Friday, July 25, 2014

You Got to Know When to Hold 'em...

Doug: Thanks to David B. for inspiring today's conversation (which, barring some unforeseen epiphany, will stretch through the weekend). In Tuesday's conversation about worst Avengers, I brought up the fact that I have finally taken the plunge on selling my comic book collection (and depending on how it goes, it may stretch into some action figures, books, etc.). David left this thought in the comments section --
David B: I **really** think you're going to regret the sale, Doug, but I totally understand the sell desire..

I know you've brought it up before.

Hope it goes well.
Doug: Karen's going to join in shortly. We don't want anyone to think we're throwing ol' David under the bus, because that's certainly not the case. Don't think that he touched on a... touchy subject. But I do hope we get a lengthy discussion on collecting, buying, selling, collecting vs. possessing, reprints, etc. today. I think the lid's off a very broad topic.

Doug: It's funny -- I think at some point we all think to ourselves that we'll amass a collection and some day it will appreciate in value and we'll make a pretty penny off those years of toil spent basking in the glory of the hunt. At the stage in life that we are as parents in our household, the time to sell is now. It's sort of a perfect storm that we've known is coming -- student loans debt (the parents' share), as well as a questionable vehicle being driven by the college junior, coming together late this summer. I'll be honest -- I'd much rather any proceeds from the sales of my comics go to the loan repayments, as I'd treat that as shifting money to another investment (my sons' careers). But to a used car? I hope we don't have to do that, because that's just all about depreciation. One does what must be done, in the end.


Doug: I just love Karen's phrase that we've all adopted -- that this is the "golden age of reprints". For me, once I embraced reprints it drew me away from new comics. These days, I'd much rather plunk down $15-25 for a trade paperback than put the same money into a single back issue. That's my personal preference, but it also jibes with my goals as a collector 20 years ago. When I was amassing my complete run of the Avengers, which ended with my purchases of Avengers #s 1 (for $190 in 1991) and 4 (for $175 in 1992), it became fiscally responsible (if there is such a notion in hobbying) to go for the Very Good to Fine copies rather than the higher grades. I know many collectors want that copy that looks great in the hands. While I don't have very many copies in my run that look poorly, there are a few that I never got round to replacing. And that was OK for me. After all, it was my collection. So you could say that I became more of a possessor than maybe the strictest definition of a collector.


Doug: I'll admit to being pretty melancholy these past few days. But then I had to ask myself -- why? It wasn't easy opening that longbox marked "Avengers 1-225" and pulling out the first 20 issues of the title for scanning. And then I realized that I hadn't had these books out in almost twenty years, and I sure wouldn't take them out of the hard plastic bags to read them. So really -- other than the hope that they would appreciate in value I found myself again saying, "It's time." And I'll also say that it is neat as you sit over the first few days of the auction and see people tag themselves as "watching" and/or the bids start to roll in. The stress for me is whether or not I have graded the book fairly (I tend to grade too high), if I have set the "Buy It Now" option too high or too low, and whether or not I'll get a fair price if the auction begins with regular bidding.

Karen: Doug's current situation has me recalling the two previous times in my life when I sold comics: during my last year of college and again about ten years ago. Both times, I was selling off mostly books from the 50s and 60s that I had inherited from my uncle, so perhaps the sentimental aspect had not been fully present. But dear lord, I think now about some of the books I sold off -I had a copy of Brave and Bold #1, Batman #100, Tales To Astonish #27....the list goes on and on. I wonder sometimes what I could get for those books now as opposed to 25 years ago? Or even 10? But is there ever a perfect time to sell? And eBay- well, it has its pluses and minuses. Obviously, a seller can reach many more people via the internet. When I first sold books, I did it through the Comics Buyers Guide, the fan precursor to the internet. I did manage to sell quite a few books that way, but I'm sure I had a very limited market. On the other hand, the fees with eBay can be a drag. Still, as I have said in private to Doug, I think it's preferable to sell to individuals than to dealers. I've tried selling to dealers, big and small, several times and each time I've declined to go through with it because they were offering me basically pennies on the dollar for my books.

Karen: I feel for my partner. It's not an easy thing, letting go of ones' collection. On one hand, I  would like to liberate myself of the dozens of boxes of comics that I feel weigh me down, almost like the chains that hung from Marley's ghost. But when I start thinking about where to make the cuts, it's not so easy. Part of the problem for me is that most of the reprints in the trades don't include letters pages. That might sound silly, but the letters pages frequently have useful tidbits and background info that I have drawn on when writing articles for Back Issue, and besides, I just find the letters pages, and the old Marvel Bullpen Page, a lot of fun to read. Now I do have the DVD ROM version of many of the major titles, so that's not a problem -as long as I can access that format. But with some of the lesser-known titles, that's not an option. Thankfully Marvel has been releasing more and more 70s books in TPB and Masterworks format. I guess I can live without the letters pages if I had to... still, there's nothing like holding the original comic in your hands, is there?


 

 

79 comments:

J.A. Morris said...

A slight digression, since Karen brought up the DVD-ROM comics.

They've been out of print for years, but in the last year, I ordered the Captain America, Star Trek and Amazing Spider-Man DVD-ROMS through Interlibrary Loan. Here's a tip for everyone here:They aren't copy protect DVD drive and copy the PDFs to your computer (or portable hard drive, whatever). If you're local city/county library (or if you're affiliated with a university library) and want to check get ahold of these PDFs without buying them on Ebay, ask if your library can order them for you.

I still prefer to have reprints in tpb/hardcover form, but the PDFs are pretty cool.

Colin Jones said...

I stopped reading Marvel comics in late 1983 (and started again in 2007) and so decided to sell all my comics in 1984 - of course there was no internet/e-bay in those days so I wrote to a firm that sold comics collections with a list of all my comics but after a couple of months I hadn't heard anything so I just put them all in plastic bags and threw them away. It still pains me to think of them out there somewhere in land-fill. I agree about the letters pages - I've recently been re-reading all of Marvel UK's Planet of the Apes online which included the letters pages and they were fascinating to read, a real window into a vanished world.

david_b said...

Trust me, I'm humbled by the attention from my previous mention. But leave it to Doug/Karen to take a sentimental tidbit and expand it to some serious conversation/discussion/musings today on our collections. Bravo to you two..

I've only got a dozen or so Silver Age comics that I've paid over a hundred for (including that Avengers 16 which I bought two yrs ago.., and in the same condition shown here actually..). My collection has mainly consisted of three categories..:

1) My beloved 'first comics', which most I've repurchased in VF+ condition for me to cherish as I first saw them, around 1969/1970. In addition, I kept the ones I've personally bought off the racks, to include the most memorable ones of my 2nd collecting stint back in the mid-80s. Those became (or were associated with..) the best memories of my life. Like my 1978 Schwinn Varsity 10-Speed in my garage, they'll stay with me until I leave Planet Earth.

Some like Steelgrip Starkey, Bill Mumy-penned Lost In Space comics, and those later NTT's, WCA's, post-Miller Batmans, and Wally's Flash title quickly got donated. Very quickly.

