When you have comics to sell, and you know they're above the dollar bin specials, you naturally want to get the most possible money out of them. Why leave value on the table? The modern-day internet has made it easier than ever before to sell comics for what they're truly worth since you can access a global audience of collectors and fans, and if your comics are unique enough, even media hype and promotion. Even if you aren't selling the next record-breaking Superman #1, you can still make use of online auction sites and various marketplaces to sell your comics for their market value.
The question is, where? Searching for something like "how to sell comics" will get you a lot of general advice and tips, but a lot of those lists are just thinly-veiled recommendations for the website you browse.
Now, sure, we'd love to recommend our own site – and you can click here to get a free, no-pressure quote – we recognize that sometimes you may have a good reason to want to sell somewhere else. That's why we've put together this list of auction sites and markets you can use to sell your comics.
Tips for Auctioning Comics
Before digging in too deep, let's go over a few basic tips on how to get the most out of any of these sites. Regardless of which auction or consignment platform you choose, you need to know how to sell what you have, or you're going to be disappointed.
Image source: Google Images
Here are a few top tips.
- Know what you have. The title, the issue number, any variant information, and anything noteworthy about it.
- Consider grading. Grading costs a bit of money and takes some time, but it can improve the quality of a book through cleaning and pressing, and can result in more valuable books later because they're validated and protected.
- Always get shipping insurance for the value of the package. Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, the postal service can sometimes experience problems, lost or misdelivered packages, or damage outside of their control. With insurance, at least you aren't out both the value and the item, just the item.
- Signature confirmation is your friend. A common scam in online sales is someone claiming an item never arrived; with signature confirmation, you can verify that it did and resolve any disputes.
- Expect fees. No matter where you're going to sell online, the platform is going to want to take a cut. Know what kind of fees you can expect so you know how much you'll actually get for your comics.
With all that said, you're ready to start digging into the specific platforms. So, check these out!
Heritage Auctions is probably the single biggest name short of eBay when it comes to selling comics. They sell all kinds of rare, vintage, and valuable collectibles and have garnered a reputation as a high-end dealer in expensive, valuable, and rare merchandise. They might not be Sotheby's, but they're the closest thing to it in the comics world.
Heritage Auctions has a lot of clout, but with it comes a lot of drama. There are specifically two points worth mentioning.
The first is the fees. Every auction site is going to have some fees since they need to take their cut of the sales they facilitate. Heritage has two fees you'll need to consider. The first is the buyer's premium, which is a minimum of $30 and usually sits at 20% of the value of the sale. The more valuable the comic is, the higher the buyer's premium will be. As a seller, you don't pay that premium, but it's a sometimes-significant fee that a buyer pays. For high-value items, that can turn away buyers who might be willing to spend more.
On the flip side, as a seller, there's a 10% commission fee for the sales you make. So, Heritage charges buyers 20% more than the sale price and takes 10% of the sale price from you as well. It's a pretty significant cut of the sales they facilitate, and it can be a lot of money if you're selling valuable comics.
The second point of drama is allegations of fake bidders inflating the final sale price of high-value collectibles. Lawsuits were filed over this. Some people distrust the site because of it, and some dislike how inflated bids drive up the price of comics (and make them less accessible to general collectors). If that's a deal-breaker for you – whether or not it's true – you can look elsewhere to sell your comics.
Comic Link is an online consignment shop and auction house specifically for comics. Unlike Heritage and other general auction sites, Comic Link deals solely with comics and comic-adjacent items, like original art. They've been in business since 1996, have built up a huge level of trust throughout the industry, and offer both auctions and direct sales for anyone looking to sell their comics.
Comic Link isn't quite as well-populated or well-known as a site like Heritage, though, so many of their auctions tend to end a little under what the going market rate for a comic might be. They also tend to focus solely on graded comics, to the extent that they even offer discount codes for forwarding your comics to CBCS or CGC for grading at less than the fee to send them in yourself.
One of the nice things about Comic Link is that they show up at all the major comic conventions. If you want to sell your comics on consignment through them, you can hand-deliver them in person and avoid dealing with excess shipping. It's not worth traveling across the country to hand over your comics in person, but if you're already planning on attending a convention, it can be a convenient opportunity.
Often considered alongside Comic Link and Heritage as one of the "big three" markets for selling comics, Comic Connect is a slick, well-known dealer and consigner of comics. They tend to deal in high-end comics just like the other two, but they're a little more willing to deal in lower-value comics as well, though none of the three are going to want to handle a box of unsorted, ungraded, low-value modern comics.
