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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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Awhile back, I had a walk in at a show.  I ended purchasing several comics from him, including some Golden Age Canadian Editions.  I decided to send two of the Golden Age Canadian Editions (Adventure Comics and Junior Miss) to Comic Link for their March Auction - Goes "live" today.

Note: I sold the Superman Canadian Edition at a show and I still have the Marvel Family Canadian Edition.

I decided on Comic Link as I have had good success them before, its easy and well, I thought these might do better there than eBay as I really was not sure how to price them so I figured, what will be will be.

These are the books. The Adventure Comics is the highest graded copy on the census and the Junior Miss is 1 of only 2 copies, both tied for highest graded. 

 

Adventure Comics 126.jpg

Junior Miss.jpg

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Both nice books.  I'd be all over that Jr Miss as I collect Canadian comics and that genre.

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8 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

Both nice books.  I'd be all over that Jr Miss as I collect Canadian comics and that genre.

Ahh, nice!!!

Shoot, too bad I didn't know beforehand...Or did you mention it to me before???

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Here is my remaining Marvel Family...If it wasn't for that chip out of the right hand side...Love the date stamp.

I held onto these books for a long time as I thought they were cool as heck, but I am really trying to save and make $$$ for my ASM collection.

Sole copy on the census. 

Marvel Family 21 CGC 6 0.jpg

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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32 minutes ago, Wall-Crawler said:

Ahh, nice!!!

Shoot, too bad I didn't know beforehand...Or did you mention it to me before???

Don't think I knew you had it.  That's ok, an auction of that book should work out well.

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10 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

Don't think I knew you had it.  That's ok, an auction of that book should work out well.

Well you know where it is lol

Any shows coming up for you? 

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On 3/15/2019 at 5:08 AM, Wall-Crawler said:

Well you know where it is lol

Any shows coming up for you? 

Had two one day shows in the past month and and another one day end of March and the wonderful 4 day Calgary Expo in April.  Sales at the first show were low but to be expected in this economy.  Sales at the second show, Calgary Red and White, were pretty good as usual.

We'll be getting about 20 books back from CGC at the Calgary Expo so while some goes back in our collection there's some nice new stuff to sell.  Grades were as expected or better so we're happy.

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16 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

Had two one day shows in the past month and and another one day end of March and the wonderful 4 day Calgary Expo in April.  Sales at the first show were low but to be expected in this economy.  Sales at the second show, Calgary Red and White, were pretty good as usual.

We'll be getting about 20 books back from CGC at the Calgary Expo so while some goes back in our collection there's some nice new stuff to sell.  Grades were as expected or better so we're happy.

Always sad to hear when other parts of the country are not doing too well. 

Glad to hear that the other shows went well! I have heard very good things about Calgary Expo.

My subbing to CGC has slowed down (not that it was ever that high to begin with) but I think I have had 10 in the last month. I usually try to get at least a batch of 6 potential worthwhile contenders or books that will make it worth it for me to send.

I have the Northern Game Expo (NGE) in Sudbury coming up on April 27th. Unfortunately, it was a conflict with the local show that I do, the Great Northern Antiques to Oddities Show in North Bay...They are both the exact same weekend.  

While I always want to "support local", I chose to go to the NGE show in Sudbury (about hour and a half away) as it is a one day show and I have done very well every time I have gone there, whereas the last Oddities Show in September, while it was "ok", if I really think about it over a 2.5 day time frame, not so much.  Also, NGE is a one day show. I can drive there in the morning, set up, work the show and come home and enjoy my Sunday.  Basically the potential profit is better for less time.

I still wish I could attend both, unfortunately, simply not possible this year.

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You have to choose the venue that works best for you.  Wouldn't hurt to tell the other venue why you can't attend, perhaps they'll shift their date in the future to avoid conflict.

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9 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

You have to choose the venue that works best for you.  Wouldn't hurt to tell the other venue why you can't attend, perhaps they'll shift their date in the future to avoid conflict.

Oh they are aware. I told them months ago. I think this may be NGE's permanent slot moving forward so hopefully the local show can arrange for a different time next year.

