Attention all! Ebay week if (finally) underway! After many false starts, including yesterday (my job started that day and I completely lost track of time), I almost failed uploading tonight as well due to the storm, but I think I have a window of time big enough to get this post up. This week should prove to be fun, I even have a guest post from Mike Haynes of Panels of Awesome, but that’s for later. So, let us begin, how many times have you missed a single issue that isn’t in your pull box, or you have a run of old comics and are missing a few issues? Well, Ebay can be a wondrous source of single issue comics, even if you are not looking for one particular comic, but you’d like to collect some back issues anyway. While the amazing deals are out there, We, as the comic book community are still feeling the effects of the comic speculation bubble, and as a result there are a lot of overpriced comics due to overspeculation, and a lot of general crap floating around. But hopefully with these few tips will help you accurately search out what you are looking for. Before I start however, I have to say that this is merely a bargain hunting strategy, and if you happen to be looking for Ultimate Spiderman #1 Variant, you’re going to have to be prepared to pay top dollar.
Speculation, What is it, and how does it affect me?
Comic prices are very interesting, as there is no simple linear rule to defining the prices (eg, older = more expensive), as the aforementioned speculation. First though, we must address the issue of, what is speculation? Speculation, put simply, and in the context we are viewing it, is the act of speculating or guessing that a particular item, in our case comic books, will one day become valuable, or that it can be resold for more later. Speculation, literally defined means trading with the purpose of making profits, and I’m sure you’ve seen this, such as when Captain America #25 was released, and it was immediately being sold, or attempted to be sold for $25 dollars on Ebay even though my local comic shop was selling them for the standard $2.99. The first printing was fairly limited however, and they probably sold. As much as this is something that does not please me, I don’t believe my hobby should really be belittled by others for profit, it is a viable trade strategy. We saw the same attempts with the Death of Superman, but DC printed an incredibly large number of those issues, and they’re now found in bargain bins pretty much everywhere. So, the most expensive comics will be the old rare ones, followed by more recent comics being sold by people trying to make a quick dollar, but if you’re searching for something a little more obscure (ie, not a hot item), from the 70-90’s, you’re sure to find a great deal.
What should you, as an honest comic collector take from all this? The short story is, if you are hoping to pick up an important issue you may have missed, Ebay is probably not the place. Heck, the internet is probably not the place you want to look. My advice would be to check out other comic book locations in your local area. Chances are one of them heard the issue was going to be big, and ordered some extras, especially if there is a comic book store located in a cit around you, such as midtown comics in NYC, or a very small comic shop, that probably doesn’t get many patrons is also a good candidate; basically anything on either extreme if your first choices aren’t working out.
Finding Single Issue Bargains
Moving on to what Ebay and the internet can do for you, instead of what it can’t. For this installment of Ebay week, I will be giving some examples and pointers of good search methods, some of which can be applied to finding just about anything on Ebay. First off, know what you are looking for, or alternatively, know that you are not looking for anything in particular, and just browsing. If you have never used Ebay before I suggest you do some browsing, and test searches before committing to anything, it can be daunting, and you want to make sure you are getting the best deals. First off, make use of the categories if you are just browsing, but if you are looking for a particular item, it would be best to not limit your categories due to poorly categorized items, a good example of this would be listing an autographed comic under collectibles, or memorabilia. Also, while browsing/searching, be sure to look to the left hand of your screen. The upper section allows you to limit your search to categories and sub-categories, such as only silver-age comics. Below that allows you to limit or expand your search to include Ebay stores as well as those who offer free shipping. Now, onto the specifics, when searching Ebay, instead of just searching “Signed Thor comic” and taking the first thing that pops up, do alternate searches using synonyms, such as autographed, graphic novel, or include the author or illustrator. Doing this requires you to make good use of the watched items feature. Just click “Watch this item,” and come back to all your favorites later. Doing this allows you to really see what the bargains are. I’ve picked up a good number of comics for exceptionally cheap, such as Journey into Mystery #123 for about $12 US, or the occasional bargain for $3-5 US like the last issue I needed my for Official Marvel Handbook series. However, don’t be afraid to be patient, if you’re in a rush you’ll make mistakes. In my hurry to collect and read all the issues of Civil War I had missed, I ended up spending way more than I had to, and then shipping on top of that! Remember to look for deals on shipping, many sellers will offer them.
Addendum: For examples of what I’m talking about, see my other blog “Life of a Welshman” for proof that great bargains DO exist out there! Today’s entry can be found here.