Whether you are in the market for a rare comic book purchase or are perhaps always on the lookout for a great buying opportunity, may we suggest that you start by reading our article on “rare comic books and what makes them valuable.” It contains some great tips on what to look for in collectible comic books. Below you will also find some worthwhile suggestions on where to locate these treasures and what to look out for when making a purchase.
In recent years, the most popular source to locate comic books has been the internet. Even though the majority of the extremely rare comics are put into an auction, such events are open for bidding on-line through the internet. Whether buying in an auction or from a storefront on-line, there are a few guidelines to be aware of:
– Printing: As with any rare book, a first printing of a comic book is normally an original demanding a higher price as opposed to a later printing that is considered a reprint. For example, detective comics #27 where batman first appears has several reprints, some of which are worth some amount of money, but none of which gets close to the price ranges of the original first printing.
– Grading: Grades are assigned to comic books based on their condition. The grade scale ranges from 10 which is pristine mint (that is it has never been touched by human hands), down to 1 which is extremely used (that is the dog might have chewed a few pages off). Internet grading can vary significantly from one seller to the next. It is highly recommended that you shop from a reliable vendor that guarantees that the description of the merchandise is accurate. For example, sellers using CGC (Certified Guaranty Company) grading offer professional certification of assessed condition and quality. The comic is actually submitted to the agency, graded and then encapsulated in a special cover reflect its grading status and maintain its condition.
If you are the type of buyer who values a close examination through physical touch, you may be better off paying a visit to your comic book shop. Some of these stores may actually carry some very rare, valuable copies. Try their previous issue bins. Most comic book shops keep some sort of archive where most of the older, unsold items are kept. You may be surprised to see what these bins have been holding until the time of your discovery. Comics of greater interest will usually be marked at a higher price but that should not be a reason to become discouraged. There is a special feeling that overtakes the human senses when searching through piles of potentially undiscovered treasures.
Another place to look for a rare comic book discovery is a garage, yard sale or a good local organization sale such as a charity or library sale. These events are usually put together by people who may have limited knowledge of a comic’s value and are selling items at extremely low prices. Many times the organizers are primarily interested in holding a successful event that attracts a lot of people in substitution of the unavoidable and unpleasant process of dumping of stuff. It is interesting to note that it was at just such an event that I obtained my coveted Spawn #1. It is worth browsing through these sales because you never know when you might get lucky.
Last but not least, search through your own stuff. A lot of older folks used to collect comic books when at a younger age. These comic books are either stored away or negligently thrown away somewhere. Some may have become very valuable over the years. Old age is our friend during this occupation! Use your own instincts and pick up something that looks attractive, and store it carefully for a future date when you or a loved one could put the comic to good use. In the meantime, keep hunting for those rare comic books.