Death, Comics, and Taxes

by Michael Vlachakis

119768_3d4c19add0e3f59fc410faf33dc4629a58352e72-199x300 Death, Comics, and Taxes

Comic collecting is a fun and exciting hobby.  I assume most people do it for the joy, the nostalgia, and the thrill of the hunt.  There are those few, however, who do it strictly for the money.  Money is nice and making money on your comic collection is a bonus.  But those who sell know that it can be a process that requires time, research, and a little bit of luck to be done properly.  Checking recent sales, knowing the market, listing appropriately, pricing to sell are some of the major steps…and even if you do all those right and then some, it does not guarantee a sale and definitely not a profit.

There are many places that you can go to purchase or sell comics, but graded comics however only have a few avenues to go through.  You can still find comic shops out there and some even sell graded comics.  Personally, most of my local shops do not have a great array when it comes to graded, but have mostly those long white boxes of old comics that may or may not be hiding some gems.  Great for the hunt, but time consuming and not necessarily great fun.  And a few of the larger shops in the bigger cities have a better graded collection, here’s a secret: the main ones are well advertised and easy to find online.

So back to the easiest avenues for finding graded comics.  Most graded comics are sold on auction sites.  There are specific sites dedicated to comic buying, selling, and exchanging (ComicLink is a popular one) and other auction sites that have a steady flow of graded auctions (like Heritage Auctions).  Now we can’t forget the largest auction site of everything under the sun, including graded comics, which is eBay.  This week, eBay put in some new policies to deal with the need to collect sales tax on internet sales as new laws decry.  That news alone had me question my whole role in comics.  If tax is another fee that I have to overcome when I eventually sell a comic, am I fighting a losing battle of value?  When I buy a comic, my first thought is “do I like this?” followed inherently by “will this be worth anything someday?”  Now, the equation for the second question just got more complex with the addition of tax.  No sales tax on eBay made transactions clean and left little time for second-guessing.  There will probably be a market-wide correction for the new normal and as a seller, that will probably translate to fewer bids and possibly lower bids to compensate for the increased fees.

Currently, I feel a bit like Peter Parker on the famous Amazing Spider-Man #50 cover, a bit weary, a bit overrun, and wondering what the future of my collection may hold.  There may be new or future avenues to sell comics when my time comes.  Perhaps there will be a superior replacement to eBay that takes only comics.  Maybe Amazon will just make a comic app to push all the auction sites out of business.  Local groups, chat exchanges, or Comic Expos could all be solutions to help unload your comics.  Only time will tell.

How do you get the most successful sell?  Are there sites that you like more than others?  Drop your comments and join the speculation!

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Richard G October 9, 2019 - 8:41 pm

ComicLink is starting to charge sales tax on there auction sales ,,,,, MyComicShop still has buyers premium but sales tax coming soon from them for sure ?

Dan Blakely October 11, 2019 - 8:06 am

Not that I like paying taxes but I guess another angle on this is that by requiring eBay to collect the same sales tax that a local comic shop would have to collect then it levels the playing field to some degree for the local mom and pop comic shops. That seems fair to me. I think that we all just got spoiled with the online/eBay (mostly) no sales tax purchases. Happy hunting!


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