Check your collection: The 35 cent variant of Star Wars #1 comic

Vintage Marvel Special Edition Star Wars 1 2 3 Comic Books. Image courtesy GoodwillFinds
Vintage Marvel Special Edition Star Wars 1 2 3 Comic Books. Image courtesy GoodwillFinds /

Check your collection takes a look at some of the rarest items in that Star Wars collectors are looking for and explores what makes them so special in the world of Star Wars collecting.

Comics have been a part of Star Wars since the very beginning. In fact the very first Star Wars comic from Marvel came out on April 12th, 1977, a little over a month before the movie that it was based on. The first six issues of the Star Wars monthly comic retold the story of the movie before the series began to tell original Star Wars stories that took place after the destruction of the Death Star. So, those comic readers who purchased an issue of Star Wars #1 were able to get the first part of the story before the movie was even released. Today, it’s a highly sought after comic by collectors. After all, the first book was released before anybody knew how big of a deal Star Wars was really going to be. So while there have been plenty of reprints of the comic that came out after it was clear that Star Wars was going to be a cultural phenomenon, Those few issues that were available on the stands before the movie was released are what some of the most serious collectors are really after.

But for those that want to take their Star Wars collection to the next level, there is a specific version of Star Wars #1 that is even more difficult to get your hands on. In 1977, Marvel was testing the idea of raising the prices of their comic books. While Marvel comics at the time were traditionally being sold for 30 cents, Marvel was playing with the idea of upping the price by a nickel. To test out how customers would respond to the five cent price increase, versions of the comic costing 35 cents were released in select markets. To be clear, these were the exact same comic, with all of the exact same content, just priced five cents higher.

As far as we can tell, the 35 cent variation of Star Wars #1 was only sold in four different cities, Memphis, Toledo, Tuscaloosa, and Wilmington. Based on that information, as well as the numbers of the original run of the comic, it’s estimated that there may have been as few as 1,500 copies of the comic ever printed in this format. Given that comics back in 1977 weren’t viewed as collectibles the same way as they are today, it’s likely that most of that very small number were thrown out at some point over the next forty years. While it’s not a complete database, the CGC census that grades the quality of comics has recorded grades for verified copies of Star Wars # 1 and less than three percent of those recorded are the 35 cent variant.

So if you happen to have a copy of the very first issue of the Star Wars comic that was sold all the way back in 1977, you may want to check and see exactly how much you paid for it. Spending an extra five cents back then, means that your comic could be worth a lot more today.