Comic Book Grading: Don’t Just Give Away Your Gold… Or Silver… Or Bronze!

There is nothing better in this world than the smell of an old comic as you open it for the first time. The smell of the aged newsprint with a slight whiff of mothballs just reminds you of a grandparent’s house whenever you had to visit as a kid. The feeling of the pages under your fingers really can carry you to a whole different level of joy and excitement. Which is a massive contrast to holding just a regular modern comic, with its glossy magazine stock paper. However when your fingers feel the soft newsprint of an older comic, subconcioucly you hold it more carefully and more deliberately. Slowly you turn each page with such affection that it feels wrong to even put the comic down. It is the smell, along with the feel, that lingers in your mind and transports you to a place of wonder; at least that’s how I feel whenever I open up a comic for the first time.

Vintage comics, along with any kind of comic book for that matter, has been a joy in my life for as long as I can remember. I even was granted the privilege of working in several comic shops. This is where I had the honor of giving that joy and love of comics right back to the people who walked through those doors. Along the way I meet and befriended so many amazing people who not only where fantastic people to talk comics with, but enriched my life in ways I could never express. However the more people I knew, the more they would ask for help regarding their comics and collections. The most frequent requests I received was to grade their comics, or to help them with selling their comics. This lead to even more questions like: what would you grade this, Do you think this will go up in price, or Is it worth selling this at all?

So there I was, helping each individual friend or customer with these comics. I would take time to grade each of their books, or go to their houses and filter through their collections pulling out books I knew were high value. This was an incredible distinction that was given to me by my friends and even random people who got my name from others. However, as I kept doing this, I figured that maybe I can pass along my knowledge and skills to the masses. I had taken in collections from people before and never truly agreed with the buying policies of stores or online venders very much. So maybe being there for the wider community would not only benefit my small circle of friends, but the immense comic community as a whole. This community which I have grown to love and respect throughout my life. With all this on my mind, and wanting to give the best of myself and my knowledge to this community, I was having trouble finding a place to begin.

This lead me to just thinking about the basics, which is that comics should be fun! I wish to make comic book grading and appraising just as exciting as finding that gem in a sea of coal. However starting off with the basics is the first step to any major project and in doing so will give everyone the confidence they need to buy and sell their books better. I want to instill certainty in people that they know what they have and what it is worth. With that level of knowledge, people will be able to make better decisions about their collection and not get swindled by shops, online dealers, or even other collectors. I want collectors to be comfortable enough to say no when selling their collection, to know that it is ok to walk away. Shops and online dealers thrive off the ignorance of the average collector and will take advantage of that lack of knowledge. However once a person knows what they have and what people are willing to buy it for, you will have the power to walk into a shop or sell online and get the best deal you can for both parties.

I will be covering things like:

  • Comic Book Grading for Gold, Silver, and Bronze age
  • Hot issues to look out for and what you should be collecting
  • What to professionally grade or not (CGC, CBCS, PGX)
  • Selling to your Local Comic Book Shop (LCS) and what to know
  • Selling and buying comics online
  • Archival, storage, and displaying

I believe that these are the basics to understanding the world of comic buying/selling. With these tips and knowledge from someone who has worked within the industry, you as a buyer/seller will be able to make better decisions regarding your collection. I want everyone to be happy and confident with these decisions and having these skills will give you that confidence. At the end of the day, have fun with this and have fun comic collecting. Enjoy the ride.

 

 

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