One Man Comic Business
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Bird   
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I have already started self-insuring. It seems like the way to go. Thanks from me as well for your insights.

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ft88   
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Would you mind if I asked you what collection it was you bought in your eyes that made you a step up from the average dealer, and help put you on the map, or close to it?

 

This wasn't the earliest but it was the biggest. From about 10 years ago I had an apartment at the time (and single no kids). I bought this collection and then two others shortly after that combined added another 20 boxes.

 

This made it where I needed to get a storage unit and get serious about selling efficiently. Before this I would sell stuff on ebay, 1- -20 a week and the lot out what didn't sell, just to get rid of everything. This collection was simply too big to do that.

 

If I had this collection back today it would be worth at least double if not more. There were quite a number of multi paks of #1 issues. 10 copies Nova 1, 10 copies Ms Marvel 1 etc. that I sold for $5 or $10 each. You can see the multi copies of Wolverine LS 1-4. It was a pretty sick find - all those boxes are Marvel and DC superheroes from the later 60s to mid 1980s.

 

And like most of what I pick up, 1970s is by far the most common. The Golden Ages stuff is tough and with good titles even tougher.

 

Very early on I bought a collectors Superman issue 2-400 collection and a few graded out very high. I had to borrow money for that one, I forget exactly but I had to pay over $20,000 so again that made it a serious business aspect and not just picking up a box of Bronze for $200.

 

Another collection was about 10 boxes of Westerns, 1950s to 1970s. Paid over $4000 for it and lost a couple hundred on resell. Hard to forget those.

 

The "Charm City Collection" self named and unofficial pedigree.

 

Charmlot.jpg

Edited by ft88

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ft88   
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A couple old sales threads that are comical looking at todays prices.

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=66758&Number=1219742#Post1219742

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1223734&fpart=2

 

Discussion about it when I first picked it up.

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1192699&fpart=5

 

One of the first of many #1's sales threads. Black Panther #1 NM for $12? It sold, but the Nova 1 NM- for $9 did not.

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=73949&Number=1348809#Post1348809

 

 

Edited by ft88

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DeadpoolJr.   
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Thanks for the response, I wouldn't know what I do if I ran into a collection like that. Also I'll take that Nova one of your hands if you want. :grin:

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jimjum12   
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I'd like to hear about the accounting side of things if you have any advice, Ed. :foryou:

 

Peace,

 

Chip

 

..... me three...... GOD BLESS...

 

-jimbo(a friend of jesus) (thumbs u

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ft88   
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Short answer is I use Excel

 

Track all expenses - easy enough

Break up the collection in logical chunks - estimate sale price, track actual sales and remaining books

Figure out gross profit.

 

Also, go take an online or community college course in Accounting 101.

I don't need to be GAAP compliant but it helps to understand the language of accounting.

 

Professor once told me to start a business you need two things. Fat margins and Scale.

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ft88   
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Talking with a Seller

 

Like a lot of things, there is no substitute for experience. If you have or have had a sales job in the past then all those experiences apply here. Without sales experience, a good start is to buy and read the Jeffrey Gitomer book Little Red Book of Selling. It's 80% motivational and 20% technique and tips. But all those lessons apply and I'll focus on comic related communication and sales issues specifically.

 

First of all, even when buying comics, you are really selling; and selling yourself. But the fact that you are buying and buying with cash or like cash money orders you are in a position of leverage. Find out as much as possible and do so as conversationally as possible. Be confident and non sales-y.

 

Easiest way for me to depict this is two types of conversations over the phone. I'll go over the in person meeting after. But here's conversation 1. Seller with comics doesn't know what he has.

 

"Hi is this Ed, you buy comics?"

 

"Yes, I'm curious what you have."

 

"I've got a couple of boxes of comics that I'm looking to sell."

 

"OK, do happen to have them with you?"

 

If no, then I would highly recommend calling back when he has them in front of him. It's possible he knows his books, but then there is a 99% likelihood he knows value etc which is a different conversation.

 

"Yes, they're right here, lets see what I have."

 

"Let, me ask you this, do you have just a couple or are there a couple boxes?"

 

If just a couple, have them read off 1 or 2 and get the jist of the books, its likely not worth much.

 

"I've got a huge collection here, at least 4 boxes."

 

"Great, take a look at a couple of them. What titles are they?"

