The Comic Book Nightmare: Overpaying

by Norman Robinson III

733685_totally-awesome-hulk-22-198x300 The Comic Book Nightmare: OverpayingOkay, so you went to your friendly neighborhood comic retailer and paid too much for a comic book (well above market). Should you dig a hole and bury your head in the sand? Maybe. The superior speculator tries to learn from his or her mistake. I have purchased several collections in my time in this industry and many have had some real dogs in them. For instance, overpaying for Amazing Spider-Man #361 in raw format. Unfortunately, I paid CGC slabbed prices for that comic book before it was ever slabbed and graded. Anyone who has speculated in comics for at least a few years has made an occasional mistake.

As a new collector or speculator, what should you do when you make a mistake with a big comic book purchase? Don’t freak out, simply realize that everyone takes a bite at the apple and eventually comes up short. A good rule of thumb going forward is to verify price here on GoCollect before your buy. Now, many complain that GoCollect doesn’t have raw comic book prices. But actually this is a good thing; GoCollect gives you a consistent price to base a buy on. Essentially, if you are buying raw and GoCollect has the same book for much less in CGC case with a grade, no brainer you don’t buy.


171460_e1e49a430fd60272eb29e16a8e07f9530d5ea8b8-1-195x300 The Comic Book Nightmare: Overpaying

See this example below:

Which is the better deal?

Amazing Spider-Man #361 raw (9.4) for $100 at the retailer


Amazing Spider-Man #361 on already CGC’d for $130 FMV on average.


Amazing Spider-Man #361 from already CGC’d (9.4) for $130 FMV on average.



There are four rules you should use when you have to make a choice between buying CGC vs. buying Raw with the eventual goal to slab:

Rule #1

You need to know your CGC cost-The raw comic will probably come in a grade below where the retailer suggests it is, on average. The cost of CGC is roughly $18 for moderns with membership. In addition, another $15 for shipping, total cost roughly $30. It can cost more if you want it rushed or pressed and cleaned.  “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” if the prices between a raw copy and a CGC near mint are close always go with the CGC copy. That way there is no risk that CGC will grade it lower, basically, you bought it you own it, now you don’t have to CGC it.

Rule #2

Make sure there is a potential catalyst- Once you pay too much, simply sit on the comic as long as it is not on the trend decline and you can afford to wait it out. In the example above Amazing Spider-Man #361 should increase in value once we are closer to a movie, essentially a catalyst for an upward price swing. Patience folks.

Rule #3

Never rush- Think before you buy don’t rush into a purchase. I know in the words of Jon Snow…”Well, that is pretty obvious!” True, but so many of us rush in trying to catch something that already happened. Do not be in a rush, take your time, if you miss the opportunity you probably saved money.

Rule #4

Buy what you love- When I stumbled into a comic shop a decade ago after a long absence from the comic scene, the first words of the proprietor were, “just buy what you love, that way you won’t be disappointed.” Nuff said!

How are Totally Awesome Hulk #22 and Amazing Spider-Man #361 trending today?

Totally Awesome Hulk #22

Grade 9.8 180 FMV decline of -3.4%

Amazing Spider-Man #361

Grade 9.8 $400 FMV advance of +3.9%

There will be slow growth for Amazing Spider-Man #361 until the media machine goes to work for the Venom 2 movie. This will probably happen later this year and you should sell about a month from the movie. Totally Awesome Hulk #22 is all alone in the wilderness as the latest hulk phase is more horror related than Weapon H. Might be a while before we see this refreshing version of Hulk as Weapon H in the MCU.


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