Tales from the Comic Box - Rookie Adventures in Buying/Selling/Cons
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Just now, spreads said:

I'm also of the mindset I would rather have multiple mid grade copies of a book then a very high grade single copy - but that's just me (take this nugget as a bias in my previous comment).

I have been trying this a tiny bit. I say a tiny bit because everytime I am on a listing binge I end up tossing in something from the keeper box. (Hulk 180 I miss you so!) But my strategy as a seller who loves comics is to try and put the proceeds back to fewer books. Boil them down to the essence and distill the flavor! I just got back from Poland and looked at my stuff and said outloud, I said to myself I said "too many comics". I have 4 books coming from cgc tomorrow and another dozen on Tuesday that have some keepers in there and am getting a few multiple 9.4/9/6s of books I like like Harley Quinn #nn, Mad Love, or NM87 instead of getting ONLY 9.8s.

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4 minutes ago, Bird said:

I have been trying this a tiny bit. I say a tiny bit because everytime I am on a listing binge I end up tossing in something from the keeper box. (Hulk 180 I miss you so!) But my strategy as a seller who loves comics is to try and put the proceeds back to fewer books. Boil them down to the essence and distill the flavor! I just got back from Poland and looked at my stuff and said outloud, I said to myself I said "too many comics". I have 4 books coming from cgc tomorrow and another dozen on Tuesday that have some keepers in there and am getting a few multiple 9.4/9/6s of books I like like Harley Quinn #nn, Mad Love, or NM87 instead of getting ONLY 9.8s.

It's a bit of a fine-line, eh?  Those examples I referenced are really cases of books where the difference in value between low grade and high is very significant.  Trading quantity for value is definitely the right approach, the AB guys touched on this earlier - it could be a whole discussion on its own.

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Turning $1 books and odds and ends into keys or books for your collection is wonderful.

When buying keys at full value or close to it buy the must have keys.  Hulk 181, Avengers 1, etc, books that seem to always go up and have legions of long term fans.  I'd avoid hot modern variants as they seem to go up quick and come down quick.   I love  having books like ASM 121 in my booth I wouldn't pay full value for them as they don't seem to have the growth you need.  I wouldn't worry too much about grade, mega keys sell in any grade

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On 7/27/2018 at 2:27 PM, Bird said:

and am getting a few multiple 9.4/9/6s of books I like like Harley Quinn #nn, Mad Love, or NM87 instead of getting ONLY 9.8s.

I like this approach as well.  I know on copper and up, most people think it’s 9.8 or bust.  That mindset has allowed me to pick up (already graded, so no time waiting) 9.6 books at a fraction of the 9.8 price.  I’m of the opinion that the difference between 9.6 and 9.8 isn’t worth the price discrepancy.

A few years back, right after the Deadpool movie, I figured that it was only a matter of time before Cable appeared in a movie.  I bought quite a few 87’s in 9.4/9.6 in the 100-130 range (basically the cost of a high grade raw + slabbing costs).  Fast forward a few years and I’ve sold all but one for 75-100 profit on each.  Minimal cost/risk that worked out pretty well.  Sure, I could’ve made “more” if I had bought 9.8’s, but it would’ve cost a lot more upfront.  

I think the day is coming where the gap between 9.6/9.8 will narrow.  Most people couldn’t show you the difference anyway.  Is one less non-color breaking spine tick worth double?  It’s not to me.  

And when a book gets hot and a 9.8 now is $400 and the 9.6 is $200, it’s easier to sell the $200 book at these small local shows than it is to sell the $400 book.  

 

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Minor show update:

My next show is scheduled for Friday September 28th and Saturday September 29th...The Fall Edition of the Great Northern Antiques to Oddities Show.

Those who may recall that the organizer had a very successful first show in April 2018 and is very keen and motivated and open to improving and trying new things out.  This fall, instead of the show being Saturday and Sunday, the show will be move to Friday and Saturday, but on Friday, doors opening at 5 PM to 9 PM. I think, as it is an event centre downtown, will be looking to get some entertainment for the evening or even street performers outside the venue.  Don't hold me to that, but he is looking at trying something new. I can roll with that. Doors will open at 10 AM on Saturday and close at 6 PM. 

I honestly have NO IDEA how the Friday evening thing will go over, but what the heck, not exactly a huge investment in time for me to set up locally.  At least my Sunday is free and can move in on the Friday at a leisurely pace.

