Undercover at Live Auctions – Mission Report

by Joseph Overaitis

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eBay has changed the landscape of collecting and auctions.  While you now can bid on items throughout the world from your sofa, you lose that human interaction with in-person auctions. You are missing key intelligence data!


GoCollect provides you the reader with information not known to other collectors that you can use to your advantage.    I love the column of Cassaundra Thomas. If you do not read her updates please do.  The most important analysis she provides is the weekly movers.  She spoon-feeds you the top five books and you can see where the markets are going. She reports trends and you can use this data to see where your money should have gone or when you might want to sell a book losing steam.

I am lucky because I use all the data mined by GoCollect to go a step further to give me more intel.   I attend live auctions and actually ask or observe people on how the numbers are influencing the market first hand.  Many of these buyers and sellers are players on eBay and it is great to observe them out in the field because it gives me a different perspective on what is happening in the market.  Besides being able to see what is happening from the GoCollect data, I can now find out from these investors why it is happening.   I managed to observe some investors  during some live and online auctions that buyers could be partially identified  not in the GoCollect data  numbers and here are my thoughts:

  1.  Going for a song!!!

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I have seen this book come up several times recently at live auctions and the price was always down.  I mean very down.  I watched this book be sold in a lot that contained a group of books for a little more than a new comic coming out this week.  Before the pandemic, I saw this book in another lot containing a book I wanted.  Another attendee outbid me purely because this book was seen in the lot but not mentioned. He wanted it more than me as my reason for attending was in another lot.  He indicated that while investors were speculating on the Thunderbolts and all the money was going to Incredible Hulk #449 he thought this was a better move.   What my competition and I realized was that this book contained the 1st appearance of Screaming Mimi (aka Songbird).  What amazes me is that even looking today on eBay there are still sellers that highlight this issue by mentioning the Deathlok appearance and ignore Screaming Mimi.  Find a trusted seller and get it raw and then slabbed.  Do the math:

1st Appearance + 41 years old + potential  MCU + not being targeted = Opportunity.

Please note that this book is starting to heat up a little at the last auction I observed remotely via webcam. Word is starting to get out!


2. London Bridges Falling Down?

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This is the one that scares a lot of investors and speculators that I have talked with at live events. Even when not listed at auctions it was the talk of the attendees.  Most of the speculators I  talked with pre-virus expressed fear and uncertainty with this book.  Some viewed it with FOMO glasses in that if the character ever appeared in the MCU they would be missing out, even at the high prices the book was selling for at the time.  Others viewed it as a .com stock in that there are so many high-grade books in the census, with even more raw books unaccounted for in the market, and everyone was a buyer.  Their common fear is that if people start to sell then these copies will flood the market and drive the prices down.  The people who can afford this book are getting scared but still buying (FOMO), but not as many copies as before.  Eventually, this has to end like a game of musical chairs and when it does many people might be left depressed the music stopped.

3. I thought you said looney..

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I put this up here to indicate that this book recently sold at an online auction.  The problem was that this is not the complete picture of that book even though this is the correct picture for issue #93.  Bought as a Golden Age gem for pennies on the loonie (a Canadian coin) by a  buyer, this person realized that the copy was a variant Canadian edition misidentified by the supposedly knowledgeable LCS.  The book was listed correctly by a reputable auction house and the result was a happy seller and collector who bought this copy.   Please look carefully at the cover of these cartoon books because some Canadian variants are popping up in border states but they are being misidentified as American books.  Everything appears the same except there is a symbol on the cover that says “Canadian Edition”.  There is a market for these variant edition books and they will sell at a premium if you are lucky enough to find them.


Final thought…

Cassaundra will give you information on your mission.   Study the intel provided by your support team in their GoCollect reports.  Then read my mission reports in the field where I will give you a dossier on the comic book investors you are competing against.  Remember this message will self destruct in 10 seconds!


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