Toronto ComiCon 2014: A Collector Sets Up To Sell

I was set up at ComiCon this year and so I thought I'd share with everyone what I sold over the 3 days. I know some people are curious and this insight might help them decide if they would like to set up themselves.

I was set up at ComiCon this year and so I thought I’d share with everyone what I sold over the 3 days. I know some people are curious and this insight might help them decide if they would like to set up themselves. First some context:

• I was primarily pushing CGC books (from silver to modern, $50 to $4000)
• I also had some trades and sets that I bundled up
• I am not a retailer… just a hobbyist
• I’ve done this show before and have always split a table to offset the costToronto Comicon Logo 2012Here’s what I sold:

Friday:
Nothing!

Saturday:
Strange Tales #110, CGC 4.0 (thanks Dennis!)
Sandman #1-6 (trades)
Orchid #1-3 (back issues)
Batman Year 1, 2 & 3 sets
Hulk (HC)
Couple of other trades…

Sunday:
Wolverine #1, 9.2 (first solo)
Justice League #1, 9.8 signed by Lee & Finch
Next Men #21, 9.8
Avengers Annual #10, 9.4
Conan #24 (limited nude edition), 9.8
Couple other trades…

Total: About $2400 in sales

After deducting my set up cost and the cost of my books, I made about $400 to $500 profit, which is not much when split across 3 days… barely worth the effort. However, it’s worth mentioning that this was the worst for me in terms of sales, compared to previous years. I’m not sure how the other vendors fared but the stock response that I received was “we did okay”. Most vendors have more inventory and more variety than me… but they also have a higher set up cost, including staff.

I was a niche player targeting a specific type of person. Although there were many attendees, I estimate that there were only about 20 potential buyers during the whole show for the kind of books that I had. Despite my best efforts… I do recognize that nearly all my sales were just complete flukes. Purely spontaneous purchases because the right person happen to see the right book at the right price while passing by. That’s just the nature of this kind of venue.

Will I do this show again? Yes (as long as it’s relatively cheap). I signed up again for next year because it was fun. I make much more money as a designer and I can do just as well (or better, since there’s less overhead) on eBay. But the Con venue is more social. I was able to cash out on some books, have fun chatting with people who I might run into once or twice a year, and pay off some bills at the same time. Hobbies are for enjoyment and so the entertainment value is definitely a big factor.

 

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Charlie Kim
Charlie Kim is a designer who is currently transitioning into teaching. While working for various companies, he helped develop many international brands such as the Hong Kong Airport identity, Lenovo’s sponsorship program for the Beijing Olympics and Lavasa, a new city being developed in India. Locally, he's also worked on the 1998 campaign for the Canadian Opera Company, the Canadian Innovations stamp for Canada Post and the terrible Grand & Toy re-brand (hey, they can't all be winners). Charlie’s love affair with art and design all began with comics.
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4 Comments

  1. These cons are a tough slog Charlie. We’ve been doing them for so long we have the luxury of being on the “stop at” list for a lot of collectors. But collectors are unforgiving at times, you are only as good as your last collection in this game.

    I noticed that more and more collectors were asking for comics that are considered modern.

    Batman Adventures #12, Saga #1, New Mutants #98 etc. are the books to have. It seems the only Silver/Bronze age books flying are the ones that have been recently revealed as relevant to some movie.

    We sold our Avengers #28 within a half hour of the show opening (the Collector will be in the new Guardians movie I guess). We still have our nice copies of Avengers #27 and #29.

    I don’t think just bringing old comics is good enough anymore. The buyers were much more specific and we either had it or we didn’t.

  2. Charlie ,I agree that the social aspect is a great part of the Con.It was a pleasure catching up ,like you said, with people you may only see at the Cons.I particularily enjoyed it when the light bulb went off after we talked that you were the one and the same Charlie who comments so frequently on this site.Nice to see you giving your perspective of the con and thanks for the great book!

  3. Yup… I hear you Walt. It was an interesting experience and it does give one perspective. I’m less likely to haggle so hard when buying books now having stood on the other side of the table.

    There’s a lot more that can be said about Cons, like:
    • huge differences in price from online markets
    • devaluing books by blowing them out at 50-60% off (not sure if this is good for the market)
    • using GPA as the bible on mobile phones… etc.

    At the end of the day I think it comes down to if you enjoy doing the shows, or not. I really don’t know how the full-timers do it, lugging all those books around from city to city…

    **insert golf clap here**

    Dennis, I was hesitant to give you my name. I just assume everyone on CBD wants to punch my nose. We’ll have to have a longer conversation some day… Coffee’s on me.

    ^_^

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