The hunt for comics is something every speculator enjoys. Finding that potential future big key, price variant, or origin story in some forgotten bin with an undervalued price tag is just plain fun. Think of it as treasure hunting but for comic books, not gold doubloons. During these comic hunts, occasionally folks will come across a signed comic book with illegible handwriting. Is it even a signature? Who’s signature is it? How do I find out who signed my comic?
Tackling signed comics is like trying to figure out a murder mystery. The greatest fictional detective of all time is Sherlock Holmes. He would use every ounce of logic and deduction to ferret out the villain, and so must we. The very nature of the signature is its pure randomness, where does it come from and why is it sold so cheap?
Most signed comics are something you pick up at a convention. You go to a con and meet a famous writer, like Chris Claremont or a famous artist like John Byrne. Often years will go by and the signing is long forgotten. You sell your books and the new owner has to do some detective work to figure out who scrawled that signature. What rules can you apply to follow a methodical autograph process?
Autograph Detective Tips:
- Please refer to the signature as an autograph going forward, this will make online searches easier.
- Read the book. Usually on the first page or splash page above the indicia is the name of all creators of the comic book.
- Record all the names involved with the comic book.
- Take a picture of the autographed copy digitally.
- This digital copy will give you a better idea of who autographed the comic.
- Online search engines and comic book sites are all a great source of reference material.
- For objective criteria use eBay, look at Signature Series CGC books to confirm your hypothesis of the origins of the autograph.
- Reflect on whose signature is on the book, a big artist or an editor nobody has heard of?
- Compare your book’s signature to your online database (eBay, Google, etc..).
- Use the consonants like L, M, R, S, or T this gives a point of reference to compare the autograph to a database, says eBay.
- If that doesn’t work use the “i” as everyone should dot their “i” the same way each time.
- Hopefully, by this point, you have a suspect for the autograph. The bottom line; is it worth the money to have a professional verify the signature?
What kind of value can an autographed book have? Typically autographed books even with COA (Certificate of Authenticity) are not worth much more than prior to the book signing. There are occasions that the signatures are worth money either now, or in the future. Personally, I am a big Bernie Wrightson fan. I like to collect his autograph when I can. I believe that over time his work will hold up.
Stan Lee is the “Big Kahuna” of autographs in comics. His auto is worth right around $150 for a normal book or minor key. If you have it in a big key like Avengers #1 and it was Signature Series CGC you have big money there. Most autographs add a small value to comics and you should try to learn the process. That way you save money on “professionals” who are more than likely using many of the same tools highlighted above. Then you can answer the question, “Who signed my comic?”
- Grade 8.0 $425 last sale 3-11-19 returned positive +51.3%
- Grade 6.0 $375 last sale 8-12-18 returned positive +74.6%
- Grade 4.5 $128 last sale 7-29-14 returned N/A
“It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts. Insensibly one begins to twist the facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.”
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