# How much have comic books appreciated since 1981?

My comic shop is celebrating its 25th anniversay and so put a bunch of comics in a glass case and calculated their 1981 value at \$73.30. Whoever guesses closest to their current value wins them.

Since they are packed in multiple layers in a glass-top case, there is no way to really count them, but I would guess that there are around 100 comics in there, give or take a few.

Where’s the smart money here?

Well, the only real way is to get a comic book guide book and evaluate every one individualy. Other than that…you’re fucked.

I was planning on finding the average price of a comic book from 1981 and dividing 73.3 by that number, and that would be the estimated number of comics in the box. Multiply that number by the average value of a 1981 comic today and - voila! - an educated guess.

The only numbers missing from the equation are the 1981 values and 2006 values.

How much have comic books appreciated since 1981?

For my entire childhood I spent most my allowance on comic books. I stopped buying comics loyally when I was about 18 or so. I remember one summer when there was the “DC Explosion” when comics went from 35 to 40 cents, but the number of pages jumped up (but only for that summer). Then when it went to 50 cents that fall I figured I was too old to spend that much for a lousy comic book.

Whenever I fly now-a-days I always buy reading material. \$3.00-3.50 for a comic book?:eek:

The Inflation Calculator says my 50 cents in 1979 is about \$1.42 today.So why are comics over \$3? WTF?:mad:

Are you sure that these are comics that were printed in 1981? The way that the OP is worded, it’s just as likely that they are older issues and the 1981 value was chosen solely because that was the year that the store opened.

In any case, you’ve a wrong assumption as well. While certain comics may have increased in price, many have not, often due to a combination of overprinting and hoarding.

This is correct. I’m not trying to guess the exact value of the comics. If this was even possible then it would be pointless for the store to run the promotion at all because a hundred different geeks would do it. I am simply trying to make the most educated guess possible.

Last fall I was given a large box of comics dated from the late 70’s through the early 90’s, all were in excellent to mint condition. I bought a book on comic book values and determined the value to be over \$400 for all the comics. I spent almost \$100 placing them all in sleeves with cardboard. Then I tried to sell the comics. I listed some of the more valuable ones on Ebay. None sold. I listed some on Craigslist. Nada. I listed some on the few comic book forums I could find. Received a few lowball offers. I ended up selling the whole lot for \$120 to a comic book dealer in Seattle. I found out old comic books are like many other collectibles, the supply exceeds the demand.

Circa the 1990’s, comic writers and artists started receiving a greater slice of the profit pie for their work. In addition, paper quality was increased. As a result, comics jumped from \$1.50/\$2 to \$3.

Interesting anecdote, but not relevant to the OP. Presumably the comic book store has some value in mind for the books, and it’s most likely based on one pricing guide or another. It doesn’t matter whether the store could actually sell them for the list price for the purpose of the contest; it only matters what the price guide says.

Absolutely correct. I’m 100% sure that they’re basing their numbers off of the Overstreet Price Guide.

I bet that won’t work well. Odds are that a random assortment of comics has actually depreciated since 1981. But since the comic shop has an obvious interest in presenting comics as an “investment” of sorts in addition to their entertainment value, the increase in value of the comics they included is likely to be significantly higher than the average.

Of course, the price guides also probably have a conflict of interest. If they portray the prices of comics dropping, the comic market shrinks and people stop buying price guides. So maybe the false inflation is already factored into whatever guide the shop (and you) are checking.

Well seeing as how no one seems to actually want to help the OP win some swag, but rather nitpick or reminisce – here’s my insight (though not a guess)

These things should be important:

1. you’ll probably need to estimate how many books are in there. I know you’ve said its not really countable, but you’ll need to at least estimate, I think.

2. you should decide (if it hasn’t been clarified) if it’s a random assortment of comics from 1981 (or before, as another mentioned) or if it’s a “selection”. This might make some sort of difference.

3. As noted above, it probably hasn’t depriciated since the store wants to promote the “investment” angle, but you’ll probably need to establish a reasonable upper limit on the value. That is, it’s unlikely that the comic book store will be giving away \$2000 worth of comics as a promotion. I think collectible and hobby stores are a fairly tight business in that they don’t usually make money hand over fist. Obviously if these guys are around for 25 years they’ve done alright.

Beyond that I can’t help too much, as I know nothing about comics. However, I was in to baseball card collecting at one point and I would use the above as a starting point for a similar contest there.

One approach might be to identify the visible covers. Look up their Overstreet 1981 values and their present values. This gives you an appreciation value for the visible covers. Multiply this by the ratio of visible to hidden books and add a small random fudge factor to differentiate yourself from others who might arrive at the same conclusion.

Aren’t the 1981 prices on the cover?

I figured it was roughly 5 deep by roughly 2 rows of 10 wide, so I estimated 100. That seemed like a nice even number that they would’ve put in the case.

Right and wrong.

Right in that there is definitely a very reasonable upper limit on the value, IMO. I got a peak at the list and noticed that some people were guessing like \$4,500. There’s no way.

Wrong in that they actually haven’t calculated the value in today’s prices yet. There can’t be any cheating because NO ONE knows what the winning number is. They’re figuring it up on the day the contest ends.

Again, yes and no. There are prices on the cover but you can only see about 1/5th of the comics, and not all of them are from 1981. The promotion says “We calculated the 1981 value of these comics at \$73.30.” Some of the issues are obviously older than that, it’s just that none are newer.

This is exactly what I did when I was in there buying comics today (before reading this thread, actually - great minds think alike.) I ended up making an educated guess of \$400.01. The contest ends on the Fourth of July so I’ll let you guys know how I faired.

Are you kidding me?!? They haven’t appreciated a G**damn thing since 1981! I loved Reagan, but Carter really had a way of showing those little bastards what a modicum of respect was.

Damn, I need to lay down.