2018 Heroes Convention Report
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1 hour ago, djpinkpanther67 said:

I had a good show. Was definitely worth the trip. :bigsmile:

What did you buy? 

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1 hour ago, djpinkpanther67 said:

I had a good show. Was definitely worth the trip. :bigsmile:

Great meeting you on Friday.  That 9.8 you just picked up was sure pretty.  Thursday shopping is the best.

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15 hours ago, FlyingDonut said:

Just to be clear, every dealer I've talked to today has said they had a great show down there.

For what it's worth, I wasn't saying it was a bad show.

I think it depends on the dealer.

If you're savvy, have solid inventory and know how to sell you'll have a great show. It's how you get to become an international dealer with a wide customer base.

But there are definitely less and less small time sellers at shows than there used to be, and the reasoning I hear is that booth prices are pricing them out of the shows.

 

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7 hours ago, Foolkiller said:

I'll just echo what Dan said, I've spoken to a number of dealers who reported great shows, both buying and selling.  

I do think that who you speak to and how the show goes for you individually can color your perspective.  If you hit that one great deal in the room, then suddenly it was an 'amazing' show.  Heroes has always been a traditionally strong buying show.  Competition is now stronger than ever at these shows.  If you drive 7.5 hrs as 1Cool did and don't hit that home run, I can relate to the feeling of meh, was it all that great?  But with that said, it sounds like most folks did well and it was a great time.

The general consensus from most of the usual buyers that I spoke to who fly in to this show is that it has been a tougher buying show than previous years and I would generally agree. Each year it becomes more difficult to buy at shows for various reasons.

One would be that it's a serller's market and prices are more aggressive.

Another would be that the market has matured a lot in the last decade+ since the advent of both CGC and pricing websites like GPA,Go Collect and Price Guide.com has tightened margins a lot.

As you know, there is always plenty of material at shows but shrinking margins and aggressive pricing means it takes much more effort than it used to.

I agree that having a nice score can make a show for anyone but it happens far less than it used to in my experience.

.

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7 hours ago, HENRYSPENCER said:

 For example, one dealer was asking $65k for Hulk #1 in CGC 7.0 when sales at Heritage the past year are hovering around $30k.  

Are you sure about that?

The last GPA sale shows $57,555 last September (2017) and I sold a 7.5 for more around the same time period.

I don't think a Hulk #1 has been a $30K book in 7.0 in a couple of years.

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14 minutes ago, Foolkiller said:

But that's a different segment, the 'weekend warriors' because the only thing we are doing there is flying in and expecting to score big or hit a home run.  When I spoke to the dealers, it's mostly the folks set up who I feel are used to having a regular customer base with a real website operating a real business so their point of view is different than ours.  While you're closer to a real full blown full time dealer, you still skate a bit of the line because you don't operate the full blown dealer route.  And you (and I) also tend to look for very big high end books, either raw and submit or upgrades.  The guys who are looking for ASM 301s, that $5 book that sells for $50 or slabs for $250 I think can find the deals but they are harder, because more people are on it, there's more weekend warrior dealers and dealers are savvier to those types of books.  It does happen less for all the reasons you cited as well as the people selling the books to dealers also having more options. 

Although I do enjoy going to the big national shows, socializing has become more of the feature point than buying.  I could fill half my week, every week, going and buying either major keys or significant books all across the country because it always seems as if someone has something they're offering these days of quality -- or there's a small regional show that has less competition and the deals are often still there.  There's just too many of the guys flying in to make it worth it to do strictly for buying, but for the regular dealers, I believe the fact that they're selling strong shows the public is also buying at retail, which is a good thing for all of us.

All good points.

But in general, you don't find that buying books at shows has become tougher over all for various reasons?

The general consensus seems to be that it's; tougher to find stuff over all than it used to be. Whether it's inventory for dealers, keys for customers or just high grade anything.

The exception would be lower grade filler. That stuff is common.

The Metros and the Bob Storms of the world are going to have much more supply due to networking and time in the hobby but the general consensus from the average dealer is that the good stuff has been drying up for some time.

