How to Collect Comic Books

Comic Book Collecting Tips

Learn how to collect comic books while enjoying your comics hobby. Reading comics is a different activity from collecting comics, though you can do both at the same time. If you want to make a little money from all the time you put into your comics collection, you’ll want to learn how to collect comic books for profit. This requires a little extra time and knowledge, but not a whole lot. Here’s a basic guide to collecting comic books.

How to Buy Comic Books – Collecting Comics

1. Find your local comic and specialty stores. If you can find the comics you want at the local comic shop, it’s best to support your local business and especially your local comic shop. Times are tough for comics store owners and buying local helps keeps a neat local speciality shop in business.

2. Become part of your comic shop’s order list. Most comic shops give discounts to costumers who place comic orders in advance. These can be significant, because the store owner gets a discount and will feel confident buying the extra comic, since it’s a certain sale. Look through the upcoming catalogue of comics that your comic shop has to make your selections. Pre-order with comics you know you’ll want to read or collect. You can supplement your comic order by cherry-picking comics that you haven’t preordered.

3. If you don’t have a comic book store near you, preorder comics through a comic wholesaler like Westfield Comics. Westfield is found online at
http://westfieldcomics.com/
. Westfield has been in the comics business since 1979, and I bought comics through there for years (when I wasn’t near a comic shop). So I feel comfortable recommending WestfieldComics.

4. Add rare or high-priced comics by winning bids on an online site like eBay. Ebay auctions allow you to cherry-pick exactly the comics you want, while keeping your prices low. Keep in mind there are two kinds of comic sellers online: those clearing out the closet and those who are in business. So some comics on ebay will be priced outrageously, so avoid the bad deals. But you can find bargains if you know what you’re looking for and do a bit of searching. You might have to lurk on auctions and snipe to keep prices down.

5. Buy comic book boxes, mylar sleeves and sleeve backs from your local comic shop. Most stores keep a supply they will sell to interested customers.

How to Price Comic Books – Collecting Comics How To

1. Get a comic book price guide and study the trends in comics. This will give you some idea which comics are going up in price right now, and which have prices plummeting.

2. Learn about comics gradings. This is the system used to determine how much value a particular comic has according to the condition it is in. The grades are poor, fair, good, very good, fine, very fine, near mint and mint. If you want a quick primer on the comic condition grading system, take a look at
http://www.comicsmagazines.com/comicgradings.htm
.

3. If you are building a comics collection for your own pleasure, then don’t worry about the price guides or comics grades.

4. If you are building a comic collection to make money or get the highest value out of your comics, then your expectations will be completely different. Remember that comic values are based, like most collecting hobbies, on a combination of quality, historical significance and (most important) rarity. Buy #1 issues and special issues. Collect first appearances of popular characters. Listen to the buzz on little-known comics that might turn into classics and increase in value.

5. Don’t hold on to them too long. Just because a comic has gone up in value in the first six months since it was issued does not mean the comic will continue to increase in value. For example, there were a whole glut of comics in the 1990’s that became huge factors in the collectors industry. Collectors hoarded comics with new characters who were popular at the moment and their value shot up to $50 or $100 or even into the hundreds per issue. These days, many of those same comics are essentially valueless, either because the characters lost their popularity or because too many collectors were hoarding the same comics.

6. Supply and demand rules. Keep that in mind always. If everyone is buying the same comics, those comics probably won’t be worth a whole lot. The major three companies (Marvel Comics, DC Comics and Image Comics) sell approximately 90% of the comics on the market. Their comics get a lot of the attention and have the highest issue of comics, but if everyone is collecting the latest crossover mini-series, there are going to be a lot of those on the market in 10 or 15 years. While some of those comics will retain their value, you can bet that most won’t. Find the hidden gems instead of just the wide releases, the ones that not everyone is collecting. As for the wide releases, I would sell them within the year, because their value could very well go down when the next big miniseries comes out.

How to Store Comic Books – Collecting Comics Guide

1. Keep your valuable comics in a mylar sleeve, so they maintain their value. A comic with even one flaw will lose most of its value, so you have to protect them. Mylar looks like a clear covering for the comic book.

2. Place a cardboard backing into the mylar sleeve. The backing is a cardboard piece that will keep the comic flat and uncreased. One side is gray and one is white. Place the white side facing the comic book, because the white is treated so natural acids from cardboard won’t tarnish your comic book cover.

3. Slide your comic book into the mylar sleeve with the front cover of the comic book facing out. This way, you’ll know what comic you are collecting. Keep only one comic in a mylar sleeve at a time.

4. Collect your comics in a long comic book box, which are made to hold hundreds of comics at a time in a standing up position.

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