Unless the sign meant they were limiting the price to only $2.50.

§ February 4th, 2020 § Filed under found art, retailing § 5 Comments


An artifact of a different time…found this in a collection of comics I acquired the other day. Mixed in with the random volumes of classic comic strip reprints and Lovecraft comics with price tags from my former place of employment (with my writing on them, no less) was the above, clearly a display item from some anonymous comic shop (or otherwise — see below) store.

It’s hard to recall now, in this time of belt-tightening and ordering comics as close to the bone as possible, when such overwrought demand for investible collectibles necessitated 1) placing limits of “copies per customer” and 2) ordering so many copies of a first issue, even from a small indie black and white publisher like this, to anticipate demand so great that you can have enough to go around at five per.

Now there are many possible reasons for this, beyond just keeping the first guy in the door from buying all your copies, leaving none for anyone else. When I posted a pic of this comic on Twitter, I had folks suggest maybe this was being sold in a sports card shop, where demand could be relatively greater (possible, since card shops and everyone else were trying to sell comics for a time there), or maybe this came from a story in Nolan Ryan’s hometown, where folks could be more eager to get this baseball mitts on a funnybook featuring the local-boy-made-good. Or as I suggested, maybe the retailer in question accidentally ordered too many copies and put the “five per” sign on it to attract attention and maybe make it sell more quickly to the sorts of consumers anxious to get in on what would appear to be the new, hot thing.

I don’t recall if there was ever any secondary market demand for this particular book…enough so that anyone saw a significant return on their $2.50 per-unit investment. I know that the copy pictured above, after I took this photo, went straight to the dollar bins.

5 Responses to “Unless the sign meant they were limiting the price to only $2.50.”

  • John Lancaster says:

    I hate it when I find hand written price stickers in my handwriting. It makes me feel old. We got a price gun in 1993. I went to a comic show in Charlotte, NC sometime around 2007 and found back issues in their dollar box with my handwriting – and that’s 800 miles away from me. It got me thinking…I wonder how many states my price stickers are in? I’d wager maybe a good 2/3 of them based on what I’ve personally run across.

    As for customer limits; we never much bothered with that. As long as we had our customer base filled and covered it was first some, first served.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Evaluation, Vetting, Identification, and Licensing Corp?

  • Hal Shipman says:

    I was the guy that made the suggestion that the copy somehow migrated to you from Houston. I was living there in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He was a HUGE deal then. I honestly don’t remember enough sports stuff, but I think he was voted into the Hall of Fame, got some kind of record for pitching, most games played or something of that ilk. But there was SOMETHING that happened then that would matter to the same sort of people that would buy a book about him in the first place. My point? It was more than just being from Houston.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “straight to the dollar bins” considering the likely quality of the art/story, it’s lucky to NOT go in the RECYCLE bin!

  • Signal Watch says:

    I’ll echo Hal here a bit. I’m still in Texas and people still love Nolan Ryan. He’s involved in the Astros organization, I believe, and had a partial stake in Austin/ Round Rock’s minor league club. He sells a line of meats. I think in the 90’s he was maybe just one of the oldest pitchers anyone had ever seen – and was still going strong. You could get a few bucks for it now in the Lone Star State. Heck, I’d buy it. But I couldn’t tell you when I’d decide “that’s a little steep for a Nolan Ryan comic book”.

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