Just some things to keep in mind when hunting down this sometimes elusive masterless samurai.
1. Albedo #2 (first appearance) usually sells for more than what most guides list mint condition price. For years, the Overstreet Price Guide has not reflected the true market value of this comic book. Overstreet also incorrectly listed Albedo #1 as the first appearance of Usagi for many years. Albedo #3 is more abundant while Albedo #4 is a little more difficult, but still more available than #2. There were around 2,000 or less copies printed of Albedo #2 as far as I know (not sure if anyone is certain). There has never been a 2nd print made either. The best way to hunt Albedo #2 down is to have some of the bigger dealers hunt for you. Many companies maintain want lists for their customers. Luck has a lot to do with it! Look below for recent sell prices!
2. Most of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures are readily available, so be patient, they always come up for sale sooner or later. I have noticed that the Space Usagi version seems to come up for sell less often, but that might just be lack of buyer/seller enthusiam in the open market.
3. Most of the early paperbacks came out before the coveted numbered and signed hardback editions. I remember buying Book One as a trade paperback long before the hardback signed editions. Many of these paperbacks are still in print, haven't noticed any trend (yet) toward the collectibility of first prints though.
4. Expect to pay double and depending on the time of year (X-mas for example) triple the original cost of the signed hardback editions. Price and demand vary widely on the hardcover signed & numbered books. Also note that many of the newer editions have smaller signed print runs. So if you see a good deal, jump on it!
5. Stan Sakai often does free sketches of Usagi for his fans at conventions, so please don't bid/buy ebay auctions that offer his sketches for sale. It is not illegal, but truly rude and inconsiderate to Mr. Sakai considering he so willingly shares his creation with us fans at NO COST. Most of these sellers don't even know who Usagi or Mr. Sakai are, just that they can sell a free sketch to an uneducated buyer for a profit. PLEASE AVOID THESE AUCTIONS AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO SO!
6. Autographs of Stan Sakai are not difficult to obtain. He is always a willing signer for his fans. Be sure to check out the Usagi Yojimbo Dojo Website (This is the most comprehensive source for all things Usagi!) where his loyalty to fans at a grass roots level is evident. He is a regular contributor to the chat room and is always updating appearances. It is also the best source for upcoming products. Mr. Sakai even answers a lot of the e-mails he gets!!! What a great guy!!!
7. Never under-estimate the spending power of Usagi fans. Be persistent and bid often. Usagi fans tend to covet our harder to find Usagi items. I've learned this the hard way many times!
8. I can't say this enough: GET A SUBSCRIPTION TO USAGI!!! It is the best way to insure the continued publication of Usagi Yojimbo by a major publisher (Dark Horse) and to guarantee less time hunting down back issues. It also helps keep your local comic book store in business.
9. Early Usagi Yojimbo memorabilia is a tough find. Early buttons/pins seem hard to find as well as t-shirts. Most of these were only available via snail mail from either Fantagraphics or Mirage in the late 80's to early 90's (pre-Internet). Early posters/signed prints are getting tougher to find as well.
10. Here is a list of the amount of numbered & signed copies in (#) plus title of the Usagi hardcovers:
BOOK ONE "The Ronin" (750)
BOOK TWO "Samurai" (750)
BOOK THREE "The Wanderer's Road" (500)
BOOK FOUR "Dragon Bellow Conspiracy" (1500)
BOOK FIVE "Lone Goat & Kid" (1000)
BOOK SIX "Circles" (750)
BOOK SEVEN "Gen's Story" (500)
BOOK EIGHT "Shades of Death" (500)
BOOK NINE "Daisho" (500)
BOOK TEN "Brink of Life & Death" (500)
BOOK ELEVEN "Seasons" (500)
BOOK TWELVE "Grasscutter" (350)
BOOK THIRTEEN "Grey Shadows" (400)
BOOK FOURTEEN "Demon Mask" (400)
BOOK FIFTEEN "Grasscutter II" (400)
BOOK SIXTEEN "The Shrouded Moon" (400)
BOOK SEVENTEEN "Duel at Kitanoji" (400)
BOOK EIGHTEEN "Travels with Jotaro" (300)
BOOK NINETEEN "Fathers & Sons" (300)
BOOK TWENTY "Glimpses of Death" (300)
BOOK TWENTY-ONE "Mother of Mountains" (300)
BOOK TWENTY-TWO "Tomoe's Story" (300)
BOOK TWENTY-THREE "Bridge of Tears" (350)
BOOK TWENTY-FOUR "Return of the Black Soul" (350)
BOOK TWENTY-FIVE "Fox Hunt" (350)
BOOK SPECIAL "Space Usagi" (500)
BOOK SPECIAL "The Art of Usagi Yojimbo: 20th Anniversary" (un-numbered/un-signed)
BOOK SPECIAL "Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition" (Un-numbered/un-signed)
Please keep in mind that the signed & numbered copies only apply to hardcover editions!
11. Recent sales of Albedo #2:
9/30/2012 CGC 9.8 White Pages $5,000.00
08/2011 CGC 9.6 White Pages $1,550.00
01/2011 CGC 9.6 White Pages $1,552.00
02/01/2009 CGC 9.2 White Pages $650.00
02/18/2009 CGC 9.2 White Pages $720.00
Just some random thoughts about Usagi. Hope this is helpful to someone. If you have any helpful information you'd like to add, let me know. If you have any other questions, I'll try to answer them or point you to someone who can!