...But the local show also runs a Fall edition so if I only make the Fall one that works too...I still think the local show would do better if it were once a year...

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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I just read @jaeldubyoo  sad thread in Comics General about his losses as a rookie vendor.  I know we have touched on it here but what are some vendors advice and tips for preventing theft? What do you guys do?  Anyway, just seems like a timely topic with con season starting up for many...

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12 minutes ago, Wall-Crawler said:

I just read @jaeldubyoo  sad thread in Comics General about his losses as a rookie vendor.  I know we have touched on it here but what are some vendors advice and tips for preventing theft? What do you guys do?  Anyway, just seems like a timely topic with con season starting up for many...

Tough to read.  He mentioned multiple copies of Iron Man #1 and other keys disappearing so I suspect he had a lot of good books, was a new seller and fresh to buyers, and his prices were probably fair.  He got swarmed with buyers and the thieves took advantage.  Honestly, there are too many dishonest people on this planet.

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23 minutes ago, thehumantorch said:

Tough to read.  He mentioned multiple copies of Iron Man #1 and other keys disappearing so I suspect he had a lot of good books, was a new seller and fresh to buyers, and his prices were probably fair.  He got swarmed with buyers and the thieves took advantage.  Honestly, there are too many dishonest people on this planet.

Very tough to read.

My "anti theft protocols" are this:

I always have books in front with me behind the table, typical "trade show" set up.  There is no "walk in booth" set up but I have a quick way to egress from behind table if I need to.  I'd like to experiment, but my comfort zone is not there yet.

More valuable books are front and center in a specific box and bigger keys and CGC books are on a wall behind me.  My cash box is tucked away behind the table and never visible to customers.

All books are double taped with price stickers on the front.

I always have at least one other helper.  For larger shows (NGE, Graphic Con), I have had up to three other people.

When setting up and taking down, nothing is ever left and I "circle the wagons"...Stuff is not strewn about. I have a very systematic way of setting up and taking down.  Always at least one person to watch over stock while I am taking stuff to the show floor or back to the car.

...Even with three people, sometimes when the crowd is swarming and deals are going and I'm answering questions, I am CONSTANTLY scanning.  Guys who come to the booth, leave the booth, walk the booth, look through some boxes, leave, come back (mix and repeat), I watch like a hawk. Now, I get some people are frugal with their spending and may just be looking for just the right item to plunk their hard earned cash on, but those are the customers that make me "nervous".

So many things that you can't really appreciate until you are on "the other side of the table"...Short of setting up camera's, any other ideas? What do other sellers do to prevent theft?

 

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There's always a  chance you'll get ripped off setting up at shows.  We've been ripped off twice that we know of.  The first was a New 52 Batman set with variants when that set was hot out of a box on the table.  The other was when we brought Magic the Gathering cards and the guy was looking through our binder and slipped out a few good cards as soon as we looked away.

Generally,anything expensive is on our wall or in a few boxes in the middle.  I try to watch everything else but If it gets busy I like to stand at the corner of our wall and look down it so nothing key disappears.  Our wall is usually 18 to 40 feet long depending on the show.  Losing a $20 book from a box is better than a big book.  I've been thinking of cameras.  When it's busy we try to have all four of us in the booth.  We do let people behind the tables but thinking about changing that.  

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5 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

There's always a  chance you'll get ripped off setting up at shows.  We've been ripped off twice that we know of.  The first was a New 52 Batman set with variants when that set was hot out of a box on the table.  The other was when we brought Magic the Gathering cards and the guy was looking through our binder and slipped out a few good cards as soon as we looked away.

Generally,anything expensive is on our wall or in a few boxes in the middle.  I try to watch everything else but If it gets busy I like to stand at the corner of our wall and look down it so nothing key disappears.  Our wall is usually 18 to 40 feet long depending on the show.  Losing a $20 book from a box is better than a big book.  I've been thinking of cameras.  When it's busy we try to have all four of us in the booth.  We do let people behind the tables but thinking about changing that.  

