I woke up one morning and had a dream... Could I own every single issue of Detective Comics, Batman and all of the other subtitles in the Gotham universe?
Insane? Stupid? Inspired?
This can only end in obsession and financial chaos.

Friday, 30 December 2011

The EVIL of Pence Variants

So as promised, here is my Ebay story.

I received this in the post and I was a tad upset. Like furiously upset.

Advertised as a 'Fine' condition comic book and had a picture that was nothing like what you see here. Thing was I paid £20 for what was photographed as a Fine condition Daredevil #168 Cent Variant. I eagerly waited for over two weeks for this thing to arrive in a diabolically shoddy, second hand 'Play.com' envelope. Upon opening the envelope it slowly dawned on me that I had been screwed over... Condition wasn't that great, and something worse...

You see, I suffered the biggest problem us British American comic book collectors have to deal with: the Accursed Pence/Cent Variant Switcheroo.

I had decided pretty early on in collecting comics, that if I was going to collect comic books, and especially the proper Key books, then these comic books must be Cent variants. The reason, I justified, is that these are American comic books, and to feel truly genuine they need to have American currency values on the cover. Sad I know, but that's my rule and I have to stick to it. And I am not alone in the UK in upholding this rule.

I have discovered over the years that the Pence Variant is a dominant feature of the UK direct market certainly around 1981, I'm pretty sure that there are others eras earlier than this, but this is the one that is proving extremely problematic for me. And for those wondering, from what I can tell the ONLY difference between a Cent edition and a Pence edition is the actual price denomination (there are no British adverts to take the place of 'X-Rey Spex' adverts!). For me, it just looks wrong.

There's also a monetary value at play here also. Take Iron Man #129 'Demon In The Bottle' issue, you can pick up a high grade, pence variant copy of this book for a couple of quid (and it looks great in frame near your wine rack), but to buy this as a Cent variant in the same condition is treble that. And this is the apex of my rage at Daredevil 168, and the reason I think I got shafted by the seller, who (and this doesn't feel too harsh) either MISLED me into thinking what I was buying was what I was buying. Or upon discovering that his REAL DD#168 didn't make the price he thought it ought too, switched it to the lesser valued variant. And hoped I wouldn't notice.

How this relates to the Batman Quest is this: I'm going to have to bite the bullet and go directly Stateside to pick up a lot of early 1980's Batman. As this is the time where the problematic pence variants appear in the local, UK market. In short, I think it will be really hard to get hold of a cent copy of Detective Comics 505 in the UK than I thought it would originally be. Which kind of sucks in one way.

Or it means that a holiday is called for.

I properly threw my toys of the pram over my Daredevil #168. The seller had the gall to claim that as he was a 'comic dealer' (which his eBay feedback didn't support, although he has sold some Mint copies of 'Pirate' and 'Private' to a bloke in Germany) he would regularly use 'stock photo's', and that this was simply a mish-take, rather than a misdirection. Of course he disputed the condition, which is, as always, totally subjective but after nearly a month and daily emails, I got my money back.

Truthfully, I had to get my money back, by being a totally belligerent and gratuitous pain in the arse.

So beware people. If you have think something is too good to be true, it probably is.

Beware of the Evils of the Pence Variant.