The other local show I did, the Gateway FanEx where the organizers were...Less able/inclined to put on a good show have "cancelled" for this year.  No reason given.  This local show usually takes place in November. I am 100% fine with this show folding (even if it folds forever) as I was going to have to choose between that one and the new Antique show, which is better organized, better venue, better time of year, just better all around. Compounding the issue is that they would have been so close together time wise and didn't see the benefit of setting up twice within a month and a  bit in the same city with such a small collecting demographic.

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On 7/27/2018 at 4:05 PM, thehumantorch said:

Turning $1 books and odds and ends into keys or books for your collection is wonderful.

When buying keys at full value or close to it buy the must have keys.  Hulk 181, Avengers 1, etc, books that seem to always go up and have legions of long term fans.  I'd avoid hot modern variants as they seem to go up quick and come down quick.   I love  having books like ASM 121 in my booth I wouldn't pay full value for them as they don't seem to have the growth you need.  I wouldn't worry too much about grade, mega keys sell in any grade

Forgot to respond, yeah I am not putting $ into variants or semi keys like ASM #121 (I also, love, love that book)...To be honest, I have reinvested it into some DC silver age first appearances that I think have "potential" and also that I just happen to like a lot.

Is there any room to make money in relatively short term on a IH #181 now? I guess with all the "heat" Marvel books have and how their keys seem to be climbing or already at a high point, my thinking was it might be a good idea to try some under-appreciated or more affordable DC stuff...

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2 hours ago, Wall-Crawler said:

Minor show update:

My next show is scheduled for Friday September 28th and Saturday September 29th...The Fall Edition of the Great Northern Antiques to Oddities Show.

Those who may recall that the organizer had a very successful first show in April 2018 and is very keen and motivated and open to improving and trying new things out.  This fall, instead of the show being Saturday and Sunday, the show will be move to Friday and Saturday, but on Friday, doors opening at 5 PM to 9 PM. I think, as it is an event centre downtown, will be looking to get some entertainment for the evening or even street performers outside the venue.  Don't hold me to that, but he is looking at trying something new. I can roll with that. Doors will open at 10 AM on Saturday and close at 6 PM. 

I honestly have NO IDEA how the Friday evening thing will go over, but what the heck, not exactly a huge investment in time for me to set up locally.  At least my Sunday is free and can move in on the Friday at a leisurely pace.

The other local show I did, the Gateway FanEx where the organizers were...Less able/inclined to put on a good show have "cancelled" for this year.  No reason given.  This local show usually takes place in November. I am 100% fine with this show folding (even if it folds forever) as I was going to have to choose between that one and the new Antique show, which is better organized, better venue, better time of year, just better all around. Compounding the issue is that they would have been so close together time wise and didn't see the benefit of setting up twice within a month and a  bit in the same city with such a small collecting demographic.

That's interesting, let us know how it goes.  To me it seems like a Friday evening would be a waste, but if it's in a central spot where the crowd that would attend it on Sat/Sun are close-by, attendance might be okay.  I do like that they are receptive to change and trying new ideas, it's definitely worth a shot!!

I have my monthly show Sunday, I've been absent two out of the last four months so I'm hoping to get back on track.  My problem is that I'm still very weak in showcasing my display/marketing, it will be a work in progress for some time, but I have been generating some interest in advance by posting on various Facebook groups.  I also met up with a local buyer that I sold books to via ebay - as I continue to generate interest for this show on my own - that I mentioned he should come and checkout.  A good amount of my time has been spent enhancing my online sales, so I'm trying to get that balance between the two....

Edited by spreads

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1 hour ago, Wall-Crawler said:

Forgot to respond, yeah I am not putting $ into variants or semi keys like ASM #121 (I also, love, love that book)...To be honest, I have reinvested it into some DC silver age first appearances that I think have "potential" and also that I just happen to like a lot.

Is there any room to make money in relatively short term on a IH #181 now? I guess with all the "heat" Marvel books have and how their keys seem to be climbing or already at a high point, my thinking was it might be a good idea to try some under-appreciated or more affordable DC stuff...

How short term?  lol

I don't know, I think that book is a bit overextended (at least for now)...I think you'd be better off spending a bit more to get a low grade X-Men#1 - it's starting to take off and I think there will be some legs to it still.

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So I participated in our monthly show yesterday, I've had reservations about this and also didn't know exactly where I'd be setup.  Some of you may recall from my photos of the Zamboni in the background I was out in the hallway, yesterday I was in the 'foyer', basically the entrance.  Despite low lighting, I made the best use of the space by using the ledge - perfect for comics or toys/figurines as well as using packing-tape to put some books right on the wall!

