find a nice presenting copy, and believe it or not, this 1.8 still beats out 44 of the other Universal copies out there. What I like the most about our copy is how beautiful the front and back covers present with most of the damage occurring to the spine. While we are thrilled to own it, I know it's going to be hard to top this one for our next vault entry!
Drawn by Bob Kane, this Golden Age Batman cover is one of our absolute favorites. This book is instantly recognizable with the Joker drawn as a magic Genie on a bright red cover, contrasting the many yellow covers of the time. Not only does this book feature a great cover, but also the 1st appearance of Vicki Vale and the Mad Hatter, one of Batman's most enduring enemies.
With only four copies graded at a CGC 9.6 and none in 9.8 after 20 years of grading, this was a book that we knew belonged in the vault.
All-Star Comics #8
All-Star Comics #8 is the third most important DC book of the Golden Age after Detective Comics #27 and Action Comics #1. This issue features the origin and 1st appearance of Wonder Woman, the most important female character in comic book history.
To date, there are only 191 copies of All-Star Comics #8 on the census, with only 134 of those achieving Universal status. Though this copy is only graded a 3.5, there are just 66 Universal copies graded higher at the time of this writing.
Arguably the book that ushered in the Silver Age, Showcase #4 is a pillar of comic history. This issue featured the Origin and 1st appearance of Barry Allen and also the 1st appearance of Iris West. While Showcase was a series for trying out new characters, the success of the new Flash prompted a return to the superhero genre as a whole, and paved the way for other reimaginings of Green Lantern, Atom, and the Spectre. Eventually, Marvel would take a page out of the DC playbook and begin writing superhero stories of their own.
Due to the these books being published several years before superheroes took the world by a storm, early Silver Age DC books are incredibly scarce, and Showcase #4 is no exception with just 406 Universal copies having been graded by CGC in their 20+ years of grading. This 6.5 lands in the top 11% of all Universal copies with just 37 copies achieving a higher grade. This copy also features a deep orange color that some copies lack, and is absent of any major defects to take away from the eye appeal!
Marvel Spotlight #5
The only Bronze Age book to make our vault page, and you might be wondering why. Originally featured as a white clad cowboy in the Western comic Ghost Rider, this character was reimagined in the early 1970's as a motorcyclist with a flaming skull! Though he started in this tryout issue of Marvel Spotlight, he was quickly given his own series starting just a year later. This issue features the origin story of Johnny Blaze as well as his first appearance.
While it isn't tough to find a copy, they are incredibly difficult to find in grade due to the black cover showing almost any defect. To date, this 9.4 finds itself in the top 2.9% of all Universally graded copies (4,549!). Others have also realized how tough this book is as a 9.8 copy sold last June for an earth shattering $264,000!
Batman: The Cult Issue #1 Story Page 18 Original Art
Wrightson is an undisputed master in the comic medium and a Wrightson Batman page was at the top of our list for diving back into original art. This page features Batman in every panel as he surveys a crime scene that leads him to the sewers.
Created in ink over graphite on DC Bristol board with an image area of 10" x 15.75".
1999 Wizards of the Coast Shadowless Base Set Pokemon Cards
A staple of our childhoods, these Pokemon cards are sure to bring back memories for many. The 1999 set consisted of three different "prints" for lack of a better term. There were 1st edition, shadowless, and unlimited prints of the same cards. What differentiates the three prints is that the 1st edition cards carried a 1st edition stamp on the card, while the shadowless cards were mirror images of these cards, but lacked the obvious 1st edition stamp. Finally, the third set, unlimited cards, were released with slightly enhanced graphics and added drop shadows on some text and border images, thus making the previous two sets "shadowless".
Any would be Pokemon master knows these 3 cards are some of the most sought after in the set, and are responsible for 20+ years of video games, tv series, and movies.
Black Lotus Unlimited
Similar to Pokemon, Magic the Gathering started with several different core sets of cards. The original print runs were the Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited sets and all featured the most powerful cards in the game known as the Power Nine. They were of the highest rarity in each set they appeared in with a total number of 22,800 copies of each card being printed from late 1993 to early 1994.
Today, there are only 275 Black Lotus unlimited's on the PSA census. While CGC hasn't released their trading card population report yet, we can anticipate only a handful more appearing once it is finalized.
Super Mario Bros Wata 8.5 B Seal
Arguably the most important game of all time, Super Mario Bros helped change the idea of what video games could be and created a franchise that still exists today. This copy is graded an 8.5 by WATA and is still in its original factory shrink wrap, denoted by the "B" seal rating to the left of the grade number.
When we learned about the start of WATA back in 2018, we knew that graded video games were the start of something special. Having collected video games for years ourselves prior to the founding of WATA, it was a perfect combination of the worlds we were already familiar with.
Tecmo Bowl WATA 8.5 A Seal
An all time classic that ranks highly on anyones classic video games list, Tecmo Bowl for the NES was a port of the 1987 arcade game. The first NES game to feature NFL teams, anyone with an older sibling remembers getting beaten by Bo Jackson and the Raiders, the equivalent of an in game cheat code.
While not particularly rare in its later production release, this particular copy features the round Nintendo seal of quality, signifying an earlier release of the game. Of these earlier production round seals, there are only a handful of copies known to exist in sealed condition.
Jackie Robinson 1948 Leaf Rookie Card
When putting together a list of some of the most important baseball cards of the 20th century, it’s impossible to leave off the 1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson. Printed just months after he made his historic debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, it represents Jackie’s rookie card and the first time that a mainstream, nationally issued bubble gum card featured an African-American. While not the highest quality example in existence, this card came to us in an original owner collection and we knew our odds of finding another were slim to none.
About the player: Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 - October 24, 1972) will forever be remembered for breaking the color barrier as the first black player to play in Major League Baseball since the 1880s. Robinson helped the Brooklyn Dodgers to six National League pennants and the 1955 World Series championship. In 1947, Jackie Robinson won the Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award and in 1949, took home the National League’s Most Valuable Player award.
Willie Mays 1951 Bowman Rookie Card
Like fellow superstars Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, Mays made his debut in the 1951 Bowman set. While there were a few hundred Mays collectibles produced during his playing career, his only official rookie card is the one that garners the most attention. Coming in the same collection as the Jackie Robinson leaf, we knew that this card had to be graded and preserved in the vault.
About the player: Mays was a 24-time All-Star selection, a 12-time Gold Glove winner, the 1951 National League Rookie of the Year, a two-time NL Most Valuable Player (1954, 1965) and a member of the 1954 World Series champion New York Giants. Playing the majority of his 22-year career in a Giants uniform (1951-1952, 1954-1972), Mays’ numbers are among the best ever including his 660 career home runs, third behind Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth at the time of his retirement.