How to Get a Free Appraisal for Your Comic Book Collection
Updated: Nov 2, 2022
So you have a comic book collection and don't know where to begin when selling them. This is easy to understand as selling a collection of comics can feel overwhelming. If you find yourself in a bind, then don't worry, we're here to help. This guide will provide you with a checklist of what you can do to get a free and accurate appraisal of your comics.
Know that selling a collection of comic books can prove to be quite difficult. You should always try to make a game plan before selling comics (or any collectibles). Try to figure out how you want to sell the collection. Do you want to sell each comic individually? Do you want to sell it as a whole? This will all make a difference in your appraisal. If you want to sell your comic collection individually on places like eBay, then you probably need exact individual prices for each comic. If you're looking to sell your comic collection as a whole, then it's recommended to get an appraisal for the entire collection as a group.
Note that this guide is for entertainment purposes only and should not be used when making any financial decisions. Be sure to consult multiple, reliable sources before buying or selling any comics or collectibles.
Also, note that we provide completely free appraisals of comic book collections, with no obligations to sell (any appraisals/opinions we provide are for entertainment purposes only). If you need values on your comics, then note that we also have price guides for most eras. We've been told that our comic value guides can be a huge help and have helped point many people in the right direction when selling individual comic books (we highly recommend doing more research and our price guides shouldn't be your sole means of pricing).
If you prefer to cut out the hassle and sell your comic collection in one shot, then note that we buy collections of all sizes and ages. We pay fair, cash prices for comics and travel to you (which minimizes your labor). Whether you have a collection of 5 comics from the 1950s or 5,000 books from the 1990s, be sure to call, text, or email us.
Make a List of Your Comics
This is the most obvious way to go when selling a collection of comics. Making a list can ensure that you get a proper appraisal from most dealers. This will cut down on all of the mess that comes with talking to a comic dealer over the phone and describing the collection in painstaking detail. Once the list is made, then note that the hard part is done. It can be sent to multiple professionals and you can get plenty of opinions within a few days.
Note that making a list can be pretty tough and if you have a collection of 80s and 90s comics, then it might not even be worth the effort. Try to describe your collection to a few local dealers and ask if they think it's worth your time to make a list.
Before you make the comic list, you might need to organize your comic collection to make life easier. Putting the issues in alphanumeric order will make the compilation itself much easier. This is optional and just depends on what's easier for you.
The comic book list should consist of the following: the comic title, the issue number (usually found near the cover price), and the estimated condition. Use our grading guide to determine the condition of your comics. You don't need to be an expert comic book grader and giving an estimate should be more than enough for most comic professionals. If grading proves to be too difficult, then you can leave it off the list and provide the dealer with details on the overall condition of the comics (ex: the comic books have creases, bends, etc).
This next part is recommended, but not necessary. If you make a list, try to add the cover price of each listed issue if possible. This will help the person looking at the list figure out what year the comic is from. A good example would be if you have an Amazing Spider-Man 52 comic book from 1967. Adding the 12-cent cover price next to the other details can help the expert understand that it's the original version and not from the 2nd or 3rd volumes of the title (which were released much later). We would list the comics in the picture below as the following:
Conan the Barbarian 50 4.5 25 Cents
Conan the Barbarian 51 5.0 25 Cents
Conan the Barbarian 52 5.0 25 Cents
Conan the Barbarian 53 5.0 25 Cents
Conan the Barbarian 54 5.0 25 Cents
Conan the Barbarian 55 4.5 25 Cents
Conan the Barbarian 56 5.0 25 Cents
Conan the Barbarian 57 5.5 25 Cents
Conan the Barbarian 58 6.0 25 Cents
Conan the Barbarian 59 6.5 25 Cents
Conan the Barbarian 60 5.5 25 Cents
Take Group Pictures
If you're finding a list to be too difficult or tedious, then there are other options. One option is to take pictures. If your collection consists of a couple of hundred comics or less, then we suggest taking group pictures of the collection. Spread out 20-30 comics on a table or the floor and take a picture using your phone or a camera. Then repeat the process.
You don't need the entire cover of the comic displayed. Having half of the cover displayed in the picture should be more than enough for most comic book dealers or professionals (see our example below). They know what they're looking for when analyzing someone's collection.
For smaller comic book collections, taking pictures is usually the easiest way to go when looking for an appraisal. It only takes a few minutes and provides the most information to the comic dealer. They can usually get an idea of the issues included and see what kind of shape they're in, depending on the quality of the images. You can usually cover a few hundred comics in just a few pictures and send the photos to several local comic dealers to get their assessments.
Get Expert Opinions
If you're not sure about your comic collection, then be sure to call to ask for a few opinions. Just make sure the person you're talking to knows about comics. If you feel like the person you're talking to lacks the knowledge you need, then just move on to the next person.
Try not to talk to any antique shops, thrift stores, or pawn shops as comic books are not their specialty. Do your research and find someone who knows about comic books from all periods. A good way to find out is to check their website, eBay store, or social media and see if they're selling a good variety of comics (ex: the 1960s thru the 2000s). Note that many comic shops specialize in only older comics (and vice versa), so try to find someone that knows about all periods of comic books.
