If you’re a collector, you’re an investor. Whether you invest time, money, effort, or brainpower, you’ve invested part of yourself in your collection. Recently, we posed the question to our readers, “Do you collect graded comics, raw comics, or comic nfts? What would you say to someone who doesn’t know what to invest in?” Their answers did not disappoint. Here’s some insight into the heads of comic lovers just like you.
Collecting vs Investing
People think about collecting and investing as two halves to the same comic cover. For instance, Brady Wright advises, “Collecting and investing can be different. Collect what you like so you are never left with something meaningless to you. If you can get in low on investment graded comics you are pretty lucky because rumors drive them up quick. You’ll usually find more deals for a longer amount of time with raw comics.”
Dan Sienicki’s take is to “buy both Graded & Raw…Buy what suits your taste…If you’re looking to just collect as an investment, go Graded…If you’re looking to read it, go raw, but take good care of your raws because if it should be a key issue, you can send it in for grading.” He’s got a great point. It’s always a good idea to take care of your raw comics whether you expect them to take off or not – anything can happen in the comic world.
It doesn’t matter what gets you started. Ben Craig got pulled in through video games. I’m in a weird position when it comes to comic collecting- I collect graded first appearances because the video games made the characters more interesting to me. I also kind of collect for investment purposes as well, but it’s not the whole reason why- it can be an obscure first appearance, the cover art, or even an artists/writers run that I like.”
Help yourself out – Practical Advice
What tips and tricks can you offer collector-investors when it comics to tracking your collection? Do you use lists on GoCollect? Keep a doc on your computer? Tim Willis Jr. offered, “Create a spreadsheet with as much price-change data as you can get and try to invest for a long time. Buy one book, minimum, and get it graded so you understand the process with costs and turnaround time.”
When it comes down to it, though, where are the investment dollars? Edward Florent nailed it; “If I want to increase my chances of getting a good return on investment, I will buy slabbed books. Buying raw introduces subjectivity and that’s a bad variable when you’re looking for a guaranteed return. I mean, my view on what a 9.6 book should look like compared to someone else is bound to differ. With a slabbed book there is no subjectivity. You may not agree with the grade, but it has been determined and that’s what it will be. No discussion.
That said, most of my slabs are from books that I bought off the shelf as a kid. The exceptions are my Silver Age Amazing Spider-Mans. I’m a huge Spidey and Green Goblin fan, so in that case, I both read and invest in the title.”
Calvin Brookes added, “Using a price guide is the only way I work. Keep track of sales histories so that you know you aren’t getting a rough deal, and buy when the book dips a bit. I’d stay away from hot-flash books, as well. If a book doesn’t have long-term staying power, your investment is going to flop.”
Is comic investing right for you? Robert Campbell’s take is, “If you don’t know what to invest in, go buy a Blue Chip Dividend stock and learn what a DRIP is. Comic investment is so far down on the list of what should be in your portfolio that you should be almost independently wealthy before you consider comics as an investment.”
Wrapping up this segment, Cobin Hebert kept it simple but perfectly sweet. “After selling my collection. Everyone listen to me. Buy slabs. Don’t buy raw unless you get it graded.
Be in it for the love of the game
Though we saw lots of advice given. the general consensus among readers is that comic collecting is an art of love. Whether you’re more on the investing side of things or a sentimental collector, if you’re not in love with the hobby, you’re not reaching your full potential.
Paul Newsome dropped this tidbit, “I only invest in what I love, and what I love is the comic book market. I love tracking the numbers and hoping my investments pay off along my lines of research. It’s more fun than the stock market, that’s for sure. Track grades on eBay, GoCollect, or by watching auction houses.
Danny Pinskins: End of the day, nearly every Comic collector/investor has said the same thing over the 30 or so years I have been around this industry: Buy what you like. Buy quality first. Buy filler later. Do your research. Don’t let FOMO sway you, but do not be afraid to pull the trigger, if you have done your research. Your “feel” for this will get much more accurate as you study, learn from mistakes/triumphs, and continue to increase your knowledge.
Scott Garrett’s advice? “This is definitely a collect-what-you-like moment. Slabs don’t always appreciate and raw copies are always less expensive than graded copies. Further, are you collecting to collect or are you only interested in flipping key issues? For example, I have a low-grade copy of Amazing Spider-Man #59 because I wanted it in my collection. If I’d bought it as an investment, I would’ve sought out the highest grade I could afford… which isn’t really all that much for this book, but it makes a decent example.” Others kept their answers succinct, but the messages were all the same. Bill Rhoades, “Buy whatever you like.” Jason says, “(It’s) your money. Buy what you like.”
Eric D. Johnson has a unique take on things. “Buy original artwork by your favorite artists. That way you will always love it and it will be one of a kind. Can’t get more rare than that.”
Robby Bieschke: I say collect what you enjoy. People collect for different reasons. They collect to read, to speculate, or they collect for fun. Personally, I do a bit of all three. I generally collect raw (makes it more fun to find in the wild) and collect characters I enjoy (like Cap and the X-Men). It’s a great hobby and I hope future generations can continue to discover and afford it.
Salvatore Capaccio’s take is a sentimental, nostalgic one. “I prefer raw because I’m a purist. I do like to read my comics, especially the older ones. There’s something about the feel and smell of the paper that makes me smile. The value should be determined by the buyer and seller, that is it.
I also love classic cars and own a 69 Mach 1. I always go to car shows when I can, and there are always a few people who have what we call “trailer queens”. That is, a car which is never driven and only trailered to the shows.
But what fun is that? Every time I drive my Mach, it’s like going back in time 50 years.
The archaic suspension, the less-than-stellar brakes, and the awful gas mileage are all part of the experience.
I look at slabbed comics the same way. The writers, artists, and creators made comics for us to enjoy. When you read a 30-year-old comic, you’re going back in time and into the minds of the artists and how they viewed the world from their perspectives. Every page is filled with beautiful artwork, intelligent storylines, and emotional topics. Stan Lee and others wanted to teach us about the riches of humanity and stop chasing greed over loving our neighbors.”
When it comes to the debate about collecting, Erik Icenhour, quoting Shawn Hudachko at Comics Elite, puts it perfectly. “Buy what you like, collect what you want.”
What advice would you add to this list? Do you agree? Please share in the comments!
*Any perceived investment advice is that of the blogger and does not reflect investment advice on behalf of GoCollect.