What grade should I buy?
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I am relatively new to the community, and haven't posted much so forgive any mistakes I make.  I am going to background myself and who I am as a collector so you can better answer my questions.  I am a run collector.  I want not just the keys I want the entire series.  I collect mostly silver and bronze age Marvel titles.  I am in college right now so collecting is slow and I am okay with that. I know collecting will be a life long journey for me and I am in no hurry to make it happen.

My questions today will revolve around what grade at which I should buy my filler comics. Standards for key comics change because price and availability plays a bigger role when looking for those so for this post ignore the idea of keys comics.  When looking for filler (non-key) books they aren't hard to find, but I have run into the problem where I debate what grade I should strive for when buying these books.   I have researched two very specific examples just to help get my message across.  

Nove Vol 1 #18 :

NM- $8.00  (New Kadia) 

VF+ $7.10 (New Kadia) 

VF $4.57 (New Kadia) 

VF $6.10 (mycomicshop)

 

Incredible Hulk #331: 

VF+ $22.70  (New Kadia) 

VF  $14.50  (New Kadia) 

VF-  $13.40 (New Kadia) 

VF-  $16.25  (mycomicshop)

FN+  $12.75  (mycomicshop)

FN  $10.75  (mycomicshop)

 

The above books are examples of books that I would collect.  The top one is a lower dollar book and the second one is a little pricier that makes the differences in grade more apparent.  Now, obviously I want the NM graded books because who doesn't want quality.  I know the argument about its your collection and you should do what makes you happy, but I want your opinions on what you would do and maybe it will give me some ideas.  I want to complete runs, but I also want to add value to my collection. Even though I do not intend on selling any comics I still think adding value to my collection is important. 

I recently went to a comic con and there were $1 and .50 cent book galore.  These books were incredibly cheap and were in probably FN- to VF- grade.  Cons only come around so often so collecting solely through cons is not feasible. So, I guess my final questions are what grade would you buy, and why?  Where else do you shop for bronze/silver age books?  Are those few extra dollars worth it?  

 

 

 

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In general, buy the best copy you can afford. Ideally one that is graded.

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Yup, the biggest thing is learn how to grade, one man's NM can be another man's VF so don't rely on someone else's grading alone.    
As for buying, in the category you're collecting, despite being poor (as your name implies) I'd only buy NM-NM+.   I can understand not being able to afford a NM copy of a gold or silver age book and settling for mid or low grade, but anything Bronze should be at least VF and anything modern NM unless you're just looking for reader copies.   The $20 you spend on a VF copy of a more recent book that is $40 in mint would be better saved until you find that higher grade.

 

When I was a kid in the early to mid 1970s I would buy Silver Age Batman's at a Flea Market every Sunday-- they were $1-$2 a copy and in at least VF shape-- I remember an older collector looking at me and laughing that I was wasting my money buying junk-- that only Silver Keys and Golden Age Comics were worth buying.   So I don't ever discourage someone collecting an age that I have no interest in.

Edited by AndyFish

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1 hour ago, AndyFish said:

 

 

When I was a kid in the early to mid 1970s I would buy Silver Age Batman's at a Flea Market every Sunday-- they were $1-$2 a copy and in at least VF shape-- I remember an older collector looking at me and laughing that I was wasting my money buying junk-- that only Silver Keys and Golden Age Comics were worth buying.   So I don't ever discourage someone collecting an age that I have no interest in.

I got the same thing in the 80's when I was buying 12 cent Marvels for a buck or two each.

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to answer your question on what I do and I am partially a run collector as well..

for the cheaper books I would go NM so you #18 I would do NM but also keep in mind budgets grades and effort to find those books. 

for the Hulk 331 I would go with the VF 14.50 one as the VF+ one is a larger portion at 22.70 and that savings of 8.00 I could put towards another filler book or the #18 when it comes to filler its called filler for a reason quantity..  to complete the collection, while this is a general through process I would think of immediately there are many other factors that would affect this such as ability to negotiate how easily found the filler is, the condition of the book as someone mentioned not everyone grades the same... that's a big key there and my collecting preferences such as how close I am to finishing the run do I need this last book do I need a lot more what generally are the condition of the rest, should I keep them near the same condition. I mean I wouldn't want a Hulk 331 in NM and a Hulk 332 in GD that's a big difference and if I do take it there it better be priced accordingly.

Just my thoughts since you wanted someone's though process.. 

Best of Luck on collecting.

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This is my 1st time on here.I have been collecting since 1969/1970 ,I am 57 years young and still collecting.First I must say if you are doing this for fun than you need to buy what you can afford to buy, but if you are in it for the $$ then you need/should only buy 9.8 issues as these will be the books that will increase in value, should they be in demand.I started and still collect for fun but have amassed a rather large collection of what I Iiked to read, as well as the artwork and the stories I enjoyed.Just have fun is my best advice, everything in life is not about $$.

p.s. I have full runs of Captain  America ,Iron Man and Many many others because that’s what MADE ME HAPPY and I say again have fun

Edited by Armageddon101

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I will tell you this...

 

You are in a much better position than many of us were in the days before the internet who relied on comics buyers guides, blind mail order, prodigy message boards and Mile High Comics. 

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I buy the best grade I can afford and then sell it to try and upgrade when I can afford better, by adding to the sold price.

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I like to buy the best grade I can afford but I also like to complete runs. When I collected a full run I always buy a comic in as close to the same condition as all the others. They look better in same condition next to each other. If you want some high grade keys just save up some money and buy one major key at a time when you have the money. Other than that buy and collect what you love and whatever you enjoy reading or which ever cover catches your eye.
 

I personally let the artwork draw me in and the story has to make me want to stick around purchase and the book. I don’t collect what I won’t read.
 

But I also agree you should sell a book in its current condition and put some money together to go with that sale and get a higher grade copy. Upgrading your is very doable if you follow the market on your books and are realistic in what you can spend. 

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On 2/9/2020 at 2:05 PM, poorcollector said:

Incredible Hulk #331: 

VF+ $22.70  (New Kadia) 

VF  $14.50  (New Kadia) 

VF-  $13.40 (New Kadia) 

VF-  $16.25  (mycomicshop)

FN+  $12.75  (mycomicshop)

FN  $10.75  (mycomicshop)

The 12 month average in CGC 9.6 (three sold) is $24.  Buy that copy. 

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Having almost completed my ASM run, I can tell ya there are a few things I would do differently if I had to start over. I grabbed as many of the cheaper books first to make the "need" list shorter and feel like I was closer to completion. That left the big ticket items for last and they are far more expensive now than when I started. Ask yourself if you would be happier with a stack of easily found books or 1 key book. In between purchases, if you find a book that you know is priced too cheap, but it and sell it for a small profit and put the gain into your comic savings. That will speed things up. Have fun!

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