Jesse has been selling on eBay since 2006. As a top-rated seller, he wishes to help others achieve success.
If you were a child of the '50s, '60s, '70s, or '80s, chances are that you or someone you know bought comic books. Comics were great alternatives to television for kids as they not only kept children entertained but also enhanced their reading abilities.
If you have a collection of comics lying around and want to make some extra cash, you have come to the right place.
The following information will teach you how to assess the grade of your comics, determine their value, and list them on eBay.
1. Know How Much Your Comics Are Worth
The Marvel and DC Movie Universes have had a huge impact on the value of comics. Issues that were almost worthless five years ago are now commanding huge sums.
Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide has been the most accurate source of paperback comic book value estimates. While the prices listed in Overstreet are accurate for certain titles, some issues with key appearances of certain characters can experience price rises within a 24-hour period. For this reason, I recommend using online resources.
The best free online resource for a list of declared comic book values is www.comicspriceguide.com. Signup and membership to comicspriceguide.com is free, with no underlying terms that require payment of any kind. There are two additional account upgrades that require you to pay between $5 and $8 per month. I highly recommend upgrading to one of these plans for at least one month to help the owners of this site continue to offer this free service. Upgrading will also allow you access to different features like eBay synchronization of your auctions and the option to list items for sale within the website itself.
eBay is by far the best way to determine the value of your comics. Since comic values fluctuate daily, Overstreet's Price Guide has become obsolete for determining the value of comics in high demand. Using the eBay search feature will give you an approximate idea of what your comics average value is based on the current market demand.
2. Learn How to Grade Comics
The most common phrase you will see when sellers refer to comic grading is "Grading is subjective," which is true, but not very comforting to potential buyers. Comic grading is sometimes hard to determine, especially for the novice collector. However, you do want to provide a good estimated grade along with detailed pictures so the buyer knows what they are getting. It's alright to use the "grading is subjective" phrase, but don't try to use it to justify not making an effort to supply an estimated grade. If you're new to grading, list the minor and major defects you can see, such as tearing or creasing, in the item condition description field.
Overstreet Grading is pretty much the industry standard. Even eBay uses summaries from the Overstreet grading guide. A general grading guide can also be found on eBay forums.
As for myself, I like to use additional guides from different resources to get an overall view of what a comic should be graded.
3. Limit the Stress of Grading
If you are new to grading and are a bit confused, that is perfectly fine. Sometimes it is hard to determine a grade, especially for comics that are in not so great shape.
To eliminate some of the stress and uncertainty of grading, follow these five tips.
- If you have an issue with any missing pieces on the cover that are at least the size of your fingernail, put them in the Good condition range. Good and lower condition comics are considered reader grade comics as they hold little collector's value.
- If you have an issue with a book-length crease, go ahead and state the condition as Very Good. "Very Good" is a common condition for collectors who just want a reading copy or filler copy for a storyline. In most cases, you aren't going to get the full book value estimated for a copy in this condition.
- By far, the hardest comics you will have to grade will fall in the Fine to Very Fine- range. These grade ranges allow various types of conditional defects and flaws. To that I say, "Do your best." Try to give an estimated grade and let the buyer know that you are not a professional grader and the opinion of the grade is yours and yours alone. Make sure to provide several pictures so they may determine the quality of the comic themselves.
- For comics between the grades of Very Fine to Near Mint, the guides previously provided are pretty specific on the qualification of these grades. Follow the guidelines of those parameters, and you should be okay.
- Any grade above Near Mint should only be determined by long time collectors and professionals. There is a finite line as to the flaws allowed for these grades. It is my recommendation to not use anything above Near Mint to describe the condition of your comic.
Another tip, as stated previously, is to list as many defects you can see in the item condition description field. As a buyer, I prefer listings that provide a detailed defect list rather than an estimated grade by an inexperienced grader.
4. Find Out What Sells
As stated earlier, movies by Marvel and DC have helped comic values soar. Use the following key steps to see if you have any gems.
- Perform a Google search for "DC Movie News," "Marvel Movie News," and "Comic Book News." News articles are released every day, revealing new information on characters being added to movies or television shows. Do a quick research on any new characters mentioned to determine their first or key appearances.
- Perform a Google search for "DC Movie Rumors," "Marvel Movie Rumors," and "Comic Book Rumors." While these are not always a definitive source of information, there are many insiders that make good arguments for potential upcoming appearances as well as leaked information that can give you a jump on the competition before that information is removed.