2) Those 'key issues' I always heard about and bought due to extra cashflow and simply to 'beef up' my vanity holdings.

3) Those whimsical-interest collections I've started, like collecting Silver Age DD, ASM, Doc Strange, Steranko SHIELD issues, TOA, TOS, Green Lantern, Cardy's Titans, Neal Adams covers (Superboy, Worlds Finest), etc.., when I go ga-ga over early Ditko and Steranko stylings.

NONE of these comics are for sale, unless my life/health/finances changes drastically in my twilight years. By no means a completist, I've very proud of my collection after spending years of whittling down extraneous comics (independents and just-general '90s crap). I've considered the DVD's and actually have a few on disk from a comics buddy I had over in Kuwait.., but they'll never replace my originals. Like Colin, I've ALWAYS enjoyed reading the letters pages and general Marvel Bullpen hoopla like house ads, etc.., many times more than the actual story itself. It was a 'package deal' for me, much like what Karen ended today's column with.

As Stan Lee's been quoted as sayin', 'Comics are like breasts. Great to see them on-line, but I'd prefer holding on in my hands.'

Exclesior, indeed.

Great column, folks.

William said...

I've done major purges of my collection twice in my life, and on both occasions, I had some regrets and some sense of relief. Forgive me if this gets a little long, but my experiences may help others who are looking to do the same thing.

The first time I sold off a big chunk of my comics was back in 1991/92 shortly after I got married. Money was tight and space was limited, and I had in the neighborhood of 14 long boxes full of comics, ranging from the Silver Age up the present date at the time. In my mind my collection was divided into two categories, 'Spider-Man books' and 'other books'. At the time I pumped myself up and decided to sell off everything except for the my Spider-Man collection. Of which I had a complete run of all titles, Amazing Spider-Man, Spec. Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, Spider-Man, etc. and so on, including a decent (but restored) copy of Amazing Fantasy #15.

As I said, I had 14 long boxes, 5 of which contained my Spidey's, and 9 of other various Marvel and DC Comics. Including some nice Silver Age issues, such as Avengers #2 and 9, FF #18, 28, 37, and 73, X-Men #10-16, and #35, Daredevil #10-21, etc. Plus full runs of Frank Miller DD, Byrne FF, Claremont/Byrne X-Men, Perez/Wolfman New Teen Titans, and tons of other classic issues.

So, I borrowed my parents van, loaded it with 9 boxes of comics and drove over to my local comicbook store of which I had been going to for over 10 years, and where I had bought many of my back issues. The owner (who I knew very well) came out and looked through all my stuff (which I stated above contained many classic and valuable comics) then he turned to me and offered me $300 for all 9 boxes!!! He said if I included my Spider-Man books he could offer me more. I of course declined his "generous" offer.

After that experience I just went about selling my books myself at flea markets, and a series of yard sales. I also sold off a large collection of old Star Wars figures and ships as well. I sold everything at 50% of Overstreet value, and I ended up making two to three thousand dollars when all was said and done. (Considerably better than $300).

The best part was that I was able to keep many of my non-Spidey Silver Age comics. However I eventually sold many of those on eBay a few years ago with mixed results. My advice is definitely don't sell to a dealer and to sell your collection yourself.

Next I'll you about my recent experience selling off my beloved Spider-Man collection.

Edo Bosnar said...

As I've said here a few times before, I pretty much gave away my huge original comics collection, accumulated from about 1975/6 to roughly 1984, around the time when I graduated from HS in 1986 - the family was making a big out-of-state move to a rather smallish apartment, so there wasn't much room for boxes & boxes of comics. Also dumped quite a few of my SF and fantasy paperbacks at a used bookstore.

In some ways, it was a relief to unload all that stuff, but to an extent I also regretted it almost immediately: besides a summer job, I had nothing to do in those few months before I started going to college, i.e., new place, no friends yet, etc. So I drifted back into comics after an almost 2-year hiatus because there were two comic shops pretty close to where we were living at the time.

But to be honest, in practical terms I can't say I regret not having my whole original collection. Given all of the moves I've made personally, including a major one to a different continent, as well as the moves made by my parents before their retirement, that collection would have been a weight around everyone's neck. However, I do sometimes regret that back at the age of 18 I didn't have the foresight to pull out and set aside in a single box a few things out of that original collection: things that are hard to find now for a reasonable price, like, for example, Marvel's Greatest Super-hero Battles and the other Fireside reprint books.

david_b said...

Actually, clerical correction, I believe I only paid $80 for that VF condition Avengers issues 12 and 16 each but like I said, compared to most here, my collection's pretty meager. I'm only up to six (6) short boxes.

I'm always one to believe that if you REALLY want a vintage issue at a certain price, lob another $30-40 and get an even better condition comic.

Five years later, are you **really** going to remember you spent that extra cash..? Probably not, but you'll be glad you did.

Rip Jagger said...

Timely...no pun intended... conversation.

Just yesterday while driving my wife reminded that I'd promised last year to begin to dwindle my stacks of comics. I did do some yeoman work on that last year (losing value, but moving bulk alas) but this summer not so much.

So I'm motivated to begin again. It's hard to push them out the door, like pulling off a band-aid, but I find quickly is the best way. I have a small hill to get shed of before I slip this mortal coil, because my spouse does not want to deal with it. And I love my daughters too much to leave it to them.

Rip Off

Doug said...

William, my ballpark offers from most dealers (based solely off the spreadsheet I'd emailed to several advertisers in the Overstreet price guide) were in the $3000-4000 range for the entire collection. I'm happy to say that as of right now, the bids on my Avengers #s 1 and 4 total over $1000, with a few days to go until the closing bell. So I understand the degree to which you felt insulted by your dealer "friend".

But hey -- I get it, too. I understand profit margins, stale inventory, etc. I know those guys have to low-ball the individual because ultimately they are running a capitalistic venture. Understood.

On the other hand, I was not at all looking forward to what I'm in the midst of now -- scanning, listing, watching, and shipping. What I'd hoped in the beginning would be a quick-hitter for some nice cash has quickly morphed into a project that I hope to have closed by the end of the year. Needless to say, the "new" used car for our younger son is back-burnered for the time being.

Trials, tribulations, and hopefully -- a small triumph or three down the line...

Doug

Doug said...

Sorry, Rip -- saw your comment after I'd posted my own just now.

I agree with you wholeheartedly on the burden a collection would be to the next of kin. My wife has no interest (she is a saint at humoring me, purchasing for me, etc., but knows nothing of the hobby) in dealing with this monster that is "the comic room" (see elsewhere on the blog for photos). My sons have a passing interest, but at the stage of their lives would not want to "come into" the old man's collection. So while I'm perfectly healthy and plan on being here for some time, there's a sense of liberation at having crossed this threshold.

Doug

Murray said...

I wish I could join in on the conversation. But, I've never paid more than cover price for a comic. Any holes in my collections were filled by reprints. Those holes were not to fill numerical gaps, but to finish story arcs. I've never rated or ranked my comics with the arcane "VF, F, XVF, XM" and whatever. The only polybags I use came into my possession when the local comic book dealer started selling new issues in a bag. I shifted the more venerable issues to the plastic for protection.

