Hulk Incredible Price Guide for Incredible Hulk #181
The world's hottest comic! Prices of Hulk #181 have gone utterly mad this year.
So much so that I feel compelled to publish this article about the mad gold rush into Wolverine's first comic book appearance.
Simply put, the world has gone nuts on this comic. It's not just about record prices for most grades of this VERY COMMON comic book from 1975.
I want to just illustrate how insane prices are by showing you what certain CGC grades of Incredible Hulk #181 are selling for -- and a "This or That?" alternative to owning one.
In other words, what OTHER comic book could you buy for the same price?
Let's dive right in.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 1.5
Last Sale: $900
2016 Average: none
2017 Average: $567
Missing corner, thrashed spine, serious wear across the top, and missing part of an interior page and therefore incomplete.
THIS is what you visualized when you set out to own a Hulk #181?
The rush to own a copy, ANY copy, of this book has led to dogs like this having their day. And mark my words, it's the cheap end of the market which will fall the hardest. Last in, first out.
Wait until you see what you can own instead for the same price!
Showcase #22 is a big key issue for a character still important in DC Universe continuity.
Okay, it's DC not Marvel. But it IS a huge first appearance, the first appearance of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern of the Silver Age.
And it's from 1959, more than 15 years earlier. And it's far rarer.
True, it's still at the dog end of the market, but if you're happy to own a 1.5 of Hulk Incredible #181 then you ought to be even happier owning a 1.0 of SC#22.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 2.0
Last Sale: $1,250
2016 Average: $725
2017 Average: $742
This one is at least complete. But it's missing a big portion of the right edge, torn off or tape pull gone horribly wrong.
In my mind, this is not a big upgrade from the 1.5. $1,250 is a lot of money to pay for a condition you'd reject if it were virtually ANY other 1970s comic book.
Let's see what you could aspire to instead.
Yep, the first appearance of Daredevil, aka Matt Murdock, can be yours for a shade UNDER the price of the Hulk.
AT HIGHER GRADE!
You'll have $50 left to buy yourself a copy of Hulk vs Wovlerine, so you can read a reprint of the story AND own a huge key issue from 1964.
Interest in Daredevil Marvel comics has increased due to the Netflix series. And 3.5 is a very, very respectable grade. You're definitely not dogging it!
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 3.0
Last Sale: $2,000
2016 Average: $657
2017 Average: $759
Let's have a reality check, shall we?
$2K is serious money to drop on a 3.0 of anything from the 1970s. To put it into context, here are other red-hot keys from the 70s (most recent sale):
This surely illustrates how over-heated Hulk #181 has become.
All the books above are super-hot, and yet they lag far, far behind Hulk in the same condition (you could own THREE copies of House of Secrets #92 for the same price!).
But I'm about to blow your mind.
The same grade! The first appearance of the Avengers! OMG, how could you possibly buy the Hulk when this is on the table?
And it's the SAME GRADE! Did I mention that?!
A 3.0 of this key issue is very respectable.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 4.0
Last Sale: $2,300
2016 Average: $780
2017 Average: $911
We're starting to get into serious money now. It makes my job of finding comparably-priced key issue comic books far easier, to be honest!
A 4.0 is not an utter rag, but it's really not much of an upgrade from a 2.0 when all's said and done.
Why not set your sights a lot higher, and buy a really superb-looking key issue from the 60s?
The first appearance of the Silver Surfer is just as significant as the first appearance of Wolverine.
Logan's dead and gone, and Galactus and Silver Surfer are just about to get a new lease on life, thanks to Disney bringing them home to Marvel Studios.
And let's not overlook how much nicer a CGC 7.0 is than a 4.0.
An FF #48 7.0 would impress most non-collectors. They might, rightly, wonder why you'd want to own a 4.0 of almost ANY book.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 5.0
Last Sale: $2,580
2016 Average: $966
2017 Average: $1,039
A book that's increased by 150 percent in value in a single year.
That should set alarm bells ringing: why would you want to put your money in at the top of the market? Isn't it a better time to SELL than BUY?
At least a CGC 5.0 starts to look a little more like a comic book rather than a random assortment of comic book faults. But it's still far from pretty.
Here's something I'd MUCH rather have in my possession.
You get an older book in a higher grade.
It's the first appearance of the Green Goblin, a character that is hugely significant in the Marvel universe.
An earlier book, more than 10 years earlier in fact.
You'd be nuts, nuts, to buy the Hulk Incredible instead.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 6.0
Last Sale: $2,650
2016 Average: $1,219
2017 Average: $1,360
I know you'd expect a 5.0 and a 6.0 to be about the same, but in fact it's quite a jump in condition. Price compression is extreme on this book.
Simply, there is nowhere for the mid-grade books to go, price-wise, because higher grades aren't moving fast enough compared to lower ones.
Why? People who can't afford better are driving up the prices of stupid books like CGC 3.0s. There is less of a market at higher prices.
Here's a book that is far more respectable, and arguably under-valued!
The first appearance of Ghost Rider in comics, from a really tough period known as the "picture frame covers" of early 1970s Marvel Comics.
These are notoriously hard to find in high grades. That, plus the all-black background of MSL#5, means this book is a difficult one to track down above VF.
The book has also been heating up, as people come to the conclusion that this huge key issue is vastly under-valued.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 7.0
Last Sale: $2,750
2016 Average: $1,520
2017 Average: $1,549
I'll be honest, this book is starting to look decent at CGC 7.0. It's still not at the sweet spot where I'd want to own one to hold it, but it's really not bad.