- Full runs or lots of 10 or more comics tend to produce more sales conversions than single comics. If you have a full set of a certain series, chances are you will have no problem selling it.
5. Take High-Quality Pictures
The biggest no-no for comic book sellers is poor quality pictures. Unless you have a key issue, most buyers will steer away from auctions with low-quality pictures.
In order to let buyers view high-quality pictures of the item you are selling, it is best to have a digital camera and a scanner. If you don't have one or the other, that is okay. You can still provide high quality with either.
- Use your scanner to scan the front and back of your comic.
- Use your digital camera to take pictures of the comic lying flat and standing upright in a protective bag with a backer board. This gives the buyer assurance that the comic is being stored safely.
After having all of your pictures scanned and/or photographed, upload them to an image hosting site. By doing this, you will free up space on your computer and be able to delete useless images from your hard drive, while having a copy of the photo readily available online at any time to use on any device in case your computer's hard drive is damaged in any way.
There are too many free image hosting sites to name in one article, so I will name the primary site that I use.
- Imgbb.com is an easy-to-use, free hosting site that has unlimited space to host all of your pictures. After uploading your pictures to imgbb.com, you have a variety of methods to embed or add your picture to anywhere online.
6. Learn How to Use Image Hosting
For those who have never used an image hosting site or want to know how to use the particular hosting site I have recommended I have added an easy guide for you to follow to get your pictures uploaded to your auction.
- Log in to your imgbb account.
- In the upper right-hand corner, click on your user name, then select "Albums."
- Find the picture you want to upload and select the checkbox on that picture
- In the upper right-hand corner will be one of two possibly buttons, "Upload to Album" or "Create new album." Directly underneath that, you need to click on the link "Action."
- A drop-down list will appear with the first option being "Get embed codes." Click on "Get embed codes," and a window will pop up with another drop-down selection box.
- Click on the drop-down selection box and choose "Direct links."
- Using your mouse, hover over the text box displaying your link and click "Copy."
- Go to the eBay listing you are editing and scroll down to the "Photos" section.
- Above the 12 slots permitted for photos will be two links "Delete all" and "Import from web." Click on "Import from web," and a text box with a blinking cursor will display.
- Paste your code into the provided text box and click on the "Import" button.
And that's all there is to it. I promise you it is a lot easier than it seems.
7. Invest in Comics for Future Selling
If you are are interested in becoming a full-time eBay comic book seller, your next course of action will be determining wise investments. Once you have done all of your research and have a general idea of what key comics are worth, investing is not that hard to do. I am probably making it sound easier than it actually is, but if you put some time and effort into researching trending sales of comics on eBay, you will soon be able to invest wisely and make a decent profit.
The best tool at your disposal to calculate a wise investment is an eBay and PayPal fee calculator. The particular one I use is finalfeecalc.com. Use this tool to enter the price you have paid or are going to pay for a comic. Fill in the respective fields for the shipping cost that you are going to charge and shipping cost that is actually paid by you to ship the item. If you determine that you can sell a comic for $15, but only pay $10 for it, you are going to make about 35% off of that sale. As a general rule of thumb, I always try to make at least 25% on each investment unless it is of higher value ($200 or more).
While $10 investments and $15 sales don't seem like much, they can add up over time. If you invest $1,000 and then resell for a 35% profit, you will make a profit of about $500 after eBay and PayPal fees. Using a $10 example sounds a little overwhelming since it would require you to buy and sell 100 different items, but think bigger picture.
Most of your investment opportunities will be of the higher value variety. Buying in lots is one of the best-kept secrets in comic book investing. While you may have to pay $300 to $400 for a collection of comics, there are several instances where you will be able to part that collection out and make over double your investment.
This strategy is based on the upper-to-lower-class ratio. There are more lower-class people than there are upper-class people, meaning there will not be as many interested buyers in a more expensive listing. This ratio, in itself, gives you an upper edge.
Most collectors aren't looking for an already built collection of comics. They want certain issues or small runs of different titles. By investing in larger lots, you are able to increase your selling potential.
Hopefully, all of the information above will give you a pretty good idea of how to evaluate your comics. If you are ready to list your item, I have a beginner's guide for eBay sellers that goes further in depth on what you should include in your title and description, as well as some other useful information.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.