The boxes with my comics have been lifted, stacked, and moved for the last time. Since that move, scanning has entered my life big time. Nearly every page is now digital and life is very good. Stan Lee's quote is cute, but flawed. It's hard to defend digital versions of breasts, live music or actually standing on a beach. The real thing is better. However, a static graphic image on a screen is identical to a static graphic image on a piece of paper. The difference is a finer hair-splitting than "tomato-tomahto".

I'm not sure what I'll do with these last boxes of comics. The final creme de la creme. They're not in a condition to likely to appeal to investor-speculator-collectors. The land fill feels harsh. As with any stuff I clean away, I only wish to give them to a good home. But finding such a home, there's the rub.

The thought of making my next move (shudder) with every one of my beloved comics on a keychain fob in my pocket makes me smile. Grin, even.

William said...

This is an addendum to my first post.

In the fall of 2012 I made the fateful decision to finally sell off my entire Spider-Man comic collection. It was not an easy decision, but my wife and I were planning to buy a house and we really needed the money.

I knew I wasn't going to offer them to any kind of a dealer, and I was afraid to sell them on eBay or Craig's List for fear of being ripped off by an unscrupulous buyer. So, I did some research and decided the best thing to do would be to sell them through an online auction house that specializes in comics. They are based in NYC, and I am in South Florida. I didn't want to risk shipping all those books through the mail, so I loaded up my SUV with 7 long boxes full of Spider-Man comics, and (along with my wife) drove them up to New York myself.

I have to say that I regret that decision would probably be an understatement. First of all, I didn't get any action on my books for over 6 months, and then when they did finally sell them, they put my entire collection up on an eBay style auction with no reserve. And they didn't even tell me they were doing that until after the fact, when it was too late to stop it. That was after I was repeatedly assured that they wouldn't do anything with my books without first getting my approval.

Long story short, everything only ended up selling for a total of around $17,000 (which was around half what I was expecting). That's for pretty much every Spider-Man comic ever published mind you, including Amazing Fantasy #15 which only sold for $3,600. I was not happy to say the least. And to add insult to injury the auction house took their 25% commission leaving me with only around $12,500 for my entire collection. Again I was none too happy. (That's another understatement).

That was in the summer of 2013, and since then I've learned to live with it. First of all, it's really nice not to have to deal with the hassle of storing all those books, or worrying about something happening to them, and having to drag them around whenever I move, etc.

Also, the thing that made me most angry was the paltry sum I got for my AF #15. But it was a restored copy (I bought it that way for only $500), and I did some research and found that restored books are only worth a fraction (10-20%) of what an unrestored copy goes for. In fact, if you have a book in 'good' condition and you restore it to let's say 'fine' condition, it decreases the value of the book. Meaning, it was actually worth more in it's original unrestored 'good' condition. That definitely helped ease the pain, but I still regret my decision to sell them in the manner in which I did. I figure I could have gotten more than that from my LCS. But on the bright side, I did finally get to see NYC, which is something I've always wanted to do. So, I can scratch that one off my bucket list.

Garett said...

I haven't collected since '87 when I sold 90% of my collection. I do have several boxes of comics now, but they're all reader copies, which makes me feel good. It's like when I was a kid, just reading a comic for the fun of it, and rolling it up and hitting a fly with it if the occasion arises! : )

I prefer reprints now, as they have sharper ink lines and colors, and you can read a dozen issues all in one book without ads. Also the extra drawings and intros are a bonus. Rarely I'll splurge for an omnibus, like Thor #2 by Lee/Kirby, and I did enjoy the letters page from the '60s. Sometimes the reprints still have poor coloring, like Conan by Buscema, so I'll keep some of the original comics. I rarely buy back issues anymore, but recently bought a bunch of Power Man/Iron Fist for Kerry Gammill's excellent run, as they haven't been reprinted in color yet. I also pick up single issues that stand out, like Doctor Strange #55 with Michael Golden's excellent art.

Since we're talking about reprints, a couple I recently really enjoyed for both story and art:

ORION: THE GATES OF APOKOLIPS by Walt Simonson. (Reprints #1-5, plus some extra art by Frank Miller and others.)

THE 'NAM by Doug Murray and Michael Golden. (Reprints #1-10. This one holds up really well-- characters, storytelling, Golden's art. Great colors.)

david_b said...

Doug, please continue to document your troubles, work on selling your collection. I'm sure you'll have many of us chiming in with similiar experiences, all hopefully better than William's tale.

I too know the tedium in scanning/posting issues to sell. For some old VG JLA's and such to sell for what.., $7.99..? And you've got 20 to do..?

Sure you might make perhaps $200 if lucky and they all sell, but the effort sure seems daunting when you're in the midst of it.

Keep us informed, sir.

Edo Bosnar said...

Since Garett brought it up, I have to say that although my original collection had a lot of stuff that would be considered at least somewhat valuable now, like most of the Claremont/Byrne/Austin run on X-men, most of the Wolfman/Perez run on New Teen Titans, the entirety of Miller's first run on Daredevil, etc., those comics weren't in the best of condition, as I read the heck out of them and just stacked them flat (not upright) in cardboard boxes without bags.

Also, like Garett, I only get occasional single issues now - I think all of the ones I now have could fit in a single long-box with space left over.
And Garett, since you brought up Simonson's Orion, I've stumbled across cheap copies of that trade edition you mention, but never bought it, just because I want the whole series. I wish DC would do an omnibus - but apparently Simonson himself has told fans that this is highly unlikely. If it wasn't so darn expensive (for me, shipping to Europe and all), I'd buy the whole set of single issues and have them bound...

William said...

Like Garett and Edo, my collection now mostly consists of a few select single comic issues (about two boxes worth) that I like to read (and re-read), and a bookshelf full of hardcover and TPB reprint books.

But the thing that mostly makes giving up my single printed comics bearable, are the "40 years of…" DVD collections of various Marvel Comics titles. I believe they are also referred to as "Complete Comic Collection" DVD's as well.

I have pretty much all of them which include Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Avengers, X-Men, Iron Man, and Captain America. Each collection contain complete runs (including all the annuals) from the very first issue back in the early 1960's all the way through to around 2007. So each disc has over 500 complete comics on them.

And what really makes these awesome is that they are scans of the actual comics, from front cover to back cover, including all ads and letter's pages. It's like having a virtual collection of the original printed comics, complete with all the little coloring imperfections, creases, and in some cases slight aging of the paper. You can almost smell the newsprint. And it really helps take the sting out of selling off your originals.

You can also make multiple back-ups so you don't have to worry about losing them. Aside from having the original discs, and two back-ups, I also have them all downloaded on my computer, so that I can access them anytime I want. A lot of times when BAB reviews an old Marvel Comic that I'm not familiar with, I go to my desktop, open it up and read it right then. I highly recommend picking these up if you can find them. They are usually available on eBay, but these days they aren't cheap. But they're a lot cheaper than buying the actual comics.

William Preston said...

