Way to predict a comic book will be valuable?
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33 posts in this topic

I collected comic books as a kid and recently found them at my parents house. Looking to get back into it. Is there a way to foresee a book may be worth a lot of money one day? I hear books selling for lots of money for example The Walking Dead issue 1. How do you stay informed of a book or series will be popular or is it all a gamble? 
 

I’m not sure if this is frowned upon in the community but greed is not my intention. I truly am thinking of ways to benefit my children. If I were to get a book of value it would go towards my children’s future. I have a 529 plan set up but estimators are predicting 300-400k for the cost of college when they turn 18...

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Posted (edited)

That is a good question; one I myself have asked this very board and the answers were mostly sarcastic. The direct answer is, "No, there is no way to predict this." I wish there was. I think the current boom in prices is due to the lockdown and boredom and no conventions going on where people can go look for deals for themselves. But that is just my opinion. I am planning on leaving my collection to a little boy as well. Hopefully it will be of benefit to him  when he needs it.  Good luck with yours. I hope you have some gems in those old boxes.

Edited by Greatwhite
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I think there's no way to predict future value really. Movie/TV speculation can drive prices.

But if you have an existing collection of books, like yours with Walking Dead #1, etc...  You can look at past Ebay Sales, GoCollect FMV values, etc.... There are ways to at least get an idea of the existing worth of a book.

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I agree with all of the advice given so far. 

My one add would be, buy the big keys if you can afford them. 

Granted, they've gotten a lot more expensive over the last 6 months, but it's really hard to know what characters and books will take off. You can take some guesses.

For example, as far as I know Disney hasn't said Silver Surfer will be in a movie. But, they announced a new Fantastic Four movie and you can speculate they may introduce Silver Surfer at some point. So you can buy all the FF48s out there. The problem is, you won't be alone in your speculations and prices for that book have moved significantly. 

Big key books generally won't go down in value over the long run. They may correct short term, but over 5 - 10 years, they generally hold or increase in value. 

Also, you need to make it fun for yourself.  Collecting characters and stories you like. Sometimes you get lucky, often you don't, but you want to enjoy the experience. 

 

As for kids and 529s, I'm right there with you lol. Good luck! 

 

Edited by KCOComics
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There are a handful of websites, apps, social media outlets that share (some free, some for a cost) info on new titles that are getting a lot of buzz, movie speculation and all that stuff. Now some stuff grows in value, some doesn't. It is hard to predict if a new series when it comes out will be a big deal. Generally, if people are talking about a comic series or run after the first couple issues, I would jump on board. A lot of independent series (thinking of Something Is Killing The Children at the moment) really took off and are now very expensive, and were even before a recent show announcement. Another one is Ice Cream Man. Now, perhaps these stories and characters have staying power, as shows/movies are developed around them but there is also a chance that they are hot for the time being and then lose steam. 

I would say the best investments (if choosing to make this the focus of the books you collect) are books that have always been desired, as these continue to grow and should in the future. Predicting what new series might do this is much more challenging to do, especially if you have not been following the market over the past decade+

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3 hours ago, clemson75 said:

Is there a way to foresee a book may be worth a lot of money one day?

No. If there were, we'd all be rolling in it.

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Posted (edited)

Step 1) Put together $30,000.

Step 2) Buy $5,000 worth of a random characters first appearance.

Step 3) Offer the writer of an upcoming movie $25,000 to sneak a couple of references to this obscure character into his --script.

Rinse and repeat.

Edited by shadroch
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1 hour ago, aardvark88 said:

Sure fire 'collector's item:'

1. #1 or 1st appearance of a character or team

2. Drawn by a popular or new artist.

3. Buy Marvel (sorry DC, Image, Dark Horse, independent press, Boom).

While each of these points holds degrees of truth, they also hold degrees of lies

The problem right now with the "first appearance" buying frenzy is that I could literally make a list of probably 200-300 characters that people say are "coming" or "going to appear". To me, saying that is like saying "hey, eventually if you look outside, you will see a double rainbow." It could happen tomorrow, it could happen in 20 years. If people think Marvel is somehow going to cram 200-300 new characters in the MCU in the relative (3-5 year) future, you are nuts.

Reality? This superhero phase could phase out before we see half of them. Or it could be 15-30 YEARS before we see Mephisto....but hey, buy this book now for an inflated amount because "he is coming!

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Also with hot artists, be wary. They tend to be hot for a while and cool off. It is a good sign if you see a new artist sell well for 2 years straight but for many, they cool off after a year and people move on to "the next" cool artist. 

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15 minutes ago, comicginger1789 said:

While each of these points holds degrees of truth, they also hold degrees of lies

The problem right now with the "first appearance" buying frenzy is that I could literally make a list of probably 200-300 characters that people say are "coming" or "going to appear". To me, saying that is like saying "hey, eventually if you look outside, you will see a double rainbow." It could happen tomorrow, it could happen in 20 years. If people think Marvel is somehow going to cram 200-300 new characters in the MCU in the relative (3-5 year) future, you are nuts.

Reality? This superhero phase could phase out before we see half of them. Or it could be 15-30 YEARS before we see Mephisto....but hey, buy this book now for an inflated amount because "he is coming!

I interpreted the comment as a hint of sarcasm, hence why "collectible" was in quotes.  The point being that "collectible" does not equate to "valuable".  But only one person here can clarify to the original intent of their comment.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, ExNihilo said:

I interpreted the comment as a hint of sarcasm, hence why "collectible" was in quotes.  The point being that "collectible" does not equate to "valuable".  But only one person here can clarify to the original intent of their comment.