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7 hours ago, 1Cool said:

What are a couple examples of books you were looking for an couldn't find - just curios? 

If anything, Heroes seems to have a very wide breadth of available material from Golden Age (keys and esoteric stuff) to the Modern Age.

 

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Posted (edited)

What I have noticed is some dealers have dedicated a section on their wall for raw comics and another section for slabbed comics.  The raw comics are typically keys, notable covers or scarcer issues that you get the sense were at some point in time slabbed and either decertified or would benefit in the present if they were holdered.  What's become common practice is that the exhibitor will disagree with the assigned CGC grade and  "liberate" the comic with both a price and grade bump just as if it were certified.  Then the discussion starts off with something like "Yeah CGC really missed the ball on this one" or "It presents much nicer than the assigned grade".  It becomes nearly impossible to negotiate on these ticket items unless you agree with the dealer's assigned grade and are willing to pay the premium.  They won't price down, and well you move on.
Sadly I see these conventions including the Heroes Convention in Charlotte evolving more into all pop culture festivals in a matter of years when more of the comic dealers retire.  I don't see the fifty and under generation buying at the same rate as baby boomers. Nor do I see collectors buying from dealers as much as I see dealers buying from other dealers. This week there were at least four times as many booths selling other things besides vintage comics.  
I look at Metropolis Collectibles, and how they figured ten years ago, they were going to need a dedicated auction site to stay viable in the business and competitive with Comiclink and Heritage.  That's the direction the market is headed in, and they seem to be doing well.
With rising booth costs, surging summer fuel prices, travel expenses, costs associated in buying inventory, quality inventory being harder to find I can't imagine how anyone could go at the comic business full time unless they dealt mostly in keys and first issues and were pricing well over previous record sales and GPA.  Maybe it would also work if you were able to find some collections and peddle them quickly to other dealers.  Unless you've been in the business a long time with deep inventory and plenty of money dealing in comics right now seems like one tough gig.

Edited by HENRYSPENCER

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, VintageComics said:

 

The general consensus seems to be that it's; tougher to find stuff over all than it used to be. Whether it's inventory for dealers, keys for customers or just high grade anything.

<ALL dealers>

of the world are going to have much more supply due to networking and time in the hobby but the general consensus from the average dealer is that the good stuff has been drying up for some time.

this x 1000

just finished driving the 5.5 hrs back home.

I got the same comment from every dealer I went to whether I was asking if they had a particular silver age comic in a particular grade (even mid-low grade) or was trying to negotiate down to GPA prices. 

whether they had any for sale or not they explained that collections are scarce. they have to pay more to pry it from collectors or other dealers and what they sell they have to find a way to afford replace for the next show 

I guess collectors are to blame. Many of us are locking up our books in our collections and if we do sell we already know what they are worth so we ask for more or put them up at auction.

every dealer I spoke with said they had a great show.  1 guy said he wouldn't budge on pricing on Sunday as he had already made his quota.

others had big sales on Friday, and Thursday from the sounds of it. 

Bedrock sold a book for nearly 100k Friday morning, assuming at least a 10% margin or commission his trip was paid for. Gator had someone beat me to his booth at some great midgrade SA keys and by Sunday his wall looked like Swiss cheese so he had to do well.

I bought 5 slabs 4 of which I got a fair (12 Mo GPA price for after some negotiations.) and a bunch of raw fillers.  I found that the usual dollar or $2 boxes started at $5-10 boxes and we're 25%-50% by sunday. they were also heavily picked over by sunday.   few dealers were selling back issues under $2 unless they were unsorted and unbagged moderns. 

Friday was busier than Saturday for some dealers. the reason it may have seemed empty is that most attendees were getting artist commissions and sigs. However, I found that I had more competition for box digging than at any other show before. I aggressively hit the booths early Friday and had at least 2 people lurking by me at every booth with some walking away dejected after they saw how much I had already picked it over.

the show was huge. I didn't make it to all dealers but I did hit the big ones. spent all day Friday on the right side.

my other reason for going was to drop off books at cgc.  yeah I noticed it too how cgcs booth was packed compared to cbcs.  I think a lot of folks are taking a wait and see approach to Beckett's influence.