At my peak I had maybe six long boxes. I hadn't started taking care of my comics till '75 or '76, which is when I started really "collecting" and going to conventions to look for older Marvels. I also bought, for cheap, off a family friend, many early Romita Spideys and a long run of Thor (the best stuff, around the Rigelians and the first go-round with Ragnarok).

The most I ever spent on a comic was, I think, 20 bucks (ASM 121, which I still have; Conan 2, which I still have, Silver Surfer 1, ditto). I wasn't a big spender on old things, and bought too many crappy new Marvels in the late '70s.

I sold most of my most valuable stuff all at once to a comic shop (long since closed) in the late '80s or early '90s, when prices were at their highest. Early Cerebus the Aardvark (I think I got $300 each for two copies of the first issue), Miller's DD, Romita's Spidey, the Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne X-men run. Maybe 10 years ago, I sold a boxfull of good stuff to Mile High comics. I meant to send them another box, but the whole thing was such a hassle. If someone just wanted to buy the in one swell foop, I wouldn't care about the cost. They're just taking up space in my attic (though I did recently pull out the Marvel Star Wars comics to show my daughter's boyfriend).

Anonymous said...

Yeah, with all the DVDs and reprints and such, it's easier to be a comics fan than it was years ago.

As for selling off your collection, I read a book by James Michener (Literary Reflections) where he talked about some of the book collectors he'd known, and he said that most (if not all) collectors of rare books/first editions treat their collections as temporary; they see themselves more as custodians or caretakers than owners. So you could probably say the same about comics...you took care these comics for a while, now you're putting them back out there so someone else can enjoy them. Nothing wrong with that :)

Mike W.

Dr. Oyola said...

Hey Doug, have you shared a link to your eBay auctions? I want to check them out!

Karen said...

Rip has a good point about not wanting to burden loved ones with our collections. Hubby and I have comics, statues, toys, etc, and no children. Who will get these things when we die? It's morbid but it's been on my mind lately. I have friends who would appreciate them, but they are the same age as us. My niece and nephew really don't have an interest, nor do my little cousins. And I sure don't want the state getting it! Better to sell them off while we are still able to easily do all the work involved (scanning, photographing, listing online, going to the post office or Fed Ex, etc). We might not be ready to let go of everything just yet, but I do think I'll try to do it before I hit 65. Heck, I want to get rid of most of the long boxes before we make our next move, which I hope will be within the next five years!

Speaking of selling to dealers, William P. mentioned Mile High. They were one of the dealers I tried selling to about 10 years ago. I figured since they always seem to have a pretty good mark-up on their books, they might pay decent prices for my books. Boy, was I wrong. I put together a list of mostly 1950s DCs and Dells in Very Good to Fine condition, and they offered me perhaps 10-15% of Guide value. I just couldn't stand the idea that they'd buy a book from me for a $1.50 and then sell it for $20.00. It made it a lot easier to do all the work myself when I thought about that!

Doug said...

Osvaldo -

It's been linked at the top of the sidebar, main page.

Doug

Dr. Oyola said...

I can't say I relate, at least not in terms of comics-collecting as an investment.

While I had some vague idea of comics appreciating in value when I first collected as a kid, I never took good enough care of my comics AND never had the resources to pay for any of the really valuable back issues that would definitely appreciate more later.

Later when I did have money, paying a lot for back issues just to read them or the vague idea of selling them for more, never appealed to me.

These days I buy a lot of comics knowing I will get the same or less for them if I decide to resell. As long as it is enough to cover buying some more comics that is really all I care about.

So yeah, I only give thought to the re-sale value of comics in terms of what I am willing to pay for them (never more than $5 including shipping ;) ) and what I sell some junk for on eBay (hint: VERY CHEAPLY).

Anyway, I wrote a long post on my collecting practice on my own blog: "On Collecting Comics & Critical Nostalgia" and here is a link to what I currently have up on eBay. I put new stuff up every Monday and/or Tuesday, until I go through a box of extras I got from a friend.

Dr. Oyola said...

Awesome! Thanks

We should have a post this weekend where folks can share thoughts/memories/expectations for any issue you are selling and include a link to it. :)

Like I think I had (and may still have) that Spectacular Spider-Man #2 mag.

Dr. Oyola said...

As for burdening your next of kin with boxes comics, my feeling is that even if they end up on the street curb waiting for collection, someone is going to make a cool discovery of a bunch of comics - and that's neat to imagine.

Then again, easy for me to say 1) my comics aren't worth squat for the most part and 2) I'll be dead. ;)

Doug said...

It was just announced that Neal Adams' Batman and Walt Simonson's New Gods will get the Omnibus treatment.

So there -

Doug

Anonymous said...

This is such a great topic with so many great stories...I don't quite know where I fit in all of this.

Doug, I'll start with saying best of luck on your venture. I hope all turns out well - with several of those triumphs along the way.

As for me - I guess I was more of a "buyer" back in the 70s. I had a friend who briefly got me interested in "collecting" back issues for value. I bought good to VF copies of Daredevil# 1 and Captain America #100 (for $25 and $12.50 respectively, I think). Those 2, and a handful of others are in plastic bags in longboxes in my attic. I've thought a few times about trying to sell either a few valuable ones or even my whole collection. But lately I am more inclined to think of my old comics like Garrett - take a few out to read every once in a while...use 'em to swat flies if I want.

The thing that got me back into comics were the DVDs. I have Spiderman, Iron Man, FF, Avengers and X-Men. So I may be drifting from the topic here but I have been trying to figure out how to go about reading them. Osvaldo, I believe it was on your site that I saw a spreadsheet you devised and I sort of co-opted your design and made one of my own, so thanks for the inspiration. I have set out to read as many of the comics on those DVDs as I can and use the sheet to keep track of what I've read. I'm going to read each one from the beginning in the Silver Age up to when I started buying in 1973. If I can manage that, then I'll jump around to selected issues and runs after the 70s.

I figure that should keep me busy for quite a while.

Tom

ZIRGAR said...

I don’t envy you selling your collection, Doug. But I certainly understand you feeling the need to do so. I wish you much luck and I hope it’s not too painful. I would advise including, if possible, some photos of the interior pages of your comics and not just the covers. Just a couple would work. As long as you’re honest and your communication with your buyers is good, I don’t imagine you’ll have any problems on eBay. Good luck.

I've been on both the good and the bad ends of buying comics on eBay. I've gotten several books in the mail from private sellers that weren't packed properly for shipping, and as a result they were not in the same condition when I got them as they were when they were sent, or rather, advertised as being when they were sent. Sometimes people do grade them too high, or too low, for that matter, but usually, in my experience, most people are pretty close, if not spot on, in their grading, and if they are way off it’s not due to any malicious intent, so I don't get too upset if I buy a VF+ book and it's actually VF-. It can be very subjective. It always has been. Now, on the good side, I just won the Avengers Annuals 6 & 7 (Thanos and the death of Adam Warlock), for 8 dollars plus shipping. The ad said, “I know nothing about comics, but these both appear to be in excellent condition.” I had a huge hunch so I pulled the lever and won the bid. Hardly anyone placed bids and I think it was because there was no grade, just a couple of front cover pictures for each book and from a private seller who admitted to not knowing anything about comics. Now, the best part—when I got the books, they were both easily NM-. I was ecstatic. Truly a steal!

