When a comic book collector thinks of silver, they likely think of great silver age comics, but if you ask the average investor about silver, they would likely think of the precious metal that has industrial uses as well as collectibility. It begs the question, which silver is worth more?

The silver age of comic books has many great attributes, especially the beginning of the Marvel universe and modern comic book characterization as we know it today. So many great characters and stories came out of the silver age, but the most popular (and valuable) has to be Amazing Fantasy #15, which features the first appearance of Spider-Man, who becomes the face of Marvel Comics really from that point forward.

Silver Age Comics Price Performance

The silver age key books have skyrocketed in price over the past decade. This is thanks to the advent of the Marvel cinematic universe, among other factors. Characters that had been ignored for years suddenly exploded in popularity and their first appearances followed in price. A great example is Tales of Suspense #39, which features the first appearance of Iron Man. The book has risen exponentially in price, but the one book that has stayed at the top consistently is the aforementioned Amazing Fantasy #15.
If you look at the GoCollect sale history analyzer, you will see that a 9.4 universal graded CGC copy of AF #15 has risen 75% in value from 2010 to today based on actual sales data. That is a great blue chip-type return for a book that has been on the Overstreet most valuable silver age list since the beginning. Everyone knows the book and it continues to rise in value year after year. But what about other investments, namely physical silver?

Physical Silver and Its Value

Much like Amazing Fantasy #15, silver is a known commodity in the investment world. It has real-world applications with uses that include solar technology, electronics, and even medicine. Unlike the other big daddy of precious metals, gold, silver is much more than a store of wealth. Having said that, it has always trailed gold in value. It is more plentiful and also been more volatile in its pricing over the years.

Like many other alternative assets, its price rose dramatically around the time of the stock market crash in 2008 and it has seen a spike in value recently as well. The average price for silver in 2009 was $14.67 an ounce. Today, that price is around $26.53 per ounce. This means silver has gained around 80% since 2009, making it a slightly better buy (depending upon what you paid at the time) than the king of silver age comics, Amazing Fantasy #15.

Which One Should You Own?

I will answer my question with another question; why not both? A good investment portfolio should contain some alternative investments that tend to perform well when the overall market is down. Both high-grade key issue comic books and precious metals fit into that category. Personally, I would be comfortable owning 20% alternatives in my portfolio and splitting that percentage between precious metals and high-grade proven collectibles.

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