Dealer Rankings 2011
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212 posts in this topic

Each year, I go through the dealers and rank out where I believe they fall given the past year's activity. While there is some fluctuation from year to year, generally the list sees similar names, mostly because the best dealers maintain their strengths and weaknesses. I didn't base it on "who do I like the best" but rather a number of factors (none of which are ranked in a particular order):

 

1) Competitive pricing

2) Accurate grading

3) Breadth of Inventory

4) Activity in the Marketplace

5) Quality of the website

6) Customer Service

7) Integrity

8) Convention Presence

9) Acquisition of New Material (freshness of inventory)

10) Impact on the Market

 

Here's a list of all of the different dealers that were considered (sure I missed some). Generally, I did not consider store owners unless they carried a very extensive vintage comics selection:

 

 

Harley Yee (Harley Yee Rare Comics)

Dave Kapelka (North Coast Nostalgia)

Richard Evans (Bedrock City)

Want List Comics

Steve Sibra

Eric Groves

Gary Calabouno (Moondog)

Dan Cusimano (Flying Donut Trading Company)

Bob Storms (Highgradecomics)

Greg Reece (Greg Reece's Rare Comics)

Metropolis (Steve Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo)

Heritage (Barry Sandoval, Lon Allen, Ed Jaster and Steve Borock)

Worldwide (Steve Ritter and Matt Nelson)

Comiclink (Josh Nathanson)

Superworld (Ted VanLiew)

Al Stoltz (Basement Comics)

Dave Reynolds (Dave's American Comics)

Dale Roberts (Dale Robert's Comics)

Jamie Graham (Graham Crackers)

Brian Peets (A-1 Comics)

Crazy Ed's

Jamie Newbold (SoCal Comics)

Mark Wilson (PGC Mint)

Tom Brulato

Jeff Weaver (Victory Comics)

Mark Zaid (Esquirecomics)

Big Ben's

Marc Nathan (Cards, Comics and Collectibles)

Alan Bahr (Heroes)

Neat Stuff Collectibles (Mike Carbonaro)

Tomorrow's Treasures (Richie Muchin)

Jim Payette (Jim Payette's Rare Books and Comics)

Shelton Drum (Heroes Aren't Hard to Find)

Chris Foss (Heroes and Dragons)

Gary Platt (Adventure Planet)

Paradise Comics (Peter Dixon)

Vintage Comics (Roy Delic)

Comicana Direct (Nick Beckett)

Terry O'Neill (Terry's Comics)

All Select Comics (Mike Miles)

Bob Beerbohm

Greg White

Gerry Ross (One Million Comics)

Doug Sulipa (Doug's Comic World)

Robert Rogovin (Four Color Comics)

Greg Eide (Eide's Entertainment)

Marnin Rosenberg (Collector's Assemble)

Ron Pusell (Redbeard's Book Den)

Mile High Comics (Chuck Rozanski)

Lone Star Comics (Buddy Saunders)

Jef Hinds

Tony Starks (Comics in a Flash)

Steve Lauterbach (toychef on ebay)

Andrew Critella (GA Collectibles)

Dennis Keum (Fantasy Comics)

Bill Hughes

Andy Coleman

Rob Hughes (Archangels)

J & S Comics

Doug Schmell (Pedigreecomics)

Comickeys (Danny Dupcak)

Brent Moeshlin (Quality Comix)

House of Comics

John Hauser

David T. Alexander

Motor City Comics (Mike Goldman)

Gary Dolgoff (Gary Dolgoff's Comics)

Tom Gordon

Joe Koch (Koch Comics)

John Haines (John Haines Rare Comics)

Silver Age Comics (Gus Poulakas)

John Veryzl (Comic Heaven)

Steve Geppi (Diamond International Galleries)

Joe Verenault (JHV Associates)

Bechara Maalouf (Investment Collectibles)

Phil Bellmore (Vermont Comics)

Bill Ponseti

David Anderson (the Dentist, collector)

Dan Greenhalgh (Showcase New England)

Ed Robertson (Ed Robertson's Comics)

Rick Whitelock (New Force Comics)

The Bookery (Fairborn, Ohio)

Nelson Dodds

 

 

Hon. mentions to the following dealers:

 

