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advice for new collectors

186 posts in this topic

still believe that best way to collect is buy a wizard and go with the top 10 every month. Or pick up the Wizard - turn to the collecting guide at the end of the price guide part and see what they got...sometimes they list all the issues a certain artist/writer has imparted creative talent on... collect that way....



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BUY THEM WHERE THEY AINT--don't follow the herd.


Great advice its easy to buy whats hot and usually you are already buying near the top. I was buying NM/M Bronze books especially the oddball titles 5-10 years ago when nobody wanted them and most dealers said they were dogcrap. Unfortunately when Weird War 1 is $2 in NM not many people even want to dig through their stuff to get it for you but I dig manage to amass a nice collection of those. CGC has killed my hunt for these as I wont pay what I think are insane prices so I now am hunting for Gerber scarce books from the GA with great covers in vg unrestored. I'm thinking of pursuing other new hunts and am allways interested to hear what other people think will be big in the future or is simply cool/hard to find/relatively underpriced.


As for totally new collectors start slow and buy what you really enjoy and you cannot lose. (as long as you dont enjoy Iron Man 1's in CGC 9.6, lol)

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if you're interested, i can get a Fair Daring Mystery Comics 2 (Gerber 8, probably the rarest of all Timelys). COMPLETELY UNRESTORED, missing a piece from the cover. PM me if you're interested.

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Advice for the new comic book Collector

Compiled and written by: A. Youngblood (a.k.a.) The_Man_Of_Steel


Hello my fellow collector, my desire here is to give you the new comic book collector, the most comprehensive and helpful article that I can possibly put together. There are many different types of comic book collectors, and each have their reasons for how/what they collect. Your disposable income will dictate how/what and the accumulation of what you collect. I'm going to give my advice as if you already know what genre of comic books your primarily interested in, and you know which titles/characters interest you the most. Because comic books are considered collectables, there are people that will try and take advantage of that common knowledge, so always try to keep in mind...


RULE # 1 - A comic book is only worth what somebody is willing to give.


RULE # 2 - Enjoy your collectables, that translates to: read Comic books, and read them by the hordes, by the hundreds, by the thousands, read them until your eyeballs fall out.


So what is the best way to get hordes, hundreds, and thousands of comic books without having to go to a local bank and get a loan? The short answer is: buy VF-NM Bronze/Modern Age RAW comic books on eBay. However, you should always keep in mind that overgrading is common among eBay sellers. Don't be discouraged though, because if you are careful, especially with how much you bid, then you can come out on top...in the long run. The way I see it money is money, business is business, and like most people, I try to save as much money as I can (STRETCH YOUR MONEY, the more you save, the more you can buy). About 95% (give or take a little) of the comics I have purchased on Ebay, I won for .60 cents an issue or less (Spider-Man & X-Men titles are generally an exception) and that is INCLUDING the shipping and handling. However, these are also all Bronze/Modern Age books, and the bulk of them guide for less than $5, but we want to read comic books right?


My Ebay Comic Buyers Guide (learn from my mistakes)


1.) Be specific in how you search for the comics that you want. If you simply enter the word "Spider-Man", you will learn that it would take all day to go through all the pages. If you're looking for large runs or large lots of books, then try using words like "lot", "collection", "run", and "complete". For Example: in the search field enter "Spider-Man lot" or "Spiderman lot" or "Amazing Spider-Man lot" or "Amazing Spider-Man collection" and see what the results are. If your looking for CGC books, then use search words like "Amazing Spider-Man CGC".


2.) When you bid, don't bid like it will never show up on Ebay again. I also recommend, just putting in your maximum bid, and if you get outbid, go on to the the next auction. I have won a few incredibly good deals (as a buyer) like a high grade run of X-Men (1990 series) 1-58 for only $9.99 plus S&H!


3.) Check the sellers feedback (AVOID sellers with excessive negative feedback) If they have negative feedback, then investigate to see what the complaint was about.


4.) Check to see if the seller has sold comics in the past (by clicking on "S" items in their feedback), and be sure to browse the seller's other current auctions (this can lead to some good deals, especially with sellers that combine shipping on multiple items). If they have not sold comics in the past, then ask questions, and bid accordingly. The only exception to this rule may be CGC slabbed books.


5.) If the feedback is acceptable, and you can see that other people have been satisfied with the sellers grading, THEN I have found it a good idea to contact the seller and ask the following question, BEFORE bidding. "Are you passing the grade down, OR have you graded the comics yourself?" There are more sellers passing down the grade than you might think.


