Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 NYCC EDITION 1985

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 NYCC “Laird’s Photo” Variant

Making a Splash at the 1985 NY Comic Con

Published: 1985
Print run: 500 copies
Total on CGC census: 60
Recent sale: $1,150 CGC 9.6
TMNT #3 Lairds Photo Variant Versus Regular Edition

Note the difference in the Laird's Photo sign between the variant and regular editions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3

Heading up to the 1985 New York Comic Con, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird printed 500 ”advance copies” of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 to sell in New York at the convention. This initial print run was identical to the later ”regular” edition except for one important contrast which makes it stand apart as its own unique variant: some of the blue coloration was left out of the cover, leaving it looking a brighter white overall as compared to the regular edition.

One specific noticeable characteristic is the ”Laird’s Photo” sign on the shop in the background, where ”Laird” appears white in the variant edition, but light blue in the regular edition. Being recognizable as its own unique variant with a known limited print run 1/6th that of the original 1984 first printing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, vaulted this comic to the status of being one of the most collectible turtles comics of all time. This variant is sometimes referred to as the ”Laird’s Photo Variant” or the ”NYCC Variant.”

Collecting this Comic Book

If you happened to stumble upon a copy of TMNT #3, where the seller didn’t realize they had the variant and didn’t advertise it as such (but you could tell it was the variant from the cover picture) that would be a tremendous find, but it would also be highly unlikely. Be skeptical: you might be looking at a stock photo of the cover; ask for an actual cover scan. CGC graded copies come up for sale only rarely during the course of any given year, so your best bet is to set up an eBay alert or a wantlist on Comic Link. Here’s what an example graded copy looks like:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 NYCC Lairds Photo Variant

An example CGC graded copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 NYCC / Lairds Photo Variant.

TMNT #3 NYCC Variant Value

The extremely low print run, 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 60 of them, with a mere 23 copies graded at 9.4 or higher.

As of this writing, a recent sale of a CGC 9.6 graded copy was $1,150. That’s way 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 very hard time identifying sales of this comic since it is so rare, 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:

Price guide values for TMNT Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 NYCC Variant

Values given to this issue in various grades by ComicsPriceGuide as of this writing

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 #3 Page: www.miragelicensing.com/comics/mirage/volume01/03/03.html
Comic Book Database TMNT #3 NYCC Page: www.comicbookdb.com/issue.php?ID=124669
CGC Census Page: www.cgccomics.com/census/index.asp