Welcome to 2021 everyone, though much of what the new year will bring is out of our control let’s remember that there’s also much that remains within our control. Our kindness, empathy, vigilance, positive attitude, hard work and perseverance will make 2021 a winning year, let’s get to work.
I’ve thought long and hard over the past couple of months as to what direction to take my weekly posts. A spark caught my attention as I was doing my Making A Splash posts last year, I got onto a vein where I’d put up splash pages from comics that I was listing on eBay that week. The idea was if I focused on those random books sitting in front of me there was a chance I’d be adding something new to the already vast archive of splash pages online. I wanted to transfer that sense of discovery into this year’s new posts.
I also want these posts to focus on comic book collecting, on assessing values, on spotting trends on solving problems that affect both the buyers and the sellers in the comic book marketplace. As much as you think you know there is always way more to learn and with that in mind I’ve decided to share a year-long project we’ve undertaken at Big B Comics and ICE.
In the fall we bought a warehouse worth of comics, actually two separate warehouses, almost 1,600 long boxes or about 400,000 comics. In November I had so many comic boxes strewn over so many little storage spaces, the Big B basement in Hamilton, my dad’s garage, the Big B basement in Niagara Falls, my garage, my buddy’s dad’s shed out behind his flooring business and my brother in law’s garage. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner but in December I leased a 3,000 square foot warehouse and over the course of three back-breaking weeks got all the boxes into this one centralized space. We’ll be spending the next year at least discovering what exactly is in there because I’ve only peeked into about 25% of the boxes, just enough to know that I wanted to buy the stuff.
Based on the boxes I’ve looked in I can safely say that almost all the books are from the mid-1970s to the late 2010s. The first challenge is to try to line the boxes up in some sort of order (luckily they were numbered boxes whose order seemed relatively intact). I think the next step will be to try to alphanumeric everything, even if this takes 6 weeks it will be our best bet to know what we have).
The idea is that I update weekly on how this battle goes, I’ll share the wins and I’ll share the losses, I’ll share the unique and rare finds and I’ll share the full long box of an issue that might be worth a dime. I honestly don’t know what I’ll find in here but I thought I’d chronicle my progress.
I won’t limit these posts to this warehouse purchase, I’ll also include any other pickups as the year goes on. Big B Comics is a really good back issue store, always has been, but collections are drying up, Covid has limited what people are bringing in, and it’s limited to where we can go to look at collections. Covid has also created a seller’s market with way more demand than supply. Let’s see how Big B Comics does in this new and challenging environment.
Next week I’ll post my first impressions as I’ve started to lift off a few lids today.
I’d also like to announce the return of our Comic Culture podcast which will be posted every Wednesday, Chris Owen and I will continue to explore the world of Comic Book Culture and we both hope you tune in and give it a try.
Also, in keeping with my focus on getting through this warehouse collection, I’ll also be adding sporadic Auction Highlights, I’ll focus on how our books, both graded and raw are doing on our eBay auctions.
Hopefully, this post can deliver content worth exploring, what I’m excited about is that I have no idea where this is going. And I’ll give myself a week to come up with a name, Time to Collect will be fine if I can’t find a more fitting one.
Boy , this is going to be an exciting time and a back breaking one all rolled into one , Walter ! imagine if 4 or 5 longs contain nothing but Silver Age comics !!! this could definitely turn into a real bonanza for you ! can’t wait to see what the upcoming weeks brings us !
Holy funny books Batman! That looks like a collector’s heaven and a cataloguer’s hell. This sounds like it will be a very different and exciting post Walt, and I’m sure looking forward to seeing what pops out of those Pandora’s boxes. Remember, after Pandora pulled out all that misery, the last thing she pulled out was Hope. I hope you know what you’re in for! Cheers mate!
I would love to have a hint as to what you saw beneath the lids of those few boxes that caused you to buy the whole hoard!!
Stacked 7 high! Geez… that’s a lot of boxes Walt. This is how fun turns into real work. I hope you’re able to mine some gems from thar them boxes. Happy prospecting ^_^
Hey Walt, how about Time to Collate?
After all that lifting Walt, you yourself are going to resemble one of our comic book superheroes….your lats must be HUGE!!!!!
Stay strong Sir and fight the good fight!
Thanks for being open minded with this fellas. My lats are like Franco Columbo’s right now Spider!
I know what you mean about work Charlie, when I hit those boxes full of Excaliber it will be. I really did not see hardly any Silver Age in the boxes I’ve peeped in.
How about Time to Run Mel.
I once bought a collection of 6 boxes. Then a collection of 15 boxes a few months later. That’s over 20 long boxes in my small basement, on top of my own personal collection. From the outside looking in, the hope of uncovering something interesting seemed fun and exciting. In practice, staying up late, rummaging through old books, sorting, rebagging… then lugging them around to shows to try and recoup my cost, and eventually cover my time and effort… If I ever get that prospectors gleam in my eyes again, promise me Walt that you’ll tackle me, lock me down in my basement and give my wife the key. I’ll pray for an Excaliber movie on your behalf.
Consider it done Charlie and I too pray for an Excaliber movie, and a Justice League Europe movie, and a Legion of Superheroes movie and …
I envy you. For every run of Legionnaires Three (or maybe hundred runs) I think you’ll see an All-New Marvel Now! Point One. I just went through all of my raw boxes and extracted a handful of maybe valuable candidates, but in the process I ran into a lot of old friends. I hope you find gold in them thar boxes, but in any case it sounds like good fun. If they ever open the border I’ll drive up to buy some of those many wonderful modern covers from our 2019/2020 exercise that will be showing up in the Undervalued Spotlights of 2025.
Hey Meli, pick me up on your way thru Albany and we’ll make it a road trip!
And here I thought my 3 long boxes were starting to fill up my apartment.
Chris and Gerald, I’ll buy the schnitzels when you get here. It should be fun Chris, it definitely has added some excitement here at the shop and that’s what we needed at the moment.
Klaus, you need a bigger apartment.
Treasure hunting is a lot of work but it can be done. Dibs on Canadian Silver! A seller/friend of mine in Kelowna has a warehouse of boxes running from about 1983 to 2008-ish. He’s excavating a lot of unusual indy comics and oddities – Crimson Nun, anyone? Captain Gravity? – he had ’em and I got ’em.
Maybe you should propose a “Curse of” comic excavating reality series for the History Channel.