Their fees are pretty steep, too, though not quite as steep as Heritage. They do the buyer fee and seller fee structure the same way, though. It's fine if you're willing to pay that fee, but if you're looking to get more out of your collection, you might want to look elsewhere.
Pristine Auction is a collectibles auction site specializing primarily in sports memorabilia. That said, they do also have a section specifically for comics, and they mostly seem to sell mid-value comics (in the three- and four-digit range), making them a lot more accessible to a lot of sellers with moderately valuable comics collections. They also don't require you to have something graded or otherwise exceptional. You're still going to have a hard time selling one-off $5 comics on their site, but if you have $100 signed but ungraded issues, they'll happily host the auction for you.
There's not a lot to say about this particular auction platform. They're likely not the best possible venue for your comics, but if you want to give them a try, feel free.
It's impossible to discuss online auction houses and selling comics without mentioning eBay somewhere in the discussion. Whether you have themed lots of $5 books, a handful of signed issues, low-value graded books, or high-ticket items, eBay is a good place to sell them.
eBay has a lot of benefits going for it. It's quite possibly the largest auction site in the world, so it reaches millions upon millions of people with auctions. Auctions can trend and get more promotion and press because of it. They're accessible anywhere comic collectors can be found, and bid wars can make even mid-ticket items sell for more than you might have expected. Plus, a big benefit of using eBay is that you can sell comics that aren't graded just as easily as you can sell graded comics.
Of course, eBay isn't perfect. The auction site has plenty of issues with scammers and fraud, and a ton of the responsibility is on your shoulders as the seller. Buyers get a lot of protection, while sellers are looked on with a high degree of scrutiny and skepticism. Insurance, signature confirmation, and a healthy dose of knowledge are required to keep yourself safe as a seller.
To be successful on eBay, you also need to build up your positive feedback. We recommend selling low-value items as much as you can while you work up that feedback to build trust from buyers before leaning into your more valuable items.
You also need to manage your listings yourself. That means taking clear pictures, being able to describe your items in clear terms, and even crafting a compelling sales pitch for your comics. Anything less, and your auctions might not be as attention-grabbing, and might not sell at all.
Finally, eBay also has a lot of internal competition. Chances are, you aren't the only person selling a particular issue at a particular grade, so if there are several interested bidders, they'll have their pick of the product, and you're less likely to get a bid war going.
Hip Comic started life as a general auction site called BidStart. They quickly realized that comics were the place to be, and they went from having no collectibles section, to having a general collectibles section, to having a comics section, to focusing more heavily on comics, and finally to rebranding entirely to focus on comics. They also spun off a few other niche collectible sites, like Hip Stamp, for stamp collectors. Of course, we're focusing on the comics here.
Boasting over a million auctions for comics, Hip Comic sells pretty much anything, from dollar-bin comics to the finest graded rarities. That makes them somewhat unique, in that people who find their relatively low-value, high-volume collections are otherwise difficult to sell can sell them here. They also promote trending auctions, auctions with a lot of interest, and "staff picks" for niche, important, or otherwise valuable sales that might not otherwise get the attention they deserve.
If you want, you can also sell whole collections or complete runs on the site as well. These can be a good way to sell otherwise low-value comics at a premium or even sell comics that otherwise wouldn't be easy or even possible to sell otherwise.
Hake's has been an auction house for a long time, established in 1967 for collectibles, Americana, and other items. They sell all sorts of collectibles, from comics to art to action figures and even video games and LEGO. They also have no qualms about selling low-value, ungraded, or comics that aren't otherwise noteworthy; if you want to list it, you can try to sell it.
Hake's is also responsible for a number of record-setting sales, and while they aren't the ones facilitating the next highest-priced Action Comics #1, they've sold some of the big ticket Detective Comics, Amazing Fantasy, and other top-tier books.
What kind of vendor would we be if we didn't include ourselves on the list? We've been in the comics business for over 20 years, and we've facilitated a ton of transactions in that time, with near-universal satisfaction across the board. You can browse the comics currently available through our storefront here, or you can click the "sell your comics" link to get a free quote.
We love to chat about comics, we love to see your collections, and we love to give advice. We can help you determine if it's a good idea to grade your books, where you're likely to get the best sale prices, and what kinds of pricing we can offer for your comics. Why not drop us a line?