Don’t micro manage
I know many collectors and investors that have their comics itemized as to when they were bought and how much they cost. This is obviously a smart thing to do since you are then able to keep track of how much money you’re making (or losing).
Sometimes circumstances arise that make it next to impossible to make a profit on a specific book. Maybe you made a mistake and just paid too much, maybe you over graded it, maybe the market on this book is softening, etc. etc. If this sale of this book is needed for cash flow or for financing the purchase of another comic then it should be sold, even at a loss!
People buying and selling comics can turn over a lot of comics over the course of say a year. It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll make the right decision every time. It is much more practical to measure your success by a simple method like money invested vs. money returned. If I sold 173 comics last year and I had $6000 into them I can measure my success by comparing this amount to net sales. Say I sold the comics for $8400 (after accounting for expenses). In this example I did well over the year since I made a 40% return on my money.
It seems like obvious stuff but you’d be surprised at how many people let pride and stubbornness trip them up. People will list on sites like eBay at an unreasonable minimum reserve (an amount that will pay for their fees and still turn them a profit), not get a bid then relist at an amount that will enable them to break even and again not get a bid all the while wasting time and money.
When I buy a batch of comics at a con the first thing I do before I start pricing them up is to take them out of the bags completely so I don’t see the original price tag. It may turn out that I priced a couple of books in the pile at less that what I paid but what concerns me more is the total amount of money I’ll pull out of the pile.
Cash flow is needed, the book has to sell, list it at no reserve and let the market decide. If you get stung, too bad, learn from it and more on.
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada