Is your comic book collection worthless?

Issue_1Is your comic book collection worth millions?

Some tend to think so. Why? Because they were speculative and bought multiple comics of hot issues without knowing why they were hot.

Once upon a time…

Someone was so excited that her husband was willing to FINALLY sell his comic books. She asked me to take a look at the collection so he can make some money off of it.

A few questions I had on the phone – When did he buy them? How many boxes did he have? What are some of the titles? How were they kept?

— 4 long boxes. Years: Late 90s, early 2000s. Spider-Man, X-Men, X-Factor, Avengers, etc. things of that nature.

Any runs?

–Not really.

What was he expecting?

–A couple hundred per box she said.

Oh, she also said HE told me to tell you – they are bagged and boarded.

Well, based on the comment of what he was collecting, and the years… I politely informed her, and it might be irresponsible on my part since I didn’t actually valuate his collection, but seriously… you might get $100 for the WHOLE collection. MIGHT. And unless this collector had any key issues in those boxes, which I doubt, 4 boxes of comics that every store already has and nobody is buying isn’t even worth $100. (well, it’s worth what it’s worth – but you might not be able to cash in on that dollar amount).

A run of any series would demand a better price then the speculation you had on some of these issues.  I mean, if there were a couple of runs of 1-20 in those long boxes it could go well. But sporadic, this cover looks good, this artist did this, or this is popular now kind of collecting isn’t worth its weight in gold nowadays. Especially when you’re a speculator and bought multiple issues of something everyone was buying multiple issues of. Those “No. 1’s” aren’t as valuable as you thought they would be.

Approximately 1000 books in this guy’s collection and at their cover price could be $2,000 or more! But what store is going to buy them? This is a sad thing to tell a ‘collector’. Now if she said they were ‘old’. Early to Mid 70s… I’d get in my car, go to the bank, and make him an offer.

She was put off by my comment. But she came to me for advice. She knew I knew my books, had a store, and its hard to tell someone their comic book collection isn’t worth what they think it should be worth.

Again, it was reckless speculation on my part – but I’m not about to run to someone’s house for something like this unless I hear Walking Dead or something like that.

$100 you say? Okay, take those comic books, put them up at a yard sale, try to sell them you’ll probably get some guy offering you $50 for the 4 boxes.  Can a store sell those 1000 comics? No. Because they probably have them in their bins right now and they aren’t selling.

At the end of the day, I asked her to get me a list of what he thinks was the hottest comics in his collection so I can find out who would buy them. I’d ‘broker’ the deal if not buy it myself.

chew 1But nothing came from it.  And no mention of it since. If they sold it at a comic book store I’m sure I’d hear some gloating.

Bronze Age and Modern Age comic Collections are rarely of great value.

If she said Walking Dead, Siege, Bone or even Chew – I would have gotten in my car with some cash.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. And nobody lived happily ever after.

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How to price your comic book collection?

What is the ‘go-to’ guide to pricing comics?

Back in the early 90s there were so many price guides. And, of course, the one with the highest overall price for a single issue would be what a customer would fight for to get their comic sold, and a comic book store would use to price their comics.

Of course, then they’d use the lower price guide to buy from customers. Yeah, that’s what I did because that’s the only way to stay in the game with all those comic book stores sprouting on every corner.

But that was before people were using the internet and before eBay could determined the ‘going rate’ of comics.

If you can find it on eBay – that’s the price you should use as a gauge to buy or sell it for at your store.

I use the OVERSTREET price guide as the ultimate ‘guide’ and price according to demand and if I can sell a book.

In 1993, at my shop (Little Shop of Comics in San Gabriel, CA) I sold an Uncanny X-Men #94.

Uncanny X-Men 94

(this isn’t my copy)

I graded the book VF and sold it for $400. Priced at $600 at the store for three years, I sold it for $400. but it was Black Friday, so I sold it for a deal. It was priced that way for three years at my store and nobody bought it – it would have sold on eBay. eBay sells a VF X-Men #94 for $500-$900 depending how “VF” the grade is. The book I sold, based on memory, would probably be graded today as a FN/VF 7.0 so I was asking an acceptable price at the end of the day. I priced it high, customer valued it at $400 – I agreed and let it go.

I had this comic book in my own collection since 1980, when I bought it, along with several other issues in that series, for $20.

The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide 46th ed. (2016/2017) prices a VF copy at $500. It hasn’t changed much through the years, more issues have popped up in collections therefore the scarcity of the book is not as perceived as rare – and sellers on the internet drive prices down.

