Comic books (Comics)/Available avenues of selling
QUESTION: Dear Mr. Harmon,
I have 2 boxes of mostly Batman and Batman related comic books, with a sprinkle of Marvel dating back to 1989. I'd like to unload these quickly, but the garbage is not an option. I would modestly grade the majority of them as GOOD (they've been read) to VERY GOOD, and maybe a little above.
I was considering a collective fee of some kind. The AllExpert Brian Philbin kindly advised me that I could sell these comics on consignment to a store. Would you explain to me what that is? What other avenues can I try? And how should I apply Gemstone's Overstreet guide to this?
I appreciate your time in this matter. Thank you.
ANSWER: Hi David,
If you sell your comics through a comic shop on consignment, that means that the shop will get some percentage of the sales price.
Typically, I sell comics through my web store, eBay, or mail order. I won't touch on mail order because that's the most time consuming and I usually get better prices selling on the internet.
eBay will provide you with the most traffic. Batman titles generally sell pretty well there. If you don't have an account with eBay, they allow new sellers to list up to 50 auctions per month for free. You only pay a fee if your items sell. My recommendation if selling on eBay - sell your comics into groups of 10, 20, or whatever works for you. The exception would be if you have any key issues - those I would sell individually.
Another option would be to set up your own web store. There are several sites out there that have collectible categories like iOffer and eCrater. eCrater is a site that charges no fees. Other sites vary but most only charge a fee when your item sells. Benefit to these sites is that they either have no fees or lower fees than eBay. Downside is that these sites don't have the same traffic as eBay so your items may take longer to sell.
As far as the Overstreet Guide goes, it's a buyer's market right now so you probably will not sell them for guide value, especially if they are mid to low grade comics. My suggestion would be to do a search of completed listings on eBay. For example, search on "Batman comics lot" to see how other sellers are pricing their comics and more importantly, what they are actually selling for. This will give your some indication of what to expect if you end up placing your comics for sale.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.
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QUESTION: Mr. Harmon,
I want to thank you for your advice. You gave me some insight and some things to consider.
I live in New York City, and I contacted a back issue manager for Midtown Comics. They don't do consignment, but his reply to me was they pay a flat rate from 1975 to the present, generally, ".05 cents to .25 cents a book, depending on condition and need, supply and demand." They suggested eBay, but he said with them I would receive money upfront if they choose to buy. He said they buy entire collections as lots.
Needless to say, I'm disappointed at such a low offer. It seems like robbery since they will obviously sell it for much more. At the very least, I thought perhaps a dollar a book, or a more worthy general ransom.
Should I go with eBay, or maybe at least see what I could get for these books?
Thanks for your time. Appreciate your patience.
ANSWER: Hi David,
Can't say that I'm surprised by the offer you received from Midtown. That's comparable to what comic shops in my area (Virginia) will offer. That's one of the main reasons why I began selling on eBay. I figured that even if I didn't get close to guide value for my comics, I would be able to get more than what the comics shops were offering.
As I mentioned previously, you can set up an eBay account and (unless this has changed recently) you can sell up to 50 items per month with no listing fees. You only pay a percentage of the final value fee if your item sells.
You can set up the auctions however you want - sell them in groups or individually - but on the plus side, you can start them off at a price that you can live with. If they don't sell, no harm. You can then consider lowering the starting bid or hold off on selling them until a later date.
If selling on eBay, having a scanner or good digital camera will help immensely. Provide details on flaws/wear so buyers will understand why you gave a comic a particular grade. If selling in groups/lots, it's usually okay to just list an average grade for the set rather than providing a grade for each individual comic.
Please feel free to follow-up if you have any additional questions.
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QUESTION: Dear Mark,
Thanks for your continued patience with me.
I don't have any experience selling online, so I don't have a scanner or a good digital camera. Can I still do eBay?
How do I measure a grade for a book? Is there a standard measure that I can refer to?
You can still do eBay. The problem will be that your items may not sell for as high of a price as similar auctions that do have scans or pictures. Buyers like to see what they are buying. I didn't have a scanner during the early days of eBay, so I made sure that I provided any important details when describing the item for sale. As I mentioned before, it's okay to provide an overall grade when selling in lots, but you probably should give a reason as to why you graded as you did (comics have crease marks, minor tears, etc.).
As far as grading goes, I prefer to use the Overstreet Guide which is the standard I would say most people use for grading comics. Some public libraries carry these so you may want to check there first.
As an alternative, check out the web site comicspriceguide.com. The site has a "Grading" link on the home page. It's not as thorough as the Overstreet Grading Guide, but it should still provide you with help on grading a comic book.
Let me know if this works out for you.