How many 30 cent Gold Key variants exist?

Between December 1977 and March 1978 Gold Key published 88 issues of 41 different titles. During this time period, Gold Key (Western Publishing) was making the transition from 30-cent prices to 35-cent prices.  Several of these issues were published with both a 30¢ and 35¢ cover price.  I will refer to these as “30-35 price variants.”  In the appendix, a full list of these issues is included.  Of the 88 issues, to date there have been 46 30¢ issues confirmed, 68 35¢ issues confirmed, ten 50¢ 48 page giant comics, one treasury sized issue, and 29 Whitman issues.

Of the 77 30¢ and 35¢ issues published during this period, to date there have been 37 30-35 price variant issues confirmed.  An example with both prices for a single title is shown below with The Inspector #19, published in February 1978. 




Example of Two Variations of a title, 30¢ and 35¢ Gold Key;
The Inspector #19, Pub 2/78

Anchoring a Variant

To determine variance, it is necessary to determine what the norm is.  Although Whitman comics are considered variants themselves, they have been completely uniform in their cover pricing.  With the exception of the 40-50 and 60-75 price variants that occurred when there was only Whitman comics published, I am not aware of any examples of a Whitman price variant.  As such, I have decided to use the Whitman label, when it exists, to anchor the price.

All of the Whitman comics that have been confirmed to exist during the 30¢ to 35¢ price transition between December 1977 and March 1978 have a 35¢ cover price.  As such, for the purposes of this discussion, the 30¢ cover prices will be considered the price variants and the 35¢ cover priced comics will be considered the norm.  Further validating this premise, with the exception of the Giant comics, there are no comics during this time period that do not have a 35¢ cover price.

Missing 30¢ Cover Price

From December 1977 through March 1978, there are fifty-five 30¢ cover price variants that have been confirmed.  The following table summarizes the number of comics with 30¢ and 35¢ cover prices by month for this time period.
Date
Data
Total
12/77
Count of 30¢
17
Count of 35¢
18
01/78
Count of 30¢
19
Count of 35¢
20
02/78
Count of 30¢
16
Count of 35¢
19
03/78
Count of 30¢
3
Count of 35¢
20
Total Count of 30¢
55
Total Count of 35¢
77

Note that large difference in counts for March 1978, indicating that many of the 30¢ cover price variants likely do not exist for this month as they were never published.  However, it would seem that the following five comics might exist with 30¢ cover prices.  If these were to be confirmed, they should be considered very rare and should be priced accordingly.

Issues from December 1977 through Feb 1978 that do not have 30¢ price covers
Title
Issue No.
Date
Fat Albert
22
12/77
Fat Albert
23
02/78
Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
75
01/78
Underdog
17
02/78
Woody Woodpecker
163
02/78

50¢ Gold Keys

During the 30¢ to 35¢ price transition period, there were ten 50¢ issues published (shown in table immediately below).  All of these issues are Gold Key; there are no known Whitman counterparts.


Gold Key 50¢ Issues Published during 30¢ to 35¢ Transition Period
Title
Issue No.
Date
Boris Karloff
80
02/78
Donald Duck
192
02/78
Gold Key Champion
1
03/78
Grimm's Ghost Stories
43
03/78
Mickey Mouse
179
01/78
Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
74
12/77
Tom and Jerry
302
01/78
Turok
114
03/78
Twilight Zone
83
01/78
Walt Disney's Comics & Stories
447
12/77


APPENDIX
Gold Key 30 cent, 35 cent, 50 cent, 30-35 Price Variants, and Whitman Issues, December 1977 through March 1978
Title
Issue No.
Dt Code
Date
30c
35c
30-35
50c
W