Hon. mentions: Dale Roberts, Greg Eide, Greg Reece, Rick Whitelock, Buddy Saunders, Chuck Rozanski, Al Stoltz, Marc Nathan, John Veryzl, Comicana and Dave Reynolds

 

In my next post, we'll discuss dealers ranking #s 6 through #10

Edited by Foolkiller

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Number 10: Richard Evans, owner Bedrock City Comics, Houston, Texas

 

Pros: Richard Evans owner of multiple stores in Texas and one of diamond's largest account holders, made the list this year for a variety of reasons. First, Rich is one of the easiest and most honest guys to deal with. Second, he keeps his vintage inventory at one of his stores, and makes an active effort to continue acquiring new material. Third, he is an active trader in the Golden Age market, especially in the upper end -- both acquiring and selling books. Fourth, Rich is an accurate grader and prices his books very competitively.

 

What impresses me still about Rich as a dealer is his obvious enthusiasm and love for the hobby in combination with a knowledge about the history of comics that I find incredibly strong. Not only that, Rich maintains a presence out on the convention circuit, runs a large chain of stores, and still remains an active player in the vintage market.

 

Cons: Bedrock's inventory is not particularly deep, as they tend to move most of their best inventory quickly (concerning keys and high grade). The website, while generally up to date, as lagged behind lately entering in new acquisitions. In addition, while new material is acquired, it isn't at the same quality or frequency that some of the other dealers have on this list.

 

The bottom line: Rich is terrific dealer that I wouldn't hesitate to deal with. His reach is probably not as wide nor his inventory as deep as some others, but his laid back easy style makes him a professional to deal with, and he's someone you can trust without hesitation. Owning a chain of stores also bolsters his "dealer status" and while there are larger stores that exist, along with Eide's in Pittsburgh, it is the best comic store I have ever visited in the country.

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Number 9: Doug Sulipa: Owner Doug's Comic World, Manitoba, Canada

 

Pros: I find Doug to be one of the most consistent dealers to make this list, as he always has an extremely large inventory and of the major dealers, tends to be one of the most accurate graders out there. The sheer volume of what he owns is impressive as well as the variety. While Doug does not set up at any US based shows that I'm aware of, he is unquestionably a major presence in the marketplace.

 

Cons: Doug's website is still antiquated and he needs to invest in an overhaul, especially given that he is primarily an internet dealer. In addition, his early silver age and golden age inventory are a little on the weak side and he doesn't seem to carry much in the line of certified books.

 

The Bottom Line: Doug's strongest points are his huge inventory and incredibly accurate grading, making the pricing more than competitive. If you haven't used him for mail order, I strongly suggest taking the time to wade through his website, I think it's worth the effort.

Edited by Foolkiller

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Always one of my favorite threads each year.

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I don't see my name. I sold a couple of books last year. Discrimination, I tell ya.

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Number 8: Dave Kapelka: Owner, North Coast Nostalgia, Cleveland, Ohio

 

Pros: Dave once again has literally blown me away by acquiring THREE different large collections of high grade (two of which aren't even released yet) as well as smaller Golden Age Collections -- THIS YEAR. I haven't really encountered any other dealers (aside from the auction houses) who have purchased this many quality raw collections (let's set Metropolis to the side for a second). Given that Dave is basically a one man shop in Cleveland, the number of incredibly high quality collections he's found is nothing short of incredible. Dave is also a favorite of the dealers, as he grades pretty tightly and does not press many of his books. Even when his prices are "high" there is often some incredible material left where he leaves some margin on the table. His last collection yielded top census early FFs and high grade of all major Marvel titles. In addition, more incredible books will be released as he processes more this year. Dave is also an extremely nice guy to deal with, fair, and honest. He carries a wide selection of all eras from Gold to Silver and comes up with some rare pieces as well as mainstream pieces.

 

Cons: Dave's inventory is marketed clearly for the dealer circuit and not as strongly to the public. Most of the best stuff goes well before anyone knows it existed, and this is by specific design. Without a website or real strong presence, it's hard for Dave to grow to extend to the general public. Of course, when you make $150k selling to dealers from one collection, there's a strong argument to be made that you don't have to do so.