Some bigger auction houses such as Heritage can help if you have something expensive, but note that other consignment shops can be very aggressive about selling through them if they see that you have something rare and valuable. Just know when to tell them no. Consignment shops aren't always great for an appraisal as their business is more about getting expensive items to sell in their auctions (many bigger auction houses won't bother with lower-value comics).
If any comic shop pushes you to sell your collection to them and doesn't provide a free, no-strings-attached opinion, then just politely decline. Understand that stores that aggressively try to buy your comics should be avoided. They are most likely going to try and buy your comics for a cheap price without actually giving an accurate appraisal. If you're not comfortable when dealing with someone, then just move on. You can usually tell when a comic dealer is being underhanded when talking to them.
Keep Your Expectations Low
This is probably the most important thing to understand when selling a collection of comic books. If you want to get an appraisal on your 1980s or 1990s (or newer) comic books, then understand that the chances are that most of the comics are going to be worth little to nothing. There will be a chance that you have something worth $10-100 in that collection, but you should equate it to looking for a needle in a haystack. Finding an expensive comic book gets a little easier if you have a collection that's bigger (ex: a few thousand comics) or has older comic books (ex: from the 30s thru the 60s).
If you feel like you have something expensive in your collection after doing some research, then call several dealers to verify its authenticity. They should be able to verify the legitimacy of a comic book with a few pictures and questions.
To maximize the profit on any rare and expensive issues, we highly recommend grading your comic books. This would allow you to sell it using almost any venue (consignment, eBay, etc). If you're looking for advice on grading comic books, then note that we can offer our opinion on the grade of individual comics. We can also offer tips on submitting comic books to CGC if you're new to the whole thing. We're an authorized CGC dealer with years of grading experience.
Some Appraisals Aren't Free
We love giving free appraisals of comic book collections, but understand that there are plenty of other places that don't give free appraisals. Some comic dealers might come to your house and price your collection for you, but they won't do it for free. There is usually some kind of hourly rate, plus expenses that are involved. If you find someone willing to give you an in-person appraisal, then make sure it's free of charge, or make sure to establish a price beforehand.
Comic book dealers who charge for appraisals will do it for several reasons. Most professional comic dealers (at least the good ones) are usually busy with their own business and can't be bothered with pricing out someone else's collection. If you're looking to have someone come to your home and price and grade individual comic books, then it's going to be a good amount of work that can take hours or days, depending on the size of the collection.
Also, note that a paid appraisal usually isn't worth the money. If you have a few hundred modern comics, then you'll find that most comic books aren't going to be worth much and you'll just be wasting your money having a professional individually price each issue (since most of the books will be worth between 50 cents and 2 dollars). It's usually just best to get an estimate on the collection and try and sell it as a whole for a fair price. Selling individual 2 dollar comics on eBay isn't usually worth the effort unless you're well organized. See our guide on reasons why it's so difficult to sell a comic collection.
Understand that comic book dealers and professionals can have busy schedules, but plenty of them provide completely free advice if you need it. Just try your best to be respectful with their time and understand that free appraisals are there to help you. Don't accuse a comic book dealer of giving you false information if you don't agree with the appraisal. Trust us, it can be tough to be the bearer of bad news and most dealers don't appreciate being attacked personally when they're just trying to help.
If you don't agree with any opinions on your comic book collection, then just call other professionals and ask for their opinion. Just note that these professionals are providing you with obligation-free advice and have nothing to gain by lying to you. They're also experts in their field and most breathe comics and collectibles, so they're going to know more about the value of comic books than most.
We also need to explain that almost all free appraisals are done over the phone or by email. If we had to go to everyone's house to do free appraisals, then we wouldn't have time to run our own business (gas is also expensive these days). If you need someone to come to your house and appraise your comics, then be sure that they are worth the time and effort (most comic collections aren't).
In the end, your collectibles or comic books are your own and if you have a price in mind for your collection, then you're welcome to sell them for whatever price you'd like. An appraiser can only give you impartial information based on the current comic book market. Just know that comic book values also fluctuate and the market can be quite volatile. A comic book that is worth $100 today might be worth $10 tomorrow (or vice versa).
Please understand that any information that we offer on our website is just an opinion and should not be your sole means of research. Always do your due diligence before buying and selling comic books or any collectibles and consult multiple sources.
Note that we provide completely free, personalized opinions and appraisals on comic book collections of all sizes and ages (for entertainment purposes only). If you have 5 comics from the 1990s or 5,000 comics from the 1960s, we are here to help and provide our expert opinion, obligation-free. If you want to cut out the hassle that goes with selling your comic book collection, then be sure to give us a call, text, or email. We offer fair prices and buy all comic book collections. We never pressure you to sell anything to us, so if you're just looking to be pointed in the right direction, then feel free to ask. We also have plenty of other information and price guides available on our website.
NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. DO NOT USE OUR WEBSITE WHEN MAKING ANY FINANCIAL DECISIONS.