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Found Some Comic Books? Here’s Some Advice on Valuing Your Collection

Comic Books

So you’re digging through your uncle’s attic and end up finding a box of comic books. You think to yourself that they may be worth some money, but don’t know where to start. Or maybe you found a box of comics that you bought when you were a kid and can’t figure out if you’re sitting on a treasure chest or a really heavy paperweight. Regardless of your situation, here are some tips that can help if you’re in a bind and want to figure out the value of some of the comics you might have.

  1. Try to figure out how old your comics are. This is really important because a comic from the 1930s will be worth much more than a comic from the 1990s. To find the age of the comic book, just open up to the first page and check the fine print at the bottom. You’ll most likely see a publication date. Also, note that the cover price can help you figure out how old the comic is. A general rule of thumb is that anything with a cover price of 10 or 12 cents is from the 30s thru the 60s. On the opposite end, anything with a cover price of 50 cents or more is from the 80s and up. The Iron Man comic pictured above has a cover price of $1.50, so it’s a newer book (from the 90s).
  2. Try to figure out the condition of your comics. You don’t need to be an expert or anything like that. Just note if any of them have tears, rips, folds, stains, creases, or anything of the sort. If they look good, then just make a note of it. Most newer comics are going to be in good shape (at least from what we’ve seen). It’s the older comics that tend to have problems.
  3. Once you’ve figured out the age and condition of the comics, you’ll find that most of the hard work is done. From there you can take pictures of the collection to give anyone looking an idea of what you might have. You can also make a list, but don’t do so unless asked. Making a list can prove to be tedious and isn’t always worth the time.
  4. Contact an appraiser or an expert. This part might sound tough, but we found a pretty useful article that gives some tips on how to get a free appraisal for your comic collection, which can probably point you in the right direction.
  5. Try your best to describe the collection over the phone or by email. If you find that you’re having a tough time providing details, then just ask the expert if you can send pictures of the collection. The appraiser might also ask you for a list, and if you have the time, then try your best to make one.
  6. If an appraiser offers to come by your place to price out your collection, then make sure they’re reputable. We don’t have to spell out the reasons why you need to be careful. Also, be sure to ask if the appraisal they’re offering is free. Sometimes an expert will appraise your collection, but sneak in some charges that weren’t discussed beforehand.
  7. You can contact multiple appraisers if you’re looking for more than one opinion. It never hurts to have more than one set of eyes on your collection.
  8. If you found that your comics aren’t worth anything, then just consider donating them. There are lots of great charities that will take comic books. 
  9. If the comics aren’t worth anything, but you still want to sell them, then consider selling them in lots on eBay. This will make life easier and you won’t be stuck with any low-dollar issues.
  10. If you found that some of the comics you have might be worth something, then make sure you have originals (not reprints). If they check out, then consider sending them to CGC or CBCS for grading. If they’re worth some money, then having them graded can help you get close to the going rate.

Before contacting an appraiser, be sure to read below. We’ve provided some useful tidbits that might help you if you’re not sure about the price of your comics. This might help give you a general idea of the value of your collection.

  1. If you have a collection of comics from the 1980s and up, then we found that most issues aren’t really worth much today. There are some out there that have value, but a large majority don’t really seem to be worth more than a couple of bucks online. Comics from the 80s and up were overprinted and preserved, so there are plenty of them out there and not enough buyers. You might still have some books in the collection that are worth some money, so don’t lose hope, however, the odds aren’t going to be in your favor.
  2. If you have something that’s older (from the 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60s), then there’s a good chance that you might have something that’s worth some money, but it really depends on the content.
  3. These days, with the popularity of MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies from Disney, everyone is a fan of superheroes, specifically Marvel heroes. This has led comics from Marvel to skyrocket in value. DC movies haven’t caught on as much, so comics from them aren’t as valuable unless they’re something significant or older.
  4. It really depends on what comics you found. We find that most comics from the 30s thru the 50s are worth something with rare exceptions. The 60s and the 70s are where things start to get sketchy. If you have an Archie comic book from the 70s, then chances are that it’s not going to be worth any major money, but if you have an Amazing Spider-Man comic book from the early 1960s, then you’re most likely sitting pretty. In the end, content is king.

While it can be tough to price out a collection of comics, you can make life easier for yourself if you speak to an expert and try to get some free advice. Most of these guys have been in the business for years and can probably put you in the right direction if you ever find yourself stuck. Just remember that comics aren’t always worth money and a lot of times they’re just meant to be read and enjoyed, rather than profited from. If you find that your comics aren’t worth anything, then just consider donating them to your local charities.

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