I was lucky that I borrowed a 4ft table from another dealer as I was told there wouldn't be space for a side table and didn't bring mine.  Sorry for the blurry middle photo....my display/marketing will continue to be a learning process, I liked the blue signs (first photo) and will add those to the rest of my boxes for the next show.  I also made tabs in the box using backing boards but I found they weren't sticking up far enough, I have some ideas to improve that - perhaps using foam or cardboard cut to size. 

Sales: Surprisingly very well!  I sold two wall books (rare for this small show), X-Men 266 and Secret Wars 8.  I also did a nice variety of trades, $2 books and some other misc. books.  It ended up being the best show there for me since last summer.

I did have a few people look for me (used to the other spot), which is good - even had a repeat customer drop off a basket of treats for me (reminds me of a sales job I had in a client's home where they fed me dinner!  :D).  I'm really hoping I can get this spot and if not this spacet at least be inside the main hall each month - I told the organizer I'll committed to each month moving forward and having a good show reinvigorated my intentions.

Next steps: I still have intention to maximize my space, and/or figure out whether I want to bring out enough boxes to round-out the space underneath.  I'm confident I can do well with just one table for the time-being...which makes it easiest being accommodated by the organizer.

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Edited by spreads

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4 hours ago, spreads said:

So I participated in our monthly show yesterday, I've had reservations about this and also didn't know exactly where I'd be setup.  Some of you may recall from my photos of the Zamboni in the background I was out in the hallway, yesterday I was in the 'foyer', basically the entrance.  Despite low lighting, I made the best use of the space by using the ledge - perfect for comics or toys/figurines as well as using packing-tape to put some books right on the wall!

I was lucky that I borrowed a 4ft table from another dealer as I was told there wouldn't be space for a side table and didn't bring mine.  Sorry for the blurry middle photo....my display/marketing will continue to be a learning process, I liked the blue signs (first photo) and will add those to the rest of my boxes for the next show.  I also made tabs in the box using backing boards but I found they weren't sticking up far enough, I have some ideas to improve that - perhaps using foam or cardboard cut to size. 

Sales: Surprisingly very well!  I sold two wall books (rare for this small show), X-Men 266 and Secret Wars 8.  I also did a nice variety of trades, $2 books and some other misc. books.  It ended up being the best show there for me since last summer.

I did have a few people look for me (used to the other spot), which is good - even had a repeat customer drop off a basket of treats for me (reminds me of a sales job I had in a client's home where they fed me dinner!  :D).  I'm really hoping I can get this spot and if not this spacet at least be inside the main hall each month - I told the organizer I'll committed to each month moving forward and having a good show reinvigorated my intentions.

Next steps: I still have intention to maximize my space, and/or figure out whether I want to bring out enough boxes to round-out the space underneath.  I'm confident I can do well with just one table for the time-being...which makes it easiest being accommodated by the organizer.

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Simple suggestion...Pony up for a table cloth or two. It will make your display area look more professional and help you hide stuff under the table. Maybe some signage on the front o the box to tell people what is in each one or dividers (may be there, can't tell). Low cost for better eye appeal. Two cents.

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9 hours ago, spreads said:

So I participated in our monthly show yesterday, I've had reservations about this and also didn't know exactly where I'd be setup.  Some of you may recall from my photos of the Zamboni in the background I was out in the hallway, yesterday I was in the 'foyer', basically the entrance.  Despite low lighting, I made the best use of the space by using the ledge - perfect for comics or toys/figurines as well as using packing-tape to put some books right on the wall!

I was lucky that I borrowed a 4ft table from another dealer as I was told there wouldn't be space for a side table and didn't bring mine.  Sorry for the blurry middle photo....my display/marketing will continue to be a learning process, I liked the blue signs (first photo) and will add those to the rest of my boxes for the next show.  I also made tabs in the box using backing boards but I found they weren't sticking up far enough, I have some ideas to improve that - perhaps using foam or cardboard cut to size. 

Sales: Surprisingly very well!  I sold two wall books (rare for this small show), X-Men 266 and Secret Wars 8.  I also did a nice variety of trades, $2 books and some other misc. books.  It ended up being the best show there for me since last summer.

I did have a few people look for me (used to the other spot), which is good - even had a repeat customer drop off a basket of treats for me (reminds me of a sales job I had in a client's home where they fed me dinner!  :D).  I'm really hoping I can get this spot and if not this spacet at least be inside the main hall each month - I told the organizer I'll committed to each month moving forward and having a good show reinvigorated my intentions.

Next steps: I still have intention to maximize my space, and/or figure out whether I want to bring out enough boxes to round-out the space underneath.  I'm confident I can do well with just one table for the time-being...which makes it easiest being accommodated by the organizer.