 

At this point the owner is reasonably getting into it and will read off titles. After you hear the first good title - Batman go ahead and stop him. If it is all Archies and Mickey Mouse ask, get to age and make a call if it's something you want to pursue.

 

"Here's one that's Batman, here's another Superman...."

 

"OK, take the Batman - do you see a cover price on it?

 

"No, where would I find that?"

 

"It should be on the cover 15 cents or 50 cents something like that."

 

"Ah, here it is, 35 cents"

 

Be careful if he says $1.50. That could be a sticker price (fromt he 1980s) on the bag instead of the cover price - just double check. At this point saying 35 cents or 10 cent or $1.50 you should have an idea of what you're working with. Figure out how many Batmans etc there are etc. Is it mostly superhero, any cartoon character or Classiscs Illustrated. There are always Classics with an OO late 1960s collection.

 

The go ahead and ask what he's looking for and other questions that help you with negotiations.

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ft88   
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Well shoot, a disappointing outing looking at a collection. Told over the phone there were over 5000 comics about 20 boxes. Mostly 1970's and 1980s. As I asked for details, little were coming out as he hadn't looked at them in years. I asked about price and if he wanted to sell all or how he wanted to do it. Wanted to sell everything. Thought they'd be worth $20,000 but would sell for $5000.

 

This is the perfect setup. Large collection and he knows they have value. He did know the titles and Xmen, Spiderman and Batman were thrown around. Most are bagged and boarded. This is actually often a flag that these are late 80s and 90's but he said he was buying back issues etc.

 

Well you can figure what happened. 20 boxes and nearly all of it is 1990s to 2000s. Titles were good but what are you going to do. I really had no interest. So I offer to buy the Amazing Spiderman run and Uncanny Xmen run and a decent 1970s box. Not all of them are NM+ either even bagged and boarded but most are nice. No ASM 300 but an XMen 266.

 

If anyone wants to pursue the rest of these send me a PM and I'll shoot you his number. I didn't see any New Mutants and I could have missed them. Things i didn't pick up were the Xforce run which included 2. Batman and Detective long box, Green Lantern small box. Wolverine small box. etc. I am certain he would sell these for $50 a box as he is looking to unload. He lives just off I-95 a little NW of Baltimore out by Gunpowder Falls Natl Park.

 

Hey, I was glad to at least pick up some books but I had fantasy visions in my head of 20 cent Spidey's and Avengers and Byrne Xmen, Adams Batman and a pile of 30 cent variants. Not always the case.

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uchiha101   
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Well shoot, a disappointing outing looking at a collection. Told over the phone there were over 5000 comics about 20 boxes. Mostly 1970's and 1980s. As I asked for details, little were coming out as he hadn't looked at them in years. I asked about price and if he wanted to sell all or how he wanted to do it. Wanted to sell everything. Thought they'd be worth $20,000 but would sell for $5000.

 

This is the perfect setup. Large collection and he knows they have value. He did know the titles and Xmen, Spiderman and Batman were thrown around. Most are bagged and boarded. This is actually often a flag that these are late 80s and 90's but he said he was buying back issues etc.

 

Well you can figure what happened. 20 boxes and nearly all of it is 1990s to 2000s. Titles were good but what are you going to do. I really had no interest. So I offer to buy the Amazing Spiderman run and Uncanny Xmen run and a decent 1970s box. Not all of them are NM+ either even bagged and boarded but most are nice. No ASM 300 but an XMen 266.

 

If anyone wants to pursue the rest of these send me a PM and I'll shoot you his number. I didn't see any New Mutants and I could have missed them. Things i didn't pick up were the Xforce run which included 2. Batman and Detective long box, Green Lantern small box. Wolverine small box. etc. I am certain he would sell these for $50 a box as he is looking to unload. He lives just off I-95 a little NW of Baltimore out by Gunpowder Falls Natl Park.

 

Hey, I was glad to at least pick up some books but I had fantasy visions in my head of 20 cent Spidey's and Avengers and Byrne Xmen, Adams Batman and a pile of 30 cent variants. Not always the case.

 

well it's nice to see such honesty :)

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Gatchaman   
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Ed,

 

do you use a small postal scale to weigh packages?

 

I bought a food scale at Walmart which is much cheaper than a mail scale.

