10th Aug2018

eBuying Comics: Week 1

by Ian Wells

Welcome to a new weekly column where I will chronicle the ups and downs of being a comic collector using eBay to buy and sell. Things didn’t get off the greatest of starts. When I went to list my first item for sale I got an ‘Access Denied’ message!

ebuying-comics-header

I want to start by talking about a  positive selling experience I had two years ago. Now I don’t want to come across as boastful or give of an image of some selling guru. I just happened to have a highly sought after item I wasn’t interested in having in my collection so I saw an opportunity to turn a quick buck. The item in question was New Mutants #98. Published in 1991 by Marvel Comics, written by Fabian Nicieza with art by Rob Liefeld it just so happens to be the first appearance of Deadpool. Domino and Gideon also make their debuts in this issue so maybe after Deadpool 2 this issue has taken another bump in price. New Mutants #98 also marks the first stage of transition of the series to X-Force. This item came into my possession in the good old days of Myspace. I followed a comic shop who each week would randomly send a selection of comics to a subscriber to their blog. When it came I read it and then just filed it away. Deadpool wasn’t the goliath he is today and I have never been a massive Deadpool fan. I have seen it said online that ten years ago you could find New Mutants #98 in bargain bins at comic conventions. I have some Wizard Magazines from the 00′s and they have it price at the small profit of $5 for a Near Mint (NM) copy. Nowadays after two hugely popular movies and a ever increasing following and output in the comics type New Mutants #98 into eBay and the first one they comes up is £159.99. The of course you get CGC issues. The first return on eBay for one of those graded at 9.8 is £695! Even a True Believers edition comes up at £6. The ‘True Believers’ range from Marvel are a series of reprints released sporadically throughout the year normally to coincide with a movie, highlighting key issue from the past. Originally they retail for £1. So with all that information in mind and the key fact that I got my issue for nothing whatever I had sold it for I would have been happy and in profit.

My biggest phobia when selling on eBay is that when it comes to grading I am no expert. So it may seem rather stupid I originally listed my New Mutants #98 for £500! It was the summer after the first movies release so cut me some slack! I believe if it had had a stronger more definitive description on its condition it may have sold. As it was I don’t think it even got a view. I forgot about it for a while then a month or so before Christmas I decided to give it another go. I started by slashing my asking price in half. So now the bidding would start at £250. My next decision was to only list it for a week at a time and every week it went unsold I would take £25 off. I immediately started picking up viewers, even some watchers. Which was a vast improvement on the £500 starting price. I got all the way to £75 when things heated up. I had a potential buyer contact me about comments I made about the condition. Rather than try and describe them to him I sent him extra pictures. He was happy to write the marks off as everyday occurrence from the printing process.  He as much told me he was going to bid, I was going to make a £75 profit! Then the morning of the day the bidding ending I picked up another watcher. They didn’t exactly trade blows in the bidding stakes but I went from a £75 profit to one of £107.56! Very happy indeed.

For Sale

In keeping with the Deadpool theme this week I listed two Deadpool related trade paperbacks. The first is Deadpool Suicide Kings. Written by Adam Glass and Mike Benson. Art is supplied by Carlo Barberi. This 201 edition contains a backup story by Shawn Crystal. Glass and Benson also provide the script for my second item Deadpool Pulp. This time with art by Laurence Campbell. While neither story is integral to the overall mythology of Deadpool they are both enjoyable reads. I was able to enjoy them without being a massive Deadpool fan. If I had to choose a favourite out of the two I would choose Pulp. As the title suggests it is Deadpool done in an old fashioned Pulp style. He is a freelancer hired by the CIA. What I really like about it is how it manages to utilise Cable and Stryfe into a real world setting. The majority of my graphic novels, Trade paperbacks and hardbacks are in excellent condition. I always state they have been read a few times. If for example there was a sticker from a shop I would state in the condition.  I started both trade paperbacks at £5. This is my go to price for trades as it is a little under half of usual retail price. I have to confess I think my postage rates are a little high. It has been a while since I sold anything on eBay I just went with the price I had for trades in my old note book, which was £3.80. I will be adjusting this price in the future. I will keep you posted with what happens with these listings in my next post.

Shopping Cart

Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide 37th Edition – £5 + £3PP

I have been collecting comics for nearly twenty years now and I had no idea the Overstreets were so pricey. Is there a price guide for the price guides? I am hoping to pick up a few of them from a cross section of different years to aid with my research. But I will certainly have to watch the prices I won’t be as lucky as I am this time. Perhaps they are something I can start looking for at conventions. You certainly do get a lot for your money though. It is more than just a price guide the book is nearly 2 inches thick! Its packed full of market news, Top 10 lists and articles on series and creators. In this edition there is a reflection on the Daredevil character which I will dip into at when I have a free moment. The best thing about it though being a US publication it is no use to me is all the advertisements for a huge selection of comics stores. As I said the Overstreet Price Guide is a little pricey to pick up and read as a magazine each time one comes out. It is however a reliable research tool and also very useful for anyone looking to make a real profit from selling comics.

Top Tip 

When it comes to packing materials recycling is your friend. It may make me sound like a cheapskate but packing is the most crucial part. If you send something out you want it to get there in once piece. If I’m selling a single issue naturally it comes bagged and boarded. At the moment I seem to have an abundance of boards so I will slip a second one in for more protection. I’m fortunate that I can always get my hand on cardboard at work. So I use two pieces for packing trades and hardbacks. I recycle what my comics come in from my local comic shop. I receive my comics in the post and they come in a wrapped in a brown paper bag inside a cardboard envelope. So when selling sets of say 4-6 issues I  reuse the paper bag, then put it in a padded envelope with one piece of cardboard. On occasion I have reused envelopes to if they can be taped closed adequately and if my address can be removed or covered.  So really don’t be afraid to recycle packing and postage costs are the factors that are most likely to eat into your profit margin.

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