Comic Book Investing & Collecting Myths that Could Cost You pt 2

by Joseph Overaitis

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The Internet is full of comic book investing and collecting advice.  Many sites have a “HOT PICK” or heard a rumor that makes buying into the next MCU characters a can’t-miss proposition. Rarely is the advice backed up by data or an identifiable source.  The rising cost of goods has reduced the amount of disposable income many collectors and investors have to spend on collectibles.  You have to be smart.  Here are more of the biggest rules about investing and collecting comics that have been going around the Internet.  Sadly, many collectors and investors mistakingly believe these sayings as absolute truths.

“Premium books will always maintain their value”

Collectibles increase in value.  They also decrease in value.  There are no absolute rules that every book will go up in value.  Supply may remain the same but the pool of people able to target certain books may go down.  Batman #1 buyers may lose millions in their stock portfolios, but they can weather the storm.  The number of buyers interested in buying this book may decrease.  The declining population probably will not impact the price people would be willing to pay for these types of books. Buyers of more common keys may not see the same effect on prices buyers are willing to pay for some books.

Dealers who believe they can hold on to their pedigree books and sell their more common items may see those sales dry up.  What is scarier is that if they hold on to those wall books, they too may have a harder time selling them for a good price when money is needed.  The key is to constantly monitor books.  Weathering out the storm may be a strategy but when the storm ends what will be the result?  Worst yet is if people do not realize the storm happened or that it ended.

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Inflation Advice

If you are a collector looking to add books, now may be the right time to buy those books that were previously too expensive for you.  Prices are dropping even for premium books. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 was a significant book to collectors and investors long before the most recent Spider-Man MCU film.  An 8.0 copy has lost over $1,000 from its 1-year to 30-day average.  The MCU can have an impact because the movie has passed but if you look toward the future MCU films the same type of effect can be seen.

A 7.5 copy of Avengers #8 had a 1-year average of $4,215, which dropped to $2,641 for the 90-day average. All but the 1.8 grade have seen a decrease in value. This book has the first appearance of Kang, the future MCU big bad, yet even that attribute is not enough to keep it above water.  Some books are dropping in value and this hurts short-term investors.  If you are playing the long game or are a collector, then now is your time to get some of these books at a discount.  Realize, though, that the price you pay may never come back to where the book was selling a few months ago.

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Just another “the sky is falling” comic book investing article.

Comic book investors and speculators hate articles that assess the health of the comic book market.  The reason is that any review of the market could impact their bottom line.   No one wants to hurt their business so they try to brush over the topic.  GoCollect readers should not ever fall victim to this diversionary tactic.  When times are good, you look at the market.  When times are bad, you look at the market even more closely.

Be wary of people who want you to ignore warning signs.  You would not ignore the smoke coming from a car’s engine, so why ignore possible negative signs of a comic book? Also, remember everyone is different. No two people are exactly the same.  An LCS that makes most of its money from weekly sales is different from an eBay dealer selling Bronze and Silver Age books.

Remember, though, that everything is interconnected. A dealer may still see great demand in their books, but if the lower grade segment is hurting, it could impact the ability of those hobbyists looking to trade up. Rather than yelling at the messenger, one should read the message and see how it impacts you.  Finally, be respectful of others.  Stating your belief that others are being hysterical about the possible downturn in the comic book marketplace may not sit well with your LCS owner who has not collected a paycheck for several months because they are trying to make payroll.

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Inflation Advice

CNBC’s Jim Cramer says on his show that you cannot make money in the stock market if you can’t understand it.  Read articles on what is happening in comic book segments.  A downturn in lower grade segments may slowly start to shift upwards.  Affordable books may still be available but are unknown to most.  Knowledge is power and at this time when the market can turn on a dime, you need to have as much information as possible.

GoCollect readers should also maximize the site.  Use the 30-day and 10-day selections to see if something has changed that is important to your books.  Spend time reviewing the sales data to eliminate outlier sales that could influence the picture as well.

Readers should also learn to differentiate what is making a book “hot”.  In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” there was a scene of a run on the Bailey Savings and Loan.  People were not putting their money in, but rather taking their money out.  Review the hot and cold books to see why they are hot and cold.  If you do not have all the data, you may only have half the answer; that is not good at all.

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So now what?

Comic books have general rules when it comes to the hobby.  Rules are not carved in stone.  Every collector and investor is different.  The key is to realize those differences and be able to adapt.  This ability is especially important during this time when the global economy is changing.  People’s priorities are changing and that influences the buying habits of hobbyists.

Spend much time studying the comic book investing market because it is better to spend time doing your comic book homework rather than money you could have used to feed your family or pay for a tank of gas.  If you love the hobby it will be time well spent and worth it in the end.

Check out more comic book investing analysis!

Signup_Footer Comic Book Investing & Collecting Myths that Could Cost You pt 2*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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8 comments

jack alberti June 22, 2022 - 9:24 am

In other words, many have been suckered and more will be suckered. And those who put out “Hottest Comics List” contribute to the suckering.

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Joseph Overaitis June 22, 2022 - 3:13 pm

Jack

I always love when GoCollect does it because you can click on the data and see why the book is hot. Stocks being dumped on the market have a high degree of volatility and yet the price is dropping. I think that when people read that a book is hot to do their research to dig deeper. I see so many times lists where they show Hulk 181 dropping but would you add it to your collection? In addition you rarely see Action Comics 1 or Detective Comics 27 on the hot list because they rarely come to market…AGain they may be classified as “cold” because they are not moving but there is a reason for that LOL.