See how bad price compression has become on Hulk Incredible #181? A 7.0 is only $100 more expensive than a 6.0!
I've found something really nice you could own instead...
Same grade. 11 years earlier. Arguably even MORE significant, in that it's the return of Captain America in the Silver Age.
Did I mention it's the SAME GRADE? Actually, the last sale was also a few dollars LESS than the Hulk #181.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 8.0
Last Sale: $3,726
2016 Average: $1,938
2017 Average: $2,145
I wouldn't be embarrassed to own this book. A VF copy of almost any key issue is something with value, a copy that will change hands easily.
Is it worth DOUBLE what it was two years ago? Surely not. Also you should note that copies of CGC 8.0 were trading for $4,500 a couple of months back.
Some of the heat has gone out of the market. Click to see comparables.
Once you get past the $3,000 mark, you open up all KINDS of possibilities! See what I found for about the same price:
The first appearance of Dr. Strange Marvel Comics is notoriously difficult to find above VG condition.
it was published in 1963! 12 years earlier than the Hulk issue. Now part of the Avengers team, Doctor Strange isn't going to go away.
After a brief run up during the movie pre-release period, ST #110 has cooled to the point where it is starting to look under-valued to me.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 9.0
Last Sale: $5,600
2016 Average: $2,964
2017 Average: $3,190
Here's where you get a lot more bang for your buck in the Hulk Incredible #181 stakes. 9.0 is what I consider to be the sweet spot for this book, long-term.
But it's not a clear-cut decision when you see what else you can get for the same money.
There is also a lot of uncertainty in this book right now. The crazy highs are over (9.0 touched $7,500 at one point!), and it's not clear where the base price is for a CGC 9.0.
My guess is as good as yours. It might yet fall back to below $4K.
Here's what you could afford for the same money! BOTH of these:
Both of these books are on our 100 Hot Comics list:
Both are really solid investments, in my opinion, with upside even at the record prices.
That opportunity, a more spread-out risk profile (two books rather than one) and the uncertainty about Hulk #181 at the moment make this a no-brainer decision.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 9.2
Last Sale: $5,829
2016 Average: $3,600
2017 Average: $4,005
The last sale of this book -- for just $229 more than a 9.0 -- should really set the alarm bells ringing if you have been buying into this over-heated market.
Certain grades have been ludicrously over-priced in the past few months. The high sale for a 9.2 of $8,100 is a major ouch if you are trying to get out now and have to let it go for less than $6K.
While Wolverine is clearly a very important member of the X-Men, wouldn't you rather own the book which BEGAN the X-Men?
While the Fantastic Four began the Marvel Age of Comics, the X-Men #1 is more relevant to Wolverine fans.
I like this book in this grade range. It has a lot of upside, even now. Especially if you buy and hold, hold, hold this for years to come.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 9.4
Last Sale: $9,600
2016 Average: $4,395
2017 Average: $5,125
It's interesting to me that the higher grades of Hulk #181 were more restrained. You saw 150 percent increases in this book at lower grades.
The high sale of this book is not far above the most recent. $9,999 is a lot of money, but perhaps the high grades below 9.8 were under-valued relative to 8s and 9s.
You still wouldn't want to be selling one of these in a year's time, if we see my expected return to prices around $5-6K.
Here's what you can own for the thick end of $10K.
The first appearance of Thor in Marvel Comics. More important than the first appearance of Wolverine?
I don't think you can make a case for the opposite.
Not only that, but Journey into Mystery #83 seldom shows up this nice.
WHEN we see it. This is one of the tougher Marvel Mega-Keys. Especially FN or above.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 9.6
Last Sale: $12,888
2016 Average: $6,714
2017 Average: $7,315
A high sale of the year of over $14,500 brought CGC 9.6 Hulk #181s into the stratosphere, competing with minor Golden Age keys as well as major Silver Age ones.
Though it's come back down a little, it's still big money. There are relatively few Bronze Age books which cost over $10K. Let alone nearly $13K.
The question is, why would you spend so much money on such a common book, when you could get something with wider appeal?
Here is a list of books which I considered as the THAT to THIS Hulk #181:
But in the end, I settled for this:
Detective Comics #140 is a genuinely scarce to rare book.
There are 137 universal copies, TOTAL, in the CGC census.
To put that into perspective, there are over 8,600 copies of Hulk #181 -- and more universal CCG 3.0 copies of Hulk #181 than the total census (unrestored and restored) of Detective #140!
One of the key members of the all-time great Batman villains list.
A much better long-term prospect.
Hulk Incredible #181 CGC 9.8
Last Sale: $38,400
2016 Average: $12,393
2017 Average: $18,570
I'll start on a positive note. I've felt that the price of Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 9.8 has been a bit too low for a while now, based on the upward trend of lower grades.
It was 'stuck' between $19K and $22K for a while. I've seen some sales in the upper $20Ks. Fair enough. But the latest price in the upper $30Ks is ridiculously over-the-top.
Here are some of the goodies you could own for the same price, approximately.
Or if you fancy acquiring a mini portfolio of key issues, then you could buy ALL FIVE of the following huge books for the same price (!!):
You could also buy one of these:
But here is my #1 pick for a book to own, if you wanted just one book, instead of the Hulk #181:
I like the symmetry of a Hulk for a Hulk.
Th3 Mega-Key Incredible Hulk #1 from 1962 is desperately difficult to find in FN or better shape, due to the midnight blue cover and Marvel chipping issues.
It's a book which will always find a new home, and unlike the over-heated #181, it's gradually increased in price year after year like the blue-chip key that it is.
That's All, Folks!
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