It seems like everyone owned some comics of one kind or another over the years and there’s nothing like having a relative clean out some boxes and find your old treasure trove. But what do you do with them? Keep them or sell them? A lot of movies have been made from comics over the years and there are many more to come. Now you have to answer the big questions: How and where do I sell these things? Are they even worth the trouble? How do I know what condition they are in? You could go your local comic book shop, but most shops will only give you 50% of guide price – if they are even buying. And yes, there is a guide – a few in fact. The Overstreet Price Guide comes out once a year and is the benchmark for most comic shops covering every comic release from the 1930’s to today. Overstreet will also show you how to grade your comics, but we’ll get to that later. There is also Wizard Magazine and Comic Book Buyers Guide which come out monthly and tend to showcase the “hot” comics people are buying.
The problem with going to your local comic shop is simply this: if you do sell them, you have definitely left money on the table. “So what?” you say Daddy Warbucks. I know, for older comics worth selling, the cover price is under $ 1.00; so anything you get above that is fine right? But, if you bought a muscle car back in the ’60’s and still had it today, would you sell it for 50% of what the current list price is? Hopefully not. Honestly, when I have a comic I want to sell and I know it’s worth a little bit, I put it on eBay. Wait, wait – eBay is not as tough to use as everybody thinks. The setup is easy and they walk you through setting up an account step-by-step. If you can email or check the weather on the internet, you have enough gray-matter use eBay. The next things you have to do it determine what condition your comics are in. CGC is a service that will charge you $ 10.00 to mail your comic to them (please make sure that you use something to keep it from getting bent in the mail…). Once they have it, their team of professional grader will judge you book on a number of criteria, place it in a plastic casing and the place a grading label on the case. $ 10 bucks may seem like a lot to pay for a comic that you only may have paid 45 for, but CGC grading will actually increase your comic’s value to upwards of 100%. Even in a lesser condition. That said – if you want to try to grade them yourself, use the following guidelines:
Mint (CGC: 10-9.8)(Overstreet: 100-98)(Abbreviated as MT)
I can pretty much guarantee that your comics are not in mint condition. Most are already in NM condition by the time they arrive at the store. Many people want their comic book to be better than it is, but few attain this high of a mark. Those comics that do, especially CGC graded books, can attain the highest possible market value that is out there.
Outside: There should be no creases. The cover should have no fading and look like new. The comic should lie flat and not roll or have curves. The Spine should be straight with no rolling. Staples should be like new and not rusted.
Inside: There should be no tears or cuts. The color should be bright with no discoloration, or fading. There should be no stains or marks. Autographs are acceptable but may actually bring the value down, depending on your buyer.
Near Mint (CGC: 9.8-9.0)(Overstreet: 97-90)(Abbreviated as NM)
Most new comic books will fall into this category. When buying new comics, be sure to go through them and pick out the best one. That crease will turn a Mint comic into a Near Mint.
Outside: There should be no creases. The cover should have no fading. The comic should lie flat and not roll or have curves. The cover may be slightly off center. The Spine should be straight with no rolling. Staples should be like new and not rusted. Minor bindery tears are acceptable no more than 1/16th of an inch.
Inside: Only minor fading is allowed. There should be no stains or marks. There should be no tears or cuts.
Very Fine (CGC: 9.0-7.0)(Overstreet: 89-75)(Abbreviated as VF)
Beware if any older comic book is graded above this mark. Due to the nature of paper, discoloration is expected over time. Even then, for an older comic to be in the “Very Fine” category it needs to be pretty exceptional. Make sure you know.
Outside: The cover should be mostly flat but may have some wear. The colors of the cover may be slightly faded. Corners may be slightly creased. May have slight wear. The spine should be flat, but some lines may be visible.
Inside: May have minor printing and binding defects. The pages may be yellowish in color. There should be no stains or major discoloration.
Fine (CGC: 7.0-5.0)(Overstreet: 74-55)(Abbreviated as FN)
This might be a C or C+ comic book.
