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How Much Is Your Comic Book Collection Worth
Comic book collecting is fun, but most collectors also like to have an idea of how much that collection is worth. There is no easy way to figure out the price of a collection because the right answer is not on a price guide book or website. The comic books in your collection (like any other item) are worth what someone is willing to pay for them. Here are some tools that you can use to figure out the price of your collection.
Overstreet Price Guide
The Overstreet Price Guide is without a doubt the guide that collectors trust the most. There are other publications out there, but this is the one that most comic book stores go by. The book is printed every year and it is a big one; it has to be because it gives you the prices for all of your comic books. It is suggested that if you are a serious collector that cares about the prices of your books that you keep a fresh copy of the Overstreet Price Guide.
Although it is the most trusted one, the Overstreet Price Guide should be used as a reference and not the actual price of a comic book. The problem is that this guide is printed once a year and things can change a lot from one month to the next. As of last year for example you could buy New Mutants 98 for $65 to $150, but the same comic book today is being sold for $250 to $600 in some cases. That change is not reflected in the current guide because it happened after printing.
Online Price Guides
Online price guides are in a lot of cases free and they update more often than printed guides so they are a great tool for every collector. The prices shown on the online guides however need to be taken with a grain of salt. You will hardly ever find someone willing to pay what an online guide tells you that your top tier comic books are worth. Again these should be used as a reference of whether or not something is worth more than something else and not an exact value of a comic book.
As mentioned earlier, a comic book is worth what people are willing to pay for it. Recently on the news there was a story about a copy of Action Comics #1 being sold at an auction for $3.2 Million dollars. This particular issue had been graded by CGC at a 9.0 and it is believed to be the best copy in existence. The comicspriceguide.com site has its value at $3.15 and that was adjusted after the sale. The point here is that there is no exact number in either printed or internet guides.
You can buy comic books at an auction all the time, but eBay can help you figure out the value of your comic books if you have the time. Again just like every guide eBay is not an exact science, but it does have a great advantage; when you search for your comic books you can see the copies of that comic book that have been sold and how much people paid for them. That means that the price averages that you get are the most current.
A good idea when using this method is to take the last 20 sales of an issue and average out the price or look for trends. You also have to pay attention to what shape the comic book that sold was in and whether it is comparable to what you have. You will get actual prices that people are willing to pay and you will most of the time have pictures that will allow you to compare your comic books to the ones that actually sold.
The one issue with using this method is that it does take a long time to figure out the prices. With a printed or an internet guide you look for the title, issue number and once you find them you move on to the next. With eBay you have to look for the tittle with the issue number and do some math and observation to get the average price. It is more time consuming, but it is gives you a better idea of the price.
Comic Book Grading
Not every collector is on board with grading, and there are issues with the system; however a collector may be willing to pay a lot more for a graded comic book that they want than the raw copy of the same book. You should know that just because a comic book is graded it does not mean that people will pay more for it. If a collector wants the best possible copy then why would they pay more for a comic book that has been given a grade of 5 than for a comic book that looks to be in Near Mint condition?
It is good to understand the differences in price when you grade a comic book and that sometimes a graded comic book will actually fetch less money than a raw copy. You will be able to see the differences when you look at price guides or auction sites. Comic book grading is a good idea for your best comic books, but they will not always gain value simply because they are encased and graded.
Autographs are something that new collectors can make a mistake on all the time. Autographs can increase the value of your books or they can actually decrease it if you are planning to sell your collection. The reason why the value could actually go down is that there are forgeries out there. There are some people who can copy the signature of an artist or writer and it will look like the real thing. Knowing that, would you pay a premium for a signature which has not been verified?
The best idea if you are planning to eventually sell your collection is to have the autograph verified. If you are getting your autograph at a convention you will probably have the option to have a grading company verify the autograph for you. They will wait with you to get the autograph and a witness for that company will verify that the signature is authentic. When they encase the comic book they will label it as an authenticated signature and that can add value to the book. Certificates of authenticity are not as trusted, but can still help.
A good rule is to always authenticate the autographs of the top artists even if you are not looking to sell it any time soon. If you like autographs but you do not want to authenticate them then buy cheaper books that the artist or writer has worked on and have those as the signatures in your collection. That way it will not matter as much if someone sees your books as “damaged”.
What is your favorite way of determining the value of a comic book?
© 2014 Sarah