Comic Book Buying and Selling – The Key is Negotiating Power

Are you buying or selling comic books? The key in both situations is negotiation. Let’s face it, whenever there is a transfer between two people, be it time, labor, products, or yes, comic books, negotiating is key.

In the last issue of the member newsletter we discussed several buying strategies and touched a little bit on negotiating. Today I want to give you a couple more ideas to think about.

Negotiating Tip 1 – The Balance of Power

Any negotiating position consists of strengths and weaknesses. In the world of comic books it they usually consist of two items – the product (comic books) and cash. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

In some cases the comic book itself may be the item of strength. Action Comics #1 in VF+ CGC 8.5 unrestored condition? A power book if there ever was one. It is the highest graded copy, first Superman, etc. High end collectors will be falling over themselves to buy this copy when it comes up for sale. Definitely a strength.

But let’s look at the other item – cash. Let’s say the seller has a burning need for cash. They are in trouble, need to raise some money immediately. The seller now has a point of weakness that the buyer may or may not know. A buyer with a lot of cash may be able to diminish the strength of the book with his or her cash position. Interesting predicament, isn’t it?

The same ideas apply to lower cost, or common comics. Let’s say the seller has a huge stash of 1990’s common books. Not a lot of strength in those books. If the seller needs money they are in a real bind. If they don’t need cash they can hold out and see what happens. If you don’t need cash and have time, you can leverage a weaker position and hold out for more.

Ultimate Seller and Buyer Positions

The ideal situation for the seller is power books and no immediate need for cash.

It’s not always realistic, especially if you deal in comics. There is an opportunity cost you must take into account if you decide to hold on to a specific comic. Could the cash raised by selling a comic book now be used more productively? This use may be inside the hobby by purchasing other books you want more, or outside the hobby in some other investment or pursuit.

Also, you can’t discount the downside price risk to your comics. Will the particular book stay even or increase in price, or will it decrease? Who knows what will happen.

In the end, you have to balance the upside with the downside along with your personal situation. Try not to get into a bind where you have to let your comics go for an immediate cash need. You’re giving too much away to the buyer.

The ideal buying situation is cash. Cold, hard cash. No rush to buy, time on your side, and a wad of big bills to flash in front of buyers. A lack of cash means you can’t even get in the door (unless you have some great trades).

Even if you have cash you’ll have to speculate on the future price of any comic book you want to purchase.

Will it go up in price?

Will it increase in price faster than you can get a return on another investment vehicle?

Will you be kicking yourself for not buying it today for $2000 when it will sell for $4000 in two months (see the Avengers 1 post for more on that)?

These are all important questions only you can answer.

In any situation, buying or selling, just remember to keep that poke face. Oh, and keep the power, either in books or cash.

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