Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This question still comes up all the time, even among seasoned collectors of vintage back issues:
What is this comic “worth”?

Since even the aforementioned seasoned “pro” collectors struggle with this one I thought it might be a good idea to chew on this one for a few lines.


I love saying that! When I was a kid in school and the teacher asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my response was always “A Gold Brickin’ Yahoo M’am!” I am happy to report that I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and am in fact THE Gold Brickin’ Yahoo of all time. But I digress….now what was I talking about?

The Tick still being cancelled?...no

(and may I add a hearty GRRRRRRR! Over THAT!)

Caprica being cancelled?...no

(Cylons have come a LONG way baby!)

Jessica Alba…well no…but now that I think of it!

(You can NEVER go wrong posting a photo of Jessica I say!)

Oh yes! The value of vintage back issues!
Recently I saw the following online offers for various books :
1) Action #252 CGC Signature series 3.5 – asking $25,000
2) PEP comics #76 CGC 9.2 – asking $1700
3) Fantastic Four #1 – RAW unslabbed VG/F – Asking $5500
4) Superman #53 – RAW unslabbed VG- - Asking $450

These books all have some things in common.

1) They ALL originally sold for a DIME.
2) They are all relatively rare in high grades.
3) They are all 50 years old or more.
4) They are all being offered up by people who sell vintage back issues for a living.

Also, with the exception of Superman #53, they all have asking prices OVER the current Overstreet value in grade.

So what are the books worth?

The simple answer is…A DIME or less given the deterioration of each book.

Of course the answer is never that simple. In fact it is downright complicated. It keeps sellers and collectors up nights trying to figure it out.

Bear in mind the difference between YOUR value and MARKET value. The first being what YOU will be willing to pay for a book and the latter, the “going rate” in the market place for the same book.

First, despite what you read anywhere else, a CGC or third party graded book has NO MORE INTRINSIC VALUE THAN A RAW UNSLABBED book. Socko, Tiger, or even myself can give you a grade that is every bit as valid as any you will get from a third party grader. So why do “slabbed” books command a premium?

Well, in fact, they don’t always. It is only for the very rare book OR books graded 9.8 or better that you see a real separation in value. What you DO get from a third party grader is a standard that is becoming more accepted in the marketplace where amateurs sell their raw books online with inaccurate grades. The “slab” lets a buyer know that he is essentially getting what he pays for. If you do consider buying a slabbed book take that premium into account. Are you willing to pay extra for the service/ Do you trust the seller of the “raw” book to grade accurately, and in the case of modern age books does “slabbing” actually over price the books. (I give that last one a resounding YES!)

Second. A collectible is ultimately only worth what YOU think it is worth to YOU. Sometimes I pay over guide and sometimes under guide depending on what I think the book is worth.
Why not just stick with “the guide”? Because MY (or YOUR) judgment on that value is the ONLY ONE THAT COUNTS! We have to live with the purchase and only we can judge how much that book means in our personal collection.

The key sticking point with three of the books I use for examples is the fact that they ARE selling over guide . This means that should you decide to resell those particular books down the line you risk taking a loss. On the Superman #53 there is a good chance that you could resell at a profit. Of course there is always the chance that the books priced over guide could increase in demand over time. BUT none of that matters if you have no intention of reselling your books.
See what I mean here? It is all a very personal judgment call. When I over pay on a book it is always because I have no intention of reselling down the line. I don’t speculate on comic books. Speculators are better off with gold. 99% of all Comics are far too volatile to count on as long term investments. Sure , books like FF#1, Superman #1, Batman #1 and Action #1 are nice steady performers. They increase at a steady rate and almost never decrease in market value. But for the most part comics are poor investments if you are looking to send the kid to college.

I hope that clears things up for you…as for ME I am even more confused than I was at the beginning of this rant!

Have a great Thanksgiving!
That’s 30!


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