It was brittle, dingy, and nearly 50 years old. And yet, I had to have it.
I was never into superheroes when I was younger. However, with comic books becoming mainstream during the past decade, my love grew. This blossoming interest in all things “super” led me to a convention where I found myself drooling over a Fantastic Four #52 (1966), featuring the first appearance of my favorite character, Black Panther. My eyes fixated on it. I knew it had to be mine. At that moment, my fascination with vintage comics ignited into an all-out obsession.
While many, including my wife, view collecting as the epitome of “nerdiness,” owning comic books allow me to possess history. While this is not a hobby for everyone, beginning collectors can maximum a book’s quality, and profits, by understanding what factors impact a comic’s value.
The pivotal choice is deciding what to collect. Books featuring a major character’s first appearance are the most valuable but influential moments and iconic storylines are also profitable. Growth in superhero-based movies and TV shows has influenced which of these are relevant. Research upcoming movies and its introduction of new characters to buy books before prices skyrocket. Comics and key issues containing such characters often double or even triple once a movie is announced. This popularity drives price, so look for highly-sought after stories and figures.
Age is also critical in determining a book’s worth. The equation is simple: older books are rare, making them valuable because fewer copies are in circulation. Pre-1970 books resell for higher prices because of the introduction of key characters and universe-changing events. Collectors of books from the 1980s to the present should focus on storylines more than the characters themselves.
Finding the right collectable comic centers on condition. Comic books are graded on a ten-point scale. Massive differences exist between grades, and higher rated books fetch the largest prices. Collectors should focus solely on books rated 5.0 or above. Once books are obtained, ensure its continued value by protecting them in bags, boards and by keeping them out of direct light.
Despite all this, a comic is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay. Beginners shouldn’t focus on profit but rather finding interesting books. Whether it is five years old or 50, collecting is all about taking pride in owning the past.