How To Sell Your Comic Book Collection

You’ve given up hopes that your old, dust-collecting comic book collection will make your grandchild a millionaire one day and just want to cash out and move on. The problem is you don’t know how much any of them are worth, who will be willing to take them off your hands or how much work it will take to unload them at a fair price.

Squidoo offers a two-part guide about how to part with your no longer beloved collection. First you’ll have to index your collection and identify the value of your top pieces.

Keep in mind that just because you find an eye-popping value in a price guide doesn’t mean you’ll get that amount for your comic book. Dealers will offer you significantly less than market value so they’ll be able to turn a profit on your wares.

If you want to make the most money, you’ll probably want to take out an online storefront online, possibly at eBay, name your prices and wait for the customers to roll in.

If you’d rather unload your entire collection, you may be best off heading to a local comic book store. If the manager isn’t willing to make you an offer, he may be able to give you some leads to follow up on. If you go that route, be sure to make a deal for your entire collection and not just your key, high-value books. Otherwise you’ll lose your best stuff and still be stuck with all the clutter.

Turning stale old colored paper into bucks! [Squidoo]

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  1. Cat says:

    Worst. Post. Ever.

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      Not sure, at least this one had something to do with money. We aren’t being instructed on how to clean our socks using toothpaste or something.

      Not defending the post as good, mind you. This might be useful to someone that inherited or stole a comic collection. Anyone actually collecting them likely has all this information and more in case they want to move their stuff.

      • Cat says:

        Huuuuh. Very well. I must hurry back to my Comic Book Store, where I dispense the insults rather than absorb them.

    • nosense22 says:

      +1

  2. u1itn0w2day says:

    Pray and hope a retrospective adult male with disposable income is interested enough in your stuff to buy.

  3. Robofish says:

    This is actually helpful. I’ve been trying to figure out the best route to go unload my collection ( with the exception of a few comics )

    • DrBoomerNg says:

      Agreed. I was very into buying comics when I was a freshman in college and for a few years afterwards (it helped that in 2005 I was making twice as much hourly as I do now; for those interested, CSR>educator, apparently). I quit after about three years for a few reasons, primarily that “decompressed” comics feel like I’m wasting my money, especially if they contain poor writing/art, and because of the way the industry was handling itself, with constant crossovers and terrible stories (Ultimatum and Secret Invasion were the final nails in the coffin for me). Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to unload the old comics that I don’t want anymore; they’re too recent for most collectors to be interested, and the proliferation of internet based comic reading has hit independent comic sellers pretty hard, so none of them are willing to take the stuff either. I’m glad for the help, finally; I tried to sell some online some time ago, to no avail.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

      If you’re in NJ, try heading down to The Secret Stash: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN2RZNMwk04

  4. mister_roboto says:

    The thing is- depending on your generation, your comic books could be pretty worthless. If you’re a kid of the 90′s and collected mainstream books- you have comics with a print run in the millions with most of those being immediately put into sealed packets.

    My Sandman collection though… you’ll have to pry those out of my dead hands.

    • mister_roboto says:

      “worthless” as in probably not much more than cover price.

      I’m of the generation when comics went from $.75 to $3.50 seemingly overnight.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Have to wait 20-30 years for your collection to ‘mature’. Then hopefully there will be enough nostalgic old adults with money. It takes about 20-30 years for someone who collected items as a younger person to build up enough money to buy again. Time also diminishes supply. The problem is by the late 80s early 90s small collectables became so popular that many who did buy did treat it as part of collection so someone will be less likely to throw something out with a cardboard back and plastic around it.

      • Firevine says:

        It’s been 20 years. That Claremont/Lee X-Men #1 is still in 50 cent bins. Batman Knightfall is still a comic book fan inside joke. Shadowhawk #1 was $25 then, and I’d line my iguana cage with it now because it would actually be cheaper than paper towels or a newspaper. None of that stuff is “maturing”.

        • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

          Thing is, the super valuable stuff is that way because so few people thought to collect and take care of them, and print runs weren’t what they are today.

          Can’t speak about comics, but I’ll talk about my Magic collection. Back in the day of “Unlimited”, the attitude was that the base set was going to be printed like that forever. So, scored a Black Lotus instead of a land-in-the-rare-slot? Awesome, play with it, it’s a great card. If you had told people then that it would later be worth practically $1500, they would have held on to and taken care of better, and the rarity would be less so and the value wouldn’t quite be so high. Same thing with all sorts of other things, too. Who knew my copy of Final Fantasy VII would ever be so valuable? Fireball Island? Netrunner?