Beagle Boys
39
712
12/77
x
x
x

x

Boris Karloff
79
712
12/77
x
x
x



Bugs Bunny
191
712
12/77
x
x
x



Bullwinkle
18
712
12/77
x
x
x



Daffy Duck
112
712
12/77
x
x
x



Donald Duck
190
712
12/77
x
x
x

x

Fat Albert
22
712
12/77

x


x

Huey, Dewey, and Louie
47
712
12/77
x
x
x

x

Inspector
18
712
12/77
x
x
x



Little Monsters
43
712
12/77
x
x
x



Looney Tunes
17
712
12/77
x
x
x



Mickey Mouse
178
712
12/77
x
x
x

x

Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
74
712
12/77


x
x

Giant Comic, 48 Pages
Space Family Robinson
54
712
12/77
x
x
x



Tom and Jerry
301
712
12/77
x
x
x



Tweety and Sylvester
76
712
12/77
x
x
x

x

Uncle Scrooge
147
712
12/77
x
x
x

x

Underdog
16
712
12/77
x
x
x



Walt Disney's Comics & Stories
447
712
12/77


x
x

Giant Comic, 48 Pages
Yosemite Sam
49
712
12/77
x
x
x



Beep Beep, The Road Runner
69
801
01/78
x
x
x



Buck Rogers, Giant Movie Edition
No #
801
01/78


x

x
$1.50 Treasury
Bugs Bunny
192
801
01/78
x
x
x



Chip 'N' Dale
50
801
01/78
x
x
x

x

Daisy & Donald
28
801
01/78
x
x
x



Donald Duck
191
801
01/78
x
x
x

x

Marge's Little Lulu
243
801
01/78
x
x
x



Mickey Mouse
179
801
01/78


x
x

Giant Comic, 48 Pages
Moby Duck
29
801
01/78
x
x
x

x

New Terrytoons
48
801
01/78
x
x
x



Pink Panther
49
801
01/78
x
x
x



Porky Pig
79
801
01/78
x
x
x

x

Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
75
801
01/78

x




Scamp
39
801
01/78
x
x
x



Star Trek
50
801
01/78
x
x
x



Tom and Jerry
302
801
01/78


x
x

Giant Comic, 48 Pages
Turok
113
801
01/78
x
x
x

x

Tweety and Sylvester
77
801
01/78
x
x
x



Twilight Zone
82
801
01/78
x
x
x



Twilight Zone
83
801
01/78


x
x

Giant Comic, 48 Pages
Uncle Scrooge
148
801
01/78
x
x
x

x

Walt Disney Showcase
42
801
01/78
x
x
x

x

Walt Disney's Comics & Stories
448
801
01/78
x
x
x



Walter Lantz Andy Panda
23
801
01/78
x
x
x



Beagle Boys
40
802
02/78
x
x
x



Boris Karloff
80
802
02/78


x
x

Giant Comic, 48 Pages
Bugs Bunny
193
802
02/78
x
x
x



Daffy Duck
113
802
02/78
x
x
x



Donald Duck
192
802
02/78


x
x

Giant Comic, 48 Pages
Fat Albert
23
802
02/78

x


x

Gold Key Spotlight
11
802
02/78
x
x
x



Huey, Dewey, and Louie
48
802
02/78
x
x
x

x

Inspector
19
802
02/78
x
x
x



Little Monsters
44
802
02/78
x
x
x



Looney Tunes
18
802
02/78
x
x
x

x

Mickey Mouse
180
802
02/78
x
x
x

x

Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
76
802
02/78
x
x
x



Tom and Jerry
303
802
02/78
x
x
x

x

Tweety and Sylvester
78
802
02/78
x
x
x



Uncle Scrooge
149
802
02/78
x
x
x



Underdog
17
802
02/78

x




Walt Disney's Comics & Stories
449
802
02/78
x
x
x



Winnie the Pooh
5
802
02/78
x
x
x

x

Woody Woodpecker
163
802
02/78

x


x

Yosemite Sam
50
802
02/78
x
x
x

x

Beep Beep, The Road Runner
70
803
03/78
x




Bugs Bunny
194
803
03/78

x


x

Bullwinkle
19
803
03/78
x
x
x

Chip 'N' Dale
51
803
03/78

x

x

Daisy & Donald
29
803
03/78

x

x

Donald Duck
193
803
03/78

x


x

Gold Key Champion
1
803
03/78


x
x

Giant Comic, 48 Pages
Grimm's Ghost Stories
43
803
03/78

x
x

Giant Comic, 48 Pages
Marge's Little Lulu
244
803
03/78
x




Mickey Mouse
181
803
03/78

x


x

Moby Duck
30
803
03/78
x
x
x



New Terrytoons
49
803
03/78
x


x

Pink Panther
50
803
03/78
x


x

Porky Pig
80
803
03/78
x


x

Scamp
40
803
03/78
x


x

Star Trek
51
803
03/78

x


x

Super Goof
45
803
03/78
x
x
x

x

Tom and Jerry
304
803
03/78

x


x

Turok
114
803
03/78

x
x

Giant Comic, 48 Pages
Tweety and Sylvester
79
803
03/78
x


x

Uncle Scrooge
150
803
03/78
x


x

Walt Disney's Comics & Stories
450
803
03/78
x


x

Woody Woodpecker
164
803
03/78
x

x

TOTALS
55
77
66
10
39


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