Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sales Tales Revisited (once again)

Doug: I'd mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I've been making solid (if slow) progress on the selling of my comic collection. We've discussed this several times in the past, but since it has been a few months I thought I'd give you a progress update.

As I'd said in that post, I have been able to sell the lion's share of my Marvel collection (approximately seven longboxes), with about the contents of an eighth longbox remaining. My DC collection only exists in three longboxes, and I've begun to make a dent in those. Of note is my recent parting with a 1st printing set of The Dark Knight Returns #s 1-4 for $155.00. That was beyond my expectations. I also moved the stories "A Death In the Family"/"A Lonely Place of Dying" as a lot for $100.00 and The Killing Joke for $50.00, both on Buy It Nows. I did pretty well on several of the other Batman mini-series I'd mentioned in that previous post, and have several more in my listings that either just sold (I'm typing this on Saturday, 8/15) or have been relisted.

Which brings me to another phenomenon - if eBay is the purest form of capitalism (and I think it is from a basic standpoint of supply and demand), then that conversation must also include opportunism. I say that in reflection of comics or lots that I've listed multiple times, and then all of a sudden sell. The buyer and seller truly have to be in the right place at the right time for specific markets to exist. And saying that, within that conversation are books or lots that I just scratch my head as to why they won't sell. I am particularly thinking of Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1 featuring Spider-Man, Morbius, and the Man-Wolf, with cover and interior art by Gil Kane. My copy is mid-grade but very pleasing to the eye. Yet it's sat through several weeks' worth of listings. But then a book or lot will sell on a Buy It Now and I'm left to wonder, "Jeez - why didn't you take your chances and enter the bidding process?" Surprisingly (to me at least), I've had some trouble unloading some 90s X-Men comics.

Another series of wins were my sales of the Gitcorp DVD-ROMs. I had four of them (always wanted all of those). I sold the Avengers disc for $150 through a bidding war, Iron Man for $125 on a Buy It Now, Amazing Spider-Man for $75 (guy won it on the opening bid), and Fantastic Four for $40 (again, opening bid). As several of our readers have mentioned, the discs could be copied to a hard drive. I've done that, and backed the files up in three places for safekeeping. There was no reason to keep the discs. And that being said, later on I am going to sell some of my Marvel Masterworks, such as the first two volumes of Avengers, first volume of Fantastic Four, etc.

Lastly, I'd reiterate my "formula" for setting that opening bid for those of you who haven't been involved in these conversations previously. I regrade the comics, always with a fresh and objective eye, and double check the 2014 Overstreet Guide price. I start with a Buy It Now of approximately 85% of Guide, and then set the opening bid at approximately a third of that value. So truthfully, if a buyer wins with that opening bid they are getting a heckuva "deal". At least as far as the Guide goes, and whatever that means... I said at the very beginning that I wasn't just going to flat-out give anything away. While I've lowered my prices on some relists, I've always felt like I got something in return for my trouble.

So where has the money gone? Way back when I started this journey, just over a year ago, I'd mentioned to you that repayment of our sons' college loans was about to kick in, and we also needed to get rid of a vehicle that was beginning to nickel and dime us, replacing it with a new car. We also had a wedding in our family as I've discussed earlier. To say that the proceeds from my sales have been a boon would be an understatement. With just the sale of that Avengers art page, we were able to make a nice down payment on my wife's new car. Our wedding expenses have been covered - easily. And now the money just supplements the budget, or we save it for things we couldn't now do with the loan payments occupying a large slice of our budgetary pie. And to think: I was offered $3000 for the whole collection. I've already made that five times over, and am still going. And I think I'll keep going, on into my collectibles, some of my comics history books, and so on. Of course I've treated myself to several of the IDW Artist Editions*, and that's OK by me. Paring down has not been a bad thing,

*Don't judge. Well, OK, go ahead. I have purchased all of these at nice discounts, though; in fact, I have the Herb Trimpe's Hulk and Joe Kubert's Tarzan, vol. II on pre-order, each bought for only $49.00. After those two arrive this fall, I will have -

Joe Kubert's Tarzan, volumes I and II
Herb Trimpe's Hulk

There are video reviews of these books on YouTube that will really give you an idea of how awesome these reproductions truly are.


Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, congratulations once more on the lucrative sales. I also have to commend you on your patience in sticking with the listings of the "less attractive" lots. I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago and just gave a bunch of those away (which is what I often do with 'normal' - i.e., non-comic - books when I just run out of room: I donate them to a local library).
As for those Artist Editions, they are indeed attractive books, but for that kind of money, even with the sharp pre-order discounts, I would still prefer more conventional reprint editions. Speaking of pre-orders, recently my Iron Fist Epic Collection just arrived last week - I'm so happy about that, and following your suggestion (I think) I now have the Power Man & Iron Fist book on pre-order from Amazon as well. Can't beat those discounts.

Doug said...

Edo, thank you.

I've had my eye on that PM & IF Epic Collection, as that series started (and maybe ended?) during the five years I was not reading comics. I know it comes highly recommended.

