09th Sep2020

eBuying Comics: Week 42

by Ian Wells

This month I am going for a complete change of pace. Whilst doing some spring cleaning I found an assortment of trading card sets I have never filed away into a binder. They are just in bundles with rubber bands around them. the sets in question are Sin City 1999, TMNT Animated series 1996, DC vs Marvel 1995 and Marvel Heroes vs Villains 2010. Upon finding them my original plan was to randomly draw one card from each set and include them in any sales of comics. This would be a nice little gimmick and could become my calling card, well till I run out of cards. Equally people may not appreciate what they may perceive as junk arriving with their purchases! So instead I decided to try my arm at listing them on eBay.

My knowledge of the trading card industry is limited to none existent. I only every brought complete sets of franchises that appealed to me. For example I had all three X-Men movie sets, as well as Wolverine X-Men Origins and Daredevil movie sets. I do know that the trading card market crashed way, way harder than the comic book market and had very litttle recovery since. As you will see some of my sets are right in that 90’s crash era, so good luck to me! Having had some recent success (more later) with selling comics it may be a bad time to step into trading cards, but it is just a bit of fun.

My first port of call was to have a flick through eBay and find any of the cards I have already listed. I found the TMNT set and the Sin City set being sold as complete for £19.99 and £24.99 respectively. For the TMNT cards I also found listings selling cards individually. This went from 99p to £1.35. For the Marvel Heroes vs Villains set and the DC vs Marvel sets I found no listings for complete sets. They both did have listings for individual cards. With Marvel Heroes vs Villains going between £1.50 and £1.55. The DC vs Marvel set had odd cards listed seperate without a drop down option and these were all at £2.20. Now came time for me to decide how I was going to list my cards. Right away I was ruling out selling as a complete set. I have never really dabbled with postage outside of ‘large letter’ size. Having seen the results of my research I thought I would try something a little different, taking a more creative approach which would hopefully be more appealling to buyers. The make up of the sets kind of assissted me in making the decisions I made for my listings.

Starting with the Sin City cards they are bascially images lifted straight from the comics. So essentially one card is one panel. The cards cover a range of the different Sin City story arcs. The set is predominately made up of images from ‘The Big Fat Kill’, ‘The Hard Goodbye’ and ‘Family Values’. Rather than splitting the cards into sets to represent these I had my own ideas. I made up three sets to list and still have a decent mount of the cards left over. The sets are seven cards featuring Miho, seventeen cards featuring everyones favourite Marv and fifteen cards featuring the colourful ‘Dames’ of Basin City. My early prediction is that the Miho cards will garner the most attention. The TMNT cards were much easier to divide. I could create sets where cards predominantly feature any of the turtles in solo action, group action and cards that feature villains.

The Marvel Heroes vs Villains cards are a real hodge podge of a collection. They were really difficult to divide into decent sets of any size for any character. With this in mind I think they will be better suited to giving away as gifts with the sale of comics. Perhaps I can select cards related to the comics in anyway. I had the most fun dividing up the DC vs Marvel cards and also feel they represent the best chance of sales due to the sheer nostalgia factor. The original 1995 set consisted of ninety nine cards. The set was divided into 12 heroes each from DC and Marvel. 8 Marvel villains and 10 DC villains. The remaining 57 cards depicted the duals from which the set takes its name. Out of these cards I made thirteen unique sets and still have plenty of cards left over. Eleven of the sets consist of three cards each. What I did was take one of the versus cards, for example Batman vs Captain America, and put it together with the solo cards for the two characters featured. Two of these sets I expect to get some attention, whether they sell or not is a different matter is Lobo vs Wolverine and Thanos vs Darkseid. I think these will do well firstly because of the characters. There was a lot of fanboy talk in the pages of Wizard when DC vs Marvel comics had Wolverine beating Lobo. Obviously Thanos vs Darkseid has some MCU following, as well as Darkseid being hot at the moment with his appearance in the Justice League Snyder cut trailer. Talking of hot characters I also listed the Lobo vs Venom card as a solo card listing and I made a five card set featuring Black Adam and Shazam. On reflection the DC characters in the set seem way more marketable with the current comics and pop culture buzz. There are a few versus cards featuring characters they don’t have solo cards but at a future date they may be worth listing as solo cards. These include the classic Hawkeye vs Green Arrow and the ever popular Deathstroke vs Punisher. I was unable to list all my sets at present as I am low on small padded envelopes. Currently I will be using the 15cm x 21.5cm sized padded envelope. I do have the next size up that I could cut down should all the sets sell! As well as finding these cards upon cleaning I found a box of Ultra Pro trading card top loaders. I think with some gentle persuasion I will be able to loosen them up to take the three card sets comfortably without bending the corners. For the larger sets I will experiment with some sort of wrapping (probably a sandwich bag) and supported with cardboard. If the selling of trading cards proves succesful and worth pursuing more I will be looking for a smaller sized padded envelope and obviously once my top loaders run out it will be an added expense to replace them, unless I can score a bargain at a convention.

As I mentioned earlier I have had some success again in selling comics. Well just the two in fact but two comics of some significance to this blog. Firstly back in Week 29 I purchased a random set of 3 comics on eBay with the aim of selling them on. The three comics I got were Defenders #85, Hyperion #6 and International Iron Man #6. The purchase was £3.99 with free P+P. So I calculated I would need to sell each comic for more than £1.33 to be in profit. Last week I sold International Iron Man #6 for the grand total off 99p. This now means I must sell the remaining two comics for more than £1.50 each to be in profit. Going even further back to Week 16 those who may remember I created my questionnaire to send to buyers of my listings. Well also last week I sold Iron Fist #12. The issue is from Iron Fist’s first ongoing solo series in 1977. Written by Chris Claremont with art by John Byrne the issue features Captain America. I made this a selling point in the headline because of Cap’s MCU popularity. I had the comic listed with my own grade of 7.0 (F) making note of some hand written notes someone had made on the back cover and the excellent interiors. A starting price of £5 with £1.80 P+P the issue eventually sold for £6.50. With it being an older back issue which I  had graded myself I decided to follow up with the buyer to see if they would answer my questionnaire. They seemed happy to do so, so here is their response.

1. What attracted you to my listing over others (Price, P+P, Grade, Other)?

The attraction of this listing was a combination of price and grading in this case.

2. Were you happy with the grade I gave the comic?

Yes, very happy.

3. If you found the condition did not match my grade what did you find wrong with the comic?

Nothing wrong at all.

4. Did the grade reflect the price?

I think I was fortunate to win the auction at the price I paid. Given the grade it could easily have gone for a higher price.

5. How was the packaging? Did it reflect the price?

Well packaged. The book arrived safe and sound. Shipping price was very reasonable.

Upon typing this up I think the questionnaire does need more work. There is nothing wrong with the buyers answers I just think my questions aren’t good enough. Its really just three questions divided into smaller questions.  Watch this space for some improvement in this area. Really though I thought it would be harder to get a response. So having this first reponse will be a good marker of how the questions can and hopefully will evolved.


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