How Much Should You Expect to Get for Your Comics?
Updated: Nov 2, 2022
This is the million (or hundred) dollar question that many people ask us. "How much should I expect to get for my comic books?" Our answer almost always begins with telling the customer to keep their expectations low. We also always recommend researching prices online before selling your collection. That being said, if you need advice on selling your comics, then you've come to the right place.
Here we will discuss the do's and don'ts when researching prices for your comic book collection. We will also discuss why you shouldn't expect the moon when selling your collection (unless you're sitting on a very rare gold mine). Please note, that this is a generalized article (for entertainment purposes only), and it won't specifically tell you how much your comics are worth or how much they will sell for. We have a few price guides that can help if you're looking for any specific comic values. This article will tell you what you should come to expect when selling your comics regarding general monetary expectations.
To begin, we have to start with one of the more common comic sellers we come across. We use this as an example of what you shouldn't do when trying to figure out what your comic book collection is worth.
We see this all the time. Someone finds their old comic books (or other collectibles) from when they were a kid. Or quite possibly, a loved one has sadly passed away and left their family with an inheritance of comics. Many times, someone will go online and search for their comics on eBay and see very high asking prices such as $30 for a Death of Superman (issue 75, black bagged edition) comic. This will lead them to think they have now come into a gold mine. If they have 20 copies of this book, then that adds up to $600 just for the one group. They then look through the remaining books (let's say they have 500 comics) and think that the books are all worth between $10 and $20 based on asking prices. This leads them to think that they are sitting on $5,000-$10,000 worth of comic books (when the collection may be worth a fraction of that). Sometimes they will also see prices of comics that are graded so their price expectations go even higher. Why stop at $30 for a Superman #75 when they can get $200? It only makes sense, since that's what some sellers have CGC 9.8 copies listed for on eBay. They will next call comic book buyers in their area and ask them for the higher end of the price spectrum only to be disappointed when not a single buyer shows any interest.
This is where we need to put on the brakes. Let's start by saying that asking prices on eBay are not what the comic book sells for. Sellers online can ask for whatever they want for an item. It doesn't necessarily mean they will sell it. I might have an issue of Avengers from the 1990s that's completely random and has no significance, but I feel like it's worth $50 (due to the popularity of the movies), so that is what I will list it for. That doesn't mean the book is worth $50.
We don't recommend pricing books based on the asking prices of other sellers while selling online. Just because sellers are asking for a certain price on comics, doesn't mean that this is the value. The value is dictated by what the item sells for consistently. Just as a point of reference before we proceed: BE CAREFUL WHEN USING PRICE GUIDES. While we try to keep our price guides up to date, many others are not often updated.
The best way to find the value of a comic book is to go to eBay and research the sold listings. To do this, you can search for the item, and on the side of the page, you will see a box you can check that says "sold listings." Check that off and you'll see actual sold prices for any particular issue. Once you research sold prices, subtract the fees eBay takes as well as shipping supplies involved (this is important). Accounting for all that will give you the actual price/value of the comic book. Let's continue using the Death of Superman (black bag) comic book. You will see some sellers asking for $30-40 (ungraded) for this comic, but the book consistently sells for between $5-12. Now, let's subtract the $1-2 eBay will take from fees and the labor it will take to ship the book. In the end, you're left with much less than what you initially expected.
We next need to explain that there is a great deal of labor involved with selling comic books. An average comic book long box weighs between 40-50 lbs., while a short box weighs between 20-25 lbs. If you're selling comic books online, at local conventions, or flea markets, then you need to take this into account. A local flea market might net you $100-300 for 8 hours of work selling lower-end, modern comics, but you have to lift quite a few heavy boxes. Trust us, this is much worse than it sounds. The reason we say this is because the average white-collar American makes between $100 and $300 for 8 hours of work, but may not need to lift extremely heavy boxes to do so. The question you need to ask is: what is your labor worth? Some people find it easier to work extra hours at their day job, rather than getting into a business venture such as comic books.
What we lastly need to consider is space. If you have a lot of comic books, then you need to understand that they can take up a great deal of space. We have seen basements, attics, and closets full of comics. Spaces that could have been used to store other, more practical belongings. If you are paying rent or a mortgage and storing something that is taking up space in your dwelling, then you need to consider how it might be a waste. And if you are paying for a storage unit, then you need to understand that the price you are paying per month in storage fees can add up very quickly. An example is if you are storing comic books in a storage unit and paying $250 a month for 3 years, then you have spent $9,000 on storage. Are the comics worth it? We find in most cases they are not. This is especially true if you're storing a collection of 1980s or 1990s comic books.
Generally speaking, you need to keep your expectations low when selling your modern comic book collection (online or otherwise). Setting the bar low will allow you to sell the collection without any type of attachment and if you get more than you initially expected, then it will be a bonus.
If you aren't experienced selling or grading comic books, then we recommend researching sold comic books on eBay and taking those prices to get the total value of your collection. If you find comic books that are selling for $1-5 on eBay, we recommend thinking of a bulk price number for those (maybe a price per book or box) and maybe individual prices for books worth between $10-50. You can then add everything up and sell the entire collection to a local comic buyer to save yourself the hassle.
If you're new to selling comics, then it's important to understand that while some comic books may have value, a large majority of them are not worth the effort and time needed. That being said, if you have any kind of expectations when selling your comic books, then it might be better to lower them (sometimes drastically). If you don't then you might be setting yourself up for a difficult road filled with disappointment. What sometimes happens is that buyers will not offer what you want, and in the end, you will have to sell them yourself to get the price you desire. This will lead to you putting a great deal of your time and labor into comics that aren't worth it. The first thing you need to ask is, what your time is worth, not what your comics are exactly worth.
Note that we buy comic book collections, so if you're looking for a reliable comic buyer for your books, then be sure to give us a call, text, or email. We have been buying comics for over 10 years and offer competitive prices for all books, including modern collections. We also offer free opinions (for entertainment purposes only) if you're just looking for comic advice or feel like you've hit a wall.
NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. DO NOT USE OUR WEBSITE WHEN MAKING ANY FINANCIAL DECISIONS.