New York City has long been the epicenter for comics, from collecting to publishing to the stories set in the city, either on its face or under the guise of a name like Gotham. It's no surprise that some of the biggest and best comic stores are located in NYC, but which one is the best when you have a collection to sell?
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Option 1: Local Comic Stores
New York City is full to the brim with everything a person could need (except, maybe, space to breathe.) It's no surprise that there are dozens of different comic shops in and around the city itself.
When you're considering selling your comics to a store, you have to consider a few details.
- Will they buy the comics you have to sell? Some stores specialize in vintage, indie, or other kinds of comics and won't have much interest in your mass-market books or trades. Others will buy pretty much anything. There's no shortage of options, but you still want to know if the store you have in mind will be interested in buying your collection.
- Will their price be acceptable to you? One thing about selling comics locally is that you often get lower-than-retail prices. After all, these stores are businesses, so they buy low and sell high. You can check a comic store's buylist and purchase pricing to see what kind of rates they set if they set them publicly.
- Are they close? NYC can be a difficult city to traverse sometimes, so if your choice is between a store a block or two away or a store across the bridge, it makes sense to aim for the closer one if their deal is good enough. It's a matter of convenience versus value; how much do you gain by going out of your way versus how much time and effort would it take to haul your collection that far?
Now, we're located in Alabama, so we don't have the kind of ground-level opinions that NYC natives will have about the local stores. So, rather than assign some ranking to the stores in NYC, we're just going to list a bunch of them for you to check out. You can feel free to browse reviews and look up pricing as needed.
- JHU Comic Books
- Forbidden Planet
- Koch Comics Warehouse
- Bulletproof Comics and Games
- Midtown Comics
- Gotham City Comics and Collectables
- Sparkle City Comics
- Silver Age Comics
- Grasshopper's Comics
- Cosmic Comics and Games
- Royal Collectables
- Alex's MVP
- Carmine Street Comics
Which ones should you visit and sell your comics to? Well, that's impossible for us to say. You'd have to consider the age, quality, value, and number of comics in your collection, and it would be a great idea to call around and ask for quotes or interest in what you have. Or just go visit; all of these shops are cool places to check out, even if you don't end up selling your collection to them.
Option 2: Collectors at Conventions
One of the biggest events in comics any year is the New York Comic Convention. NYCC is a massive event, and it's a great place to go with a collection to see what vendors or collectors might be interested in buying it. People come to the convention from all around the world, so you have access to one of the largest possible audiences you can have while still being local.
If that's not enough for you, there are other comic conventions and expos in New York as well. For example, the Long Island Comic Book Expo frequently happens in various locations throughout NYC and can be a great place to go to sell your books.
The biggest issue with a convention is the inconvenience and even potential risk. You need to buy tickets to attend, and you have no guarantee you'll be able to sell your collection at the convention, so you're already "losing" money. Of course, attending a convention is a great experience either way, so it's not really a loss; it just might not work out for the purpose you hoped it would.
There's also the small but non-zero chance of someone, say, breaking into a car and stealing a collection. It happens, though it's relatively rare, and it wouldn't necessarily be a risk if you're local and aren't driving there in the first place.
Either way, attending a convention with the goal of selling your comics isn't a bad idea, but you do have to wait for the convention to roll around and find a vendor in attendance who will make an offer worth accepting.
Option 3: Local Markets
Local stores are never going to pay you retail rates for your comics because they need to have room for their own profits. Collectors, though, now that's another story. If you have books that collectors want, and you're willing to take the time to find those collectors, you can sell your collection for close to retail to a local fan who will appreciate your collection, not just turn around and flip it.
In our post about local options for selling comics, there are a few local markets we mention, including:
- Craigslist. The ol' CL is a place to buy and sell just about anything. They have a broad NYC section but also individual sections for each borough, so you can start local to you and expand your search if you don't find anyone around willing to buy your comics.
- Facebook. Facebook marketplace is a haven for scammers, but it's also one of the best local marketplaces available online. You just have to know how to recognize the issues you might run into and avoid falling victim to a scammer.
- Flea Markets. If you're willing to go in person and can jump through whatever hoops are necessary to set up as a vendor, you can park yourself at one of the local flea markets and sell your comics. You're not guaranteed to sell them, and you do have to transport them, but it's always a potential option.
