I know this guy I deal comics regularly with who is a real whiz at taking a big book I sell him and turning it into several smaller books that add up to way more than the value of the book I sold him. What he’s doing is trading down and he’s making a profit doing it and he’s done it quite often over the past two years.
I’ve never been good at trading up or trading down. I’ve tried it a bunch of times over the years but I never got really good at it. It is a tough game, a game of networking, patience and opportunism with a good dose of poker face negotiating thrown in. I did find it a bit easier to trade up because it usually meant I was giving up more value than I was getting but my philosophy there was that I was giving up a bunch of smaller, more replaceable pieces for one tough elusive piece. I’d get to where I think my limit was for the trade and then the guy would throw one more lesser book in just to ice the deal! Gah, then I’d justify that it’s a piece I won’t miss etc. etc. and I’d cave.
I’ve always found it even harder to trade down at a gain, which is probably why I’m so impressed with my buddy I mentioned at the beginning of this piece. I think the toughest part is the networking, getting the word out to the right circles that I have a big book I want to trade, I think my business keeps me from having the time to connect to these networks. My business is designed to allowed me to wait for people to come to me, it’s made me lazy. I think I’d do OK once I knew how to tap into these trader groups.
Trading up or down or even sideways for that matter is becoming more and more popular as the good books price themselves out for most of us. It’s a lot easier trading an X-Men #1 and a Fantastic Four #1 you already own but may not be partial to for an Amazing Fantasy #15 that you don’t own but really want. Of course, all my examples don’t have to be books this big, this could work for a Doctor Strange #169 and a Hulk #102 and a Nick Fury #1 being traded for an Iron Man #1 or vice versa.
It’s hard to trade at a con to a dealer, you are almost always trading down when you trade with a dealer even if you are giving up the big book. I think it’s best that this type of trading happens from collector to collector.
So what would you rather have, one $10,000 book or twenty $500 books or one hundred $100 books? That obviously depends on a lot of stuff like what you collect, what your liquidity needs are, what your risk tolerance is in terms of how many egg baskets you want your risk spread over and so on.
I do want to be a more active trader going forward, I guess I’ll have to start familiarizing myself with that part of the marketplace.
Do you trade up? Do you trade down? What are the best places to do this? Facebook? The CGC Boards? Other sites or clubs?
Speaking of clubs, we clobbered our weekly internationalcollectiblesexchange eBay auctions last night, we had some strong results including this nice CGC 4.0 copy of Amazing Spider-Man #14 featuring the first appearance of the Green Goblin, the book sold for $2900 USD breaking the old July mark easily. Early Spidey, major first appearance of a top 5 Spidey villain says advantage buyer all the way.