Finding Comic Book Values Part 1

If you are trying to find the value or price of a comic book there are some important items you must have.  This post will discuss the first important item.

When I was purchasing large numbers of comic books I would receive many unsolicited online offers. I would typically receive an e-mail like this:

“Hey Dude,

I have some comic books that look old. Do you want to buy them. How much are they worth.”

Well, there’s not too much to follow up on when you receive that e-mail. Most people don’t write that poorly, but surprisingly enough, they won’t give you much more information than my example. The first step to find the true value of your comic books is to have an accurate description.

An accurate description of a comic book consists of three things:

  1. The Title with volume number if applicable
  2. The issue number
  3. The condition

An accurate description will accomplish a couple of things for you.

First, it will demonstrate to the potential buyer that you know the lingo of comic book collectors. The fact that you have at least basic knowledge of what you own will give you a better chance of not getting what I would call a rip-off offer. What I mean is this: if you write or call buyers and say “Hey, I have some old X-men will you buy them” it telegraphs that you are an amateur, and ripe for the picking. If you say “I have X-men #23-56 all in VG condition” there is a far better chance the person on the other end will assume you’ve done your research (which you have) and aren’t ready to get robbed.

Second, an accurate description will increase your chances for better offers when selling your comic books. Now this is different than the outright attempt to screw you mentioned above. Honest dealers won’t try to take advantage of you anyway. But, they don’t have time to sift through messed up descriptions in hope that you have something good. Honest dealers are usually busy, so they will probably ignore your communication. This then puts you right back into the hands of the crooks and those who don’t have the resources to give you a good price.

Let’s look at the first two items in the description, the title and issue number.

Be aware that many comic book series have been restarted several times. The are more than one series of Iron Man, Punisher and many, many others. If you get a book that says it is “Number 1”, make sure you look inside, usually on the inside cover or first “splash” page for the volume number. There is a huge difference in price between a Flash #105 1950’s series and a Flash #105 from the 1987 series. Like several thousand dollars difference. I know with that example it would seem obvious, but there are several modern series that were very close together in time, and may even be confused with a “mini-series” of four or more comics.

The issue number is self explanatory. It is difficult to mess this up and there aren’t many variations. Remember, in the end you should have something like this:

Amazing Spider-man #29

or Flash (2nd Series) #3

It may seem simple, but you would be amazed at how many times this gets messed up. Now that this step is complete it is time to get into the real work. From this point on, arriving at the correct value gets a little trickier.

Next Lesson – Grading

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