Dr. Oyola said...

I always purposefully aim slighlty lower than what I actually think in my grading comics for eBay. I'd rather someone get some better than they expected than worse. Plus, I am mostly selling reading copies.

Dr. Oyola said...

Tom

glad I could be of help!

Doug said...

I just posted my last Avengers auction for the time being (we have a vacation coming up on August 3rd, and I don't want to be messing with this around that time). During the second week of August we'll get after it again with 10-issue lots through the 100s (although I am considering packaging the Celestial Madonna arc as one lot), and then 20-issue lots through the 200s.

Right now you can look in on the first 100 issues.

Doug

Doug said...

I've come to a conclusion that is sort of cool --

With all of this scanning, there's no reason to delete those files. So at least for the significant issues, I'll have images of "my" collection. Sort of brings a tear to the eye.

Doug

Anonymous said...

Karen, you can actually buy a $1.50 comic and sell it for $20? Ka-ching!

Seriously, though, Doug, I gotta say all props to ya for selling your comics. I know it probably was a hard decision parting with something that was a major part of your life for so many years, but your children's future comes first.

I'm lucky to still have most of the comics that my brother and I collected back in the day, even if some of them are in poor condition. If God forbid we both die then I suspect our collection will be sold very quickly, because no one else in our family shares our love of these books. I just hope they end up in the hands of someone who will grow to love them as much as I did when I was a kid.


- Mike 'I have a Power Puff comicbook I'd gladly donate to charity' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Dr. Oyola said...

Hey Doug, Can I ask how you decided on the shipping costs?

While for the more valuable books, I can understand offering the more expensive priority rate - but for the cheap $1 stuff, people (like me) are less likely to want to spend $8 or $9 for expedited shipping, when standard mail for one or two books would only be a two or three bucks, and media mail could be even cheaper, depending.

Redartz said...

Doug- hope you have good luck and generous bids! I have been pulling duplicates and not longer I wanted comics from my collection and selling them on eBay. Overall it has gone pretty well. One tip: I don't give an actual grade, as these can be pretty subjective. I just take numerous photos, especially of flaws, and try to be detailed in description.

As for the bulk of my collection, it would be hard to part with it. I already sold most of the books years ago ( from 20 long boxes down to one). Now I am back re- buying some of them, but always on the cheap (love those flea markets). Besides, my youngest son has already expressed his desire for my remaining collection, so I'll probably keep most of them. Maybe its just the fun found in the search and discovery...

Doug said...

Osvaldo -

I guess I must have the box checked where eBay calculates the price of the postage. I didn't mind if there was a small surcharge, as I am printing the postage via eBay, as well as my gas and time. I don't want to be a jerk about it, but those are additional expenses.

I will say this, though - if someone asked me about a refund, I most likely would work with that person. Life's too short to go making people mad...

Doug

Anonymous said...

My comics collection is a mixed can of nuts for me. When I had the time over Christmas to sit down and catalog my collection, I couldn't begin to put into words when I realized I still had the first Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Thor, Avengers, etc that I bought.

And which I realize, really have no value any more. Who's going to want to read about a Peter Parker chasing Betty Brant, or a group of heroes founded by Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP! Deep breath.

One of the reasons I like hanging out in Doug/Karen Karen/Doug's blog is I understand how these people feel about these comics (should that have been youse guys?), but in the end, would we end up selling our comics to each other? He who lasts last wins it all?

And I really do believe my collection will end up on the curb after I'm gone. So many Marvel Triple Actions, Marvel Tales, Marvel Spectaculars and Marvel Super Actions blowing in the wind.....

The Prowler (not even last of the red hot lovers).

Edo Bosnar said...

Man, when I saw Doug's little off-hand notice that a Simonson New Gods omnibus was announced, I had one of those cliched, stop-everything record-scratch moments (like in the movies) - and then immediately rushed to the Bleeding Cool and the Marvel Masterworks message boards to confirm. Wow, if this is done right, i.e., if it includes the back-up stories and issues not drawn by Simonson in the Orion series, I won't even wait around for cheaper copies to appear on secondary markets - I'll break my bank and buy it new.

By the way, Doug, I was looking over your eBay listings - and please don't take this as a criticism, because I fully understand why you're doing what you're doing the way you're doing it (hope that makes sense) - and noticed there was a few individual items in those Superman and LoSH lots I wouldn't mind having. Of course, my speculation is basically academic, since you're not shipping to Europe - and again, I completely understand why. Postage outside of North America for private individuals is exorbitant...

Doug said...

Hi, Edo --

Yes, you've hit on one of my "strategies" for the newer stuff and that's to place it in super-large lots. The S&H even in the States is going to be costly. I'm guessing a shortbox will cost around $25-30 to ship, while a stuffed longbox may call for $40 or so. But I think we all know that it's the 90s-00s books that we generally find in the 2-for-$1 boxes at cons, and that's the material I really don't want to get stuck with at the end. Hence, when I reached out to dealers, my position was that they must take it all. I am guessing that's the major reason why the few who opined an offer made it so low relative to the "good stuff" in the collection.

And speaking of omnibuses, I've already told my wife that I'm going to use around $65 from the proceeds of these sales to purchase the first All-New X-Men Omnibus to replace the Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne books that I'll have for sale later on. I have tpbs for Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past, so with that big book I'll have the whole shebang. Had I the X-Men dvd-rom, I'd not do this. I am going to resist the temptation to use the monies to get in on the Cap, Thor, etc. Omnibuses, however.

And if anyone is wondering, I typed "omnibi" and got the spellchecker red squiggly line. So "omnibuses" must be correct. Got me...

Doug

Anonymous said...


http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u30/lhuckaby/IMG_0936_zps31aed9a6.jpg

I bind the ones I want to keep to put on my bookshelves and sell the rest.

Dr. Oyola said...

I don't know if it works for Croatia - but when selling on eBay I use the international option that let's me ship domestically to a site where all the packages are put togther and shipping in bulk as cargo and I don't have to pay more - not sure how much the buyer has to pay on the other end.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/shipping-globally.html

Edo Bosnar said...

Osvaldo, here's what eBay's global shipping service looks like on my end, using a few examples from your listings:
For Adventure Comics #465 (man, does that cover bring back fond memories...), i.e., for a single issue, the shipping rate quote is $32.81.
For that lot of four FF and Thing issues, the shipping rate is $35.84.
For the lot of six Legion of Super-heroes issues, the shipping rate is $37.77.
For the lot of nine Green Lantern and GL/GA issues, the shipping rate is - somewhat inexplicably given the above rate for 6 issues - $36.29.

So you can see why, when I do any shopping on eBay, I'll usually buy from one of those big bargain booksellers who can somehow offer low rates, or from sellers in the UK, Germany or elsewhere in Europe.

Dr. Oyola said...

Wow! Edo! That's crazy!

