How many 20 cent Gold Key variants exist?


Between March 1972 and May 1973 Gold Key published 311 issues of 62 different comic titles (not including digests).  During this time period, Gold Key (Western Publishing) was making the transition from 15¢ prices to 20¢ prices.  Several of these 311 issues were published with both a 15¢ and 20¢ cover price.  Of these 311 issues, it has been confirmed that there are 299 issues with a 15¢ cover price, 237 issues with a 20¢ cover price, 234 issues that have both a 15¢ cover price and a 20¢ cover price, and one 25¢ cover price giant comics (Movie Comics – Gay Paree).  As described below, the issues with a 20¢ cover price are considered variants.

An example of the three variations, with the Whitman version as well, of a single title is shown below with O’Malley and the Alley Cats #4, published in October 1972.



Anchoring a Variant

To determine variance, it is necessary to determine what the norm is.  Although Whitman labeled comics are considered variants, they are completely uniform in their cover pricing.  With the exception of the 40-50 and 60-75 Price Variants that occurred when there only Whitman comics were published, there have not been any Whitman price variants.  As such, I have decided to use the Whitman label, when it exists, to anchor the price.  Using the example shown in Figure 1, the Whitman comic’s price is 15¢, therefore the variant price for the Gold Key comic is 20¢.

Comparing Price Transition Periods

During the earlier price transition period, when the Gold Key pricing was changing from 12¢ to 15¢, the transition occurred during a four-month period from May to August 1968.  The price transition from 15¢ to 20¢ was much broader, covering 15 months from March 1972 to May 1973.  There are 222 issues with both 15¢ and 20¢ covers (15-20 price variants) out of a possible 310 issues, represent 71% of the possible issues that could have price variants.  The issues during this transition period that do not have both cover prices are listed below.

Issues with 15¢ cover price, 20¢ cover price, and both prices

Over the fifteen month time period from March 1972 to May 1973 it is possible to see the trend in cover prices with March 1972 having a mix of issues published with both 15 and 20 cent cover prices and May 1973 exhibiting the same pattern.  It is my conjecture that all of these issues were published with 15 cent cover prices and that the 20 cent prices were phased in by region.  This hypothesis is based on the trend showing nearly all of the comics during this time period had 15 cent cover prices, but the 20 cent pricing was sporadic.

20¢ Cover Priced Issues without a 15¢ Version

There are ten issues that were published with a 20¢ cover price and do not have a confirmed 15¢ version (see below).  Note that all of these issues are at the tail end of the transition period, making it possible that these issues do not exist with 15¢ cover prices.  I have regularly searched for these issues over the past 10 years and have yet to locate any.  Should one be found, it should be considered rare.
Gold Key issues between March 1972 and
May 1973 that do not have 15¢ cover prices
Title
#
Date
Bugs Bunny
149
05/73
Chip 'N' Dale
21
05/73
Donald Duck
149
05/73
Grimm's Ghost Stories
9
05/73
Huey, Dewey, and Louie
20
05/73
Marge's Little Lulu
211
05/73
Pink Panther
12
05/73
Tweety and Sylvester
30
05/73
Twilight Zone
49
05/73
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories
392
05/73
15¢ Cover Priced Issues without a 20¢ Version

There are 71 issues that were published with a 15¢ cover price and do not have a confirmed 20¢ version (see below).  It is likely that many of these issues do have a 15¢ cover price version.

Gold Key issues between March 1972 and
May 1973 that do not have 20¢ cover prices
Title
Number
Date
Title
Number
Date
Amazing Chan
1
05/73
New Terrytoons
20
05/73
Aristokittens
2
04/72
O'Malley and the Alley Cats
3
07/72
Baby Snoots
11
02/73
Pink Panther
5
03/72
Baby Snoots
12
05/73
Pink Panther
11
03/73
Beagle Boys
15
01/73
Porky Pig
41
04/72
Beep Beep, The Road Runner
32
10/72
Porky Pig
45
11/72
Beep Beep, The Road Runner
33
12/72
Raggedy Ann and Andy
2
03/72
Beep Beep, The Road Runner
34
02/73
Raggedy Ann and Andy
4
03/73
Bugs Bunny
145
10/72
Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
34
08/72
Bugs Bunny
146
12/72
Roman Holidays
2
05/73
Bullwinkle
7
04/73
Scooby Doo… Where Are You?
12
06/72
Chip 'N' Dale
14
03/72
Scooby Doo… Where Are You?
15
12/72
Chip 'N' Dale
15
05/72
Scooby Doo… Where Are You?
16
02/73
Daffy Duck
80
02/73
Smokey Bear
9
03/72
Daisy and Donald
1
05/73
Smokey Bear
13
03/73
Dark Shadows
15
08/72
Super Goof
24
02/73
Dark Shadows
18
02/73
Three Stooges
54
03/72
Funky Phantom
1
03/72
Tom and Jerry
267
10/72
Grimm's Ghost Stories
2
03/72
Tweety and Sylvester
24
05/72
H.R. Pufnstuf
7
04/72
Twilight Zone
42
03/72
H.R. Pufnstuf
8
07/72
Twilight Zone
46
11/72
Lancelot Link
8
02/73
Twilight Zone
48
03/73
Lidsville
2
01/73
Uncle Scrooge
98
04/72
Lidsville
3
04/73
Wacky Adventures of Cracky
1
12/72
Little Monsters
16
03/72
Wacky Adventures of Cracky
2
03/73
Little Stooges
1
09/72
Wacky Races
7
04/72
Little Stooges
2
12/72
Wacky Witch
7
07/72
Little Stooges
3
03/73
Wacky Witch
10
04/73
Marge's Little Lulu
203
03/72
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories
378
03/72
Marge's Little Lulu
208
11/72
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories
379
04/72
Marge's Little Lulu
209
11/72
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories
386
11/72
Marge's Little Lulu
210
03/73
Woody Woodpecker
126
10/72
Mickey Mouse
140
02/73
Woody Woodpecker
127
01/73
Movie Comics - Lady and the Tramp
10042-203
03/72
Woody Woodpecker
128
03/73
New Terrytoons
17
08/72
Yosemite Sam
6
03/72
Yosemite Sam
11
12/72

The Search Continues
As with all collecting activities, especially comics, the search for unique and interesting items will continue indefinitely.  The analysis included herein should be considered a work in progress.  Any errors or omissions in the preceding analysis will be corrected with appreciation.  It is the intent of these missives to identify the many variants that exist as accurately as possible.  With this said, please send comments and corrects directly to the author. 

1 comment:

  1. I own a "O'Malley and The Alley Cats" #3 with a 20¢ cover price (date 1972-07). Since I am in Canada, I though it was for the Canadian market but there is no indication that it was publish and/or printed in Canada like it use to be with other comics.

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