          Now that speculators (pure collectors, not fans) are involved in those markets, you’re just not going to see crazy fortune numbers anymore for anything available retail.

    • Bor&Mitch says:

      The only comics, the only anything, worth real money is the stuff that few people ever bought thinking it would turn into a valuable collectible. That’s the polar opposite of the 80s/90s comic collector boom, when hordes of geeks bought them for the sole purpose of collectible appreciation. Across the country there are countless hundreds of thousands of these books stored in plastic on acid-free board in basements and attics, waiting for that fateful day when they can be cashed in for big bucks. It’s not going to happen.

    • LanMan04 says:

      What, my Spawn issues 1-35 aren’t worth anything???

      /s

  5. dolemite says:

    I can’t imagine selling my “collection”. Basically it’s several plastic tote bins with comics tossed in, ranging from poor to good condition, no backings, protective sleeves or anything. I’m pretty sure some of them would have been worth money, but I read them pretty often and they get banged up (usually when I toss them back in their bins).

  6. GMFish says:

    be sure to make a deal for your entire collection and not just your key, high-value books. Otherwise you’ll lose your best stuff and still be stuck with all the clutter.

    If you do have a few valuable comics, sell them separately for as much as you can get. Don’t bundle them together to lower your overall payout.

    Put them on ebay and sell them for as much as you can. Those you can’t sell you can dump off at a local comic store for a price they’re worth. Nearly nothing.

  7. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Selling valuable collectibles to strangers on eBay. What could possibly go wrong?

  8. yagisencho says:

    I donated 30% of my collection a couple of years ago. I want to work the remaining collection down from three long boxes to one, and would like to at least get cover price for most. Dealing through eBay is a serious pain the patootie though.

  9. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    I would have to pay someone to take my comic book collection from the early 90′s ! I laugh at this article !!

  10. who? says:

    Selling comics is pretty much like selling any other collectible. If something is historically significant and in stellar condition, put it aside and sell it separately. Otherwise, bundle everything up and sell the entire box o’ stuff to someone who specialized in whatever you’re selling. We just got through selling several boxes of books we inherited. One book was worth $600. A couple more were worth about $100. We got a good price for those from a guy who specializes in rare books. The rest we donated to the library for the tax deduction. It was going to be more trouble than it was worth to sell any of them ourselves. The library has the connections to sell vintage (but not especially rare) books, and they were happy to take them.

  11. Kuri says:

    Hehe, I would say don’t bother because your parents likely threw them out or gave them away without a thought.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      happened to my dad’s baseball cards. He had all the good ones too. Left for ‘Nam and came back to an empty closet.

  12. yellowdog says:

    Another early-90′s “collector” here. Had a long box full of roughly 300 bagged and backed books in pristine condition. Got tired of moving them, so I decided to get rid of them in 2010.

    eBay was a bust. Local comic book store took one look and told me to take a hike. No bites on Craigslist. In the end, when my wife had a garage sale, I placed the box on a table with a sign asking for a few bucks for the whole mess. Someone came by and took the box off my hands, and I treated the wife to a modest dinner.

    The sad thing is, I didn’t even much care for reading the comics. I mostly bought them because my young self had stars in his eyes about making money on them later. Heck, if I had invested that money in stocks… even if I had taken a complete loss, at least I could’ve deducted it from my taxes.

    Oh well!

    • Robofish says:

      Sounds exactly how / why I would collect them. I Have a few that are worth some and might be good to put up, but the rest should probably just be sold via flea markets.

    • NotEd says:

      Ha!
      That how I ended up with a dozen long boxes coming out of high school, as well as som,e Marvel stock that split threetimes before it went bust and was worth nothing.
      Funny thing was I learned more about perceived value and when to let go of an investment more from owning the stock than I ever did from the comics.

  13. Cat says:

    “How To Sell Your Comic Book Collection”

    1. Move out of your parent’s basement.

  14. HogwartsProfessor says:

    All I have are some horror comics from the early ’90s. I doubt anyone would want those. And some early Peanuts books, the value of which maybe went up a couple of bucks when Charles Schultz died. I kind of don’t want to sell those. My MAD collection isn’t going anywhere. I still read them, and they’re not in good enough shape to sell.

    I do have a near-mint copy of the first issue of Fangoria magazine, Godzilla poster intact. I can’t even find a price for that one. Only Fango fiends would want it anyway.

