On the Road Again

What a week. Had a big flood in the house and now can’t use half the space! Insurance guy still working on the scope of the fix-up. Then as it started getting hot and muggy my Air Conditioner broke, can’t get a new one until early June. All a bit of a disruption but I think the shakeup from the same old routine is a healthy thing so I’m counting these little blips as blessings that are making me alter and adapt, change things up. As a side note, no comics got damaged at the house flood, yay!

The shop is still in lockdown and the Ontario government just extended it further to June 14th for small non-essential business. We’re trying to make do and trying to stay positive and we’re also still trying to get more books up on bigbcomics.com. I bought a new scanner for the project, good ergonomics as there is no opening and closing of lids, the thing is fast and can also scan two comics as once as save as separate files. Tuesday we put it into use. I know I’ve made promises before about putting lots of books up but this time is different…

I’ve been buying up some raw collections lately, was in St. Catherines last week buying up some quality Copper Age stuff, it was nice going to someone’s place and looking through their collection, like the old days. I’m trying to remember back in the day, did more people bring their collections into the shop or did I have to make the trip to their place? I think it was pretty even as I know I’ve been all over Ontario for sure looking at stuff. Funny but someone will mention a small town in conversation – “I have in-laws in Listowel…” and then I’d say hey I once looked at a comic collection there, quite the conversation killer.

The furthest I ever drove to see (and buy) a collection was to Omaha Nebraska, and once I did have a guy fly out to Vancouver for me to buy me a Batman #1 in really low grade, that was an Airport Lobby deal, my guy never even left the airport, I think he caught a flight back that day. I guess these beautiful sunny days and that drive out to St. Catherines has me pining to get out on the road and hunt me down some comics. Soon son, soon.

This week our eBay auctions were strong, amongst all the stuff I’d like to highlight one particular book, this CGC 2.5 Resto copy of Superman #26 sold for $396.00. All the book had was some minor colour though, nothing for a book in this grade. Superman #26 has that classic World War II cover and the buyer got it for a steal.

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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.
Articles: 1579

17 Comments

  1. That Superman is really nice. I have a few early Superman comics around that number that I bought over the years.

    Just think, if the Nazi held by Superman had been depicted as Hitler, that issue probably would have sold for much more.

    Walt, what make and model is that scanner? It sounds like a worthwhile purchase.

  2. Wow… that was a steal on Supes… heck thats almost in my affordability category! Yes… non opening scanner sounds interesting! I hope everything works out with the flooding mess!

  3. I’m curious about the scanner too. Might be time to upgrade. There is a 90 degree scanner, Craig Yoe has one, but not seen one in actiony. Lay book open, scanner supports book open just 90 degrees, not flat. Expensive though I hear.

    I need that Suiperman #26. I would have bought it! Those Nazi was covers always go above guide.

    Floods, water…sooner or later we all seem to get hit. My original 60s DC Silver Age comics, some key Kirbys, and a flatfile of children’s book art lost to a newly built but leaking basement wall, and a leaky trailer roof. Long ago but still hurts.

    Just had a shower pipe within the wall with very slow leak over time, cause black mold in a comics closet, and broke down wood on a bookcase bottoms, but all comics bagged in boxes so no damage. Just last year.

  4. Bud, sorry to hear about those lost to water books, and I like how it still hurts, you’re a true comic book man!

    Ivan, and all, the scanner is a Fujitsu, Scan Snap SV600, we just need a canopy over the top of it so it doesn’t get the ceiling light, it’s own light produces no glare over the surface area of the comic.

    Guys, that Sup was tough to see go, the consignor didn’t like the resto and I was tempted to win it but then again I’d be tempted to bid on so many listings my cash flow would be upside down.

  5. hey, brains trust, can I tap into to the wealth on knowledge here…can someone solve a few things for me please?

    Why do women say ‘fine’ when things are clearly anything but fine?
    I was reading Walter’s brilliant Undervalued Spotlight: https://www.comicbookdaily.com/collecting-community/undervalued/undervalued-spotlight-198/ and bought most of the Power-man issues he recommended, there is a line in there that power-man #57 (which is worth big $) was an early X-men appearance…but why?

    If XM94 is Aug 1975 and PM57 is Jun 1979 and by that time Byrne and Claremont are up to #122 (30 appearances!). Or did the X-men not leave their title often (MTU Annual #1, another pick from ‘the High Priest of Hamilton’ is December 1976) I bought Iron Fist #15, that has X-men pretty early on too at Sept 1977.

    ….so I guess we’re 3rd appearance outside their own title in 4 years (and NOT drawn by Byrne/Claremont either!) . I’m not seeing the value on this one. Anyone got an insight for me?

    Walter, can we do an Undervalued on issue Power man & iron Fist #54: first ‘heroes for hire’ when they meet and decide to join forces, at $5….could be some really good buying!