 

Bottom line: Most of the time, even the "scraps" are well worth looking at, at Dave's booth, because they may very well be beautiful books, but they simply were not upgradeable. They would make wonderful additions to people's collections. Dave is personable and bright. The amount of new, high grade material he consistently turns up earns him an easy spot on this list.

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Crazy Ed?? (shrug)

 

Yes, I would add him to the list of consideration.

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Number 8: Dave Kapelka: Owner, North Coast Nostalgia, Cleveland, Ohio

 

Stopped in there many at time as a kid. Right down the street from where I bought my hockey supplies. Pretty darn accurate assessment, especially about the good stuff he gets and it disappearing long before Joe the plumber even has a crack at it.

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Number 7: Harley Yee: Owner Harley Yee's Rare Comics, Livonia, Michigan

 

Pros: While I generally feel Harley can be expensive, there are a number of positives which land Harley on the list. I'm not sure there is any show dealer more aggressive than Harley at landing new material. He is everywhere and he moves fast in acquiring new material. Harley is also very knowledgeable and lands a tremendous amount of rare material as well. His customer base is large, so I'm not sure whether or not a large number of his new pick ups fill in for those want lists, but I suspect the answer is yes. Harley's grading I find to be generally accurate, but it can be a little looser than others on this list, but overall, I think it is strong.

 

Cons: As I mentioned, Harley is pricey. I have found him more negotiable in the past year than ever before, and he will haggle, but you do occasionally experience sticker shock. Some of the common material is extremely aggressively priced for what it is. However, usually Harley will release his "B" stock at some of the shows, and that's his way of conducting a "blowout". One of the best experiences of the year at any show. Hoping it happens at Baltimore.

 

Bottom Line: Harley is one of the most established, well regarded dealers. He is aggressive and ferocious in his acquisition of new material.

Edited by Foolkiller

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Awesome thread. Keep it spewing!

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+1 for Harley :applause: Cut prices on two slabs in half for me.

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Number 6: Joe Verenault: Owner, JHV Associates, Woodbury, NJ

 

Pros: Starting off the pros with, Joe is tagged as the "laziest dealer in comics", isn't generally how I'd start, but I'd probably start by debunking that moniker. First, Joe is a laid back guy and I definitely perceive that he is working less now than he used to while with Sparkle City and earlier in his JHV career. The reality is, Joe still acquires a pretty good amount of new material (as I noticed with a couple of nice new collections he picked up this year) and still acquires a number of rare Golden Age pieces. Joe is an accurate grader and frankly one of the few dealers I've never heard a bad word about from anyone. He's extremely friendly and a guy you can talk to about a variety of subjects beyond comics.

 

Cons: Joe's inventory is strong, but his acquisition of new material largely relies on luck (old contacts making contact with him) as he's not aggressive about acquiring new material any more. That makes him hit or miss at times about seeing "new stuff" at shows. Also, his prices can be aggressive on keys and slabs. But overall, I do find him negotiable and easy to work with, but those drawbacks I listed above are worth noting.

 

The Bottom Line: There is no more honest guy in comics -- and frankly few with a better reputation. Jim Payette may be one of the only other dealers with whom other dealers speak with a lot of respect towards in the same way they seem to regard Joe. I think of Joe as someone who I wish more dealers could emulate in terms of personality and professionalism. One of the absolute best guys in the entire hobby I've ever met.

Edited by Foolkiller

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you mean to tell me you actually got to buy some books from Chris Foss???

 

If I stand within distance of even checking out his books he totally breaks my concentration

with tall tales of books he sold, places he's been, people he's met, dinners he ate, cars he's driven,

homes he's owned, girls he's dated, etc. etc. so I didn't get to check out a single book...

 

 

:insane:

 

 

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Number 5: Bob Storms, Owner: Highgradecomics.com, Commack, NY

 

Pros: It's no secret that Bob and I are good friends and I have an enormous amount of respect for him and how he has built his business. I would probably say that outside of the guys who have to run actual brick and mortar stores, Bob is one of the most business savvy guys out there. In fact, of almost all of the convention dealers, Bob is right near the top with how to run and model your business. A lot of dealers seek out his advice and seem to try to emulate him. Bob's inventory has really taken a quantum leap -- even though it was always good. Multiple AF 15s, including high grade ones. Superman 1 bought and sold. X-Men 1s in 9.4. JIM 83s in 8.0. TOS 39s in 9.2. High grade ASM 1s, etc., etc. And these books move. It's very rare that I see high quality books sit around very long on his site. Bob's also an accurate grader and an extremely honest guy. I would trust Bob implicitly. In fact, my wife knows that if I suddenly "disappear" and she needs to sell the comics, there's really one thing she needs to know: Call Bob Storms.

