Two weeks until the Philadelphia Comic-Con.
I’ve been stewing in my own juices and number hell trying to figure out how to get the most money while offloading the most comics. I’d LOVE to be able to clear out at least one full long box of 300 books to make some space in my comic cave closet, but I’d also like to make a decent profit at the show without undercutting myself. I’m bringing six boxes, but it’s highly unlikely I’ll move half of those books unless I give them away…
I have a couple of boxes that are bargain books; lovely modern era books from the 1990s through literally this year that have very low collector value, but are in excellent condition and great ways for someone to backfill their runs. I don’t mind getting $1 for a $2.99-3.99 cover priced book. These are effectively magazines, if you really want to get zen about comic book purchasing decisions. These were meant to be disposable reading once upon a time.
At the last show, I saw a couple of guys with 25 cent book boxes. They had lots of traffic, and people went nuts buying armloads of comics. Many, I noticed, were kind of beat up but good stories and characters. My $1 books were lightly picked at by the discerning collector.
(I love a well placed ‘hmm’ in a story.)
Should I choose to stay the course and stick with $1 books? Or should I go dirt cheap and 25 cent them? Or should I go middle ground and get rich or die tryin’ i.e. go the 50 cent route?
300 comics @ $1.00 = $300
300 @ $0.50 = $150
300 @ $0.25 = $75
In addition, I’m bringing some graded books that should be a decent higher value, from $30-150 each. I’ll be lucky to sell 4 or 5 of them, as graded books really need to be matched with a perspective buyer. It is tough to push a CGC slab at someone as an impulse buy, like trying to sell a manual transmission sports car to a quadriplegic; it’s nice to look at and park it in front of your house, but you can’t open it up and really get the full thrill. It will be tough to get the “exact” graded value, but I can at least put these at a flat discount on the graded guide price; a CGC grade is what it is, there’s nothing subjective about a book being in “fine to very fine”. It’s a 6, 7, or 8. Period.
My third tier is my ungraded X-Men. I have about 100 or so bronze to copper age X-Men that are ungraded, bagged and boarded, and in the Fine to Near Mint range, 6.0-9.4. I’ll most likely never get the true value for these, so I’ve put together a spreadsheet checklist for my books with the approximate CPG prices for 6.5 and 9.4 copies. Here’s an example using the first appearance of Kitty Pride, X-Men 129:
X-Men 129 @ 6.5 = $20.00
X-Men 129 @ 9.4 = $100.00
Averaging the prices together gives me $60. (I’ve added a column on the sheet for the average of the range).
Looking at the book’s condition, it’s probably an 8.0-8.5. The books in the 1970s/early 1980s are highly sought after in near mint condition, and due to the collecting boom and abundance of issues, it’s tough to get $60 for it.
Let’s add another column, a 25% discount of the average of the ranges. X-Men 129 is now $45.
A scan of ungraded eBay copies shows completed sales in the $10-20 range, so maybe using the 6.5 price is a good idea, right?
Now let’s look at X-Men 175, a double sized anniversary issue.
6.5 = $2.40
9.4 = $12.00
Average = $7.20
25% discount = $5.40
Really not sure this issue should go into the bargain range and be $2, but $5.40, let’s call it $5, seems more “right”. Single copies have sold for $4-5 on eBay, but they’ve also been sold in combined lots of 2-5 comics for $10.
So I’m thinking a variable pricing plan may be in order, with earlier issues holding at the discount while later ones will keep a floor value of some sort. I’ll have to tinker further, but looking at the overall strategy across the three types of books I’m selling, the compromises may be the best way to get books moved. Maybe some of those X-Men go into the dollar bin, and maybe I make a 25 cent box or two.
Get rich, or die tryin’ sounds much better than shooting yourself in the foot for the sake of a buck.