David B: I **really** think you're going to regret the sale, Doug, but I totally understand the sell desire..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.
I know you've brought it up before.
Hope it goes well.
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?