IMG_2443.JPG

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I like your use of the coat area.  Looking at the three boxes in your first pic, can you tell me what's in each box?  Just trying to get a rough idea of how your inventory is sorted.  

I usually take some $1 boxes but I'm currently working on $2 boxes as an experiment.  I really struggle with what to put in them.  What in your estimation is the difference between $2 and $1 boxes - other than price of course ?

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5 hours ago, Wall-Crawler said:

Simple suggestion...Pony up for a table cloth or two. It will make your display area look more professional and help you hide stuff under the table. Maybe some signage on the front o the box to tell people what is in each one or dividers (may be there, can't tell). Low cost for better eye appeal. Two cents.

We actually hate tablecloths.  We've been using the floor to sell and the tablecloths make it harder to see what's underneath the table.   The huge collection we bought recently had about 50 boxes of books and we've found they sell really well in boxes on the floor.

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14 hours ago, Wall-Crawler said:

Simple suggestion...Pony up for a table cloth or two. It will make your display area look more professional and help you hide stuff under the table. Maybe some signage on the front o the box to tell people what is in each one or dividers (may be there, can't tell). Low cost for better eye appeal. Two cents.

Thanks for the feedback, there are guys that are using a really nice one - but the majority don't.  I do plan on putting more signs at the back of each box, I'll have that for each show.  The dividers were there, but they keep falling down so you couldn't see them lol   I'll be looking to change that as well...

Edited by spreads

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9 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

I like your use of the coat area.  Looking at the three boxes in your first pic, can you tell me what's in each box?  Just trying to get a rough idea of how your inventory is sorted.  

I usually take some $1 boxes but I'm currently working on $2 boxes as an experiment.  I really struggle with what to put in them.  What in your estimation is the difference between $2 and $1 boxes - other than price of course ?

The boxes with the signs?  The stuff that's on the front of the tables is now sorted by publisher then title, but the thing is I still have lots of inventory at home co-mingled with my collection.  So that might change but that's the plan moving forward, I know advertising is clearly a weak point for me.

The $2 box is pretty simple.  I think I told you I had a 50 cent box?  After a few shows I nixed that even though I was moving 20-25% of it each show, it was a lot of effort hauling boxes and I would rather clean-up that space and just dump that type of stuff by the long. 

Here's what I put in the $2 box....

The $2 stuff is just golden-bronze age, from all publishers including Marvel/DC.  The superhero stuff from Marvel/DC is usually low grade (e.g. a bronze age supe from the mid 70s in VG), I dump all gold key stuff in there (unless it's really high grade or one of their key titles like Magnus/Solar, classic illustrates, low grade (G-VG) dells, etc. etc.  My thinking on these books are this...How often do you find bronze age collections on a lot of these second and third tier characters that are perfect for $2 boxes, John Warlord, super low grade DC horror books fit well too.  A lot of these books have great covers that people are drawn to at to get a basket of 4-5 of them doesn't cost much if they want to take a gander to read the story (house of mystery books are great as standalone stories).  I don't have any Archie's in there at all but I might add some if I fall into some.  

Ideally I would like to have at least two of those boxes stocked for the show (with inventory in reserve) - and here's the kicker, I almost never give discounts on these books!  I've had people ask, but unless they've bought a fair amount from me I don't drop down the price because they are one of my most consistent sellers. 

I'm not looking to build out a massive inventory like a few of the other dealers - I have no plans on having big runs of titles like Web of Spiderman for example.  So other than a mini run (a set of 1-10 for example), I will almost always miss out on those run collectors looking for just specific issues - but that's the trade-off I accept for being leaner.  And of course you never know what minor key might explode down the road.  So using this run for example, you could probably make the argument that I could put a bunch of $2 books in there, but for me if it's not a key or minor key (no individual book is priced less than $5) I don't bother....sorry for the rambling, maybe this makes sense or doesn't at all!  lol

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11 hours ago, thehumantorch said:

We actually hate tablecloths.  We've been using the floor to sell and the tablecloths make it harder to see what's underneath the table.   The huge collection we bought recently had about 50 boxes of books and we've found they sell really well in boxes on the floor.

Yes, there is the debate about books on the floor or not. Some like it some don't. 

However, in your case with that super awesome collection you guys picked up you do have some truly unique items for customers to look through so I am sure they don't mind bending the knee to take a look at what you have. For someone like me who would just have "drek" on the floor, not sure anyone would bother.

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The buyer who purchased pretty much all of my cartoon books got back in touch with me and he is interested in my westerns.  We are talking early 70's to early 80's Marvel and DC books for the most part here.

