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Friday, August 7, 2015

Never Sell Your Comics to A Comic Dealer

Just recently I got a response from an article I did in 2013 tilted "In Response to Reality Check On Overstreet Guide Prices and Comic Values" that I enjoyed quite a lot. If you haven't read the article, click this link if you desire to know how this all came about.


Below is the recent comment:

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First off, I am the writer of the “pathetic rant” you are referring to. I’m going to overlook your personal opinion/assault of my character & will address your post in detail. I am a little insulted by some of your statements, so I wanted to respond in depth. I must also state, I have been a regular browser of your site for some time, and have overall enjoyed your site/articles.

What kind of people are most likely bring their books into stores or dealers? The general public, NOT knowledgeable comic book aficionados with all kinds of high grade/key/CGC Marvel/DC Super-Hero books! Rarely do entire collections of choice/easy to sell material get offered all at once to a dealer. Many collections don’t even have many/any premium Marvel & DC Super Hero comics within the collection, let alone the “good stuff” (the key books that everyone wants & that will can sell instantly).

What kind of collections does the general public bring in? Usually a mishmash/hodgepodge of all kinds of comics: Dell’s Westerns, basic Harvey titles, crappy Charlton comics, silver/bronze Archie, Classics Illustrated, a few romance comics, Gold Key titles, general funny books, 1980’s/1990’s junk, comics of recent vintage, and sometimes with a sprinkling of better items. And let's talk about grades/conditions too.

While collections come in a variety of grades (mostly lower), there are sometime high grade books included. I currently have a thick stack of early 60's super high grade books including: Uncle Scrooge's from #40-60's, and they are in spectacular NM condition. Current OPG value? $240 per book, and that price is quoted for a 9.2. You can't get a fraction of those prices anywhere on any venue (in my experience). Also, I have a nice pile of VF/NM Dell & Gold-Key Zorro's that happily sell you for 30% of current OPG, these have a supposed value of around $90 each, I can't sell them at that price.

How about random non-key Sea Devils or Rip Hunter in high grades, Jimmy Olsen & Lois Lane (keys excluded), how about any random silver-age Sgt Fury's (besides a few, like #1 or #13), or 12 cent Millie the Models, and many other mainstream titles too? I can go on and on about books that don't fetch OPG value. My experience with the general public (and many do try to be prepared to sell by buying the OPG), is that they look at these false OPG prices, and assume the pricing is 100% accurate, it's not.

First off, let’s talk about buying comic collections. Most people that are active vintage comic book buyers, especially Key Book/CGC/High Grade (investment minded) buyers are quite familiar with the market, and know the best places to maximize their returns when they decide to sell. They generally are not going to bring their CGC and key comic books down to a traditional comic book store or dealer when the time comes to sell their books. Again, they already know where to sell & how to sell. Most people that visit your site, are most likely already advanced collectors themselves.

What you tend to speak about are key comics, and usually key comics in high grade, and/or CGC'd. Most general vintage comics are hard to sell for guide. Key books operate much differently than general vintage comics. In addition, that article was written during the recessionary/economic downturn, and also before the current movie/TV hype era, vintage comic sales were hurting for awhile, real bad! Several of the books you state that sold for more than guide (X-Men #141,etc) sold higher than guide, due to the instantaneous & unpredictable price gains that we have been experiencing in this current hot movie era we are in, by the way which is unprecedented, BUT ONLY FOR KEY BOOKS, not every book, not even most books.

Don’t assume that everyone who buys comic collections (stores or dealers) is out to rip someone off! So, if I buy collections, I'm not supposed to make any money, or that is something unethical? If I make a profit, than in your opinion, I’m “ripping someone off”? If someone is willing to pay someone 30%-50% of the value of a collection, and saves you tons/possibly hundreds of hours of work and headache, that’s a bad thing? I am tired of people making general blatant comments like “don’t sell to a store, they will rip you off", that’s just not true. Now, I’m not suggesting that there are people who wouldn’t try to take advantage of a situation, but to make it seem like every dealer will “rip off” people, seems like a scare tactic.

I can’t tell you the number of times, when buying collections, that I actually tell people that their comics are worth MORE than I am paying them, but that I have to make a profit for my effort. I’m not doing this as a community service, sorry.

I even tell people the specific websites where they can sell their comics for more, but they also know it can be a major hassle for them. Most people that sell comic collections to dealers and stores, don’t want to commit the time and effort it takes to do this, (it really can take a lot of time), and they just want to cash out, it’s that simple.