I sold a lot of What If? (including What If? #1) to a dude in Mexico City - I wonder how much he had to pay. . .

Doug said...

Wow! That is a lot of money for shipping!

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, the rates are crazy, but I think eBay is jacking them up and pocketing the difference. I know postage is pretty expensive, but I think if you just go to the local post office, you can probably send up to 5 comic books to anywhere in Europe for less than $20. Mind you, I still consider that expensive, but it's still considerable less than these eBay rates...

Dr. Oyola said...

Well, Edo - if there is ever anything you ever really want and want to cut out the jacked-price-middlemen - let me know - and I'll be happy to make a trip to the post office for you.

In other news: the three times I have posted today I have had to refresh the captcha 8 or 9 times before getting one I could actually read!

Edo Bosnar said...

Ah, thanks Osvaldo, but that's not necessary; like I said, I usually manage to find stuff I want from these bulk sellers who obviously have deals with the post office so they can offer really low shipping (or even no) shipping charges, kind of like Amazon or Book Depository. That said, I prefer buying from individual, private sellers like you or Doug, but as you can see, that can get a bit spendy...

By the way, you're right about those captcha images. I've also noticed that lately they're often indecipherable. Case in point, this comment took two tries.

Doug said...

A couple of thoughts:

Back to the dvd-roms -- yes, I love the portability of those, and the fact that they can be saved. My wife bought me the 32 GB Kindle Fire HD a year ago, and I have uploaded approximately 500 comics from the Avengers, ASM, and FF discs. The images can be enlarged so that one page fills the screen -- it can't be much smaller than the real thing. Love it.

RE: comics I forgot I owned. I mentioned in this past Monday's Wonder Woman review that I was reading/scanning from the second tpb. True. However, after I'd written that (which was actually about a month prior to publication) I was doing the inventory/grading/pricing thing and came across the first 21 issues of Perez's run, as well as the first year of John Byrne's run (began around #100). I totally forgot I had those. I'll have another story in this vein for you with Monday's review of Incredible Hulk #340.

Doug

Dr. Oyola said...

I just want to add that I love this topic and wish we could talk about it forever! :)

Dr. Oyola said...

Oh, and I have the ASM DVD-ROM - and while it is great for research, it sucks for enjoyable reading. I may be old school, but I like a stack of comics, easy flipping of pages back and forth, no need to zoom (unless my reading glasses count as zoom). For me, at least, it could never be a replacement for print comics.

Redartz said...

I must agree with Dr. O; I like holding a book with pages you can actually feel in your fingers( after cleaning off the residue from a Reeses peanut butter cup, of course). However, Doug has whetted my interest in these omnibuses. Very intriguing, to one who loves the letter pages...

Doug said...

Some of you asked for updates once my sales began. Below is a portion of an email that I just sent to my partner:

My first day of ending auctions is complete, and I am over $2500 richer for it. Yep -- one of the dealers I talked to last month said that my collection would be worth around $3000 on the low end. Well, buddy, I about did that on 25 books. Twenty-five books!!

My Avengers #1 went for $889 and the #4 sold at $510; #2 went for $151 and #3 sold for $133. All of those were mid-grade. And, I totally lucked out because my copy of #16, which is a very nice book, only sold for $100. But, the buyer is from Europe and I'd clearly stated that I am only shipping domestically. I've already taken steps to void the auction and am looking forward to re-listing that. It should have sold for around $300. With what I've sold so far, my returns have been at 90% of guide value. Obviously that margin will drop as I get into newer stuff, but I am just ecstatic at how well it went today.

I'll let you know again after Wednesday, when this first round is completed. By then the first 100 issues of the Avengers should have sold.


I really felt like I got taken on the two Power Records that I had up for sale. Those should have brought around $25-30 for the pair and they sold for only $3.25 (Osvaldo -- kept waiting for you to swoop in at the end!). But overall there were more hits than misses, and I am really excited for what happened.

I'll continue to come back to this post and update for those who are interested.

Thanks,

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, that's quite interesting, thanks for the update. And congratulations on those high price-tag sales.
Auctioning online is interesting, and a bit of a gamble, though, isn't it? Over the years, I've sold some books (nothing really valuable, mainly comic tpbs that were not being read any more and taking up my limited space) on the auction page of the main Croatian comics site/portal. Most of the stuff I unloaded pretty cheaply, but occasionally little bidding wars get sparked over the most unexpected titles...

Dr. Oyola said...

Doug, I wanted those Power Records, but I am also a cheapskate ;) - I figured someone else wanted them more and would keep upping the price, so I gave up - upon reflection I should have stuck with it.

Doug, you know that if you enroll in the eBay Global Shipping program it doesn't cost you anything more and you have to do domestic rates (that the buyer covers in their purchase). So no reason why you shouldn't ship to Europe or elsewhere in the future.

I am excited for your next set of auctions - there may be ASM I want. :)

Doug said...

So after three days of returns, I've decided that I walk the line between naive and stupid. Obviously the major monies were only going to come in on the first round, with those first several issues of the Avengers. But I am pretty certain that I went to putting multiple issues into lots too soon in the run. I've sold some pretty nifty comics literally for a song in the past two days. On one hand, I'm pretty sure I covered my initial purchase prices from 20-30 years ago. So I realized a profit. Yet there's that doggone price guide stuck in my head that says I should have gotten more. Fair market value, or greed -- what's my motivator?

I grossly underestimated the appeal of Ultron with the coming Avengers: Age of Ultron film. One buyer walked away with Avengers 54-55 for an $85 Buy It Now -- that baby went out not an hour after I'd listed it. I also missed out on some potential earnings by putting Avengers 57-58 into a lot, with a Buy It Now of $110. Gone in a flash. Did I make someone happy? Sure -- two guys, who don't happen to be me... ;) A lot that included Avengers 66-70 (Ultron, by Barry Smith no less!) went for $78. Now that's 77% of the estimated guide value, but again -- I wonder if I'd split that up if I could have made a bit more? So all that being said, I canceled auctions that included Avengers 71-80, 81-88, and the Kree/Skrull War's 89-97. Additionally, I've canceled big lots that included a box of Superman-related stuff, and a longbox of 300 Legion comics. The shipping on those last two was going to be cost-prohibitive for most buyers.

Which brings me to a gripe I've developed. Hey, I've been a buyer on eBay for years, so I get the notion that S&H can be expensive. But I think for all of us who've been on the selling side a) I cannot control what the USPS charges for the flat-rate packages (which really are a great deal at up to 70 pounds of content), b) I am using paper and ink to print shipping labels from home, c) I am using gas to take these things and drop them at the post office, d) for packages worth over $50 I have to buy additional insurance, and e) my time has to be worth a little something. I'm not gouging anyone -- not even close. But to the guy who thought I would "combine shipping" on multiple wins: brother, when you went from 5 books won to 10, you got out of the flat-rate envelope for $5.60 and into the flat-rate box for $11.50. Fact of life. But I guess he thought he needed to be a @&#$(&! anyway...

