Selling Your Comic Books

by Joesph Overaitis

auction-300x150 Selling Your Comic BooksIgnorance in our hobby can cost you a lot of money.  Here are some of the most common ways to sell your books.  Even many veterans of the hobby fail to realize all these options, so knowing them will give you an advantage when it comes time to selling your comic books.

Selling Comic Books on eBay

 

new-ebay-logo-300x185 Selling Your Comic BookseBay.  The most popular method of selling comic books is in my opinion the most passive.  Sellers describe the product before a sale and mail the item after the sale. On eBay, the buyer does most of the work. They have to conduct the correct searches to find products.  Then when they do find the product it now becomes a beauty contest between all the items that came up on that search.  Price, Seller’s ratings, and shipping are all used against the sellers. Competition is fierce. The buying population may be bigger but so are the product offerings.  Unless you have a book that is rare or hot, selling on eBay for top dollar is not usually the end result. You can use tools like the one offered at GoCollect that markets your online offerings on eBay but sadly most sellers never do anything to market their books and just follow eBay’s basic template.  The problem is eBay makes the sale process so easy you lose money in sacrifice for convenience.

 

Comic Book Auction Houses

auction-300x150 Selling Your Comic BooksA step above online auctions is selling your books at auction houses. Most of these establishments combine an online auction component with onsite bidding for their auctions.   The more work an auction does for the sale the bigger the percentage that they will take.   This is because some of these companies may also assume the risk for the sale.  If something is damaged in shipping or a buyer disputes the sale, then these companies will handle the problems for you.  Finally,  the sales figures for some of these auction houses usually are not reflected in the data mined by GoCollect, but sale prices at these establishments are usually higher than similar auctions on eBay.

One negative is finding these auction houses.   Even if an auction house sells comics that does not mean it is a comic book auction house.  At these non-comic book auction houses, the comic books are poorly kept, displayed, and may not even be properly identified.  These establishments rarely attract serious buyers and high bids. Avoid them like the plague!!!

Quick Cash at Your Local Comic Book Store

This is one of the easier ways to sell your books.  You go to the local comic book store and the owner reviews your comics and makes an offer.   So what can go wrong with this sale?  Well, first the going rate is usually 25-50% of the FMV.  The owner will probably also limit the books he buys to the ones he knows he can sell.  Stores are in business to make money.   This means that the LCS will be very choosy and pick from your collection the best of the best and leave the rest.  Selling the savaged remains once a collection is picked over is not going to be easy and what you will usually get is a half penny on the dollar type offer for the remains of the collection.

 

Maximizing the value by private sale may not be a good thing!!!

 

134626_1195a3d61ccabf957cfeb8b92e63be37152a7963-1-198x300 Selling Your Comic BooksThe final method is with you conducting the sale.  You can do this at a table at a comic con or on the internet.  Selling this way will require you to put in the most work.  The benefit is that you can wring every dime you can from your books.

One negative to this type of sale is something I have dealt with at my day job. When I was handling criminal cases I met many criminals.  I learned most potential victims fail to realize that when you show the bling you are liable to get a sting.  If you make yourself known to a certain criminal element and talk about what you have they can track you down.  People brag about their assets not realizing that they are putting themselves in danger.  You would not brag that you had a hundred thousand dollars in untraceable dollar bills in your house, so why would you tell a person that you have a hundred thousand dollars in untraceable comics on you or at your house. If you choose this method please be safe.

Final Selling Point

Eventually, there will come a time when you must sell your books.  This can be one book or your whole collection.  Each method has benefits and drawbacks. Choose what is best for you but always remember that comic books can be replaced, but there is only one 10.0 copy of you in the world.

FOOTER_Comic3-scaled Selling Your Comic Books

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7 comments

Pete Johnson December 5, 2020 - 5:26 pm

Solid tips. I know some comic auction houses and have seen them have success in selling the whole collection. Let’s face it, most of our collectons don’t have 100 % gems, but as long as there are some good things in the collection to bring bidders into the room, selling the stuff that isn’t so hot an easier process. This “not so hot” stuff does better at the auction houses because everytbing is in one place. At the auction house dealers and collectors are pitted against each other and it usually works out well for the seller. Those in the room do not pay shipping and those online get the benefit of combined shipping. If you sell all of your hot stuff on ebay and expect the auction house to take the lesser parts of your collection, you may be doing it wrong.

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Josh December 6, 2020 - 10:03 am

I think your article needs to add some qualifiers, particularly that these methods are really for just major keys. First off, the non-eBay routes don’t work for non-major keys – selling common or minor keys at an auction or via Internet will get you pennies on the dollar. Selling long boxes to a store will net you $25-$50 per long box.
If you’re a casual seller, the eBay/Mercari route is the best – minimal time and minimal fees and a wider buying base. Like with everything in life, the risk/reward factor is based on time/money/quality triangle. Not every sellers goal is to solely maximize profit. Some want the books sold fast or put in minimal effort. Every sellers goal is a bit different

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Joesph Overaitis December 7, 2020 - 8:46 am

Josh

At regular auctions I have actually seen none major keys sell for MORE money then I could see them on ebay. The reason is because these books are not slabbed according to buyers. If you are buying a non key that is not slabbed you will get more time to sell it on eBay but the question is always what condition is the book. If these are common books I agree with you but if you are seeing bronze to golden age of variants the condition then becomes very important to these buyers. There are so man nuances as you said so one size does not fit all when describing best options. The important thing about this article is everyone can add to it to make sure sellers know the ins and outs that could squeeze an extra penny from their books. Each opinion is dead on because there are so many variables. Please keep up your comments Josh because they were very insightful. Your words probably helped someone.

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Josh December 7, 2020 - 11:48 pm

Joe – you are a tremendous contributor and I love reading your insights – I just wish you’d share with us some of your more interesting stories repping comic book estates.
As a mini-seller myself who scours FB, Craigslist, local flea markets and eBay for good deals, I’ve seen all different motivations behind sellers. While I sometimes feel as if I’m taking advantage of the guy selling UXM 141 for $4, I also need to keep in mind that he is looking to move product, wants me to come back again and develop a long term customer. And when I sell books I give steeper discounts to people buying in bulk since it’ll save me lots of time in trying to move books piecemeal. Bottom line is people need to have a clearly defined exit strategy when collecting otherwise you may be forced to liquidate your collection pennies on the dollars or worse, force your inheritors who have no clue what they have to sell these books for even less.

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Joesph Overaitis December 8, 2020 - 12:39 pm

If you read my very first article it was about a case of elder abuse that was noticed by an auction house. Josh no one took notice, until you realized how big the estate was in value. I saw stuff that made my head spin.

In another estate plan case from a peer I heard they had original artwork attributed to Joe Kubert. What again amazed me was that the family was ready to throw the stuff in the estate plan as worthless because it was an uncles junk that they thought was a copy of a comic book coloring book. My peer realized what is was and told family.

I plan on clearing some case files confidentiality agreements.

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Andre Johnson December 12, 2020 - 11:24 pm

Reading over these comments have inspired me greatly guys! Thanks! I’ve been hemming and hawing with selling my comics and how to do it and I’m happy your comments have gave me some good leads to follow! I’m nearing middle age and I have a bunch of comics I want to move, some great to ok keys too. I took some non keys to my LCS and they pretty much turned me down and told me to sell them myself. I like your ideas!

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Joesph Overaitis December 13, 2020 - 8:56 am

Andre
That is the purpose of the articles and the comment sections. keep the comments coming because on these boards people like to know they made a difference. Your comment may inspire others to sell their books as well because they are in the same place you are in their lives but were afraid to say so.

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