CGC Certifies Mile High All-American #16

Posted: 3/13/2008

Famed Pedigree Copy is Finest-Known and Among Most Valuable Comics in Existence

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CGC has certified the Edgar Church (Mile High) copy of All-American #16. The comic has been graded CGC 9.4, making it the finest known example of the issue. Originally issued in July 1940, it features the first appearance and origin story of the Green Lantern. Of all the Golden Age key books, All-American #16 is considered to be the most difficult to locate in high grade.

The comic book has resided in the collection of long-time collector and owner of Comic Heaven, John Verzyl since 1984. Verzyl elected to have the book certified by CGC for several reasons, he comments: “I am entertaining several offers to purchase it, and wanted to get it certified to make the grade official! When people ask me how it grades, I can simply reply CGC 9.4 Near Mint, and there’s no argument. Second, it now is much easier to handle the comic. The holder makes it possible to showcase the book without fear of damage or a thumb dent. Plus, the book looks amazing in the holder. In a lot of ways, this book was made for a CGC holder.”

Since acquiring the book in 1984, only Verzyl has handled the comic book. Even when it was photographed by Ernst Gerber for the Photo Journal in the late-1980’s, John maneuvered the book himself to ensure that it was not damaged. He did not have reservations about releasing the book to CGC, comments Verzyl: “I’ve known Steve Borock and Mark Haspel [President and Vice President of CGC, respectively] for many years. I had a high level of confidence that they would treat the book properly. I knew that they could be trusted with value.”

“The quality of the book is exceptional. CGC has now graded over a million comics, and this is one of the BEST comic books that CGC has graded to date!” comments Steve Borock. “It was a real honor that John would let CGC handle the book knowing how scared he was to let it out of his sight for even a minute. It makes me very proud to be part of a company that the top collectors and sellers in our hobby have that kind of trust in!”

“This book is head and shoulders over the next finest known. It’s a perfect example of the way that Mile High revolutionized comic book grading. When the Mile High collection was discovered in 1976, people saw true mint and near mint Golden Age comics for the first time, and because of these books grading standards became much more rigorous,” relates Mark Haspel.

The collector in Verzyl has a hard decision to make. He has a complete high-grade run of All-American Comics #16-102, 75 of them being from the Mile High collection. Reconstructing this group was an enormous personal commitment and effort over the nearly three decades. While Verzyl offers a number of CGC-graded comics from his collection and inventory on his website, www.comicheaven.net*, this one is different. It’s irreplaceable. CGC has graded only 12 unrestored copies. The next finest is a CGC 6.0, which is trailed in the Census by three examples graded CGC 5.5. Since this book is the sixteenth in the series, few thought to retain it. High-grade pedigree collections of first appearances, such as Windy City and Denver, do not include this issue. Examples of this book from the desirable San Francisco and Larson pedigree collections are both missing coupons. This book betters the condition of its nearest rivals as to make it a stand-alone wonder.

*Verzyl notes that his site shows only limited offerings now as he's between auctions, and several hundred CGC-certified comic books will be listed soon.

Mark Haspel (left) and Steve Borock (right) surround John Verzyl as he proudly displays
his newly certified comic.




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