As I told everyone in my post a while back, Stan Lee signed my Doctor Strange #169 while I was a Fandomfest 2016. You can read about that here. And as I said, I took it to the CGC table immediately so I could get it graded and encapsulated. CGC is actually short for Certified Guaranty Company, the first independent grading service for comic books based in Sarasota, FL. It was started in 2000.
As an impartial grader, CGC examines the condition of comics and grades them on a 10 point scale, with a 10 being considered mint condition. A CGC rating helps to verify the valuation of a comic book. In fact, in 2014 a CGC graded Action Comic #1, which features the very first story of Superman, sold for $3.2M. CGC also helps keep forged and fraudulent comics off the market.
Furthermore, and important to this story, is that CGC through its Signature Series, corroborates signatures of the creators, artists, illustrators, and writers of comics, verifying that a book has been signed by someone of significance to the comic.
So why did I have my my Doctor Strange #169 signed by Stan Lee? After all, 169 is not normally an important number in the comic book world. However, this comic is, indeed, different. The original appearances of Dr. Strange were told in the comic book series Strange Tales. For issue #169 Strange Tales ended, and #169 became the first official Doctor Strange title. That’s the significance of #169.
My 169 was not in the best shape. I’ve had it for years. It’s moved with me through various cross-country moves. Hell, it even survived a tornado and a hurricane – miraculously enough without getting any water damage. I estimated it would be graded at about a 2.5. Needless to say I was happily surprised when it came back as a 5.0. So I looked up some prices. 169s graded at a nine are worth about $1000.00. 169s graded at a five are worth about $200.00. However, with Stan the Mans’ signature, it’s obviously worth more than that.
Still, I am always scouring consignment shops and other places for my white whale, Strange Tales #110. That’s the first ever appearance of Doctor Strange. Of course at this price, I’ll need a raise.