  6. That’s Joseph Goebbels, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, considering MSM propaganda and fake news, Mr. Goebbels may have more historic importance concerning crimes against mankind, than Hitler…a terrific buy. Note to self…check Walt’s auctions.

  7. Spider, old quotes can grow out of fashion and relevance but they sometimes naggingly stay around, and that Power Man #54 sounds like a perfect Guest Spotlight candidate, know anybody willing to write it up?

  8. I wonder whether the price realized on that Superman #26 fell victim to the Ebay changes of May 11. On that date Ebay confirmed, among other things, that it would no longer use “categories” for its listings, and instead any desired listings could be found by using a series of “filters.” All comic books and graphic novels would be listed together, and you could filter the results for characters, companies, artists, or whatever. I hated it immediately. It seemed to me that the old way worked well. I was actually up and on Ebay when the May 11 changes were implemented (in the middle of the night, for me, in the Midwest). Things just disappeared. The Golden Age category just disappeared. The total listings under that filter, when I eventually (days later) found and tried it, had tumbled to about 10,000 listings (from typically 90,000, or so). Apparently there was some sort of notice of the coming changes, but not in a way that would be noticed by someone like me. Applying Ebay’s Golden Age filter a few days ago yielded about 15,000 items; this afternoon that Golden Age filter produces about 36,000 listings. My Comic Shop has been busy there this week, probably adapting to the new filters.

    I have been much more an Ebay buyer than a seller, and remain unhappy with the changes to Ebay’s format. For a while I could not access any of the “categories” I have patrolled for years. I have always been a scroller, not a searcher, looking for old comic books as they pop up. I looked at nearly everything that went up under the “Golden Age Comics” category, leaving bids and watching items of interest as I went. Almost none of what I buy is something I actually searched for, or was specifically hoping to find, but rather would be just something I found as I scrolled Ebay’s pages. I suspect that I will have a hard time continuing to shop Ebay, even after more than 20 happy years prowling there, at least as things presently stand. Yes, you can now “filter” for Golden Age, and for “newly listed” or “ending soonest,” so it may work out in the end. But I do think some listings got harder to find, for a while at least, and that some of those listings may have been missed by most Ebay users. I have noticed that a number of books that I had bid on during this time (your Superman #26 was actually one of them) are listed in the “Did Not Win” section of My Ebay as having closed at what struck me as less than market, less than I might have expected. I wasn’t there to pounce on any of those at the just-right time, so they just got away. If they got away from me, then they probably got away from others, too. And that seems likely to have led to some disappointing prices realized by sellers on the site. I sure would have avoided putting up any big-ticket listings in the middle of a format shift, if I were a seller. But I don’t think most sellers saw this coming, despite some sort of notice in a seller update.

    Also the May 11 changes will end the category for “Adults Only” material, and restrict what may be included in other areas to prohibit depictions of suggestive poses, etc. Only Heaven knows how Ebay’s vague new restrictions will affect our funny books. Undergrounds, anyone?

  9. I’m not sure what you’re referring to, Mike.

    I just went on eBay just now and the category list came right up. I typed in Golden Age Comics in search and selected Collectibles in the drop down list and the page came right up with a great selection of GA books.

    Is the change you mention yet to be activated?

  10. Klaus, many of the Ebay functionality problems that initially concerned me appear to be resolved; at least I hope so. In my earlier comment I had been referring to Ebay’s May 2021 format changes that led to several days (May 11, and a few days after) when it was much harder for people to use Ebay in searching by category. Right now all comic books are “Listed in category: Collectibles>Comic Books & Memorabilia>Comics>Comics & Graphic Novels.” That’s as far as the comic book “categories” go. From that massive category (presently with 5.3 million listings) one now “filters” down to what is sought. I suppose that will work well enough, once the sellers apply the most apt filters for their listings. But this is definitely a change, and, well, I’m an old guy, so, you know, change is hard.

    I could be wrong, but my guess is that Walt’s Superman 26 was originally listed (or prepared for listing) in this category chain: “Collectibles>Comics>Golden Age>Superheroes>Superman.” Or something like that. When Ebay pared back its categories, all of the existing listings got put into the hopper, well, somewhere, and then could not be easily found for a while, because for several days the usual “categories” were not available at all, even as “filters.” Maybe this is more semantics than substance. But for those several days collectors like me could not get to the full roster of Golden Age Comics, and the whole population of listings from a “Golden Age” search tumbled to much, much smaller numbers. Once the May 11 changes were made, those who would have most easily found Walt’s Superman #26 would likely include that listing’s already active bidders, the book’s watchers, and anyone who had searched for Superman #26 (which, by the way, would also yield anything, of any era with “Superman” and “26” in the listing, at least until the Golden Age filter was added a few days later; a search for Superman 26 right now will produce about 1150 listings; but yes, you can now filter for “Golden Age” and promptly get to the right offerings). My original intended point in all of this was that the seemingly low price realized on the Superman 26 (generally an over-Guide book) may have more to do with Ebay at that moment, than with the book itself or with the collectors who might want it.