I am supposed to touch base with him when I am back in town from work. late this week. Interestingly, he wants to "talk to me" about a "business relationship" (no idea what that means) but I do know he has been buying bulk collections whenever he can so without knowing too much, I said for sure we can talk.  We could be talking a hoard of drek, gold or a mix of both. Could be bad or good or just not make sense for me.  No idea what exactly he is thinking but we shall see.  Heck, even if it falls through and he "only" ends up buying my westerns I will be a happy camper!

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3 hours ago, spreads said:

 

The boxes with the signs?  The stuff that's on the front of the tables is now sorted by publisher then title, but the thing is I still have lots of inventory at home co-mingled with my collection.  So that might change but that's the plan moving forward, I know advertising is clearly a weak point for me.

The $2 box is pretty simple.  I think I told you I had a 50 cent box?  After a few shows I nixed that even though I was moving 20-25% of it each show, it was a lot of effort hauling boxes and I would rather clean-up that space and just dump that type of stuff by the long. 

Here's what I put in the $2 box....

The $2 stuff is just golden-bronze age, from all publishers including Marvel/DC.  The superhero stuff from Marvel/DC is usually low grade (e.g. a bronze age supe from the mid 70s in VG), I dump all gold key stuff in there (unless it's really high grade or one of their key titles like Magnus/Solar, classic illustrates, low grade (G-VG) dells, etc. etc.  My thinking on these books are this...How often do you find bronze age collections on a lot of these second and third tier characters that are perfect for $2 boxes, John Warlord, super low grade DC horror books fit well too.  A lot of these books have great covers that people are drawn to at to get a basket of 4-5 of them doesn't cost much if they want to take a gander to read the story (house of mystery books are great as standalone stories).  I don't have any Archie's in there at all but I might add some if I fall into some.  

Ideally I would like to have at least two of those boxes stocked for the show (with inventory in reserve) - and here's the kicker, I almost never give discounts on these books!  I've had people ask, but unless they've bought a fair amount from me I don't drop down the price because they are one of my most consistent sellers. 

I'm not looking to build out a massive inventory like a few of the other dealers - I have no plans on having big runs of titles like Web of Spiderman for example.  So other than a mini run (a set of 1-10 for example), I will almost always miss out on those run collectors looking for just specific issues - but that's the trade-off I accept for being leaner.  And of course you never know what minor key might explode down the road.  So using this run for example, you could probably make the argument that I could put a bunch of $2 books in there, but for me if it's not a key or minor key (no individual book is priced less than $5) I don't bother....sorry for the rambling, maybe this makes sense or doesn't at all!  lol

I appreciate the rambling.  

Currently most of my GA - BA low graders go to a 50% off box and they move pretty well.  If they're really beat and cheap they go into my $1 boxes or I sticker them 'free' and toss them into inventory.  Guys love finding free books in there.

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1 hour ago, Wall-Crawler said:

The buyer who purchased pretty much all of my cartoon books got back in touch with me and he is interested in my westerns.  We are talking early 70's to early 80's Marvel and DC books for the most part here.

I am supposed to touch base with him when I am back in town from work. late this week. Interestingly, he wants to "talk to me" about a "business relationship" (no idea what that means) but I do know he has been buying bulk collections whenever he can so without knowing too much, I said for sure we can talk.  We could be talking a hoard of drek, gold or a mix of both. Could be bad or good or just not make sense for me.  No idea what exactly he is thinking but we shall see.  Heck, even if it falls through and he "only" ends up buying my westerns I will be a happy camper!

Business relationship?  :wishluck:

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29 minutes ago, thehumantorch said:

Business relationship?  :wishluck:

Honestly, no idea...It could be something I am interested in or not at all. Definitely has me intrigued! I am not getting my hopes up too much though as I have been approached before with "good deals" which have proven to be not worth my time, but we shall see. Regardless another benefit of doing shows, getting out and meeting people you necessarily would not selling exclusively online as some "ebay guy", minimally you can end up selling hard to move stuff in bulk and other potential benefits.

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You’d mentioned that you weren’t finding collections.  If possible visit nearby LCS regularity.   You never know when they will acquire a collection that they don’t really want and they only bought it because it was dirt cheap.  A couple of our best buys have been from LCS that prefer to sell new books and that stack of mouldy GA was just a hastle to them. 

To my partners horror I just bought 500 + Dells, Archie’s and miscellaneous books.  All published between 1952 and 1966.  They were owned by a piano teacher and his students read them while waiting for their lessons.  He gave them to someone else and they were then stored for 30 years.  They all have spine wear but we’re generally read carefully and they have great gloss and little damage other than on the spines.

i e been pressing these books and they’re responding nicely and many look fabulous in mylars

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