  15. mrvw says:

    I ended up with a handful of old records that were mostly junk, but 4 were actually worth something. Thankfully I didn’t have to work to hard to unload them, I was put in touch with someone through a friend who bought all 4 for a good price.
    Sometimes just asking your friends will work out better than craigslist or ebay

  16. Bor&Mitch says:

    If most of what you have is from the late 80s/early 90s comic book-speculator bubble period, when Marvel, DC and associated wannabes were churning out hundreds of thousands of a single issue, then good luck offloading your collection for better than cover price. Way too much supply is available.

  17. Jawaka says:

    has anyone else been watching Comic Book Men after The Walking Dead?

  18. jerry101 says:

    Hmm.. Unless you have something that’s actually worth something, you should save it for your kids. If you don’t have kids/aren’t going to have kids, or your kids aren’t into comics, then give them to the kid of a friend or relative.

    Or wait another 20 years. Once people start tossing their worthless 90′s era comic book collections, values will rise. The whole reason all those 50′s and60′s comics grew in value was because many of the comics got tossed when basements or attics were cleared out. Those old comics had huge print runs, too.

    • Bor&Mitch says:

      50s and 60s comics grew in value because few people who bought them at the time ever thought they would be worth anything. Nearly all the ones that are still left around from the early silver age are in bad shape, so the few that are in good and great shape are worth a lot. That’s not going to happen with the ones sold in the 80s and 90s.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      The problem with this is your kids won’t want your old toys, unless you have something cool like star wars, lego or old video games, you might have a chance with those. But even then chances are your kids will probably want the newest stuff rather than your old Atari games or old lego sets and they will be so saturated with the newest stuff that they won’t care about anything old that has been dug out of the attic. My advice is if you are thinking of getting rid of it now then just get rid of it and get what you can out of it. Might as well gain some space and money from it while you still can. I don’t think its worth the space and hassles of saving stuff for your kids, because there is a large chance your kids won’t want the stuff you played with as a kid.

      • Bor&Mitch says:

        Naw leave it for the grandkids in 30 years. they’ll take it to the Gold & Silver pawnshop thinking they’re going to cash it in for big bucks..only to be told by Rick Harrison Jr. the 3rd “Sorry, there’s just not a market for these, they’re fairly common…I’ll give you $5.”

  19. catskyfire says:

    If your stuff is 80s or later, don’t expect any luck. Comic stores don’t want them. The demand isn’t there.

    When I decided to pare down my collection, I donated about 6 boxes to a youth facility. It was probably the best thing I could’ve done.

  20. catskyfire says:

    I’ll add that I took the advice of comic editor Richard Pini, when I got into comics in the 90s. “Buy them because you want to read them.” His editorial continued with the idea that comics would not get the value that the ones from the 40s had…because it wasn’t 50 years yet, and the situation is different. (What made the old ones valuable is A: They were new back then, B: it’d been 50 years. C: Most people had thrown them out or gotten them damaged.)

    So I bought what I enjoyed reading.

  21. Ecks says:

    I’m a long time comic book collector (and reader) and I can tell you that most comics have negligible worth, no matter how old they get. Some comics are valuable of course, but since the speculator boom and bust of the 90′s, the market has shrunk dramatically. Comic books are not an investment, but you may get lucky with the odd book here and there.

    Just like most books, video games, movies, etc. only depreciate in value, the same happens to comic books. Buy comic books to read and enjoy, not because you think it will appreciate in value in the future. Chances are it won’t.

  22. Firevine says:

    I want to save you guys some time. I am in the process of opening my own comic book and gaming store. I’ve been into comics for 20+ years now. Those “20 years of Image” banners on new Image titles sting a bit because I remember buying launch titles off the shelf. Segueing from that, none of that stuff is worth anything at all.

    Most comic backstock, I’d give about 5 cents cash, and 10 cents store credit. Tops. That includes stuff that was hot back in the 90′s, like the X-Files comics and Valiant/Image stuff. Then I’d lug it around to cons trying to sell it as quarter backstock, and bring it right back home with me.

    The stuff people would pay decent money for is not common, and the industry is fickle. One thing that is important to me, the next comic fan won’t give a crap about. I am all gaga over the Alan Moore/Neil Gaiman Miracleman series. Most of my friends who are in to comics look at me like I am a crazy hobo that just ran out of the woods with a shotgun and clothed in live squirrels when I mention it. (So….like Alan Moore?)

