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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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On 10/21/2019 at 9:03 PM, Wall-Crawler said:

From this past summer's Sudbury Graphic Con:

Forgot to mention did a bit of buying. Pulled this out of another sellers long box (raw) literally mixed with other raw junk. I looked it up and down. Looked sharp. Negotiated price. Sent to CGC. WIN :banana:

...I still can't believe he had it a box right out front and not in the back or on a wall...Just in plain old bag and backing board too :screwy:

 

BA 12 CGC 9_1.jpg

A few years ago, I pared my collection down from 50,000+ comics to about 25,000.  Most of what I sold was junk, but probably good $1 or $2 convention stock.  I listed the books on craig list and, to my surprise, it sold within a week.  I was selling for cheap, I think something like 10 or 20 cents a comic.

I'm telling you this story, because I almost included this book in the sale.  Before listing the books, I went through the books over and over to pull out anything of value.  During one of my last run-throughs, I found this book still in the long boxes.  I had completely forgotten I owned it.

I sent the book to CGC, and it came back 9.8!  I can't believe it stayed in such good condition having been stored in a long box for years in no bag or board.

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I have a lot of CGC books, but I tend not to buy them at cons.  I prefer to buy CGC books on eBay or Clink (as I find them less expensive that way).  The only times I buy at cons are when they are heavily discounted.  So instead I focus on raw books at cons.  I guess I'm saying, it probably makes sense not to make the effort to bring CGC books to cons.

From solely the perspective of a comic buyer (I've never been a seller at a con), I do think it would be useful for you to make better use of the wall behind you.  Getting your $20 and over books on the wall would help your sales, I think.  I always scan a dealer's wall books as I move from booth to booth, and often that's part of my decision as to whether or not to dig into the long boxes.  Sometimes when I do, I'm making an offer in my head for books I'm interested in from the wall. In other words, if I see interesting wall books, I'll try to find a few others from the long boxes to put together a volume offer.

Your set up is impressive, and will definitely attract certain buyers, like those trying to complete runs (that used to be me 15 years ago).  At this stage of my collecting life, though, I'm more interested in keys and covers.  Having a more extensive wall display would help attract buyers like me.

As for the threat of thief, I always try to keep my pile in plain sight so the dealer doesn't think I'm doing anything shady.  I've never really thought about what a dealer has to do to prevent thief, which is one of the reasons I very much enjoy your journal (to see things from a dealer's point of view).  One thing about wall books, you have to be careful with people stealing things from behind the curtain.  I remember at a Chicago con a few years ago, an AF15 was stolen from a dealer's wall that way.  Of course, this is not a concern if you have a wall behind you (instead of a curtain).

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On 11/3/2019 at 5:39 AM, n2wdw said:

prefer to buy CGC books on eBay or Clink (as I find them less expensive that way).  The only times I buy at cons are when they are heavily discounted.  So instead I focus on raw books at cons.  I guess I'm saying, it probably makes sense not to make the effort to bring CGC books to cons.

Yes, most of the shows I do are small and local. People look at some of them (usually the response is "its THAT much?!?!), but I rarely sell them at these type of shows but I have sold a few. 

On 11/3/2019 at 5:39 AM, n2wdw said:

From solely the perspective of a comic buyer (I've never been a seller at a con), I do think it would be useful for you to make better use of the wall behind you.  Getting your $20 and over books on the wall would help your sales, I think.  I always scan a dealer's wall books as I move from booth to booth, and often that's part of my decision as to whether or not to dig into the long boxes.  Sometimes when I do, I'm making an offer in my head for books I'm interested in from the wall. In other words, if I see interesting wall books, I'll try to find a few others from the long boxes to put together a volume offer.

I agree, 100%. That is the one area that I think I can improve upon. I would like to revamp is my wall display. I have received a few good tips on building a new wall from some members and I have seen a few styles that I also really like. Job for next con season maybe and yes, put up raws and those who know I have CGC books, will probably ask, so I can them on the floor or something behind the table.

On 11/3/2019 at 5:39 AM, n2wdw said:

Your set up is impressive, and will definitely attract certain buyers, like those trying to complete runs (that used to be me 15 years ago).  At this stage of my collecting life, though, I'm more interested in keys and covers.  Having a more extensive wall display would help attract buyers like me.

