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Tales from the Comic Box: Rookie Adventures in Buying/Selling & Setting Up at Shows

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Wall-Crawler

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Adventures and musings about Buying, Selling and setting up at Conventions and Shows

I participated in my first ever show last October. You can read about it here: http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=8903742#Post8903742

I was pleased with my sales, it was an excellent learning experience and most importantly, I had a great time. I must have did "ok" as I was invited back by the show organizers.

In my town, there use to be a larger two day Antique Show, but with the sale of the local Legion (where that event was held), the Antique Show organizers asked the organizers of the Collectibles Show to "take over"...I think this is a good thing, merging the two shows.

The first show under the new 'brand' is scheduled for Sunday, April 17th, 2016. Moving forward, the plan is to have a regular two day show in October.

For as long as there is some degree of interest I will share my experiences, good and bad. I also look forward to any new comments and tips from more seasoned sellers. Thanks for your interest!

Thanks for reading!

To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

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Glad you had fun at the Toronto show.

Once a you start selling rather than just being a dealer your thought process likely changes.  You realize how common a lot of those run filler books are and how much effort it requires to sell them versus keys, semi keys and GA books.  I also know that that average book will eventually pop in a collection I buy so why go looking for it.  I also have so many longs of comics piled up in the basement and feel no reason to add to the pile.

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So I recently "walked away" from a potential pick up.

I was negotiating a deal was for a fair sized lot of various Sideshow exclusive statues.  Now this was an area I don't have a lot of knowledge about but determining average selling price per piece was, for the most part, not too difficult thanks to ebay completed sales.

Ultimately, I walked away.  The price per piece we negotiated was fair but there would have been a fair bit of $$$ tied up and while I could have made money, I decided not to do the deal because:

A) High likelihood I would have a great deal of difficulty selling them locally.

B) I don't do that many shows and while they may make good "eye candy", again would be worried about transportation, potentially getting damaged and taking up a fair amount of space - And I still have a lot of comics to move.

C)  The worry about shipping.  They are expensive to ship and any kind of damage or return scenario could rapidly eat into my margins.

D) The cash invested may not be recuperated as quickly as I would want.

I had been negotiating with a person whom I have dealt with many times in the past. He was basically wanting to move them to pick up more/new ones.  I was intrigued at the potential pick up when first approached about it but after weighing all the pros and cons, decided against it.  He understood and our relationship is still intact as we never finalized a deal anyway.

Bottom line, I decided I would rather get one or two bigger keys with smaller margins and possibly even hold than a small collection of expensive statues...If I owned my own store or did more cons, outcome would likely have been different, but in the end, I just didn't fee comfortable with this particular investment.

I did pick up some prints though...

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Probably the right move.  Getting involved in a different collectible market has it's risks.  If you can get in very cheap and have a very good margin of error why not but in this case it sounds like you were paying a fair amount and any errors or bad surprises could be a problem.

Last year I looked at a small comic collection, mostly junk except for about a dozen interesting 1950s books and a few decent BA books, and about 800 wrestling posters from early 1990s to perhaps 2000.  He owned a bar that did pay per view wrestling events.  I know nothing about wrestling posters and a quick ebay search indicated a few sales between $30 and $10 each.  If I could have picked the posters up cheap, say $1 per, I think it would have been a good gamble but I wasn't willing to pay a lot and take a great deal of risk on a collectible market I didn't know.  

Where would I sell them?  Should I display some in cheap frames, or on cardboard shrink wrapped or in an art portfolio?  Would they fly out at local pop culture shows or would I only sell a couple per show and they wouldn't pay for the space they took up?

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Hey WC,

Thanks for continuing this thread, it's been a great read and I hope you continue posting entries.  As for pure comic shows, there is one coming up in March in Ottawa that I'll be setup at.  The inaugural show was in the fall and everyone I spoke with said it was a huge success, if you feel like making a trip down to the Nation's capital around that time you can dump a couple hours into this show on that day.  

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14 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

If you can get in very cheap and have a very good margin of error why not but in this case it sounds like you were paying a fair amount and any errors or bad surprises could be a problem.

This is it. I'll be honest, was going to get them for about 60% of retail averages per piece that I was able to find online.  As I figured I would have to sell them via ebay, there is what, 10% gone right off the top?  So I was looking at 30% per piece - If I got my asking price on them.  Add in the initial investment, storage space, time they may have taken to sell and more importantly, displaying/shipping worry of any kind of damage, I bowed out. I still wonder if I made the right decision but my wife made a good point too...By declining, it just means I have more comic fund/reserves available (and can keep growing) if some more comics, preferably keys, end up coming my way.