    Some “safe bets”: Frank Miller Daredevil and Batman stuff. Watchmen single issues might buy you lunch. Miracleman might move on eBay, probably to me. Mirage Ninja Turtles books from the 1984 series. Key issues like Fantastic Four 48/49, etc. Hot properties like early Walking Dead issues or Chew, and even then, just the first few issues.

    Generally though,if you bought it in the 80′s through now, huzzah, you killed a tree.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Thanks. I may put some on craigslist. Maybe someone who wants to read all the Clive Barker Hellraiser comics might buy them. The ad is free and I have nothing to lose. Anyway, at least I’d get them out of my house.

    • NotEd says:

      Good. I was wondering who might buy my Miracleman books. ;)

  23. Cat says:

    Nobody wants my mint condition first issue of Biclops.

  24. lockdog says:

    are my wife’s old copies of Bondage Fairies worth anything?

    • dolemite says:

      I’m not sure, I’ll have to take a look at them first.

    • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

      Ha ha! I love that series. I wanted Pfil to be my waifu.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      If they’re first print, and not…stained…then yeah. To the right person. Who tends to be fairly unlikely to show up.

  25. amuro98 says:

    Somehow I doubt all those old ViZ manga translations are going to be worth anything close to what I paid for them. No, these were the original individual issues, not the collected volumes they did years later.

    • Firevine says:

      One of my partners brought a huge box of that stuff over for us to toss on Amazon. She used to be a fan and grew out of it. I listed a few, then just gave up, because they were all one cent each. One cent. I sold ONE, after it had been up for months because I forgot to take them down.

      We ended up owing Amazon 88 cents.

  26. Outrun1986 says:

    I don’t think saving toys or things for your kids is a good idea, toys have come a long way, and in this disposable society there is no such thing as hand me downs and kids who like old toys. I haven’t met a kid within the last 5-10 years who liked old toys yet. If you are saving toys for your kids, do yourself a favor and get rid of them now, provided you don’t want the toys and gain some space and money to purchase the newest and latest toys for your kid that they actually want (or perhaps put that money into your kids college fund, they will thank you later on). Your kid won’t want your old box of outdated comics when they will be reading them digitally on the iPad or whatever variant of electronic device comes out by the time your kid is old enough to want one.

    While I played with my parents toys from the 60′s, they were basically the same things as what was on the shelves in the 80′s, fisher price etc, that stuff didn’t really change in 20 years. Some of the stuff was the exact same toy, so that made sense. Toys from the 80s till now have changed A LOT, the colors are brighter, faces are different looking (even if its the same toy line) everything takes batteries and is electronic in some way and clothing styles have changed drastically for dolls. Kids just expect current off the shelf toys and electronics these days, not hand me downs or old toys.

    Toys take up a lot of space, even though I think there are a few toys items you would have a chance with if you saved them for your kids, but overall, its not going to be worth the space to save them and regardless of how cool you think it is it won’t elicit the excitement form your kid that a new shiny electronic device or new toy does.

    • katarzyna says:

      My nieces love playing with the toys their father and I played with 35-40 years ago, everything from Star Wars to the Winnie the Pooh treehouse to a three-level garage/gas station with a working elevator. They’re kept at grandma’s house (my mom), and played with mostly on holidays, so the kids don’t get sick of them. My mom lives alone and has 3300 sq feet of living space, so storage isn’t a problem.

      These aren’t kids who want for toys, either – I mean, it’s almost impossible to buy toys for them because they already have them all. So it’s not like they don’t know better.

  27. Bor&Mitch says:

    The other factor depressing prices is that anyone nostalgic for the old comic books but doesn’t necessarily want to own them again can just download the scanned versions and read them on a tablet.

  28. buzz86us says:

    I just buy what I like so that the writers/artists could make the money off comics that I enjoyed. When I first got downloadable comics the first comic I downloaded was the Miracleman series (always wanted to read it never had the money to buy it) along with many of the older Captain Marvel Adventures stuff.

  29. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    The market is crap…has been for the past few years…for obvious reasons.

    If you’re going to take your collection to a convention, which is the best way to dispose of them for non-stupid prices, be willing to discount at least 25% from guide value, except for truly key books and/or really valuable books.

