Did you know that comic books can be one of the most valuable purchases you ever make? There are lots of extremely valuable comics out there, with many selling at auctions for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, the most expensive comic ever sold was the first edition of Action Comics, which went for $3.2 million in 2014.
Now, we can’t promise that you’ll make millions from a comic book collection, but it can be a very enjoyable hobby that offers a chance to earn extra money on the side. The key is learning how to start your collection. In this post, we have some tips to help you find valuable comic books, as well as the best way to store them.
Buy physical copies of comics
Those of you that have already looked into buying comics will know there are two options:
You can buy digital copies of comics online
You can buy physical copies of comics
Digital copies do serve a purpose; they’re a convenient way for people to read lots of comics. In fact, if you’re keen on just reading some comics for fun, this is a good way to get started. Nevertheless, when it comes to starting a comic book collection, you need to buy physical copies.
Digital ones will not increase in value and can’t be sold or exchanged. Physical ones can, which is why they are more valuable investments. Buy a physical comic book, and you could sell it in the future when the physical copy of that book becomes rare.
Figure out what you’re interested in
Before you start buying any comic you can find, consider what interests you the most. Are you a big Marvel fan? If so, who is your favorite character? You might be a big Spider-Man nerd, in which case it makes sense to start a Spider-Man collection. Here your priority is finding a series and trying to purchase every single copy. Individual copies of comics are very valuable, but having a complete collection is seen as the Holy Grail of comic book collection!
Alternatively, you might be interested in a particular genre of comics. You don’t need to have an entire series, you could just pick individual books from different series depending on the genre you like. Ultimately, comic book collecting is all about having fun and buying comics that you will actually enjoy.
Research the big names in the comics industry
There are certain authors and illustrators that are massive within the comic book world. A few names to keep an eye on include:
Others can throw their hat into the ring, but the point is that these people are all well-known writers or illustrators. As a result, their comics tend to be in high demand and are often regarded as some of the best around. So if you’re struggling to think of what to purchase, research the big names and select some books from them.
Collect key issue comic books
All comic book series will have key issues now and then. These are usually when something happens for the first time - like the first appearance of a character, the first issue of a series, or the first appearance of a new costume. These key issues are more valuable because they signify the very first time something happened.
Obviously, it is challenging for a new comic book collector to buy key issues of older comics. For instance, you’re not going to be able to buy the first issue of a Batman comic from 40 years ago without spending big money. However, you can buy key issues from modern comics. They might not be worth a lot now, but further down the line, they could become very valuable assets.
One good tip is to head down to your local comic book store or shop online every Wednesday. This is when new comic books are published, so it’s the ideal time to spot any key issues. There could be a new issue published of a popular superhero, or a new villain is introduced. Either way, if you can bag a key issue on day one, it might end up being a valuable member of your collection.
Bag your comics and store them upright
Naturally, storing your comic book collection is extremely important. The correct thing to do is to put them in a plastic sealable bag when you get them. From here, you should store them upright - such as stacked in a box. Don’t store them one on top of the other as the weight from all the comics can damage the ones on the bottom. Ideally, keeping them in a filing cabinet is the best solution for complete security.
Also, be sure you store them in a location that’s cool and dry, away from direct sunlight. Otherwise, dampness can ruin comics and sunlight can fade their colors.
We actually have a complete guide to help you keep comic books in mint condition, which you can check out here.
Keep your hands clean when handling comics
If you are reading your comics, ensure your hands are completely clean - and don’t get your comics out in a dirty area. Realistically, you should only read them at home in a clean place, so you don’t get any dirt on them. Dirty comics reduce in value and can mean you miss out on a potentially huge investment opportunity. When you’re not using the comics, keep them bagged and tucked away safely.
With these tips, you can start collecting your first comics today. Start slow and take it one step at a time - you don’t want to spend too much money, too soon. Begin by finding your niche and considering the type of comics you want to collect and read. Of course, always be sure you store your comics correctly and handle them with clean hands. If you want to get serious about your collection, you can send issues off to get graded. This will help you know the condition of your comics, determining whether they are worth selling or not.