The Long Boxers - Hero - Not All High Grade Books Part 1

Comic Investing: Not All High Grade Books Are Created Equal – Part 1 of 4

Comic Investing: Not All High Grade Books Are Created Equal – Part 1 of 4 1024 585 Craig Coffman

Comic Investing: Not All High Grade Books Are Created Equal – Part 1 of 4

A Does Not Equal B

(Learning how to assess which comic books to invest in)

Math? Eww. No one told me there would be math. Relax. There is some later, but it is pretty straight forward and not painful. Now that you know, on with the post…

Many folks I know are interested in comics as a sort of investment for the future. I am in that camp. I personally like the idea of owning “valuable” items that I can literally hold in my hand. Stocks, bonds, etc are all solid investments. Obviously. But they are not based on anything that you can hold. They are values of other companies, not the actual products they sell. That is, think of Enron. Those jokers go down and all the investors are flat screwed. No real recourse and the shares are worthless.

Physical items like comics or coins, raw metals, etc will always have some value because they are actual things. Granted, they might be worth very little in comparison to where you bought them, but they are still worth something. I like that aspect of comic books and it is why I believe in them as investments.

Reading between the lines

It is crucial, however, to know that not all books are worth much. Especially when looking at long term investments. I put that at 10 years or longer. That is my arbitrary length of time. Sadly, many of the books we own, myself included, are never going to be worth as much as we believe they will. No matter how much I love them and think they are good bets. In the end they are just that. Bets.

How can you help yourself improve your odds? While there are many, many factors to consider these are a few high level points you could use to form your own strategy on investing in comics. Let’s dig in to some key points for choosing comic books for investing.

The goal of our writing this post

This article is aimed at investing in graded comic books as well as raw books. Graded books being referred to are CGC for this article. They are much easier to track and to know what the population is doing. Raw books, while a great investment if you buy high grade, are harder to quantify. To help with buying raw books, use the graded data to determine if you should buy them.

Also, this will not tell you what book you should or should not buy. That is up to you. Your collection should be a reflection of your own tastes and preferences. I aim to give you some ideas how to better assess any book you might be considering.

NOTE: I am not a financial advisor. Any and all investments come with risk. Never invest more than you can stand to lose. These opinions are just that. Opinions. They are how I chose to work through the comic medium and I have had some success with it.

A May to December Relationships

(Should you buy a new book or an older book)

There really is no wrong answer here. It is not a trick. Nor is it exclusive. You are wise to blend both approaches. I have moderns and silver age books in my investment category. There are a few key distinctions between the two I will go over here. For more about new books (modern books) verses older books (bronze age or older), please read our post about those two and how they are different and equal.

Starting with the Young Guns

It is short-sighted to think modern books cannot be relevant investment targets. They absolutely can, but you need to be careful. Quick flips of hot variants will get you lots of fast cash. In my humble opinion, a large majority of these books are not long term holds.

You can find examples to the contrary, but in general they do not hold. First appearances will likely preform better. Everyone loves to think they found the next Batman or Wonder Woman. You likely have not. But they can still make you money, which after all is what you want from an investment.

Entry point is everything

One big advantage is your entry point. Most moderns, excluding variants, are normally being purchased at cover or less. Hard to get a stronger entry point than that. So they are easier to get profit out of, but that is a percentage profit and not to be confused with a dollar profit. A $4 book selling for $16 is a 400% gain, but you only realize $12. Stack multiples of those moves and you can get some serious scratch without a doubt. Realize this is something going on weekly, so profits over a year can quickly flourish.

Be ready to move fast on these as sometimes the window can open and shut before you even get to the weekend. Their biggest downfall over time is that they are new and normally not too hard to find. Likely, there are people already slabbing this Wednesday’s books at CGC.

Buying Old Bucks

The older books tend to do better from an investment angle, but not just because they are old. Granted, that does help, but it is not enough to promise returns. It has more to do with the comic book’s condition. Older books were not often as well cared for as the modern comic books, which get hermetically sealed upon release.

Exaggeration there, but you follow the point. Trying to find many older books (bronze age or older) can be tricky in any grade, but especially in higher grades. Thus makes them a bit more valuable from the jump. Again, these are key books, not just any old comic book.

Why they are interesting

The nice thing is older comic books do tend to jump to considerable heights if news breaks. Yes, you are likely into them at a higher entry point but it ought to make up for that in the returns. Not always percentage wise, but total dollars. A major factor when investing in the older books, you need to be aware of not just where the book is currently priced, but where it has been historically.

All books rise over time, but they tend to go up organically and at reasonable rates. Depending on where you are in the cycle, all books rise differently. How to gauge where you are in the pricing cycle is discussed later in the article.

NOTE: Unlike new books, older books without anything important happening in them may still be valuable. A beautiful older comic book will have a higher bottom line than a similar stature new book. If you see them at good prices, you can likely find a buyer. Do not go crazy with them, as there is a reason they are run fillers and not keys, but there can be money in them.

End of Part 1

The next part will help you identify which comic books you should target and how to know. It will not tell you specific books. More of a teaching a person to fish situation.


This information is presented as of 1/25/2019.

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