Think about it – if there wasn’t an Internet, this comic book, at this grade, could fetch $1000 in a FN/VF grade because we wouldn’t know the true scarcity. Silver Age comic books would have a steady climb and prices would be awesome.

But that’s no longer the case. Bronze Age and Modern Age comics don’t climb, they hover for the sake of hovering.  And I look at eBay right now, and if you want an Uncanny X-Men #94 – you can get it if you want it in your collection. And you can get it from store owners to collectors living in a basement of their mom’s house in Nebraska. Okay, maybe not, but you get the idea.

In the late 80s and early 90s, you’d have to call comic book stores or actually drive to them and hope they have it. Then you have to trust the value in a price guide – and Wizard Comics was pricing it VERY HIGH back then. Those price guide authors didn’t have the information like they do today. Therefore comics were assumed to be ‘scarcer’.

Today, ‘rare’ comics are all over the place. And that drives the price down.

I’ve always wanted a copy of Marvel Feature #1 (1st Appearance of The Defenders) but I’m not willing to pay a VF price for it. I go on eBay and can find it for under $100. You know, a reader copy. But having it in my collection is all I want. The book, being on eBay in several different grades, prevents me from buying because next year, I’ll probably find the perfect copy for my collection for less than that.

So, as collector, how do you price your collection?

Take your price guide, compare the price on eBay (if its available on eBay), and price accordingly. If you want to sell it to a store, expect less than 25% of eBay or guide price. That being said, sell it on eBay. Stores generally let you know if they can sell it (the demand which is also based on the area) – if they can sell it fast, they might offer you more. If it’s going to sit on their wall for a while, 25% is a fair price. That way, if anyone shows interest, they can offer it for less.

I never never never ever understood a store that held a back issue on the wall for years and years, but when someone makes an offer they don’t budge. But for years it sits there. Making ZERO. What are they waiting for? What are they saving that sell for? Hard times? Rent? When they’ll have to let it go for lower than expected? They just made $0 for years, when they could have taken the profit to invest in ‘key’ comics that can turnover faster!

So, real quick because I’m rambling. How do you price YOUR comic book collection?

If you have any modern day runs it better be a good run. Then use a price guide, like Overstreet, and total that up. That’s basically what it’s worth. What you’ll get for it if you want to sell is a different story.

But a run of comic books will be more attractive than a key issue. But still, the ‘worth’ of your collection is what a price guide will tell you. What you can sell it for is always a different story.

I price mine today – it’s about $15,000. If I tried to sell it to a store, they don’t put as much value into it as I do. If they want to sell it for $15,000 it’ll take time and effort to rid themselves of every single issue. If I was a store – I’d offer myself $5,000. Small stores can’t do that – so they might just pick and choose. You can do that if you want, but you can’t leverage the WHOLE COLLECTION to another store if you do. So be careful.

Okay, what I’m trying to say is – Overstreet prices are a guide. That’s how to price your collection. That’s what it’s worth theoretically. You might add more monetary value to it due to personal reasons. But the bottom line – it’s worth $0.00 just sitting there in your box. It’s not as liquid as gold per se. The value is your price guide. What you can sell it for is much lower.

Here’s a good example. Walk into a comic book store, buy the latest X-Men comic book for $3.59.

Now try to sell it in two or three years.  It’s in mint condition. It was worth $3.59 to you when you bought it.  Overstreet will have it valued at $4.00. It’ll be in a bin for $4.00 at a store. And the store will probably offer you nothing for it.

That’s pricing your collection. Assigning value to it in order to sell it – well… that’s a different story.

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Have you ever played the X-Men Name Game?

Have you ever played the X-Men Name Game?

X-Men Name Game

It’s not as easy as you think!!!

Goal – be the last one to name an X-Men… Take turns naming X-Men. Person who can names the last one wins!

Add a time limit to your guesses and it gets even tougher!

Join in on the conversation here on Facebook:

The X-Men Name Game

Here were some of my ‘back pocket’ go-to X-Men to pull out in Emergency!

Banshee
The White Queen (some may argue she wasn’t because she was part of Hellfire Club but she was part of X-Men)
Northstar & Aurora
Angel
Cable

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Road to OZ and reading with Dyslexia

oz road to oz

Road to OZ and reading with Dyslexia

Why? When my daughter was diagnosed with Dyslexia, we practiced reading as much as possible. I also tried different reading options – and one of those was comic books.

Watching and listening to her read out-loud was inspirational to me. And the comic book that she read with childlike (which she is) wonder and enthusiasm was OZ: Road to OZ.

