Trade and Virgin print runs question

Hi All,

Noob question, Is there a general ratio when it comes to trade copies and virgin copies? Like 10 trade copies for every 1 virgin copy?

Or does this vary from issue to issue?

Are virgin variants always or usually priced higher?

Thanks for any info

Depends on who’s doing the covers.

BOOM has done 1:10 virgin covers of their own. I’ve also seen virgin covers go at 1:15, 1:25, 1:50 and 1:100… some even higher (Marvel).

Virgin covers are usually priced higher if they’re a ratio that the retailers had to buy X (where X equals the ratio amount) amount to qualify.

Now sometimes publishers will do a 1:10 but it’s open order once you qualify. Say Retailer Bob bought 10 copies of SuperDuper #1 and once you buy 10 copies, you can buy however many copies you want of Cover B, but you can only buy once you buy 10 of copy A.

So a lot of factors and it’s going to vary from publisher to publisher.

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3k minimum for trade 1k minimum for virgin for marvel

And yes, 3k is the minimum for when a Store wants to do their own Marvel exclusive variant. :slight_smile:

How about for a non store exclusive. Like venom 25 / 2nd print. Are the virgin variants always going to price higher than the trade versions?

No. It’s always going to vary. There have been virgin covers that were open order alongside the trade dress version.

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As mentioned above there’s a lot of different versions of virgin covers.

  1. A store exclusive does both a virgin and a trade. For marvel it’s typically 3000 trade 1250 virgin. But those numbers can vary and also vary with publishers.

  2. A cover is a regular issue (like Venom 25 2nd), and then a store only does the exclusive virgin. These print runs can very and these virgins are less popular then #1.

  3. Virgin can be a ratio variant like Boom does and be a 1:10, 1:25, 1:50, 1 per store, etc…obviously these print runs vary.

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To add to your point, if a store is doing a virgin cover for a 2nd print, and it’s the only cover the store is doing for that printing, then that cover will fall into the marvel exclusive minimum of 3000 copies. But a store can order as many as they want. If they want 10,000 copies, they get 10,000 copies. So, if you see a store that is advertising there store variant, and they do not explicitly say ‘print run’, and instead use meaningless phrases like ‘limited to’, or ‘this many available’, then those stores are trying to hide the actually print run in their deceptive advertising.

Marvels minimum order is 3000 for the first cover, 1000 for a 2nd cover (trade, virgin or b&w).

DCs is, I believe, 2500 minimum for 1st cover, 1000 for 2nd cover of same issue (trade, virgin or b&w)

Indie publishers are typically around 500, but it does vary from publisher to publisher, and book to book.


I have an noob question too: What is a trade and what is a virgin cover?

For me, trade = collected edition.

In this case, trade is short for “trade dress” (the logo/masthead, etc.). A virgin cover features nothing but art only – the UPC, price, issue number, etc. is absent. For instance, DC’s recent B covers almost look like virgin covers, but do feature minimal trade dress.

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In the situation where the trade version is the official release and the virgin is an exclusive. Is the virgin around like 70% of the trade’s value? Of course this is case by case but just wondering if there’s a rough % i can apply.

As of now ebay appears to be selling them at the same prices both going around $35-$50 however i only have like 7x examples of each so I wonder if the virgin sales are the result of a couple noobs like myself lol

Most will refer to the Trade Paper Backs as TPB…

Thank you!

I have Nightwing #70 B cover that is like what you described, minimal trade logos, UPC, etc.

Yep, still technically trade dress! Just a lot less obvious than what we’re all used to. :slight_smile:

I would say Shops offering the Exclusive virgin covers usually charge about 2-3 times more than the trade dress. That’s not to say they are “worth” 2-3 times…that’s up to the market to decide. A lot of times covers don’t sell out and shops will discount them to near cover price to move inventory after a while.


Here is a breakdown of a comic book cover, and the industry terms used to describe them.

The Corner Box is highlighted in blue.
The Trade Dress is highlighted in yellow.
The UPC is highlighted in green.

Virgin covers will have none of these things on the front cover.

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And now show a “limited” trade dress.

I’d say something like the Young Guns AC #1 Kuder variant is a “limited” trade dress type of cover since most of the “trade” and “boxes” are on the back…

I like how that’s the pic from my GCG 9.8 I got for sale… I recognize my reflection… :wink:

Man, you got a long tongue.

And let’s leave it at that!