I buy comics from people WHO DON’T want the hassles associated with retailing the comics themselves. Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know about how I see the market. I appreciate your site, but there are other perspectives to look at and consider.

I have made many people happy with respectable offers, and it's always good to have "dealers" that buy collections. It gives people one more option for a place to sell comics, and is sometimes the easiest/fastest way to liquidate & get paid ASAP.


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Phil, I appreciate your response and rebuttal and the time you took to comment on that article with an alternative view point. You bring up some interesting points.

One I agree with and the rest I still don't. I agree with your stance on common issues and even stated in my article that "Most common issues usually don't sell that great". 

But there's still a catch to that and will explain later.

When it comes to the hassle free aspect of selling to a dealer that you mentioned...then yes you are providing a service to them if they are that lazy or desperate for the cash. I also wrote in the very same article that "I guess, some are desperate for cash which is understandable. Things happen in life".

So, yes, shit happens and sometimes someone needs cash fast and doesn't have the time to list comics on eBay. As for the ones who are so damn lazy and don't want the hassle of spending the hours to get more for their comics and aren't pressed for time, I have zero respect for them.

From what I've constantly witnessed, they're usually relatives (usually son or daughter) who inherited this collection and know diddly-squat about comics. Usually, they could care less because it wasn't them who took the time to hunt them down or haggle with dealers or slap down the money or store them or take care of them. 

It's one of the reasons why I would never give my kids my comics if they didn't show an interest in learning about them before I pass. They get diddly-squat. Not the comics, not the money received from the comics. 

Nothing concerning my comic investments. Too bad. I've seen one too many of them sell off valuable collections they inherited for dirt cheap to a dealer and not give a shit about completely being swindled.

And I'm being generous when I use 30%. A lot of dealers low ball even lower than that percentage depending on how desperate or ignorant they can gauge so-and-so who is selling their comics to them.

Another thing I don't understand is the entitlement attitude when it comes to dealers. Let's flip this entitlement mentality, and pun 100% intended.


Guy or Gal walks up to a dealer at a comic con who is selling a NM copy of whatever hot comic for $400. It's selling on eBay at those prices too, even in raw grades.

Guy or gal says, "Hey, man, I'll take that for $200? It's all that I have on me and I want that key issue really bad."


Dealer says, "Sorry, man, can't do that at that price", or he just gives the guy or gal that look which is extremely common when you try to haggle a ridiculous price with a dealer. It's that look that says, "You're an idiot for even bringing up that price." 

But, out of curiosity, he asks why this guy or gal wants the key issue so bad.

Guy or gal says, "I want to send it into CGC and flip it for $700 on eBay if it comes back a 9.6 NM+."

Believe it or not, I've used that line before, "Hey, would you be willing to do $200 for that comic. $200 is all that I have."

Now, seriously, as a comic dealer, would you really give a rat's ass if $200 dollars was all that I have or whether or not I really wanted that comic really bad?

Most likely, you wouldn't. Most likely you were thinking, It ain't my problem. Come up with more money you idiot! 

Chances are you might of even gave me the same look the dealer gave me after making that offer. I wouldn't doubt it.

Phil, from that scenario I just gave, you mean to tell me that the dealer at the con is going to have a good impression of that guy or gal?

Or, the dealer is going to write him or her off as a moron and not even want to deal with that person, especially if they did that for every single valuable comic the dealer had at the show? Now, let's take it a step further.

Everyone at this con tries to haggle 30% or under with every dealer. It doesn't matter key issue or common issue, hot or not! Every comic collector says screw it, I'm getting my books at what dealers are asking for when they buy comics from us.

What if this was done on a global scale and all comic buyers demanded this favorable discount? The answer given is, "Hey, man, I need to make sure I can get my return on this comic investment."

Do you think the dealers aren't going to use the argument of "that's not even close to guide value for that book" and then try to haggle up the price? Sure, they would, and like I mentioned before, some wouldn't even say a thing and just give them that look.


Even more so, if the tides were turned on a global scale, how do you think the comic dealers are going to react to that revolutionary approach? I'm 100% certain it won't be a favorable one since they are out to make money as you stated. They'll most likely even think, "bullshit!" or "Why would I fucking care about you're return for your comic investment?"