Thank You!!!! I do think having an attractive display helps.  I sometimes wonder "how much" when I see other set ups that are...Less appealing than mine though.   In my area, people like value and they like to still read. Sets do pretty well for me but there are a few key collectors here. Again, for sure a bigger, better wall display would help catch more eyes especially if running from the $20 and up range. Definitely something I would like to do.

On 11/3/2019 at 5:39 AM, n2wdw said:

As for the threat of thief, I always try to keep my pile in plain sight so the dealer doesn't think I'm doing anything shady.  I've never really thought about what a dealer has to do to prevent thief, which is one of the reasons I very much enjoy your journal (to see things from a dealer's point of view).  One thing about wall books, you have to be careful with people stealing things from behind the curtain.  I remember at a Chicago con a few years ago, an AF15 was stolen from a dealer's wall that way.  Of course, this is not a concern if you have a wall behind you (instead of a curtain).

Fortunately, I have also had my "back" to a wall and/or arena wall, so for someone to slip behind without me noticing would be difficult but something definitely to keep in mind. I read about a "trick" that some would do about sliding a book through a gap at the front of a long box but I fixed that. The "ends" of all my boxes are taped with white duct tape.  I find it a challenge "scanning" back and forth, back and forth.  I have guys who will flip through one end, go away, come back and flip through another end, go away and come back multiple times. Those are the guys I watch for. Now, they may just be very discerning buyers, but those guys raise my spidey sense. 

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2019 YEAR IN REVIEW

I know it has been awhile since I have posted anything but life has been hectic but in a good way. I thought I would take a bit of time to do a bit of an overview of my year - For those who still follow :)

New Acquisitions

This year was slow, but decent. Early on in the year I picked up a nice little collection of modern books, some of which were CGC worthy and made some good profit on and some art prints (not really my thing) but have paid dividends. I still have more of the art prints left than I thought I would but I'm ok with that.

A contact of mine was looking to downsize his collection so I managed to do two deals with him and pick up some nice CGC slabs and keys at a fair price to both of us.  Books ranging from Amazing Spider-Man #129 CGC 7.0 to Detective #259 CGC 4.0 to GSX #1 CGC 6.0 and a handful of others.

Definitely slower in volume than other years, but I think an uptick in quality. I also did some trades for books + keys where I was able to get some decent raw books, like ASM #252 or CGC books like Thor #165 CGC 6.5 - Again, nothing major but solid.  No junk this year to deal with or process.

Shows

I only did two shows this year, and I am happy with that.  Partially due to personal schedule, other shows simply not happening/falling off and one not being totally happy with the location and other issues with one (poor accessibility, placement in the show and it is a two day commitment for a small show). Most I could have done were four but two are out of town.

Both of the shows I did were rather decent sized for my area and as I don't frequently get an opportunity to replenish stock, this may help to "stay fresh" and keep interest up when I attend, mind you, I am still processing old stock (when I have time) so I do show up with "new stuff". 

I think two shows going forward will be the goal. One in my city and one in Sudbury (hour and half away).

Downside

I submitted two CGC Golden Age Canadian editions did awful on the Comic Link auction I had them in.  I had good luck with Clink the past few times I used them, but this one hurt. Bad. Wish I could have those back, but hey, that's the game. I am not blaming Clink, might just not have had right buyers at the right time, etc.

Leads

I had one solid lead (most were busts this year), an older gentleman with some oddball stuff, a few silver age and some neat Golden Age Canadian editions and a few other things. I did a free appraisal for him, he appreciated it but he thinks they are worth more. However, just before Christmas he messaged me and said he would be in contact in the New Year when back from Florida.  We shall see what happens but it is a nice collection of older books and not too huge with a few oddities. The trick will be how emotionally attached he is and what he thinks they are worth, etc...The same dilemma for every dealer basically. But still, fingers crossed.

eBay/Other Sales

I have had some solid sales on eBay, in person and other venues, my challenge is as it has constantly been...Access and Time.  With a regular job, not having my stock on hand and other interests, getting product in the public eye would definitely help speed along sales and revenue, but I have been operating in a very positive revenue point for awhile, so I will "expand" all in good time I suppose.

Goal for 2020

Develop a new wall display for shows. Something a little bigger and easier to cart around.

Get more organized and process and post more stock to my store and have more readily available for sale.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to everyone who keeps reading the odd time I post something. I hope everyone had a safe 2020 and as always, look forward to feedback and others sharing their stories from the front lines! Cheers!

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