Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Simple Question About Your Comic Book Collection


Doug: At the height of your comics possessing, how large was your collection? You can estimate the number of books you had in gross numbers, number of longboxes, etc. And if you want to talk about periphery goods, that would be nice as well.


28 comments:

William Preston said...

More than two thousand. I stopped buying new comics sometime in the mid-'80s, though my buying had already slowed to a trickle by then. Probably the last time I bought a "used" comic was in 1980. Going off to college shifted me out of my collecting phase.

I sold off many of the best bits in the early '90s. I wish someone would buy the rest without me having to do any work.

Redartz said...

My collection peaked in the early 80's, in art school with many other comics fans who kept me interested. Topped out at about 12,000 comics, in 20 longboxes (fortunately our college apartment was pretty roomy, the entire upstairs of an old apartment house). Had a box of treasuries and a box of magazines as well, and about 4 pages of original artwork. By the mid 80's the selloff had begun, and in 1991 the financial responsibilities of parenthood led to the departure of most of the rest. At that point I had 2 longboxes, about 200 comics, and had sold 3 of the four pages of original art.

Currently I am back up to about 1500 comics, and that seems like a maximum. I periodically cull out a few, and actually have been replacing some runs with tpb's. So the overall tally is shrinking again, but the count of graphic novels is increasing...

dbutler16 said...

Well, my collection is still at its peak, because I've still got about 99% of the comics I've ever owned, and have acquired new ones in the past few years. Right now, I'm at about 4,900, which is pretty close to accurate, since I have them listed in an Excel spreadsheet.

I toyed with the idea of selling them years ago, but really, I should have done so prior to 1995 if I were going to, because I don't think I'd get enough back to make it worthwhile these days. The comic market really collapsed about 20 years ago. Is ebay to blame?

david_b said...

At one point (late '90s), I guesstimated only about a thousand, but I reduced my holdings of '80s/'90s comics quickly, gave some nice reprints over to my nephew, but I'm probably back up to around 800 now.

I believe I have about 7-8 shortboxes at this point. It's more Silver/Bronze Age quality than quantity for me these days.

Humanbelly said...

Like dbutler, my collection is at its perpetual peak, I guess you could say, 'cause I never seem to flippin' divest myself of ANYTHING--- except for giveaways of items I've acquired doubles of. (Which has its own rewards-- the young visiting boyfriend of my son's former girlfriend's sister-- if you can sort through that-- is a HUGE Cap fan, and was nearly brought to tears when I happily handed over to him about a dozen scattered issues starting in the 70's, included several from Jim Lee's run. It was like being Scrooge, reborn on Christmas morning. . . )

So many comics, and a heck of a lot of them are effectively value-less late 80's/90's fare-- but I still have them. And actually, not much of it is stuff that I flat-out hated. Okay-- maybe the Heroes Reborn stuff, but that's more like a curiosity. . .or a cautionary-reminder collection. I've a little over 27 long-boxes worth in our downstairs comic book room. Maybe only about a third of those are even bagged, let alone boarded-- so the math's tough to figure. Somewhere between 7000 and 8000 comics, maybe? Give or take two or three hundred? And probably about 6 linear feet of TPB's and graphic novels as well. I still love them as "my" collection and all--- but in recent months I've been getting the feeling that I can't possibly just "have" them until I die someday. I mean, am I just going to eventually while away my latter years in a retirement community, doing nothing but reading old comics all day & night? Yeesh-- HBWife would certainly shorten my lifespan, if that were the case!

Hmmm-- are we the first (or at least largest) generation to face the Existential Question of the Aging Comic Collector??

HB

B McMolo said...

dbutler - I dream of making this spreadsheet. One of these days...

I'm at Peak Hoard, as well. I've got 6 longboxes and 3 full shelves of graphic novels and Showcase collections. I've got the same amount minus the shelves on an external hard drive. All of this (not the hard drive) is in the closet, unlooked at since 2013, alas, since my wife and I had kids.

My first collecting phase, from 80-90 or so, I sold off in 93. It all began again buying the Frank Miller's DD Visionaries trades around 2003, then I was slowly sucked back into it.

B McMolo said...

Humanbelly - that's great! I love repurposing doubles of things like that.

Edo Bosnar said...

At my peak, some time in the early '80s, I'm guessing I had close to a thousand; the number was always a bit fluid, since when I was really little I often traded or gave away stuff here and there. Also, after I passed through my funny animal/Archie phase, I gave away almost all of those, mostly to the local church for a charity flea market. (And then, just after high school, I sold my entire collection for peanuts because the family was making a big out-of-state move.) As for long-boxes, I never had those. My comics were just stacked in piles, flat, unbagged and unboarded, in random cardboard boxes.