Here's the difference between me and comic dealers when it comes to that. I don't expect you nor any dealer to care, understand, accept or give a shit about my plight in getting a return on investment for a comic I buy from you or them, least of all a comic 30% and under so I can flip it for a profit.

However, when comic dealers make the argument that they need to make a profit when it comes to low balling comic collections, you and them expect the "general public" or collectors to understand, give a shit, and accept that you need to make a profit. Hence, your comment about "not doing a community service".

So, my beef with that is what's up with the double standard? Everyone else is doing a "community service" just for the comic dealers? C'mon now!

To say that someone investing in comics or any non-comic dealer should care about your dilemma in low balling their collection's worth so you can churn a profit is no different than saying a dealer should care about selling their own comics at the same low ball prices so the buyer can churn a profit. I don't get the double standard and entitlement attitude of why I or anyone should be concerned that you or any comic dealer needs to make a profit in buying my or someone's comic collection for dirt cheap.

I also ain't running a community service nor is anyone else who is comic investing or collecting comics either. Sorry, but the attitude goes both ways.

Before the internet, most collectors who sold their collections didn't know that selling to a comic shop or dealer would only get 30% of the guided grade value their comics were at. Quite a bit from my generation found out the hard way though and a lot of people are still finding that out even today.

So I'm obviously not the only one out there in this great wide comic collecting world who spouts this since you're sick of hearing people say, "Don’t sell to a store, they will rip you off". Why do think a lot of people are saying this? No, it can't be because a lot of people have bad experiences selling to dealers in the past and that's their outlook and experience on the subject. Naw, can't be.

Low ball: To try to pay lower /unrealistically low amount

or

to give a markedly or unfairly low offer.

Hey, man it is what it is and you do what you do. Like I said and like you said, you have to make money. This isn't charity and it's not community service, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, low balling is low balling. Plain and simple. Is there a grey area when it comes to that?

What is the grey area argument for that? I'm really interested in knowing if it's a good one.

You also forget that many people also go to comic shops to sell their comics because they believe the comic dealer is a professional who will be honest and tell them what their comics are worth. Maybe you're a stand up guy about it, but I've witnessed countless of times when dealers took advantage of that ignorance.

The fact that you wrote that rant in 2008 and I retorted with that article in 2013 pretty much meant that most already had less than favorable impressions of selling to a comic dealer long before I even talked about it, and for the exact same reason. That alone says something right there.

When comic dealers whine about how hard it is now in getting decent collections to basically swindle for super cheap, I hear the world's smallest violin playing in the back ground. It's no different than collectors whining about how they can't get certain comic's for cheap in this market and dealers retorting with, "Well, that's just the demand of those comics in the market now."

That's basically saying, "I don't care if you can't afford this comic now. This is what it's going for and this is the lowest price I'll sell it at. Suck it up."

So, I return the attitude back on them. "Suck it up!" Once again, what's up with the double standard?

Sure, some dealers will be straight up about a comic collection's worth when buying, but the majority from what I've experienced, witnessed and heard from others aren't. Dealers have gotten a bad reputation when it comes to selling to them for a reason, and enough people made that reason valid.

They built that reputation for themselves and purely from their own doing. I had no hand in it whatsoever. Saying that I'm the one who is giving you or any dealer that rep in the form of a "scare tactic" is pretty ludicrous. 

So let's talk about this so called "scare tactic" you've dreamed up. What's the purpose of this scare tactic?
 
How am I benefiting from this at all by telling someone not to sell their valuable investment comics to a dealer and that they can possibly get much more return on investment by selling it themselves on eBay or ComicLink or where ever?

Hell, I don't get a commission from the comics they sell. I don't get any money or anything in return by telling them this. I don't get cheap comics from them by not telling them to sell to a dealer either.

So I don't see how I or anyone who is spouting this so called "scare tactic" benefits themselves in any way shape or form.

On the flip side, who benefits from not having this so called information circulating around the collecting realm? Who has the real agenda concerning this topic in terms of gaining or losing out? It's a two word answer, and I'm sure you can figure out that one.

Word of mouth eventually gets around, and if there's enough people that get low balled or swindled, the news will get out there in any type of market. Just the way it is.

So maybe you're one of the few who are honest when it comes to buying comic collections, but there are a lot that aren't. Once again, there wouldn't be a lot of people spouting that mantra if there weren't.

