Comic Book collecting has been a hobby for many decades and has become more popular in recent years with Hollywood putting out Super-hero movies such as Superman, Batman and Spider-man. In contrast, the Super-hero comics are the most popular type comics and thus they fetch the most money when you sell them. For instance, the Batman number #1 issue from 1939, recently sold for over $250,000. and it was in new condition (Very Fine/Near Mint). On the other hand, comics such as Westerns, even if they are 50 years old in new condition, do not come near the price of the Super-heroes. Age of comics is important, but condition of comics also does make a difference on how much a comic cost.
The comic industry adapted a 10 point system, with sub-categories to grade comics. A 10 is a Mint comic, that is rare, for even brand new comics to receive this highly esteemed grade. Most new comics off the shelf in your local comic store, will grade at a 9.6 (Near Mint+) to a 9.8 (Mint-). A 10 means the printing is perfect without flaw, the staples are perfectly aligned and the book has no pressure points that can be seen on the spine at an angle. Most comics, when they are bundled, do get a spine pressure point, thus they do not get a grading of 10.
The grades of comics are 10(Mint), 9.9, 9.8, 9.6, 9.4(Near Mint), 9.2, 9.0, 8.5, 8.0 (Very Fine), 7.5, 7.0, 6.5, 6.0(Fine), 5.5, 5.0, 4.5, 4.0(Very Good), 3.5, 3.0, 2.5, 2.0(Good), 1.8, 1.5, 1.0 and 0(Poor). All numbers have a name, for instance a 5.0 is a Very Good/Fine grade and a 7.5 is a Very Fine- grade. Most beginners should concentrate on learning the 10 main categories, and experience will help you to fine tune your grading. It is difficult for beginners to see a difference between a 9.2 and a 10, but after time, you will look for the smallest flaws that will help you in grading comics. A safer way of purchasing comics off of the internet is by 3rd party grading. With up to $1,000's of dollars difference in value of a comics grade at stake, having a 3rd party company grading and "slabbing" the comic is highly recommended.
The main two companies that perform this service are CGC and PGX. These two grading companies make it easy for you, the new collector, in purchasing comics off of Ebay, without fear of getting ripped off. These grading companies grade the comic and then encase the comic in plastic slabs, with the grading information enclosed. You can just type CGC or PGX into the search engine and all the CGC/PGX comics will list for you here on Ebay. These comics often sell for what price guides state the comic is worth or even more, depending on the grade and comic. It is highly recommended that new collectors take a look at purchasing 3rd party graded comics, before trying to grade and price comics yourself.
If you are a new seller, understand that you will get more money for your comics, if you submit them for grading to CGC or PGX prior to putting them on auction. Again, you should really only grade the comics above a Very Good (well read with some creases and wear but no tears), as grading the lower grades do not ad that much value to your comic. That makes sense as who cares if some other party states that this comic is a piece of junk and gives it a grade of 1.5. Even a beginner can tell if a comic is ripped up and falling apart, that it is a low grade.
Once you have more experience in looking at the graded books condition from CGC or PGX, you will be able to get a feel for grading and purchase comics that are not graded yourself. You would want to purchase these comics from an established ebayer, who has a high feedback number, with comments that suggest the customer is happy with the advertised grading/shipping by that ebayer. In some cases, you can purchase a $500 comic, that is not graded, send it to CGC and then resell it on Ebay for a profit. But you have to have high quality scans of the book you are purchasing, otherwise you will eventually end up getting a comic that does not live up to the grade that was stated in the ad.
Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is a very good source of information on what a comic is worth in the middle to upper grades (6.0 - 9.2). The lower grade comics usually sell for a lot lower than what the price guide states and Higher grade comics over 9.2 sell for a lot more than it states. But it is a good focus point to look for market value. Ebay does have a Completed Listings in the "Sell" button. You can follow the menu and research past sales prices of any issue you wish to research. This is by far the very best way of determining a value of a comic and that is what that particular issue/grade sold for in the last 90 days, as the Overstreet book only comes out once a year in May.
Comic book collecting is fun and most super-hero comics do appreciate at an annual return of around 10%, which is a lot better than most investments out there in today's world. So have some fun, shop wisely and enjoy this hobby that brings joy to so many. Thank you, Jeff Tillery
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