Of course, by the time you're looking on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, you're already halfway to selling your comics online. So, why not take that next step?
Option 4: Online Comic Vendors
Selling your collection online has some pros and some cons. On the plus side, you get a much larger selection of stores you can sell your comics to. Maybe you find that the store with the best offer is actually all the way out in L.A.; you can still make a deal and ship your comics to them. There are thousands of comic stores across the country with websites, most of whom are more than willing to make offers on either specific books or whole collections. You're free to shop around and get the best possible offer, as well.
Of course, when you sell online, you need to ship your collection. If you're only selling a handful of valuable books, it's not a huge hassle, but you do need to properly pack your comics for shipping, as well as get insurance on them. It's an additional expense, a hassle, and there's still always the risk that they can be damaged in shipping, and you'll need to deal with a postal insurance claim.
Incidentally, if you're interested in getting your collection appraised or selling it directly, we'd love to hear from you. You can click here to send us a message.
A description or a few photos of your collection is all we need to offer you an appraisal, with no obligations and no pressure. It's completely free, and we'll be more than happy to give you advice on how to sell your collection in a way that meets your needs. Drop us a line!
Option 5: Online Auctions
Once you've decided to sell your comics online, another option is to auction them off. The usual go-to site for this is, of course, eBay. Of course, these days, most people use eBay more as a storefront than an auction site, and many "auctions" are just listings with a high reserve and a "buy now" price that matches retail prices.
If you're willing to undercut the market, accept lower prices if an auction doesn't go high enough, or just take the time to sell at retail, a site like eBay is a great option.
Alternatively, if your collection is valuable enough or has noteworthy comics in it, you can use other auction venues. For example, Heritage Auctions is the big player, and they always have lots of comics passing through. They don't generally accept newer or lower-value collections, though.
Selling individually online like this takes more time but has the potential to maximize your value, especially if you have rare or valuable books already. On the other hand, if you just want to get rid of your collection all at once, selling to a store – either online or locally – is the better option.
If you want a more thorough breakdown of the pros and cons of private sales, selling to bulk resellers, or auctioning your comics online, we wrote a full guide here. Check it out and let us know what you think!
How to Ensure You Get the Best Value for Your Collection
Letting go of a comic collection is a matter of making a bunch of decisions all in a row, and any one of those decisions will affect the best route you should take to achieve your goals.
The first decision you need to make is the choice of speed versus value. You can get the greatest possible value out of your collection by selling individually to interested collectors at retail prices while auctioning the most valuable books off in a way that has the potential to exceed retail and set new records. The downside is that this method takes the most time, between individually categorizing, researching, photographing, listing, selling, communicating with buyers, shipping, and fulfilling your sales. It's a ton of work, and a lot of people don't want to do it! Remember, your time is valuable too, and the more time you spend just to get a few extra dollars, the less worthwhile it is.
The second decision you need to make is whether or not you want to focus on the convenience of selling locally. In NYC, there are tons of people interested in comics, whether they run stores or just frequent them. Some stores will even let you advertise your collection for sale or allow you to rent space to sell on consignment. Selling locally is undeniably more convenient than selling online, especially since you cut off shipping and handling expenses entirely.
NYC has plenty of people into comics, but online still has the larger audience. Once you've decided how you want to sell your comics, it's just a matter of knowing what you have. What era are they from, what lines are they, and do you have any key issues? The older and more important the comics are, the more they're likely to be worth.
You can also consider grading comics if you haven't already. Grading, usually done through CGC, takes some time and costs a bit of money, and always has the inherent risk of a comic being damaged during shipping. At the same time, CGC can press and clean your comics to increase their condition and quality, and the grade can also improve the value of the books you have graded. It can potentially be a huge benefit to have your comics graded before selling them.
In the end, the choice is entirely yours. Whatever you want to get out of your comics, whether it's the value they hold or just the space they're taking up, we can help. We're comic fans and retailers, and we're more than happy to discuss your collection and help advise you on your next steps, no matter what they end up being. In addition, if you ever have any other comic-related questions, we'll gladly answer them as well! Contact us today!