Where should you sell your comic books? How do you get the best price for comics? And how do you ensure your comics go to a good home?
Sometimes, circumstances change. Maybe you need to slim down your comic collection. If so, you need to know the best way to sell your old comic books, online or in person.
Here are just a few tips for successfully selling your comic book collection.
1. Know the Best Place to Sell Comic Books
Life is simpler if you can find a way to sell your old comics offline. Buyers can easily check conditions and you don't need to risk using the postal service.
Try your local comic store: many stock back issues, and might be interested in your collection. Comics are popular right now, so you can get them in more shops than ever before. It's worth asking at second-hand bookshops or thrift stores.
Bear in mind that these are dealers; they won't offer amazing prices because they need to make profits. The opportunity is there, however, for you to get good money if, for instance, the dealer wants a particular issue for their own or their customers' collections.
If you want to make sure your comics go to a good home, consider getting a stall at a convention. They can be pretty costly, so you really need to think about whether it's worth it. As an added bonus, dealers generally get further incentives like skipping virtual queues for autographs.
Otherwise, use auction sites like eBay, or more specialist online stores like Stanley Gibbons, best known for stamps, but dabbling in other collectibles. Webuycomics.com has an expansive Want List; and Sellmycomicbooks.com will not only appraise your collection, but also offer a wealth of price guides to educate you in the process.
2. Ask Yourself: Are Comic Books Worth Much Money?
In terms of price, comic books are a little like cars. The second you buy them, they devalue---generally at least. There are exceptions. First appearances, early adventures, and milestones often demand big bucks.
The world's most expensive comic book is Action Comics #01 (1938), the first appearance of Superman, which sold for a record $3.2 million at auction.
The chances of you having that, Amazing Fantasy#15, or Marvel Comics #1 are remote. However, you might have The Walking Dead #1, Iron Man #281 (War Machine's debut), or Ultimate Spider-Man#1. They're not worth millions, but they could get you a few hundred dollars apiece.
3. Learn About Comic Book Conditions
If you treasure your collection, it's likely you keep them in good condition. That makes them more valuable. Any little creases, page yellowing, and marks affect the price.
Telling people exactly what condition your comics are in will help sales. Grading them, however, is difficult. Many list as "Mint" when their issues simply aren't.
Proper grading is in numbers, with "Mint" classed only as 9.8 or above. "Near Mint" starts at 9.0. Most are "Fine". Here's a handy guide to grading your issues.
Most buyers don't expect such thorough grading. As long as you accurately say whether it's NM or F, you should be alright.
If it's a particularly valuable issue, check CGC Comics, which professionally grades and seals your books into certified holders.
4. Keep Comics Safe by Bagging and Boarding
Buyers need to know you're serious about condition. You can show issues are well cared for by putting them in specialist bags and backing them with proper boards. They're typically cheap and can be picked up from all comic book suppliers.
This will attract serious collectors who will look after them as much as you have.
Don't use horrible old bags that are covered in decades-old tape. The boards should be acid-free so they don't affect your comic. Normal tape is horrible to remove, so consider investing in frosted- or satin-finish tape.
5. Take Your Own Photos
Dealers generally use Google for pictures, and it's very tempting with a large collection.
But you need people to trust you, especially when selling online---so take your own photos. It means potential buyers can see the condition for themselves. Check out our guide to selling more on eBay for more tips.
If issues are bagged and boarded, try to shield them from reflections.
6. Give Proper Descriptions When Selling Online
Listing your comics correctly isn't solely about condition. Proper descriptions let buyers know they've found the right issue, if it's by one of their favorite creators, and that you're invested in them, not just buying and selling in bulk.
If you're using a bidding site, you only get a certain number of characters in the heading to describe the comic, so narrow down exactly what's needed to attract buyers.
Title and issue numbers are essential, but what about volume number, publisher (particularly either Marvel or DC), and story arc? One spelling mistake can mean your comic is ignored by search functions.
7. Separate Valuable Comics in a Collection
Do your research and make two piles of comics: one with your everyday $1 issues, and another for the more costly ones.
It's always best if you keep your collection organized, but people rarely do. This is your chance to do it properly.
Your comic book collection might surprise you. Popular characters like Spider-Man and Batman always sell well, but doing some research can mean a seemingly-nondescript issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is worth $45. To file that with all the others would be a big mistake.
8. Consider Grab Bags
Having two piles makes grab bags possible. These are generally cheaper comics thrown into one bag together and sold at a set sum. Think of them as a goody bag or lucky dip.
After repeated attempts to get rid of a troublesome issue no one else wants, you'll be glad to hide it among others that might attract attention.
Grab bags typically contain three or four issues, but don't include more than five.
9. Sell Complete Storylines Together
If you have corresponding issue numbers, collect them as one lot together.
It will attract more bidders if there's a complete run because they'll feel like they're getting a better bargain. And they know that these are part of a cherished collection.
You could list them separately but at the same time so buyers can see you have a run of issues to sell. They might bid on numerous comics to fill a gap in their collections. Do this sparingly though.
Even a storyline with a missing issue or two is better collected together than forcing buyers to fish for them across numerous listings.
Knowing you're a collector might also mean buyers will explore your other items.
10. Wait for the Perfect Opportunity to Sell Comics
Iron Man comics are more sought after since Robert Downey Jr became Tony Stark. Popular media boosts sales, so keep an eye on upcoming production schedules, and save comics related to those characters for transmission or release dates.
The popularity of some titles remain generally the same, but hero and villain debuts pique interest. The Avengers and Suicide Squad are good examples of this, with rolling rosters meaning a regular turnover of cast.
A lot of independent comics are being adapted for screen; wait until they air before getting rid of those issues unless you're desperate for the cash.
11. Consider Selling a Job Lot of Comic Books
This isn't an ideal situation, but if you're looking for a quick fix---to make space or earn money---or just want to keep your collection together, a job lot might be the way to go.
This could mean selling a complete run of one title together, or maybe every issue you've ever bought. If the latter, include the comic boxes!
You might get $50 for a complete title, or $300 for everything: it really could go either way, especially if you're open to haggling.
12. Share Your Comic Collection on Social Media
Concerned your comics aren't going to a good home? Turn to Facebook. It's possible that a friend will take at least some of what you're selling off your hands, although they may expect a discount.
Try Facebook Groups too. Plenty of groups celebrate characters or publishers, but there are also some set up specifically to buy and sell items. Comic Book Collecting is a particularly popular one.
You've Sold Your Comic Books: Now What?
You've had to sell your comic book collection, but at least you've got the most money you can for it. And of course, all is not lost. If circumstances change, you can start collecting comics again or turn to space-saving digital platforms like Marvel Unlimited and ComiXology.