Comic books and moneyI love comics and I don’t buy them anymore, but I used to have old X-men, Captain America, Batman, etc. And though I loved to read comic books, to actually own them was a different mentality.

Reading involved a moment of enjoyment and escape for me and I would picture myself in among the characters, but owning comic books was a whole different jungle. I EXPECTED all them to go up in value and I didn’t have the patience to wait 15-20 years to make back double my money or so. I eventually sold them for a loss due to my impatience and stuck to the enjoyment of reading them in the library in Graphic Novel form. (collected issues in a book)

I once owned a particular Captain America comic book. I bought it for about $40 dollars and sold it for about the same a few years later. At the time it was valued around $100 for the condition it was in. Based on the prices now, it would fetch about $250, IF I STILL HAD IT. I’m not sad about it, it was a learning experience.

The desire to cart around comic books wherever I lived and keep them in a dry, cool location in Mylar baggies. Well, it just wasn’t fun for me and the patience thing was growing thin. Now that I have totally gotten off track, let me get back to the above question that was posed in the “poor skills” community:

I’m looking to make some money on comics I can bear to part with, but I’m not sure what the best method is when it comes to selling.

Here’s what comes to mind first:

  • Selling back to my comic store: I’d get more money in store credit, which is fine as I can use it toward future purchases and not spend money out-of-pocket.
  • Selling on Craigslist: I’d sort of like to have the cash.
  • eBay: The only problem is that I probably won’t make enough to justify the shipping/listing costs. See also: Lazy.

Thoughts? Feed-back? What have your personal experiences been when selling?

Here are my thoughts on the matter:

Pull out the comics and look up the prices – a good one in my estimate is, ComicsPriceGuide.com, as they pull from sales on Ebay and from an annual called Overstreet (which pulls from auctions online and Sotherby’s, etc)

Don’t be upset – There will be some comics books that are worth less than the cover price on the book.

Don’t get over excited – The prices listed are for the books that are in Mint condition (no creases on the spine, no writing on the book, no corners bent, etc.) So don’t expect that price for your book

Organize them by series – Put all the Superman Adventures together and the Action Comics together, the two are not the same. If you have old comics, say Lassie, separate the ones published by Dell or Disney and don’t mix them up. People are picky.

Hits and Misses – If you picked up issues 122-133 and then didn’t get another one until 147, that’s ok as well. Grouping them together can get you a decent price.

Key Comics - Even though you may have Showcase #1 (worth ~8k) the most Key comic is Showcase #4 (worth ~50K), which has the introduction of Flash. Characters that were introduced may not have made a big splash initially, but then made it big in their own books, later making the ‘introduction’ of a character worth more. Hope that makes sense.

Issue 1 isn’t always a big deal – Just because you have Nightwing (batman sidekick) #1 doesn’t mean it’s worth a bajillion dollars or even .0001% of that. Check prices thoroughly. By the way, the book is worth $20.

Where to sell?
Ebay – is good, but many people are looking for good deals or books in mint condition. So check prices on items that have completed that look about the quality of what you have. Fees are a biggie.

Craigslist – No fee to sell. Local only unless you state you will ship, make sure that you use Paypal or have them show in person with cash. People may want to buy and not show, so make a list of who has responded to your information.

Garage sale/yard sale – Remember that people come to these place looking for the lowest price possible, they may even barter with you and people will man-handle the comics, so if you are picky about that, don’t sell at a yard sale.

Comic book stores – Right off the bat, whatever price you found online based on your condition, you are at most going to get 50% of that, if it is a highly sought after book. Otherwise consider 20-30% of value, good. They have to turn a profit, so they will consider what they can sell it for and buy it from you for much less than that.

Sell Key comics separately if the value is there, say around $20 on up. Otherwise sell them as a bulk set for that series. Remember that the more you put together, the less per comic dollar amount you will get. I know, I sold over 100 for about 230 and the value was more like 700-800 at the time if I broke them up, I was impatient!!

Pawn shops are a bad place to sell, comic book shops are better as they know the value.

Ultimately, what sells, depends on who is out there buying. If you have a comic book that is valued at 2k and no one is interested it is worth ZERO. But if you have a series of 5 books that total come to $20 and you have 4-5 people interested, you might get much more than the $20. So take you time and don’t be impatient like I was.

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Dawn C. is site owner of Frugalforlife.com and is residing in Colorado with her spouse, Teri, of 11 years. Dawn can be reached at Frugalforlife@gmail.com