Colin Bray said...

Now is the peak and thanks to ComicBookDB I can accurately say that totals 7965 comics.

Of those about 20 are CGC-slabbed late Bronze 9.8 Avengers comics but most of the rest are reading copies. And the 'still-to-read' long boxes contain about 2,800 comics.

I originally sold about 1,000 comics when I went to University in '88 and only rediscovered the hobby in 2000 as a result of eBay. Since then, well, it has been a joyful if expensive journey.

William said...

I estimate at the height of my collecting (which reached it's peak in about 1992) I had around 4,000 comics. I know I had at least 14 long boxes which held roughly 300 comics each. No less than 5 of those boxes were nothing but Spider-Man books. I had 2 long boxes of nothing but Amazing Spider-Man, and the rest were filled with other Spider-Man titles like PPTSM and Web Of… etc. (That number grew to 7 long boxes by the time I finally sold my Spidey collection a couple of years ago).

When I got married (in 1991) and moved into a one bedroom apartment, I (and my wife) decided that I had too many comics and I should try to sell some of them.

I decided I could part with everything except my Spider-Man collection. So, I loaded up my car with 9 long boxes and drove to my LCS, (where I had purchased most of my collection over the years), and I asked the owner what he'd give me for my NINE BOXES of near mint comics. Which included things like Frank Miller's entire Daredevil run, John Byrne's entire FF, X-Men, and Superman runs, hundreds of issues of the Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, Batman, X-Men and etc., etc. And he offered me… $300!! Yes $300 for about 2,700 comics. I politely declined. That was my first dose of reality that comics aren't really worth what the "Price Guide" says they are.

This was way before the days of eBay, so over the next few months, I went about selling off most of my collection at Flea Markets, and yard sales. I priced everything at 50% of what the Overstreet Guide said they were "worth". And, luckily this was at the absolute height of the Comic-book Speculation Era, and they sold like hotcakes! In one weekend yard sale, I made over $1000 selling comics. When all was said and done, I probably ended up with about $4000 to $5000 for my "$300 worth of books".

And the best part is, I don't even miss them. Because, I have since been able to replace nearly all of my favorite stuff with TPBs and hardcover collections. Things such as Miller's entire DD run, Byrne's entire FF and Superman work, and Byrne/Claremont's entire X-Men, Marvel Team-Up, and Iron Fist runs, and so on and so forth have all been nicely reprinted in handy dandy book form. (It's a truly Golden Age of classic reprints we live in).

Doug said...

Thanks for the reminiscences thus far.

Like others, it's tough to accurately estimate how many comics I've owned. At the height of my collection I had 12 longboxes -- maybe 3500 comics? But during that time there was culling and continued buying so I really have no idea.

And also like others have said, my happiness now is wrapped up in collected editions. I haven't updated my inventory lately, but I am sure I have over 300 trades and hardcovers. I also treasure the four DVD-ROMs I own (Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and Iron Man). I don't miss my comics at all.

Now if I could just sell the last 3/4 longbox that remains, I'd be a happy guy and could move on to selling off other former "gotta have it" objects.

Doug

William said...

Hey, I just went and checked in my closet, and I currently have 5 long boxes and at least 4 short boxes of comics. And you know what? I'm not even sure what's in them! LOL

I didn't want to drag them out right now, but If I had to guess, I think one box is full of Valiant stuff, and the other is the DC Animated comics like "Batman Adventures" and "Superman Adventures". I also think I have quite a few Bronze and Silver-Age Marvel and DC Comics that I acquired after the "purge" of '92. But I'm not positive.

As I said, I sold off almost all of my collection in '92, and then my entire Spider-Man collection 2 years ago. So, I'll have to take some time soon, and have a look at what I still have. Should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

How many comics does a long box hold?

Doug said...

Anonymous --

My experience has been that a longbox will hold approximately 225 bagged/boarded comics.

Doug

J.A. Morris said...

I think at its height, my collection measured 6 long boxes and a short box. It's more like 4 and a half now.

Redartz said...

William: my compliments for your former Spidey collection! I never quite completed it; at the peak I had issues #3 to current. Now about 1 long box worth with all Spidey titles.

Oh, hey, you mentioned you may have some Batman Adventures comics. You should check to see if you have Batman Adventures 12: first Harley Quinn. That book is scorching hot now, and you might do real well with it on ebay...