6.) Always figure in the cost of shipping into the total. When purchasing large runs/lots of comic books, the shipping can and does tend to get higher than a few books.


7.) I highly recommend paying for anything you buy on eBay via PayPal (or a similar service) with a credit card. Why? Because it speeds up the transaction, AND more importantly, it covers your butt in the unfortunate event of fraud. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act you do NOT have to pay for merchandise that you did not recieve, and have the RIGHT to dispute the charge. Also paying with a service like PayPal is motivation, because the seller does not want PayPal to close/suspend their account.


8.) Always ask the seller to package your comics in a BOX. I make the request when I send them the payment. If you ask for a box, and they fail to comply, then you have a reason to complain if the books are damaged in transit.


That concludes my guide to buying comics on eBay. Is eBay the only source from which I purchase books? I sometimes purchase trade paperbacks at Amazon.com, because they sell below cover price, sometimes waaaaay below cover price and they offer good deals on shipping. Another place worth checking for trade paperbacks (TPB), is Barnes&Noble.com, I have found a few outstanding deals for less than $5! Overall, Amazon.com is the better of the two, but if you have the time, compare prices.


Ok, now that we've found the good deals and have hordes, hundreds, and thousands of comic books, what's next?


0.) Learn as much as you can about comic book collecting, for a good start I recommend learning the comic book language/terminology/definitions


1.) Learn how to grade comic books - Start by reading and memorizing the OverStreet Grading Criteria If you have a great deal of interest in comic book grading, check out the most in depth guide available - OverStreet Grading Guide


2.) Preserve your collection, check out this article on Comic Book Preservation The best solution available for the purpose of preserving comic books is Mylar D sleeves. The polypropylene bags commonly used by comic shops is a very short-term/temporary solution. Polypropylene bags should be changed every 3-5 years, and if you have thousands of comic books, that can become a major chore, not to mention trying to keep track of which bags need to be changed and which ones do not, and investing more money into preservation each time you change a bag. What are the advantages of Mylar D sleeves? 1"How does Mylar, which is biaxially extruded polyester film, afford more protection? The poly-bags that most everyone sells are "blown" films, affording very low density and dimensional stability. Mylar is an extruded film that is simultaneously stretched in two directions to give it maximum strength. In fact, it resists penetration by gases, such as oxygen, 300 TIMES more than the poly-bags. As for strength and stability: it is also several hundred times stronger and more stable. Keep in mind, that we are not talking about 4 or 5 times better as compared to their price; we are talking about offering the kind of protection for 100 years which poly-bags cannot offer for even one year." In other words, IF you choose to use Mylar, there will be NO need to "change bags" in your lifetime, and the page suppleness (whiteness) of your books will be of higher quality. I recommend using 1 mil Mylar (the lowest in price) on all common non-key books, and 2 mil + Mylar on higher dollar key-issues. There are two main suppliers of Mylar that I'm aware of are BCE Mylar and E. Gerber. I have purchased from both, and the same supplies at Gerber are considerably less. I recommend purchasing supplies in quantity. IF you order Mylites (1 mil Mylar), then order them by the 1,000. Click on the follwing link to check out the prices of E. Gerber Archival Storage Supplies.


3.) Purchase a Comic Book Price Guide - the most widely accepted guide is the OverStreet Price Guide I cannot recommend purchasing this book enough. The OverStreet price guide is more than a price guide. Check out the following link, where you can see the table of contents of a previous edition. Inside you will find top 10 lists, and articles on Grading, How to grade, Grading definitions, restored comics, scarcity of comics, perservation and storage, buying and selling, where to buy and sell, conventions, a website directory, First Appearances, The Overstreet Comic Book Hall of Fame, and much more!