Outside: There will probably be minor wear. Minor creasing is acceptable. The corners may be blunted. The staples may have some discoloration. Minor creases are OK. The spine may have a roll to it.
Inside: There may be minor tears on the edges. Discoloration is OK as long as it is not major. The pages may be tan or brown in color. Minor stains are allowed.
Very Good (CGC: 5.0-3.0)(Overstreet: 54-35)(Abbreviated as VG)
Comics in this grade and lower will start to see more and more wear.
Outside: My have a large amount of wear including creases, fading, and discoloration. A better copy with a piece of the cover missing will fall into this category. The cover may have a price sticker or date sticker. The spine may be rolled. The staples may have rust.
Inside: The pages may be brown in color. A finer copy with a tear repaired with tape. May have minor printing defects.
Good (CGC: 3.0-1.5)(Overstreet 14-5)(Abbreviated as GD)
A below average comic book. For a comic book to be in this grade it may have major defects, but must still be readable. Most new comics in this condition will have little to no value (re: 1985 to current).
Outside: A detached cover is acceptable. Creases, fading and major discoloration available. Minor tears and folds. Coupons may be cut from the cover. The staples may discolored, rusted, or even absent. Creases and minor tears permitted.
Inside: May have some obvious types of repair such as tape. The color of the pages may be brown. The pages should not be brittle. There may be small bits of the comic missing. There may be stains and other defects of the pages.
Fair (CGC: 1.5-1.0)(Overstreet 14-5)(Abbreviated as FR)
Outside: The cover may be detached from the comic. There may large amounts of wear including fading, discoloration, and stains. Coupons may be cut from the cover. Less than 1/12 of the cover missing is accepted. Major wear accepted. Staples may be missing. The spine may be split up to 2/3 of the cover.
Inside: The pages are often faded, discolored, torn, or stained, but must still be readable. Most of the page should not be brittle. Near the bottom of the barrel. Comics in this condition are still readable. Pages missing from the comic are not acceptable.
Poor (CGC: 1.0-0)(Overstreet: 5-0)(Abbreviated as PR)
Only the oldest and rarest comics will be worth much of anything when they are in this grade or maybe older comics in good condition with no covers. Most of these are just going to be readers.
Outside: The cover will show major signs of wear. May have large stains, large amounts of fading, rips, tears, and pieces missing. Spine will mostly likely be bent and torn. Staples may be missing.
Inside: Large stains and even mold damage on the pages. There may be pages missing. Marks, tears, and other things that may affect the story. Pages may be brittle and break at the touch. A comic in this condition is just like it sounds, poor. If you have a comic in this condition, check Overstreet to see if it is worth anything before just giving it away to a kid to read.
So now you think you know what condition your comic is in and you have an eBay account. Now here’s the trick: type in the name and issue number in the eBay search box. eBay may show you anywhere from 0 to 1,000 listing for people trying to sell the same comic. Don’t worry about these listings. On the left hand side of the page, look for an empty checkbox that says “Completed Items” and click on the box. The page will reload and now hopefully show you some completed listings for the same comic you have. Prices in red did not sell, while prices in green did. Look at a couple of examples of each. When you get ready to list your comic, make sure that you’ve taken pictures of any defects that stick out to you and have them ready to upload when you create your listing. Then write out a detailed description of the comic making sure to list Publisher, Title, Issue#, Copyright Year and then any imperfections you have noted and also the condition that you believe it to be in. Now the hardest thing you will have to do is decide the minimum bid you will take and then start the selling process. Nine times out of ten, you have a comic that someone else is looking for. But the only way to find out is to list it.
Get more information at: http://www.hardtosellcomics.info
Reggie is a comic book collector and store owner. His blog site UndercoverFanboy is dedicated to those of us who can be called “Daywalkers” of the Geek World. People who love comics & go to work each day unable to talk comics at the watercooler.