Sunday, September 15, 2013

So You Want To Sell Your Comic Book Collection - Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 | Part 6

The Nuts And Bolts Of Selling Your Comic Book Collection
Or "Time To Get Serious And Make Some Bucks!"
So now armed with the knowledge of the previous three parts of this series, you are now ready to learn the best way to sell your collection.

Here are the ways that you can sell your collection - they are listed from the easiest to the hardest:

1. Take it to a pawn shop
2. Take it to an auction house
3. Sell it to a comic dealer
4. Sell it on eBay or on some other online venue
5. Set up at a comic convention
6. Sell it to another comic collector
7. Set up at a flea market
8. Build your own website and sell your books there

We will go into each one of these options in detail including the pros and cons of each one in Parts 5 and 6 but first a little more info to help you in the process of selling your collection.

Be Honest With Yourself And Your Comic Book Collection
Or "Trying To Make A Silk Purse Out Of A Sow's Ear Will Definitely Annoy The Pig..."

Look, if you have a handful - say 30 or less - of comics that you dug up from your ex's closet and they are books published 1990 or later, aren't bagged and boarded and look very well read - do one of three things: 1) Take the books to the nearest comic shop WHILE you are doing other errands and see if they will take them off your hands for a couple of bucks, 2) take them to a children's charity as long as the books are child appropriate or 3) go back to the comic shop and just GIVE the books to them.

Now if you have a 100 books that were published prior to 1980, are nicely bagged and boarded and appear in nice condition, then by all means take them to a comic book dealer and see what they will offer you.

If you have 5 long boxes of comics, again take them to a comic book dealer and let them offer you a price. Most likely, the dealer will ask you what you want for them. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU TELL THEM A PRICE!!! THIS IS NEGOTIATION DEATH!. Don't believe me on this? Then go watch a few episodes of Pawn Stars and watch how the negotiations go. If the pawn shop folks are interested in the item(s), they will ALWAYS ask what the seller wants for the item and the rare times they get a little flummoxed is when the seller says something like "I don't know, what do you want to give me for it?"

So that is what you should do - i.e. ask the dealer what they are willing to pay you for the collection. If they won't give you a price, thank them for their time and take your collection with you. If they ask what you are going to do with the books, tell them that you are shopping the collection around. If they ask you to call them if you ever decide to sell, don't call them. Instead, give them your contact information and let them know that you are in no hurry to sell the books but if a good offer comes around, then you would be willing to part with them.

Now watch the dealer's body language - it will tell you a lot. Very slight nervousness usually means that the dealer wants the collection and doesn't want it to slip away. Indifference means that they are not all that hot about your collection OR they are capital challenged and don't have the funds to make the deal OR they are a pretty good poker player. Usually, a dealer has enough cash in the bank to purchase a small collection so if it is something they can make a decent margin on, they won't want it to walk out the door. We are getting ahead of ourselves a little bit as we will discuss selling to a comic dealer in greater detail in Part 5.

If you don't have a comic book dealer in your area - go online and find one that might give you an appraisal. You will have to supply a ton of information but at least it will give you some feedback that you can use. Here is one link of an appraisal service that you might find helpful. You can always go to Walkin' Willie's Comix and drop them a line about your collection.

The bottom line is that you have to determine if you have a collection that has value - i.e. one that is worth selling or one you just need to get shed of and move on. Remember Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 provided you with that awareness and the tools you would need to figure out if your collection has tangible value. One last thing before shopping that collection around...

Comic Collection Prep
Or "Lookin' Good Always Helps The Bottom Line"

Just like a fresh coat of paint is the #1 thing to do when selling a house, having a collection that looks good can mean extra bucks. By now, you have established whether the collection can bring in some cash. You either used a copy of Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, gone online at or have received opinions/appraisals from a comic book dealer. OR you may be a longtime comic book collector that knows the craft.

Now dress up that collection by making sure that each book is freshly bagged and boarded. It costs around $9.00 to $15.00 - and your time - to bag and board 100 books. Bagging and boarding is very important because it protects the books from any further damage. Books that are not bagged and boarded will damage quickly. Again, assess your collection to make sure that spending your time and $9.00 per hundred will still leave you with plenty of margin. The collection pictured above is a nice looking collection - very nicely bagged and boarded. Also, it is strongly recommended that you use the 3M Removable Tape to tape the bag flap - it comes in a blue box and has the same adhesive as the Post-It notes. You don't want a prospective buyer getting into a wrestling match to try to open a bag so as to inspect a book.

If possible, use brand new comic boxes - if you need help in obtaining supplies, you can find bags, boards and comic boxes at eBay or BAGS Unlimited can hook you up.

Finally, put the books in alphanumeric order - if the books are bagged and boarded and in order it helps a lot as a dealer likes to have a collection where all he has to do is take to a comic convention ready to go. That can definitely influence the price - and if the dealer wants the collection or not. If a dealer sees that they will have to put in very little sweat equity to get it ready to sell, it could very well be the tipping point to make a deal happen.

There is one dealer that does the southeastern convention circuit and he buys more closeouts than any other dealer that I have come across. He will have five tables at one-day shows and three booths at the big 3-day shows. He has a lot of collectors at his booths all convention long because he has so many books for pretty low prices. HOWEVER I won't go to his booth except to chat if he isn't busy because there is absolutely NO order to his merchandise. I'll be darn if I am going through 100 comic boxes to try find something that I can buy to sell when the books aren't in order. He's a great guy but I haven't bought anything from him for over 13+ years.

This last step isn't necessary if you have a small collection of 200 books or less but if you have a large collection of several thousand books you are trying to liquidate, then the dealer you are trying to sell to may or may not want to spend the time to try to figure out what all is in the collection - they might just do a random pull of every box just to see what is generally in there.

Again - and it cannot be emphasized enough: Your time is worth SOMETHING so figure out how much time you really want to spend preparing your collection for sale.

Part 5 of "So You Want To Sell Your Comic Collection" will tackle the first four options listed at the beginning of this post for selling your comic books. Stay tuned as the best is yet to come...

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