Do comic book collectors know the true value of their books or are they in denial?
The truth is, there is a little of both going around. The most common value mistake I’ve seen among collectors is to over-value their books!
It only makes sense. A collector looks at their books as more than dollars and cents, there is an emotional attachment. In their heads they attach a dollar value to this emotional attachment. Unfortunately this emotional dollar value doesn’t translate very well into the real world.
But is this all bad?
Not really. I have books in my collection that carry the same emotional baggage. We could probably come up with an equation for collector value:
CV = MV + EV
CV = Collector Value
MV = Market Value
EV = Enjoyment/Emotional Value
The big variable here is EV. There is a dollar amount out their for most of us that will overcome EV. Let’s be honest and admit that it is different for every book we have in our collections.
The first Mile High book I ever bought: very high EV, life altering EV, as in if you offer me an amount of money that would make a significant financial change in my life I will sell, short of that, sorry…
The X-men #1 I picked up several years ago in not so great condition: less EV. I like it because I have a collection of X-men and I probably need better than current market price, but not that much!
Depending on your life situation EV may actually be negative. Let me share an example.
A few years back I decided to significantly reduce my collection and sales books. I was just sick of having the long boxes around (and so was my wife). I went to two conventions, sold what I could, dealt like a maniac, and in the last hour of the con announced I was selling out. Fellow convention dealers came in droves. I could have gotten more out of these books if I wanted to take more time to sell them, but I was through. I wanted them out of my life. I sold them just above cost, but below market.
My EV was actually negative!
I tell you what. I walked out of that con with a smile on my face and one short box tucked under my arm. What a relief!
As a buyer you need to be on the lookout for positive EVs. I see this all the time at conventions where there are part-time dealer/collectors. There are books way above market value on their “attention getting wall.” These books are there to lure you in but the seller has no intention of selling them – they have a high EV! I don’t even try to negotiate for these books, it’s not worth the effort. I recommend you don’t waste your time either.
There is a danger to having too high an EV on your books. The time may come when you have to sell. At this point your EV could turn negative and you may wish you had taken higher offers in the past. There is a saying:
“Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered”
If you are selling or are willing to sell, is your EV too high? Are you willing to just be a pig? Only you know the reality of your situation.
My advice to collectors out there is this: always know the market value of your books, not just the collector value. Keep your “EV” in mind and don’t be blinded by it!