For you guys who do bigger shows like Calgary or Toronto, I can see how it would be tiring as I am operating in a pretty small pond and your crowds may dwarf mine...I just saw Dale Roberts set up at C2E2...Must have lots of eyes watching the product...I have fun when I do shows but still have to temper it with keeping a watchful eye...

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2 hours ago, Wall-Crawler said:

For you guys who do bigger shows like Calgary or Toronto, I can see how it would be tiring as I am operating in a pretty small pond and your crowds may dwarf mine...I just saw Dale Roberts set up at C2E2...Must have lots of eyes watching the product...I have fun when I do shows but still have to temper it with keeping a watchful eye...

A thief could strike at any show big or small and a dealer has to stay watchful.

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On 3/14/2019 at 7:00 AM, Wall-Crawler said:

Awhile back, I had a walk in at a show.  I ended purchasing several comics from him, including some Golden Age Canadian Editions.  I decided to send two of the Golden Age Canadian Editions (Adventure Comics and Junior Miss) to Comic Link for their March Auction - Goes "live" today.

Note: I sold the Superman Canadian Edition at a show and I still have the Marvel Family Canadian Edition.

I decided on Comic Link as I have had good success them before, its easy and well, I thought these might do better there than eBay as I really was not sure how to price them so I figured, what will be will be.

These are the books. The Adventure Comics is the highest graded copy on the census and the Junior Miss is 1 of only 2 copies, both tied for highest graded. 

 

Adventure Comics 126.jpg

Junior Miss.jpg

CLink auction was a total bust.

Oh well. Live and learn. Nothing you can do when auctions go bad but move on...At least someone got some cool books for cheap.

Edited by Wall-Crawler

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23 hours ago, Wall-Crawler said:

CLink auction was a total bust.

Oh well. Live and learn. Nothing you can do when auctions go bad but move on...At least someone got some cool books for cheap.

ugh

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I recently made a purchase from a customer and friend who was looking to downsize his collection.

To me, this buy epitomizes the importance of relationships within the comic book community.  He knew the value of the books. He knew I needed to have a fair room for profit. One of the easiest deals I have ever done.

I'm in "no rush" to move them and likely may only keep the GSX for awhile. I have personal CGC 7.0 copy of House of Secrets #92.

 

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20190410_080931.jpg

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Good buys.  I think that I would hold to the GSX1 and HOS92 for a little while longer.  These books are still trending up.

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10 hours ago, piper said:

Good buys.  I think that I would hold to the GSX1 and HOS92 for a little while longer.  These books are still trending up.

Thanks! The GSX 1 for sure as I don't have one and was thinking likely to hold the HoS #92 for a bit. The others, just in time for the upcoming con season.

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Another "fun" story...

A woman contacts me via my FB page asking if I buy comics. I say sure and she sends me a few pics. Some look OK so we arrange to meet. Nothing crazy good but some "ok" stuff from what I can see.

I get to her house and there is a shady looking guy having a smoke. Yes the house smells of smoke. She has all the books out. I start going through them. I can start to see I might be interested in 30 books at best. I ask her what she is hoping for.

She tells me $30,000 for the whole collection but would take $10,000. It took everything in me not to laugh. I asked why she thought so much and she started quoting books in the OSPG. I gave her a quick education how to use the guide and that she had the wrong titles. Even then she was waaaaay off. Like there might have been $350- $400 retail total if lucky. 

I said thanks for letting me look and that based on her asking price I was not going to make an offer and might want to familiarize herself with the guide and her books a bit more. 

Days of educating non-comic folk sellers are over.

The shady guy looked pissed that I didn't buy anything.

I have ANOTHER similar situation with some better quality books but again a ridiculous asking price. As there are some decent books in that collection that I do want, I am going to make one offer for just what I want and see what happens.

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On 5/9/2019 at 5:30 PM, speedcake said:

What's yer facebook page?

Facebook Page is www.facebook.com/morefuncomics.ca

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I "piggy-backed" my family's yard sale and did a small set up of mostly cheap stuff.

I did  $248 in sales. 

Not a bad morning for zero cost and small set up time when I was already "working".

 

20190511_092109.jpg

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