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Expensive Comic Books Can Be Bought For Little Money

Updated on October 20, 2014
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A lot of collectors who are on a budget know that most of the books in their collections are not going to be all that expensive 10 years from now. But what if they could get comic books that are very valuable today for a fraction of the price? We are not talking about comic books like Detective Comics #27, Action Comics #1, Fantastic Four #1 or Amazing Fantasy #15; those are books that you will hardly ever find for a price that you would consider “affordable”, but others can be great additions to your collection without spending all that much.

Be Patient

Patience is the name of the game. There is always a chance that you will find the comic book that you want for a price that you can afford. The problem is that a lot of collectors think of a book they want and feel that they have to have it right now. Relax; place that comic book on a list of the books that you want to buy and look for it everywhere. If it is more than you want to pay for it now then wait for another opportunity to arise.

A copy of Avengers 54 (first appearance of Ultron) in F/VF condition can be had for over $200, but if you look at the sold listings on eBay someone was able to get it for $38. You could be the one person that gets lucky enough to buy a key issue for a low price if you just have enough patience.

Second printing of New Mutants 87, not nearly as valuable as 1st printing
Second printing of New Mutants 87, not nearly as valuable as 1st printing | Source

Know The Comics

One very important point is that you have to know the key issues in comic books, what they look like and how much they go for. This will help you if you ever come across one of those key issues while at your local comic book store, a flea market, garage sales, or on the internet. If you are not sure about a comic book then have a way to find out whether it is something that you want to get. Fortunately smart phones and tablets have made such research a lot easier.

Say that you are at a garage sale and you are lucky enough to see that they are selling comic books. You want to see what they have and there are some comics that you have never seen. You could use online tools from your smartphone such as ComicsPriceGuide or MyComicsShop which will give you a price for the comic, the condition and what may be special about that particular issue. Not every older comic is worth a good amount of money, so being able to check will help you find out which ones you should buy.

Good Places To Find Them

It is good to have patience and to know the comic books, but unless you know where to find them it will not matter much. Garage Sales and Flea markets were mentioned before and they can be gold mines if you go to the right one. Some great comic books have also been found at estate sales and antique shops. In every single one of those cases the important thing is to be there early. You can count on the fact that you will not be the only person at the event or store that is looking for comic books so the early that you are there the more likely you will be to get the best selection.

There are also hobby or collector auctions which are held throughout the country and there you can find not only comic books but also comic book art, action figures, toys and other items which you may be interested in purchasing. Pay attention to the internet classifieds and local newspapers for information on such events.

At La Mole Comic Con with Dave Johnson
At La Mole Comic Con with Dave Johnson | Source

What About Comic Book Conventions?

You can be very lucky and find great comic books for an amazing value at comic book conventions. Here however the early rule mostly does not apply and there is a little secret that a lot of people tend to ignore. If the convention is held over the weekend then you will find the comic books that everyone wants on Friday (or Saturday if it is a two day event); in smaller conventions however sometimes the retailers selling comic books will still have a great selection late on Sunday and will want to sell it so they will be more willing to lower prices or negotiate.

Another plus about conventions is that sometimes the people who worked on a book will be there to sign it and you can have their signatures verified and your comic book graded. That could become a great and valuable item in your collection if you like getting your books signed.

Negotiate

Your local comic book store may be willing to lower the price on a comic book so do not be afraid to negotiate. It is important to know that not every comic book store out there will want to negotiate or in some cases the only one that is authorized to do it is the manager or owner. In some cases they will only have set prices, but you will never know until you ask them.

You can also negotiate at garage sales, flea markets, antique stores and pawn shops. You are more likely to succeed in your negotiation if you are buying more than a single comic book. Say that a book is $30; you may be able to get it for $25 if you are buying something else that will bring your total purchase to $40 if you would otherwise not be able to make the second purchase. A smart retailer will much rather sell more than less as long as they are still making a profit.

Social Media

The internet is a great place to find comics. You can find comics online in groups that people have created with the purpose of selling, buying or trading comic books. You may have a comic book in your collection that someone else wants and they may have something that you want. You can trade and then the book that you wanted will get to you by mail.

When trading comic books in a social media group it is important to ensure that it is a fair trade (don’t offer a worthless comic for Fantastic Four Annual #3) and that you both agree to get tracking numbers with your delivery. Ask the person if they have traded with anyone and confirm with that person to make sure that you are dealing with an honest person. Comic book collectors are usually pretty trustworthy but there is always a scammer looking to rip you off.

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    • William Avitt profile image

      William Avitt 2 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

      Another great tip is to become friends with your local comic shop dealer. Comic book shops usually get very good prices on recent key issues, and by recent I mean within the past 30-35 years. Several years ago my LCS dealer, who was a friend of mine, cut me a great deal on X-Factor 5 and 6 (the first appearances of Apocalypse) because he had gotten a few of them at a recent show. He also got me a good deal on the first issue of the first Wolverine ongoing series. It is also good to know what minor keys have the potential of becoming major keys. Always look for first appearances of beloved characters. I found the 5 issue run in Uncanny X-Men that was the first Bishop story for I think $2/issue. While Uncanny X-Men 282 still isn't an especially hot book, it potentially could be. And even if it never gets to be really hot, if it is a character who you love, having their first appearance is still bragging rights.

    • Gawth profile image

      Ron Gawthorp 2 years ago from Millboro, Virginia

      Thank you. I love comic books. When I was having a hard time with reading about fifth or sixth grade, my dad bought me about 50 new comic books and gave me the family dictionary. The two served me well. Your Hub, while an enjoyable one, didn't give me a single clue about the value of my youthful favorites like Scrooge McDuck. Are they also collectible. I always hoped one day I would have a money vault like his....but lo, it is not to be.