Mirage Gives Collectors a Gift
An Amazing Misprint to Collect
|Published: May, 1987
Print run: 60,000 copies
Reported destroyed: 59,000
Estimated remaining: 1,000
Total on CGC census: 85
Recent sale: $360 CGC 9.6
In May of 1987, Mirage Studios sent two comic book issues to the printer at the same time. The “Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1” and a second printing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4.
Unfortunately for Mirage, but fortunately for collectors, the printer accidentally used the cover art for the Tales of the TMNT on the second printing of TMNT #4. They ran off 60,000 copies, and some of them made it into the distribution chain before the comics were recalled.
Mirage later revealed that approximately 59,000 of the misprinted copies were recalled and pulped, leaving an estimated 1,000 that made it out into the public — that number of copies would represent a third of the print run of the original 1984 first printing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1.
Graded and ungraded copies to come up on eBay from time to time throughout the year, and if you come across an ungraded copy where the seller provides an actual scan, it is hard to be mistaken about whether the book is the misprint edition — the cover gives that fact away immediately. Often, these ungraded copies will be obtainable at a good price versus buying a CGC graded copy.
If you are looking for a high grade copy and come across an ungraded one claiming to be high grade, good advice is to ask for high resolution scans to help you ascertain the condition of the copy you are looking at. This comic was printed with very cheap quality newsprint paper, and they have aged very poorly if not kept in plastic. Also the cover is very ”busy” and therefore bends and creases can easily go unnoticed in a low resolution scan or a photo shot from a distance.
CGC graded copies are more expensive but give you certainty about the grade. Graded copies of this comic do come up for sale occasionally during the course of any given year, but there may not be one available at the particular moment you’re looking for one, so your best bet is to set up an eBay alert
[click this hyperlink to search eBay for ”turtles 4 misprint” and then click ”save search” at the top of the results list]
…or a wantlist on Comic Link.
Here’s what an example graded copy looks like:
TMNT #4 Misprint Value
The extremely low estimated count of surviving copies, the cheap interior newprint paper, and passage of time has caused high grade copies of this comic book to be extremely hard to come by. As of this writing, CGC had graded a total of just 85 of them, with a mere 21 copies graded at 9.4 or higher.
As of this writing, a recent sale of a CGC 9.6 graded copy was $360. That’s much higher than the value attributed to this comic in this grade, by the most popular online price guide. A few factors are likely in play: (1) the price guide probably has a harder time identifying sales of this comic on account of its rarity, versus some more common comics that sell in large volume, and may be under-valuing the comic; (2) collectors who want it have a very hard time finding this issue, and may be willing to pay a premium to own it. As of this writing, the ComicsPriceGuide values this comic in the various grades, ungraded versus graded, as follows:
Sources & Resources
Mirage’s eBay Page (if any copies remain in Peter Laird’s personal collection, this is where they would be sold): www.ebay.com/usr/mirage-studios
Mirage’s TMNT #4 Page: www.miragelicensing.com/comics/mirage/volume01/04/04.html
Recalled Comics TMNT #4 Page: www.recalledcomics.com/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles4Error.php
Comic Book Database TMNT #4 Misprint Page: www.comicbookdb.com/issue.php?ID=124670
CGC Census Page: www.cgccomics.com/census/index.asp