4.) If you have (or plan to) accumulated a few thousand comic books, then Comic Book collection management software will come in handy. - There is only 1 off-line program available that has a built in database of comic books. This same program has a built in price guide, grading system, and both are customizable. This same program allows you to import and export from other sources, and integrates with selling services such as eBay and Yahoo. If you want to know about comic books then I highly recommend purchasing ComicBase because it not only helps you keep track of your collection, but it's a comic book encyclopedia. The following is an introduction from the ComicBase 6 (the version I own) manual that gives a brief summary about ComicBase. 2"Thanks for purchasing ComicBase, the finest software available for people who love comic books. ComicBase comprises an encyclopedia of comic books, a database for organizing and managing your collection, and a price guide with comic book values for the past four years. It includes reviews, as well as detailed notes on over 13,000 titles, combined with full-color illustrations of cover art. ComicBase tells you what each title is about, how it relates to other titles, and helps you find special issues by first appearances, origin stories, or by the writer or artist who wrote for it.ComicBase is also a professional tool for organizing and managing your collection. It keeps track of which comics you have, charts your collection’s value over time, and prints a wide variety of reports to let you manage your collection like a pro. These include detailed price lists, collection statistics, checklists, and much more. You can also use ComicBase to create price labels or automatically post your books to an online auction site. ComicBase is updated regularly. We’ve combined our research with that of Comics Buyer’s Guide to cover more titles, both mainstream and independent, than any other guide. We’ve also expanded our pricing research, including sales at retail stores, conventions and online auction sites. The result is the most realistic, hard-hitting price guide available. ComicBase 6 is also available in a Deluxe Edition which includes a special bonus disk, containing thousands of additional cover art scans, interviews with comic book creators, and movie previews." If this sounds like something you would be interested in, then download the ComicBase 7 User Guide The manual contains much more detailed information and provides color photos of the program in action. If you have a high speed connection, you might want to download the demo available at the Human-Computing (publisher of ComicBase) website.



Comic Book Reference Books:


1.) E. Gerber Photo Journal Guide to Marvel Comics Vol. 3 & 4 (Vol. 1-2 cover pre-Marvel Golden Age) Ernst Gerber's fantastic Photo-journals which feature an introduction by Stan Lee are an amazing reference source for serious collector's, especially collector's that have interest in cover art, and would like a visual reference. These can come in handy when you don't have a list and your thumbing through backissues looking for a specific book, and recognize the cover of the book your looking for. These Photo-journals are the best visual reference available for Marvel comic books. These two volumes (3 & 4) feature full color photos of over 17,000 Marvel Comics from June, 1961 through 1990, from Amazing Fantasy #15 to X-Men Giant Size #1. Also, the Photo-journal Guides offer a complete cataloging system for Marvel Comics from 1961 to 1990 with a relative value index for 15,000 Marvel Comics, and a detailed artist compilation. The E. Gerber Photo Journal Guide to Marvel Comics Vol. 3 & 4 are THE resource on Marvel comic books, and if you can spare the cash, I highly recommend em'.


2.) The Standard Catalog of Comic Books 3"The publisher of the weekly Comics Buyers Guide, Krause releases an annual CBG Checklist and Price Guide as a competitor to the long-running standard, The Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Now, Krause has combined the annual guide with information in the CD-ROM "ComicBase" (from Human Computing) and much new research to compile this massive volume. With over 145,000 entries, it attempts to list all English-language comics sold in America, all English-language graphic novels and comic-book reprint collections published in North America, many giveaway comics, and magazines such as MAD and Heavy Metal that feature extensive comics content. For each listing, it gives the title, publisher, original cover price (in all but a few cases), and value in near-mint condition, with a multiplier given to determine prices in higher and lower grades. In most cases it also provides a cover date, and for some comics it gives story titles, writer and artist names, character appearances, and circulation information collected from publishers and distributors. There are also over 2200 short reviews of selected series, each illustrated with a sample picture. The catalog also supplies data on comics that have been graded by Comics Guaranty LLC, a third-party service that has been evaluating comics since 2000, and also gives a general multiplier showing how much this grading increases the average sale price. Spot-checking reveals some missing books (such as the "Elfquest Readers Collection" series) and some minor errors (the first Blackhawk series is attributed to DC when it was initially published by Quality), but some mistakes are inevitable in an undertaking of this scope. A comparison with the latest edition of The Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (2002. 32d ed.) shows that both contain much exclusive information. Overstreet does not include reviews or circulation data, but it has an exclusive section on pre-1933 comics-related publications. Also, it generally provides better cross references from one series to another and contains much exclusive descriptive information, including notes on character appearances and the scarcity of certain comics. But the Standard CatalogR includes many black-and-white comics, including manga, that are not included in Overstreet. The prices listed in Overstreet are generally the higher of the two: as an extreme example, if anyone finds copies of Limited Collector's Edition #C-20 (the first Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer treasury edition) for sale at the $3 price quoted by Krause, this reviewer will take 30-Overstreet lists it at $310. Highly recommended for all libraries as a supplement to, but not a replacement for, the Overstreet guide." Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Comic Book History:


DC Comics Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes by Les Daniels


Marvel Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics by Les Daniels


Quoted Resources List

1 - Quote from a preservation article at www.egerber.com

2 - Quote from the ComicBase 6 manual

3 - Quote from a review that can be found at Amazon.com


P.S. - If anybody has suggestions or would like for me to add something then send me a PM. This is a first draft, I plan on updating.