 

Also,

 

Like any college program, the value is 20% education and 80% networking, acceptance filter, reputation w corporate America, instructor ability and reputation etc.

 

I greatly agree with this. I have been selling comic books since the mid 80s and have made contacts and a reputation from Olympia, WA to Seattle, WA and I live in Tacoma area. I have made friends with small show promoters and vendors. Your reputation is a must in this and you will find that they are an invaluable asset.

 

I also sold at the local swapmeet since the the mid 80's until the mid 2000's and I still meet people when I go places, like the supermarket, who remember me.

 

I will go so far to add that it is hard to do this alone. I have made customers, gotten product, and even supplies at a better rate, and sometimes free, than going out buying it retail. I had one show owner who used to let me help him bring his product inside the show and that got me to be able to do all of my shopping before the doors opened.

 

I have met so many shop owners who refuse to take good business advice. It's like they think their way is the only way. I always try to be easily entreated and welcome all advice and I even seek it out. For my business and brick and mortar store I would comb the internet and even visit other shops for good ideas.

 

Great thread!

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ft88   
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A store really can't be done solo. That really is a tough animal that takes total dedication. Maybe shows you could be a one man operation with the wife helping with bathroom breaks, but even that for small shows with maybe 2-3 tables.

 

It would take another 10 pages to give advice on how to be store owner and/or do the show circuit. I'm more the home / internet only proposition that also applies to part time board or eBay sellers.

Edited by ft88

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Gatchaman   
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I agree about the store. Been there, tried it, and bought the t-shirt. Of all the years I have been doing this 90% has been swapmeet and internet. Even just in these my networking has helped a lot.

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ft88   
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Story time. A few years ago I received a call on a large collection, about 80 long boxes of mostly Bronze Age comics with some Silver Age. Long of the short of it I've bought various titles each time I visit - Avengers, Green Lantern all the name titles as he has every one. His MO is to write down the NM- price and then ask for 2/3 of that. This is for each and every comic.

 

What is interesting is this has given me a huge insight into the weaknesses of the price guide. I have no problem with educating the seller but in this case it can work against me was it would only go one way. If I let him know that the Ms Marvel 1 is really worth $100 as a VF even though guide has it at $60, not only am I killing my buy price but he would likely apply the bump up as if it were a NM-.

 

This is what I have labelled the Potomac collection and the majority of the 1978 on up books are NM+ or better. 1975-1977 are NM to NM+ and then the 20 centers on back vary from NM or have some ding that knocks it down a lot. Still, any little flaw can crush a book which what makes NM $10 and a Fine $1. Overall though a ubber nice collection and many buyers on this board have been waiting for more.

 

Over the past 5 years I've basically bought all the Bronze except Spiderman Xmen and Detective as he simply wanted more than I thought they were worth. Typically I could convince him that the Champions 1-17 at $100 or so was a good deal but he wouldn't budge on the Spiderman or Xmen. And the DC's the 100 pagers have been conversation enders as the NM- price is such an outlier vs the Fine price. Often I simply buy the 25 cent on up and leave him the older, lessor grade books that he valued too high (not NM- in this case but always too high)

 

Here's the Hulk sales thread, where I was able to get the SA books. But not the 181

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=5531940&fpart=8

 

Anyway, typical dealing with a somewhat knowledgeable seller on an amazing collection. While he doesn't have the time or interest to price each book, that's what he does to make sure he doesn't get taken advantage. That's fair. I've bought the books at fair prices at around 60% and have made a bit more on books that get graded either keys or some 9.8's etc.

 

Another interesting tidbit is that these books have gone way up in value after and as I've bought/sold them. I just got back from the latest deal with him after an 18 month hiatus. Titles are:

 

Dr Strange

Star Wars

Marvel 2in1

Shazam

Swamp Thing

Nova/Omega

Avengers Anns 6-10

Strange Tales 169-181

 

The 2in1 and Shazam I had passed on in the past and now picked them up with the move in the prices. Nova some of the books has a corner water stain which is highly unfortunate as these are NM+ otherwise. Not a promotion but look for these on the sales threads.

 

 

 

 

 

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ft88   
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All those Hulks are long sold. That was over 2 years ago.

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ft88   
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Yes he is using OPG as well as ebay to a certain extant. I was able to walk him back from CGC grade and prices at least.

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