Anonymous said...

My collection has ebbed and flowed over the years, but probably maxed out around 1000 or so. I have fewer than that now (maybe 900), but I add to it when I can, slowly but surely.

Mike Wilson

Gary said...

I continue to actively collect comics, mainly back issues, so my collection is always at "peak". (I only collect a handful of new comics, none from the Big Two). I currently have about 10,500 comics and around 48 long boxes.

I don't plan to ever stop collecting or sell off my collection either. It will be willed to my kids.

Colin Bray said...

You mentioned periphery items, Doug. Well I'm not one for toys, statues and the like.

But as a librarian I have long collected bookmarks and have about 11,000 in total. As a subset I do own about 150 different superhero/comic related bookmarks.

Boy, do I have a patient, understanding wife...

Humanbelly said...

Oh Gary, Gary, Gary--

Your kids' jaws just dropped and their eyes gaped wide. . .

"He's gonna do WHAT??!! Ohhhhhhh no, sir! Nononononono, NO sir!! Outta the way-- I'm movin' to Sparta-! That is NOT happenin' to THIS swingin' chick/dude!!"

Heh-
HB

The Prowler said...

I wouldn't say my comic collection peaked, per se, so much as it mesad. I have way to many comics. Two long boxes and 26 short boxes. That's of comics. Most of those I acquired when the Mom and Pop shops were going bankrupt during the late 90s. I have way WAY too many Image comics, not enough Dark Horse and too TOO many 90 era Marvels. Big Jackets!!! Pony Tails!!! Skin!!! No Plots!!!! Doug, you mentioned "a nice 20 minute diversion" the other day. You could read half a long box of 90s Marvels in 20 minutes. Or one short box. As long as they're not bagged and boarded. But then again, why would you want to!?!

As far as periphery items go, I have quite a run of Wizards. It's fun to go back and read what was being hyped, what was debuting, what was new. I also have my Marvel Treasury Editions (still can't get the hang of scanning them) and my Marvel Essentials. Funny thing, I had forgotten I had Hulk volumes 4 & 5. Turns out issue 148 is in volume 4. Who know!?! Not me!!! I!?! I did finally remember buying a batch with my Christmas money last year. Forgot I had them. Such is life, c'est la vie...........


(na na na nana na na na na
na na na nana na na na na

Hush, hush, I thought I heard her
Calling my name now
Hush, she took my heart
But I love her just the same now).

Doug said...

If I was going to collect something anew, it would be the Marvel Treasury Editions and the Limited Collector's Editions from DC. There's just something about those big books that was magnificent. For example, reading the 4-part Galactus story with Gabriel and the Silver Surfer in that large format with those great JB pencils is (note - hyperbole coming) mind-blowing.

I have around a dozen of those sorts of things, which by the way is not enough.

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, yeah, I used to have the FF Treasury Ed. with the Gabriel and Galactus story. That is indeed a magnificent book and a great way to read that story.

Anonymous said...

This has been so cathartic...and I've realised that I DO have a problem.
Conservatively...around 20,000 'American' comics. Around 3000 British weeklies. 80 Treasury editions. 18 feet of Graphic novels and related books(Essential editions, Masterworks, British Annuals, The Art of...,World Encyclopedia of Comics etc..). 6 IDW Artist's Editions...and to tell the truth, lots and lots more.

Frank

Hey, I should also add (for those who might have painted a picture of me in their minds) I am married and have 3 great kids, two of whom are now at University.

Colin Bray said...

Hey, kudos Frank!

Yes, it is a problem if you regard it as so, but equally, it sounds like you have an epic collection. Congratulations on pulling it together.

Incidentally, presumably you live in the UK. So do I - Exeter to be precise. Is that aywhere near you?

Anonymous said...

Hmm my collection was large enough to fill up four plastic storage boxes, so I'm conservatively guesstimating it at 400 issues! Of course, some of them have been lost due to being read to pieces or just accidentally being destroyed. I've also added some titles off and on over the years; I haven't counted all my comics but I'm sure I have a good quantity more now.


- Mike 'comics hoarder' from Trinidad & Tobago.

William said...

Hi Redartz, yeah, I have a complete run of Batman Adventures, which includes #12 (in pretty much near mint condition) and I have been thinking about selling it. Who would have ever thought that one of those books would be worth something? I partly hung on to that collection because I thought I wouldn't get anything from selling them.

Colin Bray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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