True...but whether sarcastic or serious, the points made still hold merits and demerits??? Sure we will go with that....

Edited by comicginger1789
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9 minutes ago, comicginger1789 said:

True...but whether sarcastic or serious, the points made still hold merits and demerits??? Sure we will go with that....

Oh, I totally agree on your points.  Anyone collecting in the 90s can point out the fallacy of #1's automatically having value.  And as someone who collected variants from specific artists for a while there, I'm of the impression that most of these are a flash in the pan.  They might have value short term, but I wouldn't count on them having long term value.  These aren't Frazetta's or Stevens covers.  These guys like Artgerm and JSC are putting out a dozen covers a year, and some of those covers have ABCD variants.  There's no rarity in their cover work.  And for the rest, not many of them are household names.  50 years from now, is some collector going to go "ooo, I need that Warren Louw cover" (no offense to Warren, I just pulled the first name that came to my head).

To me, it's almost reached a point of "if keys are important to me, then perhaps I should stop subscribing monthly and just buy a book after it's become $200."  If I'm spending $50/month on books and there are maybe 2-3 books a year that actually take off (if even), then I'd be saving myself money by just buying them down the road instead tossing my money at 20 books a month hoping one of them hits it big.  (Not that that's what I'm doing, I'm subscribing to books that I want to read first and foremost, not trying to speculate).  It's just space is becoming an issue and most of the monthly stories I read aren't memorable or worth revisiting.

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2 hours ago, aardvark88 said:

#1 or 1st appearance of a character or team

yes.. they usually become worth something down the line..   ... you can add ratio variants to the list

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^ Great points

It is why I hate collecting with a speculating focus. I tried that for a month randomly in 2019...and I hated it. It took the joy out of the hobby. If you pursue stuff you like, you will enjoy it. And if you want to speculate, don't pay attention to what the masses are doing. Look for stories that were great but no one is talking about right now (Wytches and Descender comes to mind) that can be found cheap. Focus on classic artists and great cover apperances of well known characters because, when people refuse to shell out however many thousands for a first appearance, they tend to go towards the best cover they can find with their fav character on it. Do these things and in addition to having a great collection, one will likely have one that has value and will be valued in the future. 

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2 hours ago, aardvark88 said:

Sure fire 'collector's item:'

1. #1 or 1st appearance of a character or team

2. Drawn by a popular or new artist.

3. Buy Marvel (sorry DC, Image, Dark Horse, independent press, Boom).

This is the advice I received in 1978 at my LCS by the comic guru. May 2021 opinions and slabbed comic market correction:

 

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One of the biggest unanswerable questions is whether the market is going to continue to be dominated by a "covers and keys" approach to collecting. Right now, most long runs of comics -- especially modern comics -- do not appreciate in value. First issues of books that get adapted to television series become valuable; sometimes that drags a few other issues up with it. First appearances of characters that end up in a film (or, at least, are rumored to eventually end up in a film) become valuable; sometimes that trickles down to other earlier appearances or early cover appearances if prices get steep enough to push the original book out of reach. Some limited issue variants with distinctive covers have also become valuable (but many don't); either way, those aren't generally the sort of thing that you'd have in a random comic collection. In a sense, they're more like art prints that happen to be used as comic book covers.

Everything else? Well...

Is that going to change? It's impossible to know. Those "key" books are always going to be in demand because they're more exciting, but run collections were more popular at certain points in the past than they are now. Personally, I suspect that run value for some of these series will eventually start to be dragged upwards. We're seeing a little of that right now with Something is Killing the Children. Maybe also Canto to a lesser extent. Probably a few others.

But predicting the future is hard, otherwise I'd have made zillions of dollars on the stock market, bought everything I wanted, and retired. The comic book industry is going through some pretty significant changes right now, too. The whole relationship between comics/tv series/films is still unsteady, and it's not clear how long that will continue to be a dominant factor in entertainment. And there are changes happening to printing, publishing, and distribution. How much of the industry will be replaced with digital distribution? No one knows. Not only is there no way to guarantee what collectors will pay big money for ten years down the line, it's not even really possible to know what people will be collecting at all ten years down the line.

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Love this topic and if we all had a crystal ball many of us would be retired by now answering this question for collectibles and the stock market. 

When I was younger and actively collecting comics, I luckily seemed to pick a lot of books that are now increasing heavily in value. When I got back in comics a few years ago, I had disposable income that I didn't have in my younger days and was able to start buying more of my childhood favorites, Marvel Silver Age 12c comics. Wish I had bought some more keys but happy with my current collection. 

Short answer that I have found is, you can gather information from this and other related boards out there, don't be disappointed if you miss a couple and some that you do purchase don't increase in value. 

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I guess I was naive in my question, I understand there is no way to know if a book will explode in value. My question which was not thorough is more geared towards how do you stay informed? Going back to Walking Dead comic as example...how do you learn this book was going to be released? How do you keep up with artists? Do you pre-order comics? Is there a way I should order a comic in order to reduce damage other than going to store and grabbing off the shelf? Are there limited releases where only 1000 copies are made, if so how do you keep up with the news in comic world? 

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The best way to predict what will be valuable would be to have been a active comic dealer for the last 40 years keeping meticulous notes and research data  and to have dual phd’s in statistics and econometrics plus an innate love of comics and pop culture with no other family or hobbies.  
 

and then to share all of your findings and best ideas for free to strangers on the internet many of whom are likely your direct and indirect competitors in both the purchase of inventory and customers.  

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