Breaking into the world of comic book collecting can be a fun and exciting experience, seriously, it can! Whether you desire to be a mild-mannered hobbyist or a hardcore collector, these tips for collecting comic books will get you well on your way.
Where to start?
The number one rule to remember when collecting anything is to collect what makes you happy. Collecting everything you come across can waste your time, money, and space; we don’t want anyone to end up on an episode of hoarders, it’s not pretty.
Instead, take some time to start reading comics. You will find ones that you enjoy and it will help you decide on what to collect. If you are collecting for an investment, focus on valuable titles that have resale value.
Every collector dreams of one day possessing a “holy grail”. These comics are extremely valuable and can sell for millions, always be on the lookout for hidden gems.
Action Comics, No.1; 1938. This comic is considered the holy grail of comics. It is the first introduction of Superman and valued at $2 million.
Amazing Fantasy, No.15; Introducing Spiderman.
Introductions: Comics that introduce a character for the first time can be valuable. I.e.: Introduction of Flash, or Superman. In some cases they can be more valuable than a No.1 issue.
Core and Filler issues.
If you are a “completionist”, you will want a complete set. Owning an entire set means that you will have both core and filler issues. Core issues can be the most valuable items or they can hold sentimental value, or they may have been the hardest to obtain. Filler issues are the rest of the comics that make up the set, you shouldn’t spent too much money on getting the bulk of your collection, an easy way to complete a set is by buying someone else’s and filling in the missing pieces.
Finding a Bargain.
If you are just starting out, money can be tight. But there are some great places to find comics.
- Classified ad
- Yard Sales
- Flea Markets
Watch out for overpriced comics. It’s far too easy to overpay for comic books, many people don’t price accordingly and may not know the real value. If you yard sale, bring along your cell phone or tablet so you can look up titles on the internet while you browse. Comic book prices constantly fluctuate, so keep your eye on current market values.
Things to look out for.
Legitimate vs. Promotional: Comics normally have the original printed price on the cover, but sometimes you will find comics that say “free”, these are promotional comics printed by the publisher. Both can be valuable, but the free comic is sometimes worth much less. Be mindful when checking out a high-priced comic make sure you get what you pay for.
Examine comics carefully to make sure they are not damaged or faded, as both of these will have a direct effect on the value.
Keeping up the Grades.
Not just great advice for school, but also for collecting comics. Comic books are based on a Grading system from 1 through 10, with 1 meaning very bad condition and 10 meaning extremely mint (finding a 10 is nearly impossible, even freshly printed).
Organizations, Conventions, and Databases.
Online Databases, such as http://comicbookdb.com/ are systems that track comic book titles, their current prices, and resale value. These databases are also great to have handy when you are hunting for comics at yard sales and conventions.
Conventions: attending an almighty comic book convention can be an exciting experience. You will find comic books from the lowest grade to the elite. You will be able to ask questions, attend workshops, and rub elbows with real people in the comic book business.
Warnings: Conventions can be overwhelming so be careful of impulse buys. Do not have your comics autographed if you only have one copy, if you have two copies, then that’s ok. Having a comic autographed can reduce its value.
Join organizations like http://www.comiccollecting.org/ to find like-minded people and more information about the world of collecting comic books.
Storage and Display.
- All comics should be stored in protective sleeves with cardboard backing.
- You can buy storage boxes and keep them out of the sun in a dry place. Great for the bulk collection.
- Display comics should be place out of direct sunlight and in UV protective frames.
Before you buy your first comic think about how and where you want to display it. Being a true collector is more than having a room filled with boxes of comics, it’s the pride of displaying your prized possessions.