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How To Know If My Comic Book Will Go Up In Value
You will hear some people tell you that comic books are a great investment. Truth be told, you can make some money off them, but most comic books are actually a terrible investment. Out of the hundreds of thousands of comic books out there, most will not pay off as an investment. There are a few comic books out there however that can make you a nice chunk of change and others that can flat out make you a good amount of money if you buy them at the right time, so how do you know if a comic will go up in value?
Why Would It?
The first thing that you have to ask yourself has to do with the reason why your comic should go up in value. There are plenty of reasons why a comic could become a good investment, but if you cannot find a real reason for it then chances are that the value will remain the same for a very long time and in some cases it might even go down. Here are some important questions that you should be asking yourself:
- Is it a story that was so important to the medium that people will want to collect it?
- Is it the first time that an important character appeared?
- Is it the death/last appearance of a major character?
- Is it a cover that would be considered iconic?
- Was the supply low enough where the demand will be higher than the supply?
- Are people already collecting it?
- Did you pay a low price for it?
Even if some of those things can be checked it does not mean that the price of your comic book will go up or if it does that it will go up as much. Usually you will need to check more than one thing in the list and it will also have a lot to do with the supply and demand.
Importance Of The Story
The story in the comic book could be of importance or one that people will want to keep reading years from now. An example of such a story would be the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm in Fantastic Four Annual #3. That was the wedding of the first family in comics and because the supply is smaller you have a comic book that in VF condition goes for $100. That comic was sold for a quarter when it first came out so that would be considered a good investment.
Part of the reason the price is that high is because there are fewer copies available. If there were more copies of Fantastic Four Annual #3 in a VF condition then the price would be lower. To prove that point you should look at Astonishing X-Men #51; that issue featured the first gay wedding in comics between Northstar and his then boyfriend Kyle.
By any measurement that is a huge event in comics, but there are a lot more copies in good condition of that event and so a VF copy of it goes for $3.20 cents. It is all about the supply and when you see the variants for that same issue you can see a big difference. The Marko Djurdjevic variant printed at a rate of 1:25 in the same condition sells for an average of 20.00.
First Appearance And Death
First appearances are highly sought after in comic book collecting, but not the first appearance of every character. You already know that the more important characters in comics like Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Superman, Barman, Iron-Man, Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern etc. are really expensive. That is because they are very important characters and the supply is limited. Newer characters like Arrowette or Phantomex have comic books that have a supply that exceeds the demand and therefore you can find their first appearances for anywhere $1 to $8 in some cases even in NM condition.
The death of a character can also be very sought after and some of the best examples are Supergirl, Elektra and Gwen Stacy. All of those characters are loved so Crisis on Infinite Earths, Daredevil 181 and Amazing Spider-Man 121 are all comics that are much higher than their sticker price. But again, not every comic book death even that of important characters does not automatically command mire money. To show that you can look at the price of Avengers #502; that issue is part of the Avengers Disassembled storyline and it is the death of Hawkeye. In Near Mint condition that comic book is only around $5.
Iconic covers can also be sought after even if there is nothing in the comic that would otherwise bring interest to the issue. Usually if there is nothing other than an iconic cover, the price will not go up by much. Two examples that come to mind are X-Men 168 and 173. You can still find those covers for very little money, but if you kept them in NM condition and had it graded then you can sell them for around $80. That is not a huge gain considering that there is money that you need to spend to grade a comic, but it is still a price hike.
Iconic covers are a little trickier and you should probably stay away from new ones. If you like a cover and you want to get it then go ahead, but do not expect it to go up in price. It is again all up to the price and demand. If people are already collecting it and you can get it for a lower price you could have found a way to make a small profit.
In the end the most important thing is that you got the comic book for a low price. You need to be very patient so that you never overpay for a comic book. One of the collectors I spoke to once went and got She-Hulk #1 for $95, but you can find that same comic book for under $20 if you are patient enough. If that collector had waited a bit then perhaps he would have been able to pay a lot less for that comic; now if he ever tried to sell it more than likely he would lose money on it. Patience is the name of the game, so even if you really want a comic book you should never pay too much for it. Check out what the comic has sold for and go with the lowest prices.
The best advice that you can get is to get the comics that you want, but do so because you really like comics and not to try to make money. Yes you can make money with comics, but nothing is guaranteed and they are not usually seen as a good investment.
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An easy way to find average prices for comic books. Keep in mind that comic books are worth what people are willing to pay for them