I did buy A LOT of Zenescope from him previously and surprisingly, I have done shockingly well with those online...So I did pick up about 45 prints from him, most 11  x 17, some smaller, some bigger.  Many signed. Some J. Scott Campbell, EBas, Dawn McTeague, Jaimie Tyndall and others.  He gave me a bulk deal and they don't take up any room, so figured, what the heck.  Definitely not my thing, but hey, who am I to judge someone else's collecting habits? Plus they will be easy enough to ship and take to shows.

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7 hours ago, spreads said:

As for pure comic shows, there is one coming up in March in Ottawa that I'll be setup at.

Thanks for still following!

What is the name of the show, when does it happen?  Ottawa is still 4 hours away for me...So basically same problem as Toronto...Accommodation, meal and gas costs, table costs, etc.

The Sudbury Graphic Con (my largest show) is undergoing a major overhaul and we still have not heard what is going on this year and it may not happen at all or at least in the same format as it did before, so I am in a wait mode for that.  Apparently it is transitioning from the Library or something and lots of debate as to its future. Last year, for sure, they focused too much on cosplay, "after parties" and I later found out they had a free "kid con" outside so lots of families (allegedly) didn't even bother to come inside where the majority of vedors were. 

Having said that, it was still a profitable show for me (again, my highest for the year) but attendance was lighter. You could tell by the crowd inside.

 My next show is likely in April, Northern Game Expo, which has been my second best show and one I really enjoy.

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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The show is called, Capital Comic Book Convention.  It was so popular they've expanded the dealer space, the admission is $6 (up from $5 and I hope they don't continue to increase the price for attendees).  In my monthly show that I setup at, there were many of the dealers there and all of them told me it was a great event.  For me, I won't ever have the capability of doing a bigger show (at least not in the foreseeable future), so this is nice that I will be able to setup at a larger venue in addition to my monthly show which is very cost effective!  

The location is right downtown Ottawa (Ottawa Marriot), try to convince your family to visit the capital for the weekend, there's loads to do!

Edited by spreads

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13 hours ago, spreads said:

The show is called, Capital Comic Book Convention.  It was so popular they've expanded the dealer space, the admission is $6 (up from $5 and I hope they don't continue to increase the price for attendees).  In my monthly show that I setup at, there were many of the dealers there and all of them told me it was a great event.  For me, I won't ever have the capability of doing a bigger show (at least not in the foreseeable future), so this is nice that I will be able to setup at a larger venue in addition to my monthly show which is very cost effective!  

The location is right downtown Ottawa (Ottawa Marriot), try to convince your family to visit the capital for the weekend, there's loads to do!

Thanks for the info, but like I said, while I greatly enjoy Ottawa, highly unlikely I will make the trip anytime soon due to all the associated costs and time.  I have also been very busy of late with my regular job and other matters, so time is also a big factor.  Just for curiosity, what are the costs of  vendor booths?

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Earlier I mentioned I picked up a bunch of prints, about 50 from my Zenescope connection.

Many of them are signed. Most are 11 X 17 but a few 13 X 19 or so. There are also several smaller ones. They are pretty much all of the "bad/good girl" art variety. Not my thing but I don't judge.

I have never bought or sold prints before but the price was right (or seemed right 😂), so I took a chance. Figured why not as they don't take up a bunch of room, easy to transport/ship and have had really good success selling Zenescope comics online.

Anyway, here is the lot. There are only a couple who I don't know who the artist is...The Lady Death and the smaller sized prints.

Anyhow, first purchase of 2019 in the books....We shall see how it goes...

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Edited by Wall-Crawler

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7 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

hm

If you know don't keep me guessing!

lol

I think I got the Lady Death artist - Monte Michael Moore: https://www.mavarts.com/comic-art but sig looks like Brian Pullido's...And looks very similar to some CGC SS books with his sig I have seen...

 

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10 hours ago, Wall-Crawler said:

If you know don't keep me guessing!

lol

I think I got the Lady Death artist - Monte Michael Moore: https://www.mavarts.com/comic-art but sig looks like Brian Pullido's...And looks very similar to some CGC SS books with his sig I have seen...

 

Pull UFO signed a lot, will check books I have with his signature to see if they match

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13 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

Dang autocorrect, pullido

LOL - No problem.  I appreciate you taking a look to help me figure these two sigs out!

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So another new development...My LCS is finally moving to a bigger and nicer location and will no longer look like a "hole in the wall" stereotypical comic shop.

The owner has offered to rent me "a table" (not sure on size of table yet) inside the shop where I can sell some of my comics for a monthly table rental fee.  I still do not know how large the table would be or the full cost yet, but he explained if I did it, I would simply mark my comics with a certain colour sticker and I could have my own "button" on the cash register when people bought my books.

