Many of us collected comic books as kids. As adults, we think back to a simpler time when our biggest worry was the release of the latest edition of our favorite comic. At the time, we collected comics simply because we loved them.
As we grew up, however, our interests changed. We became adults and too grown up for comic books. We might still have a stack of old comics in the attic, though, or we may have sold them at a yard sale years ago.
Some adults, though, remained proud of their comic book collections, and many turned that collecting instinct to profit, buying, and selling comic books to supplement their income.
If you are new to collecting for value, you may have some questions and concerns. This article will address the questions most commonly asked by new comic book collectors.
How do I grade my comic books?
You have two choices when it comes time to grade a comic book. You may send the comic book to the Comics Guaranty Company for grading, or you can grade the comic yourself.
The CGC will charge a fee for grading, and then seal your comic in a plastic sleeve. A CGC rating is the only purely objective means of grading and guarantees to a potential buyer that your comic does have a certain official rating.
However, since the CGC grading costs money, it is not worthwhile to have every comic graded that way. You can learn to grade comic books yourself and for lower dollar value comic books, this is the way to go. Remember to be objective when grading your own comics, as you do not want to cheat a buyer inadvertently.
For comic books that are in less than perfect condition, you will need to look carefully at each bit of damage or wear to determine which grade the comic book should receive. Online guides or comic book collectors' magazines often have reference sheets to tell you the specifics of each grade.
It may be best to work with a more experienced collector initially, until you are more familiar with how the grading system works. He or she can show you examples of various comic grades.
How can I properly store my comic books to decrease wear and tear?
First, individually bag each comic book in Mylar. These storage bags are available from any good comic book store. You will also want to use comic book boards to prevent bending or creasing.
Purchase these individually or in bulk at your comic book store. Remember to change out your boards every few years to prevent the breakdown of the board, which can have a negative impact on your comic. Finally, you will need storage boxes.
Comic book storage boxes are available in long or short size. Long boxes are better value for the money, but if your comics must be stored in tight quarters, short boxes will give you more flexibility.
Remember to store your comic books in a climate controlled environment. Extremes of heat, cold, humidity, or dryness could have a negative impact on your comic books.
So what comic books should I buy?
The answer to that question really depends on your personal interests. Did you have a favorite comic book character as a kid or do you have one now? Seek out early editions of that character's comics or read the latest on what he or she is doing now.
If you see your comic book collection mostly as an investment, then you will want to carefully research and attempt to understand the market before jumping in. Spend time on online auction sites, visit comic book shops, and talk to other collectors.
Find out what is consistently hot, what is hot right now, and what the future trends expect to be. Focus on collecting first editions, full sets, and vintage "finds."
My comic book collection is huge! How can I possibly keep up with what I have?
A variety of tracking software is now available to monitor your comic book collection. Some programs are free; others charge a small fee. The complexity of the programs varies dramatically, from simple tracking forms to the ability to generate multiple reports based on many different criteria.
Alternately, you can create your own database or spreadsheet file using software that you already own. Any office software can track a comic book collection. Simply decide which information you want to include and set up a new worksheet.
What should I know before I sell my comic book collection?
Be sure that each comic in your collection is individually graded, either by yourself or friend, or professionally through the Comics Guaranty Company (CGC). Any especially rare or valuable comics should definitely be graded by the CGC prior to sale, as the official rating will often increase the price you can receive.
Once every comic is graded, check the average selling price for each comic. Decide whether to sell individually, in sets, or in bulk. Often you can receive a better price for low value comics by selling them in bulk or in a complete set, while particularly high-end comics may command the best price alone.
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