Written by: Gary M. Kenny, CC2K Comics Editor
For many collectors, there comes a time when “the collection” has become less of an obsession and the need to cleanse one’s self is in order. I am not a hoarder, however my comic collection says otherwise. Now that I have a family, a house, and “responsibility” buying the latest issue of Spider-Man doesn’t really factor into my life. Do i still read comics, you bet, i buy digitally, i still go to cons, and i’m still active in my comic community. But what do i do with my 7,923 comic books (not including my graphic novels, statues, etc)?
J.D. Roth wrote a great article about selling his collection over at getrichslowly.com and he mentions two ways to sell one’s collection.:
- “If you want the best price, it takes time and effort. You have to list your collectibles individually on eBay or somehow find other collectors. It’s slow going.
- If you want to sell quickly, you can — but you won’t get much money. You’ll end up selling your treasures as a group, and probably to a dealer. The dealer will pay you a fraction of what you could get if you took your time.”
Now the big difference between J.D. Roth’s and my collection is that he has a lot more in terms of quantity and quality. I learn this before i read Mr. Roth’s article at the NYCC’13. i met with a few buyers/sellers of comics and they were interested in my collection, after reviewing my excel spreadsheet which lists every single comic (including special notes IE autographs, first appearances, cgc), they immediately wanted all my bronze and silver age comics. Yeah, everyone wants those. That’s a given. They are the most rare and the most sought after on eBay.com.
They also wanted some of the comics that i wouldn’t sell. My X-Men #1 (1963) which is in poor condition. It was my first big comic purchase and i worked all summer as a 13 year old to buy it. I made a deal with my Dad that if he fronted the cash, i would work (not for him) all odd jobs (mowing for the neighbors, selling toys/video games to school kids, etc) till i paid him back, then he could give me the comic. This taught me a lot as young teen, what work is, how to sacrifice, and how to set and meet those goals. All in all it could have been any comic (that i worked for), i can’t sell this one. Just like that those sellers/buyers became less interested. They wanted all the good stuff but none of the bad. So, what do i do now? I can’t just sell the goods and be left with WOLVERINE & THE BLACK CAT: CLAWS #3.
I spent months going through all my comic boxes, putting every title in alphabetical and numeric order. Then putting them into a spreadsheet. It’s a job. It took a commitment. Along the way if i found something i knew would sell immediately i put it on eBay. Finding the 1st five issues of The Walking Dead in near mint won me some great loot. While finding a full run of Green Arrow (Kevin Smith/ Pre52) i knew, sadly, will not be making me the type of cash i secretly hope it will. So talking to some eBay sellers, i did learn (besides it being a slow process) that regardless of what you put on eBay, all comics tend to sell (even the crappy ones). Now for what, is usually very little. I’m going to lose money. I might make some with the better titles (holding off on selling iZombie collection until a few weeks before the show comes out on the CW), but all in all, i’ll probably lose out. J.D. Roth’s collection (he felt) was worth $75,000 he ended up getting just around $28,000. Still great, but a loss nonetheless. Just like J.D. it’s time to downsize and stop being a hoarder. It’s less about the money, it’s less about the collection, it’s more about cleaning up and living life with less. I don’t need to have every cover of Amazing Spider-Man #1 (2014), one black & white variant is fine!
Now another thing I’ve done (and plan to continue doing) is donating some of my comics to various organizations. The Wounded Warrior Project does accept comics and they do ship them to the troops, both to vets and to the soldiers out there bored in the desert. The Salvation Army and some other charities give (in good condition) graphic novels and comics to children (age appropriate). As someone who learned to read, learned morals, learned how to be a good person through comic books and the comic community, i know donating certain issues that meant a lot to me as a child might do the same for another kid (maybe one who struggled like I did as a young age). Plus i plan on keeping a nice collection for my son. Not going to force comics on him but he might have a liking towards them and it would be a shame if i got rid of titles i knew he would enjoy.
I’m going to start putting more titles on Ebay soon and if you are interested in seeing my comic list spreadsheet email me here at CC2K or through the message board.
Gary is a husband, father, fireman, comic reader, gamer, body builder, and rocker. He also is a co-owner of a bakery in upstate NY. He likes to tell everyone his favorite band is the Beatles, when his actual favorite band is the Alkaline Trio.