I did buy a nice SA cbcs graded spideys for a decent price. Maybe it's been harder to sell those as well.

saw some decent OA

this show pulled Legends comics all the way from Fresno, CA so it is still a serious comics show.  they did well and I'm sure my $500 purchase helped.

it also brought in Unknown comics from Texas and Conquest comics. I really liked that they were both there.  Im not sure how I feel about finding out how much of their "SOLD OUT" variant inventory they still had for sale. I'm happy they were there and I got to buy some variants I missed out on during their website releases and got to choose ones in the best condition. however, it irks me that one's in limited print I had to feverishly refresh the page and enter my cc info for in the middle of my work day just to buy 1 copy which sold out in less than 2 min online are suddenly abundantly available in held back stock. lesson learned. I guess i should be happy they still had availability in great quality. I'll just wait to catch them at a show next time.

anyway that's my report.

Edited by justafan

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21 hours ago, Foolkiller said:

I'll just echo what Dan said, I've spoken to a number of dealers who reported great shows, both buying and selling.  

I do think that who you speak to and how the show goes for you individually can color your perspective.  If you hit that one great deal in the room, then suddenly it was an 'amazing' show.  Heroes has always been a traditionally strong buying show.  Competition is now stronger than ever at these shows.  If you drive 7.5 hrs as 1Cool did and don't hit that home run, I can relate to the feeling of meh, was it all that great?  But with that said, it sounds like most folks did well and it was a great time.

I know it doesn't matter who buys what, but how many/often is a "great show" that consists of selling a majority of inventory to another dealer?   

We've talked in the past about the "advantages" of doing this (the main being that dealers typically have more to spend than Joe Public and will buy more in one fell swoop).   Someone mentioned that Rich had a very big sale.  Was that to another dealer or to a collector?   

For the guys that did set up at the show (and had what you would call a "good" show), were the majority of the sales to Joe Public or to other dealers looking to replenish inventory?   Not asking for figures or dollar amounts.  Just curious as to what constitutes the bulk of your sales at a large show like Heroes.  

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i bought way less than i normally do at this show but i bought higher quality this year as well so im sure thats why i got fewer books.

I will say this, alot more dealers this year had their prices on wall books very  easy to see and i cant tell you how much i appreciate that. I like knowing what a book is priced at before i waste anyones time. Especially at a busy con like Heroes.

 

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14 hours ago, VintageComics said:

All good points.

But in general, you don't find that buying books at shows has become tougher over all for various reasons?

The general consensus seems to be that it's; tougher to find stuff over all than it used to be. Whether it's inventory for dealers, keys for customers or just high grade anything.

The exception would be lower grade filler. That stuff is common.

The Metros and the Bob Storms of the world are going to have much more supply due to networking and time in the hobby but the general consensus from the average dealer is that the good stuff has been drying up for some time.

The bold section above is important.  A ton of booths were offering 1/2 off sales on filler books and there still was little activity digging thru those boxes.  Everyone (and I mean everyone) is clammering for the same 100 key books then you just have too much competition for those books and everyone suffers.  I use to keep my eye out for books like Champions 1 but when i can only sell mid grade copies for $10 then I can't go around scooping up copies for $6 - $7 which I was doing when the book sold for $20 after a bit of waiting.  E-Bay prices are down for most books so the demand at shows for common books is down.  I heard so many people asking dealers if their pre-codes were 6.0 or better and of course they were not since they would be in slabs and would have sold on ComicLink if they were 7.0 copies. 

Heroes is still one of the best Cons in the country in terms of the number of comic book dealers in the room which is impressive to see.  Not sure how people like Greggy and Joey did but it was evident that there was not much new material in the room especially when you concentrate on high grade books that go big in slabs.  And if the huge shows appear to be pretty dry you have to wonder where all the new collections are going.