    And no, your awesome Image collection isn’t “really valuable” – it’s worthless. Same for pretty much anything from the 90s. Which at least they pointed out in the article…but they didn’t emphasize how much the worthlessness has become. Let me reiterate: WORTHLESS. Pretty much everything from the 90s can be found in 50 cent boxes. Including Spawn #1, and everything Valiant made…and essentially everything else from every other publisher too. Only stuff that was actually rare that came out during the 90s, or very few key issues, have any value. The printed a billion copies of Spider-Man #1, and X-Men #1. And they were all “saved” by “collectors” – and because of that, they have no value. At. All.

    You need Bronze Age or older, as a rule, to have any value in your collection. And as a rule, the expensive stuff is hard to move these days – but you can move $25 comics all day long at a convention. Interest in low grade stuff is all but gone…need midgrade or higher.

    Selling your whole collection to a dealer will probably net you ~10% of book value. That’s a last resort. And posting it on Craigslist will probably only attract the convention dealers that are going to offer you ~10% of book value. eBay isn’t much better…but you might get 20% on there if you find the right audience and have the right books.

    You might find someone to consign the collection, and take them to conventions for you. A few years I agreed to do that for someone…I took 20% off the top. And it wasn’t worth it. If I was going to do it again, I’d ask for a minimum of 33%. Maybe 50%, just to make it worth the time and effort I had to put into it.

    I guess the best advice I can give right now is that if you have a collection of Bronze Age or earlier, just hang onto it for a few more years. The demand will come back up, and you’ll get better prices. If your collection is all 90s and later – it’s never going to be worth anything. Just dump it if you are tired of looking at it. No point in holding onto it – there’s still going to be a million copies of Deathmate floating around 100 years from now. And they will never be worth cover price ever again.

  30. HomerSimpson says:

    This same advice (and caveats) applies to all the idiots out there collecting (um, no…HOARDING) stashes of ‘mint on card’ action figures, Hot Wheels cars, etc. Stuff from the recent past is usually worth JACK, no matter what “teh price guide” says to the contrary because they made a bajillion of them, and most have never been out of the package and had the time to be destroyed like true collectibles.

  31. shthar says:

    Any comic from after 1982 = worthless

    • Firevine says:

      Including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, which has gone for around $6000 with a high CCG grade? Good to know. It will sure make it easier to get my hands on one.

      • shthar says:

        dog bites man.

        An event so rare as to be the same statistically as never happening.

        Mainly used to fool people into thinking something that is worthless, is actually priceless.

        Often used in tv shows such as Pawn Stars or Antique Roadshow.

  32. Coyoty says:

    It helps to bundle your comics in lots of different storylines or topical themes. If you’ve got a complete JLA story, sell it as one lot, because the buyer won’t have to know too much background to enjoy it as one complete “novel”. If there’s a holiday coming up, bundle comics with that holiday’s theme. If there’s been a major event in the news and you have comics relating to it, bundle those comics and sell them ASAP while it’s still fresh in the news.

  33. ancientone567 says:

    For God sakes, this is the worst time in history to sell antiques or collectables. Hold on to them until the market returns. If you do this you will get many times more their current worth. THE MARKET IS DEAD!!!!!

    • Bor&Mitch says:

      I think the point several people are making in this thread is that some ‘collectibles’ will never be worth anything no matter how long you hold onto them because there are just too many of them. This is particularly true for stuff that was mass-produced for the express purpose of being collectible, whether it’s commemorative coins and stamps, beanie babies, or comic books.

      The real lesson here is that buying ‘stuff’ with the intent of selling it for a profit in the future is much like the stock market – you have to get in on a good thing before everyone else catches on. Once the masses start pouring in it’s too late, and that’s what happened to comics in the late 80s and beyond.

  34. gnordy says:

    For a few years I had been trying to sell my comic collection on ebay. I had limited success; usually by posting 20 comics for $5 and mixing and matching. My collection had about 3,000 issues from the 80′s-00′s, so this got quite old quickly. The return did not justify the effort.

    Instead, two years ago I donated the majority of my comic collection to Collectibles for Causes and took the tax deduction. All I needed was an inventory of all the books and the value. I used Comic Base software and logged all of my comics and it also told me the value. The best part of this is that I was able to deduct the price guide value. Since I itemize and I am in a high tax bracket, I was able to get a good amount back on my tax return. Not a bad deal and I didn’t have to waste any more time trying to sell on ebay.

  35. katarzyna says:

    1) Acquire comic book collection.
    2) Find Sheldon Cooper
    3) ???
    4) Profit?