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Sean June 22, 2022 - 12:12 pm

MORE MYTHS: It’s generally believed that CGC graded comics are graded by “professional graders.” If they truly were, you would receive the same grade every time you resubmit the same book to CGC. Their grading is sometimes all over the board and yet they continue to be highly respected by collectors. And another myth is 9.8 is a flawless grade and is better than a 9 6. But those in the know know that is probably not the case. There have been many claims that CGC gives preferential treatment to their best customers and gives out more 9.8 grades as a result. Another myth is pressing is not harmful to a comic book. It most certainly is. You’re actually changing the comic, making it more thin than it was before it was pressed. Yes, comics can be pressed by being stored in a tight comic box, but that’s bad enough. When you add pressing, it just makes the paper fibers break down all the more. And like I said, pressing physically changes the comic paper by making it thinner. You can tell it’s thinner just by handling it and looking at it. Another myth is if Overstreet says it, it must be true. After CGC graded comic values went through the roof, Overstreet’s reaction was to make all the 9 4 prices in the price guide, 9 2. Just like that, Overstreet artificially inflated all the 9 2 values. How is that justified? Another myth is that CGC has grading standards. And yet they will not reveal those standards. What’s worse, CGC grading doesn’t follow previously established grading standards set forth in the original Overstreet Price and Grading Guides. Overstreet has had to change grading definitions to conform with how CGC grades rather than the other way around. The reason why comic book values are generally so high today is because CGC has given collectors a false sense of security that they are “professional graders” who grade beyond subjectivity of opinion when even CGC makes no such claim.

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Joseph Overaitis June 22, 2022 - 3:09 pm

Sean

I was against professional grading when it was introduced but now I have to accept it is part of the hobby. I also have to accept that instead of going to a lot of physical auctions they are being converted more and more to online versions.

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tuco June 23, 2022 - 11:29 am

That’s interesting what you said about the paper getting thinner . I understand the book is compressed and the pages get tighter packed . But the paper getting thinner , I have not heard that one . Is there scientific proof of it ? Maybe it makes sense , maybe not , just I would like empirical evidence if it is available .

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johnnyspruce June 23, 2022 - 2:19 pm

Hey, Sean, I agree about CGC. I know some people who have verified that CGC favor their VIP customers who keep giving them business…. they are basically paying for the grade bump. And these professional graders are anything but.

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daniel robinson June 23, 2022 - 1:50 pm

“Profession grading” is just as subjective as “amateur grading”, there is no such thing as “objective grading”… You are paying for an OPINION.

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twolittlebears June 24, 2022 - 12:00 pm

This is great reporting. I believe a better story is hiding in the middle. This week, many of the auction houses (comic link, HA, Connect, Quality, etc… are holding “Shop June Clearance Deals”! Even CGC, who should be independent of this noise is knee deep in it. This is the real issue with any commodity. If you believe that collecting comics is a hobby, then my following comments are irrelevant. If you invest in comics because you are sold on the idea that they will hedge against inflation or provide a greater that 12% year over year increase, then critical thinking is important. When the 2008 market crash happened, it was not over stocks and bond. It was over synthetics (Bundled Mortgage instruments, etc…). Lehman Brothers blew up in spectacular form. Only Super Novas were brighter. They moved out of the business of safe investing while managing client expectations and into satisfying clients ever growing demand for everlasting growth. Since then, those items labeled “Investments” have had loads of regulations heaped on them. Almost all, exceptions being Art, Memorabilia, Comics, which by the way have been moved into Capital Gains and by definition makes them investment instruments, heavily regulated. If auction houses and selling sites were kept to the rules on investment anytime they toss out the term, their fiduciary responsibility to you begins. They would have to tell you that now is a terrible time to sell. They would need to warn you of tax implications and unless you have offsets, you will take a horrible tax hit. That the auction house is serving in their own self-interest and not yours if they sell simply to have the “appearance” of an active market.

I understand people sell for many reasons, but to have Platinum auctions with the best of the best on the table skews reality and speaks either to a desperate A: convergency of stupid sellers (what are the chances), B: an illusion designed to benefit inside traders (aka Auction House). If stocks/Bonds/Currency/Commodity’s markets had the same appearance, the markets freeze/halt trading on that segment and the SEC investigates. This has happened with the London FORNEX, The U.S DOW (example: Citi last week fined for manipulating markets. fat finger was the term), Deutsche Bank AG futures fiasco, etc… My point is if the Auction house (the Banks in this case) are manipulating the markets, getting caught and paying fines then why shouldn’t investors take a big step back and re-asses.

I have benefited from the panic. I have bought 9.6~9.8 Keys/super keys at huge discounts (pre-2018 prices) from people looking to get out. I am brutal and cutthroat with my investments. You want to get out, fine 40~60 cents on the dollar if I am generous. 30~50 cents if I am not.

People to this day continue to invest in markets even after 29 crashes, bubbles or recessions since 1929, but with greater information, tools and policing of the industry we all step right back in. Call what is happening a market correction, bubble popping or poor judgment, I know the hardest group to report on is the all-mighty sponsor!

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