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Study the history of the hobby. Try to compile a library of Prime reference material:


A half dozen or so Overstreets spanning 5 year intervals

Back issues of early CBMs

Gerber's Encyclopedia Vol 1 and 2

History of Comics by Olshevsky

Steranko's 2 Volume Treasury size History of Comics

Articles by Duncan MacAlpine, Sean Linkenback, Dr.J.Keith Contarino, Gary Carter, etc.


Study Ebay results on comics in the field of your interest. Keep notes. Ebay is the most accurate barometer in the hobby for determining the accurate market value of an item.


Above all, DON'T COLLECT IT IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT! Collect it because you enjoy doing so because of an affinity you feel for the items of your focus. Sometimes your likes and dislikes change. Don't be afraid to make adjustments to your scope of interests.

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So any advice for my first trip to a comic shop? I know mostly what comics I am looking for, but what little things should I look for? I plan on reading them (carefully of course) but I still want to make sure I have good books for my collection.


Back when I was reading them regularly I just got them from the corner convience store, so I have never been to an actual comic store. a Yellow page search showed about 20 stores within 15 miles, but I know the one i am going to first. I walk past it every friday during the summer when I go to a cruise night with my dad, its the reason I am getting back to comics. They have a big captain America poster in the front window, my favorite comic as a kid, I was tempted every week to go in and buy it! grin.gif


Also, how about subscriptions? Does Marvel actual ship books in decent condition to subscribers? Should I get one through an online service or see if the shop offers a subscrption type service? I have plenty of older comics I want, but I want to collect and read going forward as well, so I figure a sub is the best way, if there is another way that is better, let me know that too! smile.gif


Thanks! grin.gif

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If you're going to do a subscription go through a collector-based mail order program. I know a lot of dealers offer like a discount off cover for subscriptions..if I could ever figure out who my subscription is through I'll post it.. I get 4 titles, the shipping is free and i'm paying about 1.80 per issue.



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They have a big captain America poster in the front window, my favorite comic as a kid, I was tempted every week to go in and buy it!

The first trip you make to that comic store......buy that poster you've been eyeing......it'll make you feel good and rekindle that comic collecting feeling again. smile.gif

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Shizel Nizel - Don't get caught in the $$$$$ Hype....


The Only 3 step key to Comic collecting (I should market this!):


Step 1- Read


Step 2- Collect (bag, board, box and store someplace safe)


Step 3- Come back in 20 years and pray we're all still buyin!!!!



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My advice for the new comic collector on what to do (and NOT to do):


1). Liquidating your home electronics and jewelry at Pawn shops is a no-no, UNLESS you have at least a full year of comic buying/selling under your belt AND you just made an impulse buy on a Buy-It-Now CGC 9.8 comic on ebay that you can't really afford.


2). Only sell your car to finance your collection IF:


a). Your work is not so far that you can't bike or walk there AND


b). You think that the money you're going to make on your comic collection will one day make up for all the girls who wouldn't give you the time of day because you were a car-less, comic-book collecting fanboy loser.


3). When attending the San Diego Comic Con, go to the unhappy-looking guy with all the expensive books near the main entrance (i.e. from where the Man of Steel hails), and say "Hi, I heard you were a royal h*le, could I have the 'special customer' discount please?"


4). Prioritize your monthly expenses: i.e., your comic book budget should always take precedence over things like deodorant, toilet paper (that's what fingers are for), utility bills, and secondary items like that.


5). And the last bit of advice I can offer: never take advice from a poster named JiveTurkeyMoFo. grin.gif




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When friends, mothers and lovers persecute you for collecting comic books, open up the Overstreet Price Guide and show them what a NM copy of Action Comics # 1 goes for these days...No matter if you will EVER own a copy or not. Unless they're somewhat IN-THE-KNOW about collecting comics they will become convinced that you will be one rich mutha in 40 years and that your copy of Man-Thing No. 1 will bring thousands. grin.gif

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When friends, mothers and lovers persecute you for collecting comic books, open up the Overstreet Price Guide and show them what a NM copy of Action Comics # 1 goes for these days...No matter if you will EVER own a copy or not. Unless they're somewhat IN-THE-KNOW about collecting comics they will become convinced that you will be one rich mutha in 40 years and that your copy of Man-Thing No. 1 will bring thousands. grin.gif


Ah yes....the "shock and awe" approach. Very effective......... smirk.gif

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