The Comic Book Market: Strong Anecdotal Evidence

by Norman Robinson III

781425_9cec4e846bdfdf2bf0585b956ce90fbc8614826a-193x300 The Comic Book Market: Strong Anecdotal EvidenceSpeculators sell comics directly to friends, in retail shops, at swap meets, flea markets, garage sales, conventions, and most especially online. The best resale market online for small operators is eBay. It has a “market cap of $28.81 billion, revenue of $2.8 billion and increased it’s dividend 14% for 2019 year-end results” (Source: eBay investor webpage). In addition, there are “168 million active buyers on eBay (Source: Infographic) and 6.7 billion sellers on eBay in 190 markets around the world.” Comic books are a niche in this larger market and obviously, Amazon is an alternative. One of my long-time friends also sells comics online. His results have been nothing short of extraordinary. He has about 131 items listed and owns a store on eBay. With all the macro-economic events, scary pandemic news there are doubts and rhetoric flowing everywhere. I thought it might be nice to review one owner’s small eBay store to find out if his business has dried up?

 

 

 

 

batman-300x187 The Comic Book Market: Strong Anecdotal EvidenceThis comic book store sells his comic books online through eBay. Last year was a pretty “hum-drum” year for 2019. He made solid sales and moved an adequate amount of inventory to stay profitable. How do you think he did for the last month compared to the same time period a year ago? Has the market tumbled and are comic books that were once rare being used as toilet paper? Perhaps the larger online stores have closed up shop and are not selling anymore, could that be right? How about retail stores, they have definitely stopped selling books, right? These are great questions lets answer them in bullet point format so it is very clear on the results:

 

 

  • Has the market tumbled and are comic books that were once rare being used as toilet paper?
    • Not in this household or many others, since people have hoarded toilet paper, I suggest using junk mail (after it has been properly sanitized of course). The long and short, no one is jumping out of windows, we are all staying home, with…wait for it…our collections!
  • Perhaps the larger online stores have closed up shop and are not selling anymore, could that be right?
    • Several online stores that I use are still in business and running rapid-fire, with auctions, bids, straight-up purchases, “same ole same ole.”
  • How about retail stores, they have definitely stopped selling books right?
    • Yep, my local comic shop is very well stocked with inventory. Have they let closures stop them? Nope, they continue to operate online through several social media sites. Maybe they are desperate Norm? Nope, still the same high prices they had before.
  • How do you think he did for the last month compared to the same time period a year ago?
    • My friend who has a comic book online store has had a huge increase in sales this month. Despite the recent stock market decline, unemployment on the rise, and a killer pandemic with everyone staying indoors safely tucked away from the horrible virus; my friend with the eBay store has seen a +123% increase in sales in the last 31 days over last year. Yep, this is a perfect example of not following the hype, and continuing to be a good seller online. Bravo Zulu to my buddy!

Anecdotal evidence aside, what kinds of returns did he get on his books? The returns were average, not over the top and not selling them on the cheap. Simply doing business as he has always done, and meeting the need for comic books head-on with a smile on his face. Here is some pricing for these books compare to the last previous sale per GoCollect.

781425_9cec4e846bdfdf2bf0585b956ce90fbc8614826a-193x300 The Comic Book Market: Strong Anecdotal EvidenceAmazing Spider-Man #569

Actual recent sale price $48

GoCollect last sale $57.88

 

 

 

133094_73613307e49221266de6677e6c2a8114ae598794-194x300 The Comic Book Market: Strong Anecdotal EvidenceDaredevil #168

Actual recent sale price $122

GoCollect last sale $105

 

 

 

121453_425bc1768b8fbaa6749c43c48495de4a0d165273-199x300 The Comic Book Market: Strong Anecdotal EvidenceCaptain America #117

Actual recent sale price $135

GoCollect last sale $124

 

 

 

Batman-Catwoman-2-1280x720-1-300x169 The Comic Book Market: Strong Anecdotal EvidenceConclusion

With an increase in sales of +123% the comic book market seems alive and well. Prices are stable and even a little up, based on previously sold comic books per GoCollect.  In my mind, the comic book community is bored stiff at home watching Netflix with the family night after night. The urge to buy is building up. This anecdotal evidence covers the Silver Age, Bronze Age, and the early Modern Age of comic books. Think of this anecdotal info as a piece in the puzzle you put together to build your confidence in buying and selling comics. Get your head out of the sand, start buying and selling again online; every other speculator is. Stay safe everyone.

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4 comments

Evan April 21, 2020 - 9:03 pm

Good article Norman. So I’ve sold a handful of books the past few weeks ranging from $100-$900 and what amazes me is that I’ve heard so many buyers say something like “I need to wait until I get my paycheck”. Before the pandemic I always had a hard time understanding the collector who spends $500 on a comic but yet lives week to week. It seems those same people haven’t changed their mindset in this new world we are living in which is absolutely INSANE to me! If anything, I’ve seen tons of collectors who are buying even more because they see the slight drop in value as a great opportunity to buy low. This may be true in 5-10 years but in my opinion, if you don’t have $50K+ sitting in a bank account… SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR FOOD AND TOILET PAPER!

Bottomline, Comic Collecting is ADDICTIVE and hard to give up in any climate.

Reply
Norman Robinson III April 23, 2020 - 7:09 pm

Amen brother, amen! Thanks for reading.

Reply
mark May 2, 2020 - 1:09 pm

Maybe, in lieu of the uncertain world economic situation, people are turning their dollar bills into something besides dollar bills. Consider the recent physical gold/silver decoupling from the paper market. People who have a little disposable income are maybe buying comics that they think will hold it’s monetary value over the uncertain times ahead.

Reply
Norman Robinson III May 6, 2020 - 10:51 am

Wow! That would be great news Mark, pure investors just buying into comics…Are we that lucky? Thanks for reading. Nam

Reply

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