Is Now the Best Time or the Worst Time to Invest in Comics?
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1 hour ago, batman_fan said:

There are two universal laws of collecting comics that are always true 100% of the time.

Rule 1.   Any title I am collecting will be hot with ever increasing prices.

Rule 2.  Any title I am selling will have heavily eroding prices and low interest.

And you think you have a monopoly on this?  Helloooo....

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8 hours ago, Robot Man said:
On 1/19/2020 at 3:12 PM, Mmehdy said:

My advice on buying is if you have the money for 10 mid grade GA comics or you can buy 1 ultra high grade comic...I would go with the quality not the quantity especially for investment purposes. 

As far as investment is concerned I would avoid any restored comic book above 1k..unless it A1, Bat 1 or something like that.
 

I agree in principle. For strictly investment purposes buying one key book is smarter. The problem is the higher the grade and price severely limits the possibility for maybe much future growth in your investment. You are gambling that the “market” is going to keep steadily growing at current rates. 

You have a lot smaller a pool of buyers at the top. For every top end buyer, there are 10 buyers that are priced out and have to settle for a lower grade copy. Often, lower grade copies do better at auction. The profit margin can be better. 

Just my observations in 50 years in the hobby...

I would tend to say that your observations about the hobby has been correct, as clearly evident by recent auction results of GA books over the past few years. (thumbsu

When I started collecting GA books, I definitely followed Mitch's strategy above since I was advised to go after the keys or classic covers and to get the highest grade possible that my wallet could afford.  The theory was that the marketplace would eventually realized how truly rare these books were to find, especially in high grade, and that the marketplace would one day place a substantially higher premium on these copies as opposed to the then 1:3:6 valuation spreads (i.e. Good Fine Mint) which the guide had in place at the time.  Definitely no regrets about going after the higher grades as they just look so much nicer  :cloud9: , but from a strict financial percentage point of view, I believe that paying lower amounts for realtively lower graded copies would have put me ahead in the end.  

A perfect example being the recent auction of the tied for highest graded 9.2 copy of Action 13 which managed to fetched only $166K when current top of guide on this historically much in demand book is $190K.  Especially surprising considering that the Atlantic City CGC 9.2 graded copy managed to fetch an astounding $185K on CC back in the summer of 2011 when the 9.2 top of guide price on Action 13 was set at only $30K back then.  :whatthe:  :takeit:

Contrast that with the lower CGC graded 5.0 Billy Wright copy of Action 13 which sold at HA in February of 2012 for $35,850 or at a price point of over 8X the condition guide valuation of only $4,412.  If we now fast forward to May of 2018, we then see a slightly lower condition copy of Action 13 in CGC 4.0 grade selling at HA for $77,675 (i.e. still at almost 3X condition guide price of $28K) or still a nice healthy percentage increase over the Billy Wright sale of $35,850 back in 2012.  As further proof in terms of the strength of more affordable copies, just take a look at the raw Poor condition 0.5 copy that Heritage was able to auction off for $14,340 back in the summer of 2016 when the Overstreet valuation in Good condition was set at only $9K.  If I remember correctly, much like Cap 3, this was a book that tended to even be able to fetch premiums to condition guide prices even when in Restored condition.  :whatthe:  :applause:

You can actually see a slew of examples where mid-grade copies or even entry level copies of high dollar value key books or classic cover books have done exceedingly well during the past few years due simply to the fact that collectors want them, and are willing to pay top dollar just to acquire an affordable copy for themselves.  Perfect example being the multiple times that a CGC 1.0 graded copy of 'Tec 31 have sold for in the mid $40K price range on CC or even at $22K in CGC 0.5 grade, or the nuymber of classic cover books which have no problems fetching 5-figures in mid-grade such as Seven Seas 4 or more recently, Mask 1.  Just take a look at the recent sales of of Cap 3 in restored mid-grade condition the past 2 years for well over $20K's or shockingly at multiples to condition guide price on them at well under $10K.  :whatthe:  :whatthe:

Definitely a case of far fewer players in the deep end of the pool when prices for books reach astronomical levels, as compared to lower price points which are much more affordable so that collectors who are just looking at acquiring a copy can afford to join in the bidding action.  hm  (thumbsu

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I do believe the Master Charles Dickens said it best with my obvious insertion of a repeated 4 words: :angel:

 "It was the best of times (to invest in comics), it was the worst of times (to invest in comics), it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”  - circa 1859

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On 1/19/2020 at 2:34 PM, rjpb said:

As I recall, after a decent run-up in the 90s, the more run of the mill PCH that wasn't broken out into classic cover status took a drop in the early 2000s, in no small part due to availability on ebay. Most of it selling for much less than guide if put up for auction. Even classic covers were somewhat flat until just a few years ago. The same was true of a lot of L.B. Cole stuff, some of which had increased dramatically in the mid 90s, and then dipped in value, taking over a decade just to get back to where they had been in value. 