 

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23 minutes ago, joeypost said:

I had a good show as far as buying. What I was able to purchase for myself and to flip I picked up below GPA and the guide. 

What I will echo is the crowds were smaller. I remember walking around on both Friday and Saturday afternoon wondering "where is everyone", and some dealers were asking above GPA and guide on the hot books. I saw a lot of books I wanted to purchase, but some dealers were not willing to work on pricing. Left the show with 50% of what I planned on spending still in my checking account. 

Going to give a shout out to: Rick, Dale, Richard, Bob, Stephen, Will, Harley, Bill and Earl. They made the show for me. 

same here. I left with about half the cash I brought in not to mention any CC purchases I could have made in excess of my cash alotment. not that I couldn't have spent it. easily. but just didn't feel like paying that much for something I wasn't going to be totally satisfied with. I felt a lot was over priced but I can appreciate why that is.  now if there was the right book in the right grade with the right eye appeal, whoa watch out. but it seems those kinds of books sold early on Thursday or friday.  Not sure how collectors like us can compete with VinnyZ or any other dealer's that can get early access and buy up the good stuff before the show even begins. 

lol, maybe we need to form a collectors union co-op with some of the attendees to go in on a small dealer booth/table. $900 split 18 ways is $50/person. $5 cheaper than the weekend rate. (I'd even do $100/person split 9 ways) we can get dealer badges, arrive early on Thursday, raid the incoming dealers and maybe even setup some of our own comics we want to sell (though that might get raided in return).

what do you think? whose down?

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, justafan said:

same here. I left with about half the cash I brought in not to mention any CC purchases I could have made in excess of my cash alotment. not that I couldn't have spent it. easily. but just didn't feel like paying that much for something I wasn't going to be totally satisfied with. I felt a lot was over priced but I can appreciate why that is.  now if there was the right book in the right grade with the right eye appeal, whoa watch out. but it seems those kinds of books sold early on Thursday or friday.  Not sure how collectors like us can compete with VinnyZ or any other dealer's that can get early access and buy up the good stuff before the show even begins. 

lol, maybe we need to form a collectors union co-op with some of the attendees to go in on a small dealer booth/table. $900 split 18 ways is $50/person. $5 cheaper than the weekend rate. (I'd even do $100/person split 9 ways) we can get dealer badges, arrive early on Thursday, raid the incoming dealers and maybe even setup some of our own comics we want to sell (though that might get raided in return).

what do you think? whose down?

You would need quite a few booths to get that many dealer badges.  Booths usual get 2 to 4 badges each (this Con seemed to give extras at the last minute but that is not customary).  Dealer badges were being sold for $100 if you didn't get an inside connection. 

And even people like Joey who are fortunate to get a dealers badge are telling us that the amount of books available was scarce enough that he only spent half of the money he bought.  I wasn't there on Thursday but from what I heard you had to be there really early since the killer deals where so scares even those guys were fighting to find books.  Just a different environment then I remember from 4 years ago.

Edited by 1Cool

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21 minutes ago, justafan said:

same here. I left with about half the cash I brought in not to mention any CC purchases I could have made in excess of my cash alotment. not that I couldn't have spent it. easily. but just didn't feel like paying that much for something I wasn't going to be totally satisfied with. I felt a lot was over priced but I can appreciate why that is.  now if there was the right book in the right grade with the right eye appeal, whoa watch out. but it seems those kinds of books sold early on Thursday or friday.  Not sure how collectors like us can compete with VinnyZ or any other dealer's that can get early access and buy up the good stuff before the show even begins. 

lol, maybe we need to form a collectors union co-op with some of the attendees to go in on a small dealer booth/table. $900 split 18 ways is $50/person. $5 cheaper than the weekend rate. (I'd even do $100/person split 9 ways) we can get dealer badges, arrive early on Thursday, raid the incoming dealers and maybe even setup some of our own comics we want to sell (though that might get raided in return).

what do you think? whose down?

