Comic Books: An Investment for Everyone

by Norman Robinson III

Investment-300x157 Comic Books: An Investment for EveryoneI have been investing in one form or another my entire life. Over the last 40 years, I have tried mutual funds, index funds, stocks, bonds, gold, and most especially collectibles. Many I failed with, but most proved to be a good bet on my future. Before I entered this comic book collectible nerdfest, I was investing and collecting first edition books. The results were mixed to positive, but it got the collectible juices flowing. Then I found comics.

I came back to comic books after a long hiatus in college and the corporate world. What I found in the comic book collectible community is nothing less than the perfect investment. Are comic books the best investment for the average man or woman? What trend return can investors expect from Bronze and Copper Age comic books? Finally, should you invest in comics?

What-is-investing. Comic Books: An Investment for EveryoneWhat is Investing?

Investing is merely believing in your own future and planning for it. It is the optimism and hope that values will increase over time. Not allowing for early retirement or extreme wealth, but hopeful and positive for some comfort, security, and profit in the future.  People invest mainly in their retirement, but this is much too narrow a form of investment. (*The chart to the left is from Investopedia)

Wall-Street-Bull-Statue-in-Lower-Manhattan Comic Books: An Investment for EveryoneSadly 38% Don’t Own Investments (stocks or bonds)

Everyone should have an investment mindset and believe in themselves and their futures. It might be stocks, bonds, or even real estate.  According to the 2021 National Financial Capability study, “33% of households own taxable investment accounts (stocks, bonds, and mutual funds). Around 29% of America owns retirement accounts (401K, IRA’s, etc…). Sadly, 38% own neither retirement accounts nor stock/bond accounts;” they own nothing.

81GC4v4QcXL Comic Books: An Investment for EveryoneComics: The King of Investments

Imagine if the group of Americans who don’t invest in themselves actually saved just 10% of their incomes a month. Further, imagine if that was going into an index fund or investment of their choosing. Retirement would sure look very different for many people.  But what if this same group had invested in plain old comic books? Let’s take a simple Copper Age comic book key over the last ten years. Would they have made money? Probably, and here is the best part with very limited risk.

Amazing Spider-Man #252

This is a pretty standard Copper Age key. Amazing Spider-Man #252 is the first black Spider-Man suit in a regular series. Essentially, it was the beginning of Venom and a big change in the outward appearance of Spidey’s suit.  This comic was scripted by Roger Stern with pencils from Ron Frenz. It also happens to be an homage cover for Amazing Fantasy #15.

Everyone owned Amazing Spider-Man #252 back in the 80s and 1990s. Today, it is a standard key from the Copper Age and the perfect example of how an investment a decade earlier might have paid off for an average comic book investor. Basically, a very obvious choice to invest in and cheap to acquire.

Title Grade Return 5 Years Return 10 Years
Amazing Spider-Man #252 9.8 +309% +380%
8.5 +78% +85%
6.5 +29.5% +35%
4.5 +114% +132%

asm-252 Comic Books: An Investment for EveryoneThe Super Power of Comics as an Investment

The smallest investment in the lowest grade for this comic? Well, it would have returned the second-highest return trend. That grade is 4.5, and it would have cost $12 in 2013. It could have been sold for $155 just 8 years later.  That alone represents a simple return of 19% a year.  That is what a $12 comic would have returned to an average buy-and-hold investor.

Conclusion

The stock market on average returns +8% a year, which isn’t bad.  But the inference is obvious. One costs almost nothing initially. Also, all funds have fees- even index funds. For the comic, you just pay sales tax and purchase a simple bag and board. Not a lot of money out of pocket, less than the power bill. There are few things you can invest in with a few hundred dollars and pull down a +300% return! I plan on continuing to invest in comics for years to come.  The comic book community is a very friendly place. There’s always room for more collectors, investors, and speculators. Join in on the fun and profit!

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2 comments

Josh Muskat April 15, 2021 - 12:58 pm

Thank you for the article, but i think this perspective focuses on just the unicorns of the comic book investing world. If we had invested in ASM #238, #252, #300, #316, #361, etc. we would have made probably in excess of 200%. But what if people had invested in the common books like ASM #273, #340 and other random comic books? They would have seen growth in the low single digits, if they’re lucky. And what if they had invested in super hot books in the 1990s like UXM #248, #268 or Ghost Rider #1 or Punisher #1? if they had bought those books at their peek, they would have lost money today.

People who invest in any type of vehicles have a chance of hitting home runs or striking out. I don’t know if from a diversification perspective that comics is any better than any stock or collectible.

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and1far April 15, 2021 - 6:49 pm

Right now if you had a few hundred dollars, we will say ($300.00) to invest in comics, what book or books would you buy ?What books do you think you would get the most bang for your buck. Short or long term.
Thanks Andy

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