Process and Tips for Selling Comic Books

Process and Tips for Selling Comic Books
In July 2012, I was tasked by a close family friend to sell her old comic books. She is well aware of my interest in and knowledge of comic books, so instead of seeking help elsewhere and risk being taken advantage of, she approached me and I agreed. Many of the comics are from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

I’ve read and collected comics for most of my life. I’ve sold comics through eBay and comic shops, so I have some experience in this area. This situation is somewhat different as these comic books are older. If you find yourself in this position, there are several steps to aid in this process.

The first step one should take in this endeavor is to take an inventory of what comics you plan to sell. Doing so should go unsaid, but when you’re dealing with collections of books numbering in the hundreds, it can make the entire process smoother. Otherwise, you would be piling on more stress than necessary. I’ve never done this for anyone else so I made a list for the person and another one in a spreadsheet for myself. In that Microsoft Excel file, I listed the title, issue number, publisher, year published, condition, and price (which I’ll go into further detail with shortly).

Once you have a list of every comic book to be sold, you are going to want to take pictures of the collection. These pictures can be shots of the covers, both the front and back covers, and even some interior shots when necessary. The interior pictures will likely only be necessary for potential buyers wanted to see more detail. This leads directly into the next step.

Now you’ll want to check the condition of each comic. This task isn’t as involved with newer comics as it is with older books. Comic grading runs along two scales, usually used together. The first is the letter grade. Books in this scale range from poor (PR) to mint (M). The second and more complex of them is the 10-point grading scale. The range covered here is 0.5 to 10. Depending on what guide you’re using, this may include gem mint (GM). But there aren’t many which use that. Typically, a majority of books you’ll come across will be very fine (VF) to near mint (NM). It is extremely rare to find a book with a grade of 10 or M.

The condition of the front and back covers are important. The coloring of the pages is something of which to take notice. You’ll also want to look for yellowing of the pages. I won’t go too deep into detail about everything you should look for when grading your comics so these are just a few aspects to keep in mind.

At this point, you have what comics you want to sell, pictures of them, and their condition. Next, you need to determine what you where you want to sell them and for how much. There are several options available with eBay seemingly being the best of those. I stress caution when using eBay for selling books that are several decades old. One reason for that is the rare chance you sell a vintage comic and the buyer tries to cheat you upon receipt of the issue. You could find yourself in a situation where you may be looking at refunding someone’s money for the book and it possibly having been tampered with. I don’t see this as being a strong possibility, but just something to keep in mind.

Comic shops and comic conventions are other venues to unload your books. There may be some fear of being ripped off when dealing with some comic shop owners. This is not typical of all comic shops. If you try to sell your books at a convention, you’re probably going to spend most of the time walking around show floor with a ton of books which may not sell.
Another option is with individual buyers. It’s quite likely that people in the market for specific books will be much easier to deal with. Live auctions are great as well because you’re actually around potential buyers. When you read about all those comic issues selling for six or seven figures, they’re usually sold at auctions such as these.

If you’re selling a book in person, once you collect the money and have handed over the item, the process is done. If you’re selling to someone with whom you don’t have immediate access, such as eBay, you still have to transport the book. Packing the book as to prevent damage during shipping is vital. The comic or comics need to be packaged with cushion to prevent movement which could damage the book.

Join us in the forums for further discussion on this topic. We can discuss these and other tips that could possibly aid you and others in this process.

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