    I have for a long time maintained two always-open tabs on my computer, one for Ebay’s Golden Age Comics category, and a second for “Comic Book Collections.” When the May 11 changes occurred these two tabbed pages went to the familiar “It’s Not You. It’s Us” notification, as usually shown when a page on Ebay would not load. Those tabbed pages then went active again near the end of that week, but each of them now opened to the whole soup of more than 5 million listings; however it is true that the filters then appeared, too, so I could get where I wanted to be (finally, after days of trying). You might want to note that the “Comic Book Collections” category has now morphed into a “Complete Collections” filter. To me “Complete Collections” means something different than just “Collections,” and I think it will be seen differently by sellers outside the hobby, too. I think there will be less listings in that area, and less interesting listings also, under this new filter. Nothing could top the old “Mixed Lots” category from Ebay’s earlier days, though. Ebay dumped that category quite a few years ago, but was a great place to find offerings from non-collectors looking to send a stack or two to a new home. Lots of nice surprises there over the years.

    The category-to-filters format changes seem to be already implemented. It may take sellers a while to set up all the new filters, as they continue to find their market. The intended changes to Adults Only materials and restrictions on “suggestive” material have a June implementation date, or so I’m told.

    I hope not to make more of any of this than is warranted. But I do think the roll-out of new changes was pretty clunky, and, for me anyway, frustrating. But all’s well that ends well, and, yes, I’ll probably get used to the way things will now be.

  11. Here’s a short addendum to my previous comments. I just now ran an Ebay search on Superman 26. It yields 1151 results in the “Comic Books & Graphic Novels” category. There are 4 different copies of Superman 26 (1944) shown on just the first page of the search results. If I then apply the “Golden Age” filter to that same search it reduces the results to only 6 items altogether, including only two of those four 1944 copies of Superman 26, two copies of TV Guide #26 (the Superman issue), a copy of World’s Finest 26, and Walt’s coverless copy of Action #26 which is currently at auction. How would one find the other copies of Superman #26, without scrolling through hundreds of unwanteds? We’re left to hope the seller checked the same filters we would use in searching, I think. And, well, that seems to be less than perfect. A specific search for the book might turn it up; but scrolling Golden Age browsers, like me, would probably not even see the listing. The old categories available in Ebay’s listing tools usually steered sellers (especially non-collector sellers) into the right areas. [The subject of treasure to be found among mislisted items is another matter altogether.] One of the four 1944 Superman #26 issues which was NOT listed in the search results after applying that Golden Age filter is a pretty nice looking lower grade copy, with six days to go, and presently bid in at $128.50. That seller has other nice lower grade Superman issues of the same vintage, too. And you probably wouldn’t find them if you’re searching with a Golden Age filter, either. Will the seller get what he should for those books? We’ll see.

  12. I’m getting up there too, Mike. I’m 70.

    There is a really tattered S26 on there right now with a bid of $494. USD. The thing is heavily water stained, moldy, with cover pieces missing, looking like a damp basement find, and Goebbels is almost completely missing from the cover.

    That copy makes Walt’s copy look like a gem for $396.

  13. You’ve got me, Klaus. I’ll be 67 in October. But I’ve got some tailwind in the hobby, as I’ve been active in the field as a sometimes-seller, fairly-aggressive-collector, and always-looking-hoarder continuously since 1968. So I may catch up with you yet, if only from the sheer weight of all this stuff, combined with the irresistible force of gravity. [Science buffs need not straighten my errant thoughts; I’d rather be wrong, when it comes to such four-color fancies.]

    Walt’s modestly restored Superman 26 was a bargain by any measure, but the fact that plainly unattractive copies are selling for more than the realized price is compelling confirmation, too. I think these circumstances suggest as possible cause the problem with Ebay earlier this month that I have previously mentioned, but of course that can only be speculation, unproven, but still probable, in my view.

  14. I wonder what the owner of Walt’s copy thinks about the low price his nice copy sold for.

    It’s not hard for you to catch up with me, Mike. I’ve been coĺlecting off and on for about 50+ years, my collection only sits at 2 and half long boxes. I’m fussy about my choices, preferring golden age comics but, condition-wise, will settle for fair to fine, providing it has a good look-feel to it, no brittleness or musty smell, and is complete.

    In the case of really expensive books, one with a missing centerfold is acceptable, as long as the price is a steal. For example, I picked up a VG golden age Marvel Mystery #5, with a double missing centerfold, for $12. CDN. Hard to beat that.

  15. I am not a fan of eBays pared down listings… now I have to look at stuff I will never, ever be interested in buying!

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