I think it is a great idea but for me, it would all depend on how much the monthly table fee would be and size of the table.  I would also have to think about what to leave there.

Thoughts?

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Who's responsible in case of theft or damage?

Where's this, North Bay?  I think I've been to your old shop.  Eager bunch, but they seemed more like eager fanboys for new hotness than anything.  I wouldnt put anything expensive there.

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Yes, there's the risk of theft.  There's also the risk that the store doesn't pay you for what sells or goes out of business and you have trouble getting your books back.  You'll also have to keep a list of what you put in the store.  I'm not saying it's a bad idea, just that there's some risk 

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6 hours ago, FineCollector said:

Who's responsible in case of theft or damage?

Where's this, North Bay?  I think I've been to your old shop.  Eager bunch, but they seemed more like eager fanboys for new hotness than anything.  I wouldnt put anything expensive there.

Yes, North Bay...Now you guys know where I live😂

The store does not really deal in back issues so that may be why it seemed more about the new hotness. They are pretty friendly and has been in biz for awhile now but definitely glad to see them moving to a real location. 

Good points on theft and damage. I was not intending to put anything of substantive value...I was thinking cheapies but the price point for table rent might make it a no go.

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3 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

Yes, there's the risk of theft.  There's also the risk that the store doesn't pay you for what sells or goes out of business and you have trouble getting your books back.  You'll also have to keep a list of what you put in the store.  I'm not saying it's a bad idea, just that there's some risk 

I don't think they will be going out of biz anytime soon and yes for sure it would require some organization on my end and more info on how they would track sales. 

Nothing is final, just an idea proposed to me that is interesting but for sure more details need to be sorted out and ultimately the cost per month for the space could also be a major deciding factor.

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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Suggest a consignment arrangement instead maybe, with a straight percentage going to the dealer. Take a video of the box contents to mark what you have in there and make sure that he is responsible for anything no longer there, be it from theft or sales.

Edited by Bird

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42 minutes ago, Wall-Crawler said:

I don't think they will be going out of biz anytime soon and yes for sure it would require some organization on my end and more info on how they would track sales. 

Nothing is final, just an idea proposed to me that is interesting but for sure more details need to be sorted out and ultimately the cost per month for the space could also be a major deciding factor.

We did a consignment deal with a local store, someone we’ve known for  more than 20 years and someone we consider a friend, a short box worth of decent books that he populated a wall with.

We have a list of what we gave him and what we took home so we have a good idea what sold but he didn’t keep track of what sold or for how much.

End result is he paid us for a couple books that were a package deal we okayed and know what they sold for but doesn’t seem interested in paying us for the rest of the “missing” books.  We’ve reminded him he owes us money but he still hasn’t paid us.  Hell, he even approached us in the fall about more consignment books and we reminded him he still owes us money.  

Its not a great deal of money, perhaps $700, but now we’d probably have to go to small claims court to recover our money and it’s not worth it.

just pointing out that things can go sideways.  

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4 hours ago, Bird said:

Suggest a consignment arrangement instead maybe, with a straight percentage going to the dealer. Take a video of the box contents to mark what you have in there and make sure that he is responsible for anything no longer there, be it from theft or sales.

I like the consignment idea rate WAY better than a flat monthly rate. Video would make it easy.  Would have to discuss the whole inventory/sales management system and "what happens if" scenario.

I know regardless that I would not be interested in putting anything "high end" in the store.

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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3 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

We did a consignment deal with a local store, someone we’ve known for  more than 20 years and someone we consider a friend, a short box worth of decent books that he populated a wall with.

We have a list of what we gave him and what we took home so we have a good idea what sold but he didn’t keep track of what sold or for how much.

End result is he paid us for a couple books that were a package deal we okayed and know what they sold for but doesn’t seem interested in paying us for the rest of the “missing” books.  We’ve reminded him he owes us money but he still hasn’t paid us.  Hell, he even approached us in the fall about more consignment books and we reminded him he still owes us money.  

Its not a great deal of money, perhaps $700, but now we’d probably have to go to small claims court to recover our money and it’s not worth it.

just pointing out that things can go sideways.  

I would be furious over him owing $700 - Says a lot about the guy.

Sadly, I guess it is true, when money gets involved for some people, you really never can tell.  I really appreciate the advice and even though I have been going there for a long time, best to make whatever arrangement as "iron clad" as it can be but I am thinking if I do go for it, I might just set up my cheapie bins.  We shall see and as always, I do appreciate the advice/insight.

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