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Tips For New Comic Book Collectors

Updated on October 23, 2014
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If you are just starting to collect comic books it can be a bit intimidating. Every comic books store has thousands of comic books available for you to start your collection so should you really just pick any of them? The truth is that it all depends; are you collecting from a particular company, character, are you looking for important events or maybe you would like to collect first appearances. Here are some tips to start a collection that you will be very happy with.

Start With A Meaningful Book

The general recommendation is that you do not collect comics as an investment, but rather because you love the art or stories. Most people who collect comics as an investment find out that they wasted a lot of money, but if you love comic books for their stories and art then it is not a waste of money because you have what you love. That said if you love comic books it is a good idea to start your collection with a meaningful issue. That can mean that the issue is importance to collectors or to you personally.

The reason why it makes sense to start with such an issue is that you will have something that you can be proud to own. Please understand that “meaningful” does not necessarily mean expensive. Just because you do not have much money does not mean that you cannot be a part of the hobby. The good news is that some great issues can be found for very little money. The Infinity Gauntlet storyline for example is a great one that can be purchased for less than 30 dollars for all 6 books.

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Buy The Best Copy Available

When you start your collection it is not always easy to recognize the difference between “Mint”, “Near Mint”, “Very Fine” etc. It makes sense to become familiar with those terms and what they mean to collectors. An easy way to find that information is to do an internet search for “comic book grading scale”. It is a lot of information but it is also very useful so every new comic book collector should know it; that way they will not overpay for a comic book.

You should keep in mind that not every new comic book will be graded NM (9.8). There are some defects that could be on the binding, corners or inside the book that could bring down the grading and therefore the value of comic books. Before you make a purchase examine the copy of the comic book to make sure that the corners are sharp, that there is no stress on the binding and that the colors on the cover are bright. If you are handed a particular copy by the person at the comic book store and you are not happy with it then ask them to see others to compare and buy the best possible copy.

The reason why you need the best possible copy is that just a couple of points on the grading scale can decrease the value of a comic book by a lot. According to ComicsPriceGuide the Superman 32 John Romita Jr. variant at a 9.8 (graded by CGC) is worth $224.00, but at a 9.6 the price drops to $144.00. As you can see the price drop is significant and that is the general rule. Highest graded comic books are worth more, so take your time choosing your copy.

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Always Go For The First Print

One of the most important things that you can do when collecting comic books for their value is to always choose the first print. You will need a trained eye in order to choose the first print. Newer comic books are easiest to recognize because they will tell you right on the cover that you are looking at a first, second, third print etc. Older comic books are a bit more difficult.

DC comic for most of the 90’s for example would add a small Roman numeral to additional prints close to the price. If you were looking at Superman Man of Steel 17 you would see that both prints look almost the same. The two differences are that the first print has gold letters and the second printing had silver ones in addition to the roman numeral II under the price on the top right hand corner which indicates that it is the second print. The price of the first print for the same comic book at a 9.4 is $50 for the first print and $20 for the second one.

Get familiar with the differences between the first and second prints so that you do not overpay for your copy of a particular issue.

Do Not Overpay

People who are selling you comic books are trying to make the most money that they can for the transaction. You should have a general idea of how much a comic book is being sold for so that you do not over pay for it. It is always a good idea to get familiar with comic books that you are looking for. You can look online, but do not look on price guides. Price guides give you a general idea, but if you are looking for actual numbers then look at actual sales. A great resource is eBay where you can search comic book sales by asking to see only sold listings.

You can also look at what online comic book stores are selling their copies of a comic book for. By knowing that information you will be less likely to overpay for it. As mentioned earlier you should also take the condition of the comic book into consideration. If you see something on the comic book that could bring the grading down but still want to make the purchase, then bring up that problem with the book to see if the price can be brought down to a fair price. If the price is too high for a comic book that you know is not worth as much then you can always pass on it and look for the issue somewhere else.

© 2014 Sarah

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    • SarahFriedman profile image
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      Sarah 3 years ago

      You are correct Projectlazy I would say get the digital copy if you want to spend less. It is cheaper and you get to keep your actual copy in the best possible shape

    • Projectlazy profile image

      Projectlazy 3 years ago

      Good tips. Can a make suggestion to add? If you mind something you really love buy two. Chances are someone else will love it as well and if not you've got one for reading and one for collecting.

    • SarahFriedman profile image
      Author

      Sarah 3 years ago

      lol @Austinstar though it is hard to get new ancient coins :p

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      These are great useful tips for any collector. Coin and stamp collecting are big items that also depend on grading. I would venture to say that all collections are worth more in the new, near new and mint conditions. (Unless you are looking for distressed furniture, LOL)