Selling your comic book collection

Who has sold their collection? I only collected for a few years. I probably have about 1,000. Mostly Marvel Copper Age comics between 1980 and 1985. I know there are some valuable ones in there. None are graded and I know it costs more to grade than they are worth for most. How did you sell them and what is the best way to do it now?

I’ve been trying to get rid of a large (2,000+) Bronze Age comic book collection for about 20 years now and, frankly, it’s too much work to get a fair price for it. The first one of my friends’ children who express an interest in comics is in for a big surprise.

I sold my Ultimate Spider Man comics a few years back for a decent amount. I have a lot of comics from the 1990s, and a few from the 1980s, but most of them really aren’t worth anything. My issue of Bloodshot #1 might go for $10 if someone considers it in mint condition. My Spawn #1 might go for $40 if someone was generous or higher if I actually got it graded. I’d have put in a lot of time and effort to sell my collection piece by piece to the point where it’s not worth my effort.

I recently sold some of my modest collection, mostly Silver Age or older, none of them professionally graded. I used Craigslist (81 comics), a dealer (35) and an auction house (2). Craigslist is good for cheaper comics that no dealer will want, the downside being that you will inevitably have to cope with flakes and low-ballers. It is strongly recommended that you do not meet buyers at your home. I used my bank as the meeting place, which was quite convenient as the buyer paid $2500 in cash and I was able to deposit it immediately. Apart from making sure all 81 issues were present, the buyer did not examine a single one.

Most dealers pay at most about 60% of “market value” for “key issues” - i.e., #1s, first appearances of characters, origins, etc. – and maybe 40% for the rest. If they don’t think they can resell your comics, they won’t buy them from you, period. Condition is vitally important to dealers, and they will spend time to examine each and every page of every issue. They will also likely tell you your comics are not in as good condition as you think they are.

Auction houses should only be used for your most valuable comics; they usually won’t take anything published in the last (let’s say) 30-or-so years. As I have no idea how valuable your “valuable ones” are, it’s impossible to say if an auction house is a good way to go. Nor can I suggest an amount that justifies going through an auction house (FTR, my two comics were worth well over $5000 each).

Generally speaking, auction fees are going to be around 15% of the hammer price, plus whatever it costs to have the comics graded/slabbed and (if deemed desirable) pressed. Grading/pressing fees are taken out of the winning bid, not paid up front, and they vary - along with the time it takes - with the “market value.” Yes, that’s right: the company that determines value gets a percentage of that value for their services (can you say “conflict of interest?”) Your comics will not likely go up for auction immediately; I’d say eight weeks is a rough estimate and it could easily be longer. There is also going to be around a 45-day settlement period before they send you the $$$. The advantages of an auction house are that they target serious collectors and that they take care of grading and collecting the bids so that you don’t have to.

I’ve only one comic left in my collection, a golden ager, Superman #17. I’d consider selling but first I would need to get it graded and blocked. I’ve looked into having that done, but it always involves me having to mail it off somewhere, and I’m not willing to do that. Anyone know if I could get that job done by taking it somewhere? I would be able to get it to Chicago relatively easily for that sort of service.

I liquidated most of my collection some years ago (I saved a couple of issues I think I’d likely re-read, and those I actually did some work on). I went to a local comic store and accepted a price for the lot. Could I have gotten more? Probably, but it would have cost me a lot of work that I didn’t want to do. I was happy with the transaction, and so was the buyer.

Factors to consider:

Do you have any issues that you KNOW are particularly valuable?
Do you have complete series/runs? Story line, artist, limited run, etc.
Do you want to get the maximum price? That will take time and effort.
Do you want to sell fairly quickly? That will be faster but you’ll make less money.

I’m no expert (obviously) but as far as I know there are only two real options for grading, CGC and CBCS. One is in Florida and one is in Texas.

I haven’t done a deep dive into the value but I do have quite a few of the ones on this list.

In fact I have the one pictured in the thumbnail

I took close-up photos of the details a collector would look at and put them up on ebay, offering to refund a buyer’s money if they weren’t happy. My buyers were happy, I only received one complaint and that was for not shipping a unit as quickly as the buyer would have liked. Still within the promised window though; it’s not my fault the post office was closed on a long weekend. I provided new bags and boards, and the books were extremely well packaged. Good packaging earned me a lot of good reviews.

I sold the heavy hitters (McFarlane’s Spider-Man run, Cable’s and Deadpool’s introductions in The New Mutants) separately and the rest in lots of 25 or so. Shipping from Canada is expensive and it’s hard to judge shipping costs in advance so I charged something reasonable and didn’t mind taking the occasional two- or three- dollar hit on the shipping costs. Sometimes I made a buck or two on the shipping as well. I heard no complaints.

I sold the one pictured in the thumbnail.

Some comic shops will submit to CGC for customers. Several in the Chicago area provide this service.

Thanks for that info. Do you know of any specific ones in the Chicago area that do?

There are a number of Facebook comic book buy/sell/trade groups you could list them on, specify that you want to sell locally.

Thanks, that is very helpful for focusing my search!

If you do end up sending it in, I’m laying down my opinion as to its grade at 4.5. We’ll see how close I am. That would make it worth about $4,000.

I think Graham Crackers Comics (Chicago/Suburbs/Madison, WI) is a good place for anyone to start.

First step, just stop by and just ask them some questions. I’ve gotten some great free advice from them (mostly “I wouldn’t bother getting that one graded. That issue’ll be selling for twenty bucks by the time you get it back.”).

The manager offered to take a look (for free) the next day, and helped me separate my wheat from my chaff, in terms of selling and which 'books are worth getting graded. Great people.

I think you HAVE to go through a comic shop to get a grade. Or at least to get a decent turnaround time and pricing. The person sending in the book has to have a CGC account.

My boyfriend sold his comics last year. He had like 85% of The Amazing Spiderman 1-400, including a very very rough copy of #1. He is a fan of a comic book YouTuber named Very Gary and connected with him for the sale.

He sent a list of what he had, with some “key issue” highlights. He actually drove the collection from Cleveland to the Harrisburg, PA area to meet Gary to drop them off. Part of the deal included Gary having some books graded and slabbed for him - they were sentimental to bf and not going to get much money from Gary, so he asked to have them returned to him, rolled in to the price.

Anyway, I think he walked away with $10k and 3-5 graded and slabbed books. Also a Very Gary video of the transaction!

I suppose my post isn’t too helpful because not many people are going to sell their books to a YouTuber. Enjoy it anyway!

A CGC account is $25 a year and anyone can get one. That’s not really an obstacle. CBCS is similar. They are the two main companies and were apparently started by the same guy. There are a few articles out there comparing which one is better. The rating system is very similar.

I do have a cousin who is in the baseball card business. We are not close but he’s not a stranger. When it comes down to it I’m going to contact him. He should know people.

This is what I posted previously about this topic:

I don’t think many comics from this period are worth much but maybe the early 80s are more? At some point I’ll decide I never want to move them again and figure out what to do with them. They are in great condition…mostly all read once and then packaged.