As to culling the herd, I've even thought that there are some comics that may eventually hit the recycling bin (gasp!). The thought of that makes me queasy, but I know other collectors (Paul over at Longbox Graveyard comes to mind) have done it. I know that everything is not "valuable", but the notion of throwing away comics makes me feel like I'm no better than soemone's Mom back when we were kids!

As to the Artist Editions, I most enjoy the artists who screwed up and/or changed their minds often. I know that may sound weird, but I really, really enjoy the white-out, blue lines for drafting, paste-ups, etc. Hats off to the guys like Zeck and Kubert who "get it right the first time"; I enjoy seeing the process of creativity and satisfaction.


Martinex1 said...

Congrats on the sales Doug. That is pretty awesome that you moved all of those comics. On Ebay, I am always astounded by how cheap some things go for and how expensive other things grow. I also see a huge wave of costs going up alongside the film releases. I cannot believe that a copy of Alpha Flight with the first appearance of Big Hero 6 sells in the hundreds, but a classic from the Bronze Age has trouble moving.

I hope you share some of the Marvel Covers, Trimpe Hulk, and Zeck art over time. I too like looking at how the work evolved and changed as the artist refines the panel, layout and characters. All so amazing.

Doug said...

As our conversation has begun, I received notice from eBay that a buyer purchased the 2003 Batgirl: Year One 9-issue mini-series via Buy It Now for $30. That lot had been relisted twice, and all of a sudden BAM! So what do I make of that? Buyer wanting to capitalize on the news of Yvonne Craig's passing? Hmmm...

But Martinex, you raise that point, that media interest certainly plays havoc with the market for certain books. As I said back in February, I'm sure that Avengers page I sold went sky high in part because of its vintage, but also in large part to the fact that it showcased the Vision, Black Panther, and Quicksilver. Big summer in 2015 for those guys.


Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, I understand the queasiness about dumping comic books in the recycle bin; I think a slightly less cringe-inducing option would be to donate them to a local hospital with children's wards (provided that content is not to racy) or charity shops.

Dr. Oyola said...

You shouldn't be surprised that 90s X-Men won't sell. That stuff literally sold MILLIONS of copies and is worth less than the paper it is printed on now. A friend of mine found a box on the curb on trash collection day with literally over 100 copies of X-Men #1 in bags and boards, and it was not even worth the effort to take the box!

eBaying can be exhausting, but I have a handful of things I plan to list soon to make room for other comics. As you know I have nothing remotely as valuable as what you have so mostly it is just a way to get something for them.

When I get to stuff I just can't get rid of at all, I bring them to the Half-Price Books near my in-laws when we visit. I get very very little, but use the money to pick up a handful of older comics they sell.

I just broke down and got my 10th short box (shhh, don't tell my wife) because my collection is growing at this point in my life fast than ever! I am just starting on trying to get a full run of PM/IF.

J.A. Morris said...

If the recycling bin makes you queasy, you may want to contact a college library, if you live near one. Most special collections departments will accept comic book donations.

Doug said...

Thanks, guys.

I'm thinking what I'll be left with really won't make me feel bad if I toss them. Looking at a certain part of the collection, there are some unbagged books that I'd only get a buck or two out of anyway. I figure for the 30c relisting fee, I can run those X-Men lots for quite awhile.

Osvaldo, the pace of my selling has really been pretty manageable, but I know that the USPS staff knows that when I walk in the door, I always only have a drop-off. Sometimes I'm there for eBaying three times in a week!


Doug said...

Gerry Conway tweeted this link a few days ago. The editorial is about the therapeutic purging of one's collection. I found it an interesting read.


Anonymous said...

Hey Doug, not to hijack the thread or anything, but you did mention Yvonne Craig, so when I came across this reminiscence by Mark Evanier, I figured everyone here might get a kick out of it.

Mike Wilson

Humanbelly said...

OMG Mike-- the BIG BANG THEORY writers are going to kick themselves for not having somehow worked that scenario and last comment into an episode-- it's perfect!


Karen said...

I privately congratulated my partner on his outstanding success selling his collection, but will do so again here; his perseverance and hard work are an example to all of us considering selling off our books. And I am so happy he did not sell for that measly $3000! I remember at the time feeling insulted for him when he got that offer!

It is sad to hear that another of our childhood heroes is gone. By all accounts, Yvonne Craig was a very nice woman. I read the Mark Evanier article and got a big kick out of it. She and many of these other ladies are/were no dummies -they know exactly what time it is! What a great story.

Doug said...

Mike, just read Evanier's column. That was a hoot -- thanks for bringing it to us today!

Karen, that I was insulted is certainly true. I've had some pretty good days throughout the process, and every time one of those comes along I just smile a little and grumble under my breath. "#&*%$# dealers..."



Anonymous said...

Mike - HA! How great! That story's awesome! Thanks.


johnlindwall said...


It sounds like you have done very well by liquidating part of your collection. You have retained the ability to read many of the stories. so why obsess over owning the paper version of those stories? Good for you! I appreciate you sharing your experience with us. Thank you!


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