 

Cons: While Bob's Marvel inventory is very, very strong (one of the absolute best out there), his DC inventory is weak. While he has consistently turned up multiple Marvel keys -- especially in the past year -- in uber grade, he has not made those acquisitions on DCs. While I'm sure it's not for lack of trying, I do think that there is a perception that he's a "marvel" guy, which limits his customer base slightly (because most folks are Marvel collectors) -- and I think it actually can hurt his acquisition of this kind of material. The same thing is true of GA, and while I know he tries to acquire it, I again believe there is a definitive perception that he isn't the "first option" to buy or sell that material. We all know Bob's personality can be a bit gruff at times -- as he has that New York attitude. I'll only say I find him one of the most personable and funny guys once you get to know him.

 

The Bottom Line: My dealer of choice, hands down. If I can get the book reasonably close with Bob, I do it. The reality is, of course, no one dealer can serve everything, but for my collection, I generally go to Bob first. I would make that recommendation without hesitation to anyone anywhere.

Edited by Foolkiller

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you mean to tell me you actually got to buy some books from Chris Foss???

 

If I stand within distance of even checking out his books he totally breaks my concentration

with tall tales of books he sold, places he's been, people he's met, dinners he ate, cars he's driven,

homes he's owned, girls he's dated, etc. etc. so I didn't get to check out a single book...

 

 

:insane:

 

 

+1

 

If Heroes & Shatlips had all the money he keeps bragging about having, then he should help the government with the debt ceiling.

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Always one of my favorite threads each year.

 

Agreed. Brian honestly picks his favorites dealers and doesn't worry about politics.

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I think that is understating things a bit. I no longer focus my collecting on SA, but I used to make a point of visiting Bob's booth each year at cons and say hi and admire a key or two. I no longer bother. Too gruff for my taste.

 

We all know Bob's personality can be a bit gruff at times -- as he has that New York attitude.

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Number 4: Josh Nathanson, Owner: Comiclink, Portland, Maine

 

Pros: Comiclink remained strong and still arguably the number one place to sell Silver and Bronze age comic books. Josh certainly has his detractors, but in my mind, there is no better business person in comics than Josh. Love him or hate him, I don't believe you can fail to respect him or his accomplishments. Frankly, he took an idea that anyone could have done and turned it into the second most important auction house in comics. That's pretty impressive to do, especially when you don't have the Heritage resources to start. Josh's accomplishments this year continue with strong auctions every other month and other auctions in between. He is consistent and aggressive in acquiring new material mostly through his #2, Doug Gillock, an important asset in his own right. Comiclink as a whole is run like an efficient real business. Something that's a rarity in comics. Josh has secured a place for himself as a success, and it is only because I believe the other three are stronger, not any specific weakness by Comiclink, that they rank as #4.

 

Cons: Recently Comiclink has undergone some shipping woes and there's been a few kinks to work out on that end. There are continuous transparency concerns as some better buyers get to see books that are being auctioned before the auctions occur, which results in potential price inflation and manipulation that while is not necessarily proactively encouraged by the link, becomes a de facto result of their practices. Also, books that are actually owned by Comiclink should be pointed out. I think it's ironic that dealers now consign with the Link, but that the Link is out there competing against them for the same books they want to try to make money on themselves. By becoming public, aggressive, buyers, they are in danger of biting the hand that feeds them.

 

The Bottom Line: Comiclink is one of the most important and significant dealers in the world. It's run by some who is a visionary, and worthy of tremendous respect, even if you don't necessarily agree with his tactics or some of his personality.

Edited by Foolkiller

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It's the truth with Bob. I wish he had more DC stock... Im just not a big Marvel guy, and I would rather give him my money then anyone in this hobby. Well, him and Rick Whitelock.

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