Chris and Walt are back with a vengeance, tackling the tough questions around what to do with all those investment comics we’ve bought up over the past couple of years, you know, the ones we paid way too much for.
Please let us know what you thought of the show: leave your comments below this post. All we ask is that you keep things civil.
Do you have any comics you bought at what now seems a steep price over these past couple of years?
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Oh, so much of what is said reflects my last 3 years; as a collector, I have no regrets, beautiful books that will stay with me for many more years. For things like GSX#1, yes, I may double down if I can locate a Dave Cockrum signed copy.
I did purchase a couple of books that were for speculation – She-Hulks, Shang-Chi – and these are going to be discounted and sold off for what i paid, no win, no loss.
Overall, the boom was a good time to collect for me, lot’s of books coming onto the market, the ability to find high quality copies and any spares I had were quickly snatched up by a hungry market.
These days I find it harder; higher quality books are scarce (except at Big B, where the customer always wins!), some sellers haven’t adjusted their prices back down and there are definitely speculators who have disappeared from the hobby, but they’ve taken their books with them, they are waiting for the glory days to return. I’m not seeing any fire sales!
Finally figured how to comment! By the way Chris… you can relive that motel culture with tons of neon as well if you go to Wildwood NJ. They must have the largest number of 50’s/60’s motels in the world.
Luckily I bought no big books during the Pandemic but have done well selling in the past year. Some things have been a bit disappointing and others have surpassed any of my speculations. While I can say in the last year I have only been actually seek 9 months of it, my sales have garnered close to 30k and I still have a lot of great stuff left. Lucky for me I bought most of my comics a long time ago so the majority of that number is profit, owing to the fact I am retired now and essentially unemployed, taxes were not a problem. The 50’s horror has been selling very well, an example is Tales from the Crypt 24 at over $900. Marvels sell well but DC is hit and miss. Did I mention everything is raw? Even got rid of the Electra Assassin run! If you bought high during the Pandemic… I say sit on it then unload those books early in the next speculation boom!
Lordy, lordy! What a rigamarole. I do not subscribe to any anti-social media platforms and I don’t want to build a website, but, fortunately, I have a Gmail account as well as Hotmail, so Google was my only way in! I have talked to other people who had a hard time too, and at least one person who has given up. Everything was just so simple before! We’re not all as tech savvy as some, and I fear you may lose some great comments because of this new restriction. Personally, I will probably content myself with just reading the posts and saving my comments for the folks I have Emails for, which includes most of the people I ever want to interact with anyway! It’s been a slice!
hasta la vista, mel
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec,
in Montreal has 57,000 books available digitally and hard copy, with royalties paid to publishers and creators!
Good to hear from you Gerald, you back in NY?
Spider, that is great advise because there will be another spaculative run sometime soon and although things might not run all the way back up, at least they’ll move that way people can take advantage.
Really enjoyed this conversation. My first time listening to a podcast all the way through! I missed the whole recent comic boom and just this year I’ve started buying comics that I actually want to own and that won’t bust the bank. If it goes up great if not all good.
I bought because I wanted it for my collection.
This year was also the first time I started buying slabbed comics – which still feels weird to me, but I’ve found great deals on comics that are well graded 8.0-9.0 and only $10-$20 more than a raw copy. Full disclosure I started collecting in the late 70’s stopped in the early 90’s and just recently started again selectively buy here and there. I buy for the love of it and just buy from 1983 and before – from the time I really remember buying comics at the local supermarket or newsstand.
I plan to just leave them for my kid, who seems to be becoming an avid reader.
I look forward to the next episode!
For anyone not wanting to use log on methods that involve data-harvesting (Google, Fb, Apple etc)…WordPress could be the best method.
I think the main points were covered well, although I don’t care for talk about “paid too much”, “not sustainable”, etc. & etc. The market is the market, and like Chris said, if you could predict the future, you’d be the richest person on earth.
However you can base your decisions on information. This is back to the issue of buyer’s remorse, but rather the flipside – fear of non-buyer’s remorse. “If I had only bought that last year!” This seems to have driven the the runup – leading to many situations like Walt’s, as people looked at what they had bought and wondered about it, then put it back on the market. Compounded with the population of ungraded books that were now grading candidates, this led to the rapid price drop. If people had thought more about a) their exit strategy, and b) the true scarcity in grade of the books they were looking at, the boom/bust would have been smaller.
I will pat myself on the back a bit for missing most of this, because I am generally behind the market and focused on scarcity. But in a different world I would instead be kicking myself, if the new buyer population had continued to expand, and everybody just had to have a slabbed book in their house. This is the bitcoin situation – just the vagaries of demand. So I think we should avoid any Monday morning quarterbacking and talk about now (as the second half of the show did).
I agree with Chris that saying “we’ll never see those levels again” is more misguided prognostication. I am not betting (emphasis on “bet”) on appreciation in common books. However I will bet on continued appreciation in truly scarce and interesting books, because these continue to be culturally significant, and get older and scarcer every day. Walt gives Chamber of Chills #19 as a great example. There are many more issues (mostly Golden Age) of this type. Also I note the ultra-high-grade Silver and Bronze seem to have held up very well through this period. So I think the idea of “blue chip” books is mistaken – there is something to the idea that some books (Hulk #181 etc.) are better known, and this wider audience enhances liquidity, but this also limits chance to get a copy for what one believes to be a great price. Those late Whitman cover Jungles are super super scarce in high grade and beautiful in my opinion. Compare to the performance of Whitman Planets, and you have just one example of the opportunities that I think are still out there.
Finally, Walt draws a distinction between “buy what you like” and “buy what you think will appreciate”, but I think it is simply both. You are throwing money away with just the former, and you are operating without confidence (e.g. Walt’s first story) with just the latter. I have refused to follow the crowd with some books (say Marvel Spotlight #5) because I simply don’t get the hubbub. I was “wrong” in that the book continued to appreciate, but my regret at not being involved in something I wasn’t confident about is surely less than it would have been had I bought and the book tanked. I would argue that even pure dealers need to operate this way, because this is not a commodity business where you don’t need to have a story behind your sale. I saw one dealer talk a customer away from Flash #105 because he clearly didn’t care for the book – not good for the bottom line.
Yes, bande dessinée comics have a secondary market, the same as North American comics. First printings or key albums command high prices.
Meli, insightful commentary, you should teach a course on this! I think most of what I say is right for some segment of the market at any particular time, which leaves me lots of outs. I also like your emphasis on true scarcity over your past few comments, that is proving to be the most important piece of information.
Thanks Scott. Is this a by-product of North American collectibles market? Are there noted and recognized 1st appearances by say – Tintin?