So my new strategy will be to keep the high condition issues as single auctions and to follow others' advice and really downplay conditions -- my scanner does a nice job. Let the buyer think for himself. I've stayed away from using the reserve price function, as that drives up the seller's fees -- admittedly, I probably should have for some items. But hey -- I'm not doing this to get filthy rich. I'm doing it to clear space and recover some of my money spent over a lifetime of collecting comics. Do I know I'll take a bath on most of the stuff from the past 20 years? Of course I do -- understood.

But I at least want this to be a somewhat enjoyable experience.

Doug

Dr. Oyola said...

Hey Doug,

As someone who has sold a lot on eBay, I think that if you have high ticket items you are better off offering FREE shipping and just having a higher starting bid.

While time is valuable, you also have to consider (or at least this the way I look at it as a frequent buyer) that you are bringing multiple lots to the post office at once, and that priority rate envelopes/boxes are free (I use the former as filler material when I send stuff normal rate).

When I am a buyer I resent people charging more than a dollar more than the actual shipping cost for shipping & handling - and if I think I am being over charged I am very reluctant to buy regardless of the cost of the lot itself. - it just feels like the seller is cheating.

10 comics can very easily fit in a flat rate envelope (I have fit up to 12) - so as a buyer I use my own experience as a seller to judge if I think a seller is trying to gouge me.

Doug said...

Thanks for the tips, Osvaldo.

Early on, I've been putting a piece of corrugated cardboard in those envelopes to stiffen them. With 3-4 books already bagged/boarded, it's pretty snug. I have been very conscientious about packaging, particularly with the material I've so far been selling. Now, once I get into my "reader lots", new stuff, etc., I wouldn't feel so badly about cramming books into an envelope, to the tune of, as you said, 10-12 books. And your point about offering free shipping is well taken for lots that should sell at a high price.

I just think some buyers feel that no matter what they spend, the shipping is too high. Hello -- you're doing a mail-order transaction, dude. Emphasis on "mail". People need to figure out a budget for a given auction, and unfortunately $5-10 needs to be seen as committed to actually getting the goods delivered. As I said above, as a buyer I don't like it, either. But who out there among us hasn't bought something additional from Amazon just to get your order up to the $35 threshold for free shipping? I know I do -- most often.

In a couple of days I'm going to put my next batch of stuff up. Anyone interested can look for the previously mentioned issues of the Avengers (issues 71-97) in single and multi-issue lots, Fantastic Four 48-52 (all in single auctions, all but 49 basically reader copies), and Amazing Spider-Man 39 and 40 (both decent copies, 40 the better of the two). I am also going to list the 14 Megos I still have, all in decent, but played-with condition. So I'm talking frayed capes, missing sticker chest logos, etc. In fact, I've added a couple of pics to the main post if you want to go back and see them. No "minty" ones, as David B likes to buy!

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Hm, never really liked mint that much, anyway. I've always been more of a vanilla or fruit flavor kind of guy... :P

Anyway, Doug, even though I've only ever been a buyer on eBay, and my limited finances mean I'm always looking for a good (read: cheap) deal, I hear you on your gripe.
Personally, contending with potentially high shipping charges is a just a fact of life in online shopping, and I know very well how expensive it can get - I've sent books and other stuff (even lightweight things like souvenir soccer jerseys) to family and friends in the US and Australia (occasionally), so yeah, I understand why you'd get miffed at some buyer getting all irate about the postage.
Basically, I'm just always thankful if I stumble onto a seller who can offer low shipping rates.

Otherwise, though, even though I complained about it upthread, I think Osvaldo may have a point about enrolling in eBay's Global Shipping program. Non-US buyers bidding on some of those high-demand, high-price items like Avengers #1 or 4 or whatever are already willing to throw down some serious cash, so I don't think they'll mind eBay's price-gouging rates. And you automatically expand your pool of potential bidders/buyers...

Redartz said...

Let me echo Osvaldo's endorsement of the Priority shipping packaging. Granted, most of my auctions have been lower value than yours, Doug. Yet the free envelopes and boxes, combined with the included tracking and 50.00 insurance convinced me that shipping Priority is actually cheaper . And you are quite right about the various costs involved in shipping; I usually wrap my books in bubble (of course, the Priority sleeves are available with bubble lining), and printer costs do take their toll. Thus I never feel bad about adding a dollar to shipping.

Doug said...

Just got my first customer complaint, from a guy who received a copy of Avengers #3 in a package that was handled less than gently. I had reinforced the mailer with corrugated cardboard, but the envelope (of which he emailed a photo of) definitely has some waves in it. Thanks, US Postal Service!

I've offered to refund the purchase price, plus his S&H both on the buying end and to return the book to me. I'll keep you posted as to what happens.

I am greatly disliking the shipping aspect of this venture already...

Doug

Dr. Oyola said...

Sorry to hear it, Doug.

I always write "Please do not bend or fold" in big letters on both sides of the package when mailing comics. It is no guarantee, but so far I have received no complaints - though I have once or twice been on the receiving end of bent comic due to a careless or overly aggressive mail carrier.

Doug said...

Hi, Osvaldo --

I have taken a Sharpie and written "Do Not Bend" on both sides of all of the envelopes I've used. There was no mistaking my handwriting on the photo of the damaged envelope the buyer posted, so I knew right away that he wasn't trying to scam me. After I sent my offer for a full refund, it was several hours until I heard from him again. In the interim I think he had a change to look at the book (which was Avengers #3, in Good condition) and decided that it really wasn't damaged. We exchanged a couple more cordial eBay mails, and I think the issue has been put to rest.

I received an email this afternoon from one of the dealers I'd solicited last month. I kindly wrote back and told him I'd decided to go the eBay route. I explained that I'd talked to a few dealers, that $3000 seemed to be the low-end offer and $4500 seemed to be the high end, and that I just felt that I could do better going it the long way. He wrote back, a little miffed, that he hadn't been given a chance to make an offer for the collection and that he'd have paid far more than other dealers. So, I figured, "you asked for it" -- I sent him another email stating that I've sold the first 70 issues of the Avengers for $3100. I haven't heard back...

I've scheduled some auctions to begin early next week and come do shortly after we return from vacation at the end of next week (5 day auctions). Up for bid will be Avengers 71-80, Fantastic Four 48-52 (#52 is a reader copy, if anyone wants to have the 1st appearance of T'Challa for around $5-10), Amazing Spider-Man 39-40, and 16 Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes action figures (OK, dolls...).

Doug

Dr. Oyola said...

Glad to hear it worked out - in my experience things usually do.

Looks like you are better off doing eBay than the dealers - it is more work, but looks like a lot more money is coming your way.

Doug said...

Hi again, gang --

Last night I sold 15 of my 16 Megos. I actually sold them all, but had one fellow ask to cancel on the Lizard, as he'd bid, won, and then recalled that he already had one. Since he bought two other figures I agreed. I figure I can relist and get the same bid again.

As with the comics I've sold so far, sometimes you don't do as well as you'd like, and at other times it's like "Whoa!" The latter would be the case with the Human Torch Mego -- there was a bit of a bidding war that escalated the price well past where I thought it should have sold. So that was nice. The Kid Flash figure was the grand champion (as I assumed it would be), selling for just over $100.