I've heard and seen it all from under grading comics on the spot, telling them their comics weren't in demand when they actually were to even giving them false information about how a stamped or penciled arrival date on a comic cover can be the most a FN when that kind of defect is actually acceptable for NM copies.

By the way, you're article or rant said nothing about providing the service of a hassle-free or safe way to sell comics, or that anybody could go around the long hours and hassle of selling the comics themselves by selling to you. Nothing about that all. Zip. Nada.

In essence, you're rant was all about the over-inflated prices OPG was listing for various comics that you couldn't sell at that those prices and it made buying comics (for super cheap like in the old ole days) from the general public extremely hard because they think you and other dealers are trying to low ball them. That was the meat and potatoes of your rant.

Actually, you're still carrying on with it. What sells great in NY, might not sell so great out here in Cali. What sells great in Cali might not sell so great in Illinois. What sells great in Illinois might not sell so good in North Carolina, etc, etc, etc.

It's even like that for comic shops in different cities but near each other. There's a comic shop that had trouble selling Transformer comics, but another comic shop in a different city 30 minutes away had no problem selling that title.

Let's talk about the portion of your rant that really fired me off:


"It’s made buying books from the general public almost impossible, especially when they see these wildly over inflated prices, they think that we are trying to lowball them, when in fact, most books will never come close to actually realizing these prices listed in our “bible”."
 
What did you mean about the blanket statement of most books will never come close to actually realizing these prices? You made no mention of key issues or common issues. You just said "most books".  

Did "most books" include Ms. Marvel #1? It was a bargain bin buy two years ago despite being a KEY ISSUE that probably didn't come "close to actually realizing these prices listed" in the OPG back in 2008.

Sure not a common issue, but nobody gave a rat's ass about that key until movie hype. Did that fall into the most category?

Did Marvel Premiere #48 fall into the most category? It was a bargain buy not that long ago despite being a KEY ISSUE also.

Hey, I didn't use the word never here. You did and "most" is pretty damn general, so it comes across as misleading in this argument.

Let's talk a bit about common issues. In today's current market and with the internet, people are finding out more and more about issues that were once thought to be common but are actually an over-looked key.

Who knew that Iron Man #125 was the 3rd appearance of Scott Lang as Ant-Man? Guide doesn't list as such, but it's the character's next published appearance. That could've been mistaken as a common issue back in the day

Back in the 1990-91 OPG, Captain Marvel #27 was not even noted as the 2nd full appearance of Thanos, so that key issue could've been mistaken as a common issue for a long time. I'm sure that one would have fallen into the "most books" that will "never realize their listed price" back in the day if someone then complained about over-inflated OPG prices.
 

Furthermore, this market is pretty big on low print comics, and the last I checked, a lot of the 30 and 35 cent price variants are pretty much common issues. But, to further the argument, the last few issues of G.I. Joe are mostly common issues also and the same with the last few issues of most 90s Valiant Comics' titles. 

The point of my pathetic rant in response to your "pathetic rant" wasn't even about key issue or common issue to begin with. It was about why most have unfavorable views about selling to a comic dealer, and why blaming OPG seemed out of left-field.

My pathetic rant was to explain the real reason why it's harder to buy comics collections from the general public or comic collectors of all kinds currently. Do you mean to tell me that all the common comics you recently mentioned on my post are what comic dealers are hoping to snag for cheap in comic collections?

If not, then damn, why are they even worried about these common, unpopular comics especially if the comics will never realize OPG guide prices? Are you really complaining about not being able to get those kinds of comics that hardly anyone one wants for cheap?

No, and let's be honest here, because I use to be on that side of the game also and I know the drill and the mentality of buying collections on the cheap. The truth is what you're really complaining about is not being able to get those valuable key issues that might be mixed in with those kinds of comics that will never realize guide prices for cheap. 

The valuable keys are what you, they, and everyone else are mainly gunning for in these collections. If people are bringing me collections full of junk crap that barely anybody wants and would never realize guide prices, I wouldn't even be all that concerned about it, because I know I wouldn't be able to flip them anyways.

I'd just say, "No thanks" and that's it. Get outta here. I got better collections to spend my time looking at. Done. Over. Gone.

