The Long Boxers - Hero - Not All High Grade Books Part 2

Comic Investing: Not All High Grade Books Are Created Equal – Part 2 of 4

Comic Investing: Not All High Grade Books Are Created Equal – Part 2 of 4 1024 585 Craig Coffman

Comic Investing: Not All High Grade Books Are Created Equal – Part 2 of 4

Welcome to part two of the article. Hopefully you found the first part interesting and helpful. If you happened to miss that part, you can navigate to the different sections using the buttons at the bottom of this page once they are posted. Now let us get on with part two.

Learning How to Count Chickens

(Delve into the headcount of comic books to find outliers and potential)

One of the most important considerations to keep in mind when evaluating a comic for investment puropses is very simple: supply and demand. If a book is abundantly available, the price will have a hard time staying up. If a book is very hard to find, it is easier to maintain a valuable status. Sounds easy, but most people do not follow that basic idea. As with everything, this is not a hard and fast rule but it generally holds true.

How to spot a potential cash cow

A different animal reference! Are we on a farm? There are many ways to figure out if a book is a good purchase or not. You can, and should in my opinion, use a service like GoCollect or GPA to keep tabs on what a book is selling for and how many copies are out there. Both of these are paid services, so be aware, but they are extremely reasonable if you plan to heavily engage in comic book investing or collecting. You many know of other services as well, but these two seem to be the most popular.

I use GoCollect, but that is mainly because it was the first one I tried and I like it. The great thing about these services is they show you when a book sold, how many are on census, what it sold for, if the trend is up or down and so much more. The information is very handy and crucial.

Opening a CGC account is also a nice way to stay up to date with books being graded and the census. Plus, if you intend on getting books slabbed you are already connected to their service. This is not necessary, though, as you can get much of this information from the sites mentioned above. It is important to note that there are a few other grading services, but CGC books tend to pull higher returns at this date.

Quality of books

The issue quality you are looking to secure can vary, and there are reasons for investing in every grade. If you are looking for high end books, you want to stay in the top 20%, and ideally in the top 13%. Clearly the number of copies will affect this wildly. A book with very few graded can skew numbers. Be sure to check against how many graded copies there are.

It is also worth noting that some of the older books might move target grades down to the low 9s or even 8.5s. Do not think that it has to be a 9.8 to be a valuable book. It is more important to get a book in the right percentile of all graded copies.

Books that seem like a wise investment, but really are not

One should be cautious around comic books with an issue having very high numbers at a certain grades. You always want to get a book no lower than the most common grade if you are hoping to use it as an investment. Many newer books will have an abundance of copies at 9.8. Sometimes as high as 90% of the books. Stay away from these or try to turn a raw copy into your own 9.8.

On the flip-side, there are modern books where there are a higher number of 9.6 graded books. In those cases, even though the top grades will cost you more, it shows that the book is hard to secure in 9.8. If you are after that book, it might be worth paying up for a copy as it indicates raw copies have a harder time reaching the top grades.

Considering other factors and rarities for value –

Another factor is Signature Series. Some people will be wanting to pay more because a certain person has signed a book. Me, I do not care unless I am there to meet the artist in person. Buying a book with someone’s signature that I did not get is wasted money to me. I would rather buy the same grade for less.

Now, I have some signed books because they were bargains. I am hoping they will do better down the road because of it, but in the end I am good if it sells at the same price as an unsigned copy due to where I bought in. Just know that buying premium for a signature is to be done at your own discretion, but they do typically sell for more.

Considering other factors and rarities for value –

High ratio variants are another niche which at the moment (2019) has been popular the past few years. I am not a fan of these, but I need to acknowledge they have some radical values. Even very quickly. Some of the numbers will boggle the mind, My dislike of them is that they are made to be rare. I do not find that sustaining. I think of all the things in the past with created rarity and they are now not worth what you paid. Many things not even close.

The big exception is a high ratio variant with a key appearance in it. Those will have value going forward to some degree. This does not mean all of them are gold mines, but there is at least a potential.

For more on variants, please read our article on the topic.

What this means for raw books? A title with many high grade CGC copies on the census means you should look for high grade raw copies. They will cost you less and you stand to get a better return. Keep them raw and sell them in that condition. Grading these books means you need the top grade or your profit loses dramatically.

Too Many Copies

If there are too many in high grade, you will lose so much value if your book does not rank in the upper echelon. Your book will be harder to move because of the copious number of higher grade books available. It also makes it harder to maximize your return as if you price too high, folks often just pay the difference for the next grade up. Raw books in high grade, on the other hand, hold the allure of hitting the high grade. People will generally pay more for a high grade raw copy than it might be worth with the hopes of it actually grading out in the top tier.

End of Part 2

The next part will help you identify which comic books are selling at a price that is still good for investment. While it could be argued that all books are at a good price, I think that there are ways to know where you are buying in on the price curve. Again, it will not tell you specific books. That is not the intention of this article.


This information is presented as of 2/1/2019.

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