If you do this, make sure you bring some books for sale.  You won't be making any dealer friends by taking this approach. In fact, you'll just make the promoter happy. 2c

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26 minutes ago, justafan said:

same here. I left with about half the cash I brought in not to mention any CC purchases I could have made in excess of my cash alotment. not that I couldn't have spent it. easily. but just didn't feel like paying that much for something I wasn't going to be totally satisfied with. I felt a lot was over priced but I can appreciate why that is.  now if there was the right book in the right grade with the right eye appeal, whoa watch out. but it seems those kinds of books sold early on Thursday or friday.  Not sure how collectors like us can compete with VinnyZ or any other dealer's that can get early access and buy up the good stuff before the show even begins. 

lol, maybe we need to form a collectors union co-op with some of the attendees to go in on a small dealer booth/table. $900 split 18 ways is $50/person. $5 cheaper than the weekend rate. (I'd even do $100/person split 9 ways) we can get dealer badges, arrive early on Thursday, raid the incoming dealers and maybe even setup some of our own comics we want to sell (though that might get raided in return).

what do you think? whose down?

But splitting a booth is definetely something that would make sense to a bunch of collectors that i don't see as much as I'd expect.  Take Heroes for example - $775 for a regular booth.  You could split the booth in half and get 2 badges each and possibly sell the two extra badges to other collectors for maybe $50 - $75 each so that brings down the cost per person to $300 - $350 a person.  You could situate the booths so each person gets a 8' table on each side with 5' in the middle (each table usually fits 9 or 10 long boxes).  With a bit of work you could each have a wall on each side behind the boxes so you can showcase your keys.  Collectors would get a lot of early action from the full time dealers and may get 10x the $300 booth fee even before the public gets there.  It will be a shocking experience to be on the other side of the booth but maybe every collector needs to do it a couple times to appreciate the process.

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12 minutes ago, 1Cool said:

But splitting a booth is definetely something that would make sense to a bunch of collectors that i don't see as much as I'd expect.  Take Heroes for example - $775 for a regular booth.  You could split the booth in half and get 2 badges each and possibly sell the two extra badges to other collectors for maybe $50 - $75 each so that brings down the cost per person to $300 - $350 a person.  You could situate the booths so each person gets a 8' table on each side with 5' in the middle (each table usually fits 9 or 10 long boxes).  With a bit of work you could each have a wall on each side behind the boxes so you can showcase your keys.  Collectors would get a lot of early action from the full time dealers and may get 10x the $300 booth fee even before the public gets there.  It will be a shocking experience to be on the other side of the booth but maybe every collector needs to do it a couple times to appreciate the process.

I could see myself doing something like that. and yes I would absolutely bring some new to market stock I've been hoarding over the years. too busy to even find out what half of it is worth but might be worth something to someone. and yes it would be eye opening to see life from the other side of the booth.  I always try to approach dealers the way I would want/expect to be approached by customers in a polite and patient manner and not lowball but man I bet I would probably get annoyed by me as a customer some times. "oh you want me to climb up and get another wall book you may or may not like?"

I already do have so much respect for all the dealers who grind it out at each con every weekend and provide such friendly customer service.  I couldn't believe it when Harley told me he had just gotten back from Australia! 

I am concerned about the potential growing gridlock in available stock. natural market forces usually help loosen availability once demand and prices reach a certain point but collectors are irrational human beings. what happens when demand is high but collectors won't sell at any reasonable price for fear of never being able to replace/recover their comic but the few who want and can afford the books are just not willing to pay the inflated prices? like the asm 667 dell otto. I'm sure there's at least a 100 copies locked away in collections and those who own them know that they can get nearly whatever they want for it so why don't we see them being offered for sale? because they fear they may never be able to replace it let alone for what they sold it for. the same could be happening to certain issues of titles in grade. maybe that is just the one exception but it could become the rule unless pressure is released from the supply side. I did hear this comment from 2 dealers during negotiations on 2 different SA/GA books: (paraphrasing) "that's one of my favorite covers/books from my collection. I can't/won't come down from that price as I'm not really trying to sell it but that's the (inflated) price I'd be grudgingly let it go for."

 

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