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Comic Book Investing Basics

If your going to start collecting/investing in comic books there are a few things you should do to educate yourself. The first thing you should do is purchase the Overstreet Annual Price Guide currently at issue #39. It's the bible of comic book collecting and has been around since 1970. The main part of the guide is the price list, listing book from the late 1800s to present day comic books, theres a guide on how to grade comic books, a market report, explanation of the different ages or eras of comic books and more. I would first check your area for local comic book shops. It seems that there are two kinds of comic shops today. The first one deals in collectors comics or vintage "old" comics and the other comic shop deals in new comic books and toys. Some deal in all but I've found more and more that theres a divide in the collecting field. I would search for dealers on the Internet just to see the difference in prices, read forums to find out about certain books and dealers and check out eBay.

A word about eBay, for comic books it's not the place it used to be. More and more dealers/collectors are leaving eBay do to high fees, bad grading, crazy shipping costs and dishonest sellers/buyers. It's not all doom and gloom though, there are some great sellers on eBay and you can find some great bargains. For me personally I've found it more of a dumping ground for comic books. There are too many sellers using words like scarce, rare, 1 of a kind, when describing a comic book that is plentiful to most collectors. I look at it this way if I have 5-10-20-50-100 copies of a comic how many copies do the big dealers have of that issue. For the most part if a seller says a certain comic books is rare or scare in his auction and it's from the 1970s up unless it's a variant or small press run it's probably not hard to find. One Easy way to find out is search for that book on eBay and see how many pop up. When buying anything off eBay always check sellers feedback. If the seller keeps his feedback private I personally would not do business with that seller. If the seller has some bad feedback read what was said and how the seller handled it. Not all bad feedback is because of the seller, some buyers are way to impatient or just not nice people and give negative feedback without contacting the seller first. Check what he's charging for shipping. This may not sound like much especially if the seller is in your country but you can be ripped off by shipping charges. I live in Canada and most of the auctions I won were from U.S. When I was sent my invoices for certain auctions I was charged anywhere from $5-$15 for one standard comic book. I have no problem with paying $5 shipping but being charged $10 or $15 is a total rip off. It should cost around $2.50-$5 for a comic to be shipped to me. I don't mind someone making a few dollars on shipping fees but $10? This is one of the reason I left eBay and I'm not the only one.

Now to the actual buying and caring of your comic books. There are six different eras of collecting/investing. They are as follows Platinum Age 1883-1938, Golden Age 1939-1954, Silver Age 1955-1969, Bronze Age 1970-1979, Copper Age 1980-1990, Modern Age 1991-present. I must say that the dates listed for the Bronze and Copper Ages do vary. Some list the Bronze Age as 1970-1986 and omit the Copper Age. Choosing an era to collect can be difficult or you can buy books from all ears. It really depends on the money you want to spend. The fastest growing eras is the Bronze Age and early Copper Age. If you are looking for mid to long term(2-5+ years) growth and don't feel like spending thousands of dollars then this is the era for you. I've posted a few comic books that I feel have a solid base to preform well in the years to come, some starting at just $5. If your more interested in the bigger books then look into the Gold and Silver Ages. Everyone will be different with the what they collect/invest and what era the books are from. Before you buy a big ticket comic find out about the dealer your buying from. Not all dealers grade the same and a half grade plus or minus can be the difference of thousands of dollars on the high end comics. Just because they have a huge inventory doesn't mean that they are the best graders with the best prices. If you see a comic(s) you like make an offer. Most dealers, myself included, like to make deals and make the customer happy. Always buy the highest grade you can when investing. Anything with Near Mint in the grade title is best but with some books you'll have to pay more. Comics in the mid grades, Fine and Very Fine, don't seem to sell well with out discounts, for the most part.

After purchasing your book(s) you have to keep them safe and in that same condition as they were when you bought them. I recommend using a new bag and board and you'll need a place to store them. Use only bags, board and boxes that are made for comic books. You can use special designed comic boxes. The long box will hold about 250-300 comics but if you don't have enough books to fill it up I recommend to use it vertically. What will happen if the box is not full is the first few comics with the space in front of them will slide down and the spine will get damaged. Myself I do not use boxes, I store my comics flat and keep the spines in the great shape. In comic investing grade is everything so find a safe place to store the books out of the reach of children and direct light.

When doing your homework and looking up comics you will notice some are in a plastic case. This is referred to as slabbing and its done presently by two companies, CGC and PGX. The older of the two companies is Certified Guaranty Company or CGC. They have been around for 10 years and are considered the company to use when having your comic books graded. The other company is Professional Grading eXperts or PGX formerly CGG. They have been around a few years less than CGC and not as respected. How it works is you send them your comic book(s) and for a fee they will grade and encapsulate them in a sealed holder. The idea was to have a 3rd party create an industry standard grading system/company. Both companies have a less than stellar history with some inappropriate dealings. You can do a search about both companies and read the stories. If you are going to have your comic book(s) 3rd part graded, CGC will bring you the better return on your dollar.

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