Posted - August 22, 2011

Selling Your Comics

The first and most important thing you have to know about selling your comics is: Are you absolutely sure? The reason I ask is, many collectors, myself included, have had regrets about this. It could be losing that rare issue or excellent story arc; or it could not be the comics itself but the nostalgia attached to it - my late uncle once stencilled my name on an issue of Savage Sword of Conan - I wish I had that back. I used to have nearly all of the Perez/Wolfman Titans, but sold them, and had to repurchase them later on. And so on and so forth. . . you get the idea. I thought it was a good move at the time. You know about Nicholas Cage? Big collector. Serious investment grade comics with a seven-figure price tag. He sold it. After his divorce from Marie Presley  he said he regrets doing that and that he did it because of Marie Presley. If I recall correctly it was something about comics being a childish hobby. . The point is, make getting rid of your comics your decision. If your going to blame somebody else then you might as well get creative, be resolute, heck, be downright conniving and find a way to retain your collection. If you don't do this you'll be playing nasty little blame games later. Do not discount how much joy your collection has brought into your life - and how much joy it can still bring.

Still selling? Okay. First of all, you should identify the expensive comics that you have, if any. These will be treated differently than the rest of your collection. Log into and search for each comic that you suspect of being valuable. This is the ultimate reality check, since you will see the actual market price of the comics. If its not available in check This exercise could be a real eye-opener; you might have some unexpected gems or something you bought 'because it will be valuable in the future' could be selling way below cover price.

Let's assume that by checking online you've identified $35,000 worth of comics in your collection. Be sure you grade it properly - both online retail shops I mentioned have grading guidelines. You can check both CGC or the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide for grading advice. What you'll ultimately get will be below 35k since that amount includes the margin of the seller and chances are you'll be taxed for the sale. Still, this is a pretty substantial amount.

Both and buy comics. You can auction them in eBay or list them in Craigslist or any of the numerous other sites on the Net that you know about and I don't. You can also saunter down to your comics retailer or used bookstore and get a quote. There are two things to watch out for when you go looking for a buyer: First, are the people asking to keep your comics for inspection before they make a buy decision? It should be okay to have them check it in front of you but you shouldn't leave it with them, or worst, mail it to them so they can check it out first. You want to sell these comics you don't want to give them away right? Next, people might try to convince you to trade them in for other comics or other non-cash items. If you're open to barter, that's fine, of course; but I'm assuming you want or need cash. If so, you must not settle for a swap. Some of these people can be very persuasive. I speak from bitter experience. I would also caution you about buyer's who negotiate for some kind of lay-away or installment. You really want to deal with people who have cash on hand.

Ultimately, the buyer will have to go to you to inspect the comics or you will have to go to them. This could be anything from a walk down the block to a full plane ride. Some investment grade comics are worth a plane ride. I know of a copy of Superman no. 1 that was flown from Manila to the U.S. for a nice profit at the end of the deal. So, depending on the potential worth of your comics, you are limited to buyers who are accessible to you and vice versa - the whole internet community is not your buyer.

Investment grade comics aside, what about the rest of your collection?

I have two real life examples of how to dispose of comics collections for your consideration.

This first collector just wanted the comics out as fast as possible - he had a baby on the way and needed the space. Having become a father, he experienced a sudden lack of interest in his comics. It was a simple process: He took out  a local ad specifying a lumpsum price for his entire collection. This is a very fast way to do it. You have to emphasize that the entire collection has to go at your non-negotiable asking price. Did this collector consult a price guide? Nope, he didn't want to 'waste' one more minute on comics. He let go of three thousand or so issues for only $500.  That is an absolute bargain basement price guaranteed to find a buyer fast.

This other collector was still very much into the hobby but needed some extra cash to tide him over a difficult time. So he created a very attractive pdf file, a sort of catalogue showcasing the comics he wanted to sell. This file he circulated via email among local collectors and to friends, asking them to forward it to any collectors they know. I still have a copy of that pdf in my hard drive. There is an image of the comic or related sets of comics, the condition, the asking price, whether it's negotiable or not, and local rendezvous options for concluding the sale, and the seller's contact number and email. This is a slower process of selling that is most effective if you have the complete run of a story arc or event. In this case, the seller emphasized that he cannot break up a complete set, it's all or nothing. This also allowed him to charge a premium for his comics. The disadvantage here is that you might not be able to find a buyer for all your comics.

I've walked away from the hobby three times. All of them where occasions for big life changes. I've disposed of parts of my collection but never the entire thing. Each time, I walked away I thought that was definitely it for comics as a hobby. Each time I was wrong. These days, I have a handful of comics that I've marked as keepers - never to be sold; my own anti-regret policy for the passion that just won't quit.

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