As a GA collector at the time, I can tell you for certain that this roller coaster of a ride in terms of the astronomical run up in the mid-90's followed by several years of not so hot prices was not limited to just PCH books.  It was definitely much more widespread than that and pretty much encompass the entire range of GA books (and possibly all of the other ages) since dealers offering multiples of guide prices for in-demand key and classic cover books were just not sustainable over an extended period of time.  :flipbait:

The comic book marketplace definitely did have a multi-year cooling off period until CGC came onto the scence with their third party independent grading system.  Once again, we saw a big run up in prices in the beginning, which was then followed by either a plateauing of prices or even a noticeable drop in prices in many of the GA books that had set record prices when grading first came along, as the marketplace was still trying to figure out the additional value to give to graded books.  hm

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6 hours ago, Robot Man said:

As GA-tor himself said, once he got out of chasing Centaurs, the prices took a decent dip. He even broke even or lost money on a lot of them. The demand is still there but the real deep pockets clearly are not. All it takes is s few big buyers to get out and the market tanks...

And as far as LB Cole books go, I’m pretty much priced out too and I have been buying them for 40 years.

I think that’s a good example that can be applied to certain segments in our hobby. Some of my worst auction failures did not involve a lot of bids or bidders. It just takes 2 highly motivated collectors to set record or near record prices. It’s also why when enough of the few are absent it’s possible to get a steal on some things.

On the flip side we have a high number of collectors thick on a number of segments from PCH to much of the Marvel and DC material that I’m not to concerned about those areas doing anything more than normal corrections. If anything the last few decades have only added strength to the market with new collectors in and outside the US pushing prices up. That internet thing has also done wonders for comics.

There were periods in collecting when I wondered if golden age might cool off as older collectors passed. I thought if that happened the pulp market might be the first to go. The opposite seems to have happened since most of the “original” collectors of both are mostly out of the market today.

So yeah I think the above is a great example of what can happen to some of the more niche segments or niche books but just when I think the market is slowing or disappearing on something I’m surprised so I no longer trust “dead” segments for long if they contain worthy collecting material because it seems something will eventually wake them up again.

I do hate the “pricing out” that has happened on a number of books to collectors. I grew up with fellow collectors who completed runs of golden age material. How many people on the boards here even think about completing runs of the Timely or DC main golden age titles? There was a time when if you liked Captain America you set out to complete all 78 issues and did it or got close to it. It’d be crazy expensive to do that today with even mid grade copies...:p

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15 hours ago, lou_fine said:

If you are talking about collecting athlete's shoes, you are probably already too late for this collecting craze:

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/nike-moon-shoe-sold-auction-trnd/index.html

As clearly evident by the $437,500 paid for this rare pair of Nike's Moon Shoe.  :whatthe:

It's always best to be ahead of the curve instead of chasing the hot items after they've already gone up in price.  In that light, maybe you thinking about game worn jock straps or jill straps.  :p  lol

Lou_fine, you're brilliant!

You should start a certification company for jock straps and jill straps. You can verify their authenticity and give them a blue label if they're unwashed or a PLOD if they've been washed.

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18 hours ago, fifties said:

As a reaction to the current ridiculous prices on some books that I am just not about to pay...

I said the same thing in 1975...:roflmao:

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17 hours ago, Joshua33 said:

Nothing goes up forever. Comics have been an outstanding "investment" if you bought the right books, for the last 10 years. 3 things really come to mind to contemplate...

1. As collectors, it is hard to ignore the direct correlation in current values to the movie industry success. Major corporations have made massive investments into the future health of this genre of films, and people will continue to collect characters in the films until we reach superhero fatigue as a consumer base.