She’d say wait, pause to look at the pictures, then continue to read it out-loud to me. She’d comment about a panel, read, comment, and laugh, and point and above all ENJOY.

Since then she has read all her book report books aloud to me. Every book she reads for her book report for school is all done word by word out loud to me as I follow along.

It’s amazing. And… she’s come along way from getting “F” in spelling tests and struggling with reading to a only ONE B+ grade and all As and Principle’s honor roll! She’s getting As in spelling tests now every week when she reads and practices.

It’s a great feeling.

So here’s a HOT PICK – and just because my 4th grader read it doesn’t mean it’s just for a 4th grader. The story, art, the whole series is one of the best OZ story lines I’ve read!

Get it!

Read it with your kids!

There’s also a hardcover available: Oz: Road to Oz Hardcover

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The Three Comic Books that Changed my Life

Okay, so you’ve read about the first three comic books that really got me hooked right? “My First Comic Books“. Well, here’s the continuation to that story:

Photo on 2013-11-12 at 22.35

What happened next – and what would be a comic-collector sin if it happened today, I took the Giant Sized Avengers, found a page with a list of comic books to order, cut it out, checked off 3 comic books, asked my mom for some CASH, put it in an envelope and mailed it to Marvel Comics.

The Three Comic Books that Changed My Life

If I didn’t take those steps – I would have never, 10 years later, opened my own comic book store!

I’m not sure how long it took but I do know I waited daily for the mail to be delivered. Then, one day, inside the mail slot, three comic books, bound together with a plain brown wrapper, were my three comic books.

Fantastic Four 207
Uncanny X-Men 122
Amazing Spider-Man 193

fantasticfour207My 2 goals: Read them over and over and attempt to stop my little sister from drawing and coloring in them!

My sister was the real FF fan in the family. But it didn’t take me long to fall in love with Sue Richards and of course, the Human Torch. When the first FF movie came out Reed Richards made me feel exactly like the comic books did – like he was just there to fill a role and was really a non-interesting part of the story.

There should be more blame on that guy for what happened to them shouldn’t there? That family should HATE Reed. Right?

Well, I was more interested in hero stuff – not science mumbo jumbo Reed was interested in.

The movie was sub-par, to say the least. I think they could have done better with Ben Grimm, who’s relationship with Johnny in the comic book was what I really enjoyed.

So yeah, my little sister loved the Fantastic Four but it wasn’t soon after that I considered the series my top 3 favorite book.

I was so upset when she (my sister) drew, or colored, Reed Richard’s hair with a scribble on issue #216

But what a treat – my first FF had Spidey in it!

uncannyxmen122Then there was The Uncanny X-Men. I don’t know why, but at the time the X-Men weren’t my favorite team. I did, however, love Cyclops and Colossus – and the team was, er, cool, but it wasn’t one of those ‘run to the mailbox’ deals. On occasion my mom would take me to this stationary-type book store on Brand Blvd and I’d be allowed to pick a couple of other comic books. Like The Transformers, Avengers, Power Man and Iron Fist, and my favorite team, Defenders.

And that was my favorite hero team – The Defenders.

To this day, I’m not sure why I decided to pick the mail-order for The Fantastic Four, Uncanny X-Men and good old Spidey (Amazing Spider-Man). But I did, and they will always be my top 3!

The X-Men story-line meant more to me as the years went by – and I really started to like their struggle. But the best comic book hero in my life was and will always be my favorite: Peer Parker the Amazing Spider-Man.

amazingspiderman193It started off with a bang – Peter fought The Human Fly. I believe this was one the first appearances of the Human Fly (in the Marvel Universe). He appeared in a Spider-Man annual and then issue 192 and 193.

The next issue featured The Black Cat; and I wondered how a villain could be so bad, yet be so good – if you know what I mean! She was awesome – and if there was a comic character I fell in love with that wasn’t Sue Richards, it was Felicia Hardy. Issue 194 was her first appearance.

Those two books, 193 and 194, are two of my all time favorite comic books!

CAN YOU SEE? CAN YOU SEE WHY I WAS HOOKED?

Okay, three comics that lasted two years via mail order in a  brown paper wrap. These were the three comic books that changed my life!

I remember renewing the 1-year subscription one more time and after it ended, I would bike to whatever comic book store I could (Another World Comics in Eagle Rock) and buy comics; so for two years I received my comics in the mail!

As I got older, I knew how to take the bus to Hollywood.  My parents never knew, but sometimes I’d take the bus to The Golden Apple Comic Book Store on Melrose Blvd. It took about 1 hour, one-way.

