The Long Boxers - Comic Book Run Collecting

Building a Run Collection

Building a Run Collection 1024 585 Craig Coffman

Run collecting takes time but can be a wonderful center piece in your treasure trove.

Building a run collection is a fun part of this hobby that seems to be almost the lost art. These days, guilty, people are hyper-focused on grabbing and securing keys. Understandable as those books can really rocket overnight to prices most of us are not willing to pay. Way back, though, before the keys, fancy covers (90s), number 1s and what ever else were the run collectors. Those with every issue. 1-infinty and beyond. Getting there can be a task, but with a sane approach and some patience anyone can get there.

While there are many paths to the same end, I wanted to put down my approach. Is it the best? Probably not. Does it work? It has for me and some of my friends. I figured I would take the time to share the steps here. I hope it helps!

NOTE: Before we dive in, I need to let you all know that I am using the popular title of Amazing Spider-Man for this exercise, but I do not have this run. In no way will this be a tool to move my books.

First Steps to Completing A Comic Run Collection

Run collecting is a labor of love. Depending on what you are after (Amazing Spider-Man in this example), it will take time. First I made a list of all the books I wanted and the cost per grade (raw or otherwise). Next, I went through and put an emphasis on books I thought would have the best chance of blowing up.

Those are the books I went after first, even if there are already existing keys I was wanting. To me, this put me ahead of the curve should they actually blow up. Then I targeted the key books everyone already knows about.

Second, ignore all books that are not with emphasis from the title listed above until you get them. Amazing Spider-Man is admittedly a tougher run to collect, so there might need to be some flexibility in this approach. But stick to the targets. To get these funds, I use the money I make from sales. I use my walking around cash for books I might see in a shop, but reserve my money from sales to get the books I am after.

The Long Boxers - Amazing Spider-Man 210 Cover
The Long Boxers - Amazing Spider-Man 229 cgc 9.8

Filling Out Your Run Collection Quicker by Avoiding “Traps”

Clearly for how you do things some of this money will go back into CGC batches, so take that into account. But sell everything that does not matter to you. If you are after a big (in this case) set of books, you need to be a seller of books that do not belong to ASM and a collector of ASM. Everything else is a means to get your ASM run. This one is tough for me, but I make the best strides when I stick to this.

Third, only fill in the run collection with cheap lots. Yes, the filler books are cheaper so you can get ‘better’ copies for not too much comparatively, but they are not really important to the run. Get cheap lots of mid to low grade copies. This will save you money on books that most likely will not matter, but it gets all your holes filled. Once you have the targets from step one, THEN go back and get better copies if you want. Or just do not care because they are likely not big ticket items in the long run.

Fourth I drastically cut back my pull list to only titles I am really reading / liking. I have moved to trades if I am wanting to read most moderns, but even then I do not wind up buying them because I really do not care that much about many of the titles. The biggest win I found from this is the lack of weekly commitment financially. I go in and if something is there, neat. If not, oh well. Most of them are just flashes in the pan.

Turn Away from the Shiny Light During Your Run Collection

On that note, five. Stop reading the ‘insiders’ online. Most of them are only pumping their own collection / pre-orders to profit. How many of these new hot books have been anything compared to all the others which have failed? I am going to stick with a touted number of 97% typically are done inside of 6 months. When I go back and look at the ‘hot tips’ I find I am looks at cold ruins without ways to recoup. Granted some do work, but most of them are super short fuses.

Too be fair, if you are truly of the fortitude to be a Wednesday Warrior (I am not) you can make quite a bit of dough on the short term spec flips. But it is a hard grind. These online folks set the market and buy multiple copies before release with the intention of creating hype. Then they are good to go on release day when suddenly a variant is worth $80! Well, think of your time driving around, possibly finding one that is without flaw (because with a flaw no one cares), listing on eBay, packing / selling / fees. What did you really clear?

Sure, a double of money in a day is nice, but removed all those other elements and it is not worth it. The only way to be a Wednesday Warrior with success is to get into the game early (before FOC) and become a taste maker. Some people have that. I do not. I do better not chasing and keeping my funds for the books I know I want and not what random online people tell me is important.

The Long Boxers - Amazing Spider-Man Cover 358

Runnuing Down That Collection Dream

I do understand that there are nice tips out there. I have certainly found information from those sources. When I do decide to act on them that is where my walking around money comes from. If I have it and I trust the play, I will put my money down to fill a hole in a run collection.

Generally, though, I prefer to be later to the game and have the fortune of time passing to help with my decision. Often times in that dip after things cools is when I pick up books that I think have legs but the instant highs are removed. Definitely not as cheap as trying to get things early on, but I also have more insight on what the market really cares about a character / cover / etc.

The Long Boxers - Amazing Spider-Man Cover

While this is not a sure-fire way to complete your run collection, this is what I have been adopting over the last few years and it is working better. Especially because in the end, I am only after the books I want. So why waste time and money going in other directions.

Looking for more tips and thoughts on comic book speculating and investing? Why not start here!

Good luck digging and happy hunting!

Information current as of 02/25/2020

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