Well, if this is true then we should all jump on the decades long and now decrepit Adventure 61 bandwagon with the first appearance of Starman.  :gossip:

Especially since I was watching TV last night and noticed a big promo ad for the new Stargirl show which is set to debut this coming Spring.  It just might put some life back into this virtually comatose book since the ad clearly highlights her receiving her powers from her father, Starman.  hm  :wishluck:

Seriously though, there are just so many comic book sourced TV shows and moview, I am not sure how much of an impact they have on prices anymore, especially with respect to some of these long forgotten secondary characters.  (shrug)

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12 minutes ago, lou_fine said:

Well, if this is true then we should all jump on the decades long and now decrepit Adventure 61 bandwagon with the first appearance of Starman.  :gossip:

Especially since I was watching TV last night and noticed a big promo ad for the new Stargirl show which is set to debut this coming Spring.  It just might put some life back into this virtually comatose book since the ad clearly highlights her receiving her powers from her father, Starman.  hm  :wishluck:

Seriously though, there are just so many comic book sourced TV shows and moview, I am not sure how much of an impact they have on prices anymore, especially with respect to some of these long forgotten secondary characters.  (shrug)

The TV/movie effect seems to be fading. The Shazam movie didn't do much to Whiz/CMA prices, and Sensation and Wonder Woman didn't really take off. It does seem like dealers have their Sensation/WW books priced higher, but they don't seem to be moving.

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15 hours ago, lou_fine said:

Definitely a case of far fewer players in the deep end of the pool when prices for books reach astronomical levels, as compared to lower price points which are much more affordable so that collectors who are just looking at acquiring a copy can afford to join in the bidding action.  hm  (thumbsu

+1.   It seems like a low grade key draws more competition and ends up going for a higher price per point than the higher grade key where fewer bidders have the deep pockets required

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Social media, YouTube and other “investing” sites are exposing a lot of people to Golden age books, especially books like pre-code horror, and artists like LB Cole and Matt Baker. 

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14 minutes ago, jimbo_7071 said:

The TV/movie effect seems to be fading. The Shazam movie didn't do much to Whiz/CMA prices, and Sensation and Wonder Woman didn't really take off. It does seem like dealers have their Sensation/WW books priced higher, but they don't seem to be moving.

There aren't many Sensations around, honestly. 

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4 hours ago, jimbo_7071 said:

Lou_fine, you're brilliant!

You should start a certification company for jock straps and jill straps. You can verify their authenticity and give them a blue label if they're unwashed or a PLOD if they've been washed.

I hear that baseball jerseys with built in buzzers are all the rage now days...

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16 minutes ago, Shaun C89 said:

Social media, YouTube and other “investing” sites are exposing a lot of people to Golden age books, especially books like pre-code horror, and artists like LB Cole and Matt Baker. 

They missed the boat...

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1 hour ago, Tri-ColorBrian said:

I said the same thing in 1975...:roflmao:

+1 on current 1975 and 76 ridiculous retail prices. I paid about 2x guide for Capt America #100 at $3 which was same value as Howard the Duck #1 hot book at the time. HtD #1 exploded to $12 locally in 1976 which made Capt America #100 a terrible 'investment' at such a high buy-in. :S

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2 hours ago, lou_fine said:

the first appearance of Starman.  

"Red, stop.  Green, go.  Yellow, go real fast"...;)

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In general I think we will see more new collectors and younger collectors eventually buying books based on certain things that resonate with them.  Meaning more themed based collecting.  Where in the past we have seen more run based completion-ists and more recently "Key" chasing.  Tough to tell but I see a bit of this emerging more to degrees.  This isn't limited to Cover art, but interior compositions, importance of story (historical significance), mentioning of acts/objects/persons/places/things etc. 

In my opinion though it is the anti-thesis to investing in comics; where people are buying more based on what they truly care about / have interest in and less about historic consensus on a book "being a big deal".  :whistle: 2c

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27 minutes ago, bounty_coder said:

In general I think we will see more new collectors and younger collectors eventually buying books based on certain things that resonate with them.  Meaning more themed based collecting.  Where in the past we have seen more run based completion-ists and more recently "Key" chasing.  Tough to tell but I see a bit of this emerging more to degrees.  This isn't limited to Cover art, but interior compositions, importance of story (historical significance), mentioning of acts/objects/persons/places/things etc. 

In my opinion though it is the anti-thesis to investing in comics; where people are buying more based on what they truly care about / have interest in and less about historic consensus on a book "being a big deal".  :whistle: 2c

Well if that's one aspect, then they won't be buying slabbed books because of it.

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