This is how I worked backwards and collected all the back-issues I could for Fantastic Four, Uncanny X-Men and the Amazing Spider-Man.

When I was able to drive I drove.  There’s a whole story in itself when my best friend and I drove to San Diego (me with only a permit and my parents out of town) for the BIG comic book convention which is now the biggest comic convention in the world. Yeah, we were a part of the growth of that.

And, to close, one of my prized possessions is Uncanny X-Men #94: Which I bought from my cousin’s boyfriend from UCLA, Brian Lowry, back in the early 80s (follow Brian on Twitter: @blowryontv)  He ended up a writer who authored a book on the X-Files and is a TV Critic for Variety (I think).

That was my pre-teen years of course. Next up – my high school  years.

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My First Comic Books

Photo on 2013-11-11 at 18.53There are three significant comic books that got me ‘hooked’. And then three more that changed by life.

My First Comic Books

It was sometime in the early 70s. I was visiting my dad one summer in Mexico where he was going to medical school. The house-keeper walked my sister and I to the local grocery store and I found a magazine stand. There, I found two comic books that would last me the whole summer. I read them over and over… and I read them over and over and over.

They were:

richierichcasper“Richie Rich & Casper” and “Shazam.”

These two cherished comic books eventually became tattered and torn as I wore them out through the next few months and maybe years that followed. Soon, they were lost in the clutter somewhere in my room – maybe thrown away. But to this day, I remember the cover’s art of these two books. It was like a cliche while reading them – I had a flashlight, I got underneath my covers, and I’d read them till I fell asleep; I’d dream about Shazam, or Richie and Casper all night long.

300px-Shazam_Vol_1_11I was so fascinated with the art, the story-telling and the colors of these two books; my first comic books. They were simply amazing! I never experienced anything like a comic book before, and these two comic books, found in a grocery store in Mexico, were what got me introduced into the world of comic books.

And it was only an introduction to the eventual courtship and a marriage to the world of comic books and comic book collecting.

I was so young at the time I didn’t realize the value of value. What do I mean about value of value? They were VALUABLE TO ME but I didn’t know how to care for value… if that makes sense.

So let’s jump forward a few years to the next book that is the ‘plot point’ in my comic book journey.

Giant-Size Avengers #5

avengers giant size 1I was visiting a family friend in San Diego. We slept over and he had a stack of comic books. I have no idea how I got him to let me have it, but he gave me a Giant-Size Avengers #5.

Oh my Comic Gods! If all you knew was Casper, and Shazam, and were facinated by the universe of comic books and superheros within that universe – reading Giant-Size Avengers #5 was like taking me away from reality, putting me in a different GALAXY and I was right there with the Team – and look who they battled: Mandarin, Powerman, The Enchantress… THE EXECUTIONER!

WHAT?!?!?!

That was amazing. It was incredible. It was more than a kid could handle. The comic panels inside couldn’t get bigger – they were life-sized in my opinion. It was addictive and I couldn’t get enough!

What happened next would be a comic-collector sin if it happened today, but if I didn’t take the next steps – I would have never, 10 years later, opened my own comic book store!

What did I do? And what were the next three comic books that changed my life? Stay Tuned for Part 2 of “My First Comic Books: The 3 comic books that changed my life

 

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Hello world! My Comic Book Universe!

Photo on 2013-11-11 at 18.58Welcome to my new blog! “Little Shop Of Comics” is BACK! Back in the…

Comic Book Universe

after a long layoff.

KaPoWW!

YowZa.

 

Yup – we’re back. But we’re online.

We’ve been away a measly 19 years (what the heck right?) – but now we’re online and we’re, well, maybe not better… but… we are here.

I am here at least.

But now we’re just called “Shop of Comics” as some smart dude out there is using the name Little Shop of Comics.

I have to hand it to them – THAT’s a great name.

But THAT’S not stopping ME from getting back into the Comic Book Universe.

So who, what, huh?

I think I put this in the ABOUT PAGE but here it is if you haven’t read what we are all about.

I say ‘we’ but right now it’s just ‘me’.

“Little Shop of Comics, Cards, and Collectibles” was a cozy comic book store that could be found tucked into a warm little store front on Las Tunas drive.

Members would get great deals on comic books, play Street Fighter and other video games, join a late night Dungeons and Dragons adventure, eat pizza, and win great prizes on Prize night!

The staff was courteous, fun-loving, and did what they could to make “LSOC” a place to hang out after school and the weekends.

If you were a member or customer, it would be great to hear some stories and memories of the days at “Little Shop”.

Follow us on Twitter: @ShopOfComics
Like us on Facebook: /ShopOfComics

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