For the entire collection of Megos, I took in a bit over $700 (and that would have been over $750 had the Lizard sale stood). On the high end I thought I could get around $1000, but I'm not at all disappointed.

So again, just really getting started here, but I've sold 53 individual lots with another 17 active as I write this. If that's where I quit, I'd have revenue of $4100. Remember, the dealers with whom I conversed said my collection could fetch somewhere between $3000 and $4500.

That makes the work seem worth it.

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Very impressive, Doug. I'm glad it's working out for you.

Dr. Oyola said...

Woo-hoo!

Doug said...

Thanks, guys!

I had a good night this evening, too. Some keys that sold were --

FF #48 (Good-) for $70 Buy It Now
FF #49 (Fine) for $128
FF #50 (Good) for $26
FF #52 (Poor) for $26
ASM #39 (Very Good) for $48.50
ASM #40 (Fine-) for $41.00

I specifically recall purchasing those two Spidey books at the Chicago con several years ago. The seller had $60 and $40 on them. It was about an hour until closing on a Sunday afternoon and I had $80 cash. I asked him if he'd take $75 and he looked at me like I was crazy for wanting change on those two books. I said hey -- I need to get a Coke for the ride home, huh? He didn't hesitate -- I got them both for $75. So while I didn't realize much profit on them this evening, I didn't get "hurt". And, a couple of people are happier now, right?

Doug

Dr. Oyola said...

Exactly!

But then again, I always feel that if I make my money back I have "profited" b/c I got to read them (and perhaps share them with my blog).

david_b said...

Good to hear, sir. It's a shame to wave goodbye to both our 4-color paper and 1:9 scaled comrades (having both entertained us for years.....), but it's for a good cause.

I'm still buying acryllic display boxes for my boxed Megos and other MIB items. My previous supplier of customed-sized and standard display boxes apparently got out of the business, so I'm having to pay a tad more for the same type of boxes, but they look awesome.

As I always say, 'All my love to long ago..'

Doug said...

I'll be honest, David -- while I do appreciate your "minty" position on collectibles like the Megos, I cannot believe what folks are willing to plunk down for an out-of-box and gently loved Kid Flash, or Thor. Cripes, the Human Torch sold for $61!!

After doing this for about a month now, the sentimentality has passed. What I am overcome with now is the immensity of the project. The money is nice, but the shipping is such a pain in the butt, and I've thus far only listed Avengers 1-105 and a smattering of other books. There are still around 10 longboxes to go!

That being said, I am strongly considering selling "Doug's Choice" boxes for the newer (past 20 years) stuff -- a USPS Priority Mail Medium Box stuffed with 50-60 comics for $25. Do you think people would pay that?

Doug

david_b said...

Doug, my sentiment exactly regarding the scope of shipping.

I ran into that a few times, in my case only up to 6-8 shipments at a crack, unlike what you're facing now for sure. Just to get $12 out of some sale..? I know it all adds up obviously, but I just chose to hang on.

It wasn't worth the hassle to me, hence what LCS owners prey on, buying bulk collections for meager prices.

It's... one of my few remaining vices, shall we say..?

As for Mego's I had purchased a minty Thor at one point (with plug still inside the helmet) for just under a hundred, just for collectability, being active in the Mego Museum collecting bunch for a while. I ended up selling him a year later with a repo box for around $175, so I made about $50 profit. I happen to still have both my loose Speedy and Kid Flash ~ I started piecing together an Aqualad, but it just didn't appeal to me enough.

Glad you're wading your way through it all, sir.

Osvaldo Oyola said...

Doug, sight unseen people are not going to pay $25 for a box of recent comics - at least not most people.

Doug said...

Osvaldo --

Any suggestions would be appreciated concerning the moving of comics of the past 20 years. Any thoughts on price and/or quantity, or do you just generally think that grab bags don't sell? I know you sell small lots on eBay all the time. What have you sold and for how much?

Thanks in advance --

Doug

Dr. Oyola said...

People want to know what they are buying - and I have sold comics in not very good condition (or in comics grading parlance, "Good" condition) within lots of stuff that is VG or higher.

I sell VERY cheaply for the most part, save for things I know are worth money or that are particularly complete.

I sell them in lots ranging from one issue to 20 or more issues and try to emphasize what a great deal they are.

As I have said before, I am not trying to make a profit off of them - and as long as I sell several lots at a time I don't find packing them up and getting them to the post office a big deal. I tend to use flat rate envelopes/boxes - but sometimes use Staples peel n'seal envelopes with a cut up flat-rate envelope inside to provide shape and prevent bending for anywhere up to 6 issues. My wife bought a box of 100 of those about four years ago and we still haven't gone through it (she also uses them for her writing submission to journals that haven't joined the 21st century).

Anyway, I have made as little as 48 cents on a comic sale - so for me it is mostly about getting rid of them w/o throwing them out.

I also have sent care packages of comics to friends and acquaintances for their children and younger siblings and paid for shipping - just "profiting" from the fact that some 12 to 14 year old kid is going to get and enjoy them.

I have also put together mixed lots of vaguely related material and sold them by offering free shipping - I suck up the shipping but I get rid of them, make some bucks and people are willing to bid a little more b/c shipping is free.

I don't know if that helps, but I can send you a spreadsheet of my recent sales if you want.

Ultimately, however, the small sales may not be worth it to you.

Doug said...

Well, I knew going into this that the recent books would be the ones that a) would be most difficult to get rid of and b) I most don't want to be stuck with.

My guess is that I'll make far more from some Bronze Age "reader lots" than I will off the crap from the 90s and 00s.

Doug

Dr. Oyola said...

If, when you get to the more recent stuff you want any advice on grouping/pricing, let me know.

Are they listed in that excel file you sent me some weeks back? I may still have that somewhere.

Doug said...

Yes, Osvaldo -- everything was on that spreadsheet. I was thinking of putting in little runs if I could, like 5 consecutive issues of Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Batman titles, etc. I'd say what was in the box I guess.

Doug

Anonymous said...

Doug,

When you get down to the dregs you might just want to take them to a dealer to unload them. You won't get much but you'll get rid of them and save yourself hours of ebay listing and shipping.

Alan

Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, I agree with Osvaldo, i.e., I don't think anyone will pay even $25 for 50-60 comics of more recent vintage if they don't know what's in the box. Personally, I'd probably be willing to pay that much for that many comics from the '70s/'80s, but even then I'd want to see a list of everything in it first.
So maybe Alan has a point: just take them to a dealer and unload them, as your chances of making money on the newer stuff seem pretty slim.

david_b said...

Doug, a lot of us have tried to get rid of the more recent books, I as well.

As for lots, I'd still do the 10-20 lots for some set price, but definitely list (or rattle off..) the comics down in the description with a general condition value. No need to scan them all if you at least have that information for each issue, I'd think.

Edo Bosnar said...

By the way, Doug, I see your copy of Action Comics #1 has started a bit of a bidding war over there on eBay... :P

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