I have to say that most books that I have dealt with, as far as prices realized, do not even come close to what Overstreet lists as values, I don’t care if it’s high grade superhero golden age, or low grade silver age. This is not just ebay prices I’m talking here, it’s at the shows as well! It’s made buying books from the general public almost impossible, especially when they see these wildly over inflated prices, they think that we are trying to lowball them, when in fact, most books will never come close to actually realizing these prices listed in our “bible”. I know it’s not just me. I am hoping you will publish this in the letters section of your magazine as well! Please, let’s really talk about in depth on this issue! - See more at: http://www.cbgxtra.com/oh-so-speak-your-mind/reality-check-on-overstreet-prices#sthash.yZeAirhH.dpuf
I have to say that most books that I have dealt with, as far as prices realized, do not even come close to what Overstreet lists as values, I don’t care if it’s high grade superhero golden age, or low grade silver age. This is not just ebay prices I’m talking here, it’s at the shows as well! It’s made buying books from the general public almost impossible, especially when they see these wildly over inflated prices, they think that we are trying to lowball them, when in fact, most books will never come close to actually realizing these prices listed in our “bible”. I know it’s not just me. I am hoping you will publish this in the letters section of your magazine as well! - See more at: http://www.cbgxtra.com/oh-so-speak-your-mind/reality-check-on-overstreet-prices#sthash.yZeAirhH.dpuf
I have to say that most books that I have dealt with, as far as prices realized, do not even come close to what Overstreet lists as values, I don’t care if it’s high grade superhero golden age, or low grade silver age. This is not just ebay prices I’m talking here, it’s at the shows as well! It’s made buying books from the general public almost impossible, especially when they see these wildly over inflated prices, they think that we are trying to lowball them, when in fact, most books will never come close to actually realizing these prices listed in our “bible”. I know it’s not just me. I am hoping you will publish this in the letters section of your magazine as well! - See more at: http://www.cbgxtra.com/oh-so-speak-your-mind/reality-check-on-overstreet-prices#sthash.yZeAirhH.dpuf
If OPG is so inaccurate, then why do I always see comic dealers and shops pricing comics at guide or around that ball park nowadays? Even for common issues. I've seen comic dealers tell some one that their comic is only a VG, buy it, and then advertise it as a higher grade with the price tag at or near the comic's OPG grade value. 

Oh, yeah, and quite a few dealers have pulled that and tried to pimp that comic to me right after I witnessed the transaction also. WTF? Can you say shameless or just down right arrogant?

Not just once or twice, countless of times. Also, if it's so inaccurate, do you still use it as a guide to price and buy comics? If so, then why? 

It's inaccurate, right? Just like comic dealers discouraging their customers not to sell on eBay with scary stories, then why are those dealers still using eBay?

Dude, I've heard it all from all sorts of dealers about all sorts of shit. Don't sell on eBay, don't buy on eBay cause those comics are over-graded, which many are. That's true, but not like they don't over-grade their comics either. C'mon, me and countless of other comic buyers have witnessed that.

As I stated in another article, quite a few comic dealers use to try to discourage people from getting their comics slabbed by CGC back in the mid 2000s. Sure, they gave reasons and scary stories that had no other intention than to defame the company, but I knew there was an agenda behind that tactic.

They wanted more raw copies out there in the market, and CGC was undermining their ability to hide behind the cover of subjectivity when it came to low balling comic grades when buying. Then when the comic boom hit, they had no problem selling CGC copies in their shops at over guide prices.

Now, I rarely hear a complaint from those who were pulling that act. What's up with that?

Furthermore, why else would CGC or any grading company even exist? Main reason: So collectors wouldn't get ripped off anymore when it came to grades or grading, which dealers back in the 90s and prior got away with like bandits.

A company like that just doesn't start up unless there was a real concern within the hobby or market. They saw a solution to the problem and provided a service that most of the market now deems worthwhile. 

Once again, there's a reason why CGC exists, and it isn't so comic dealers could continue to undermine comic grades when buying collections from the average collector. Sorry, but it is what it is.

Am I saying OPG is perfect? No, not by any account, and I've mentioned that in other articles as well.

Regardless though, are you really going to blame OPG for the reason why the general public thinks you're trying to low ball them when selling their comics to you?


I think that may be due in large part to other factors.  Perhaps, it's more because a lot of people have had bad experiences selling to comic dealers and can now let others know nationally and globally via the internet.

I still don't buy your rant, sir. We obviously don't see eye to eye on the argument. I understand the frustration about not being able to get collections cheap because I was part of that game for a while also, but I definitely don't blame OPG for that.

Actually, the real culprits are just comic dealers plain and simple. Deflecting blame on OPG may not be the right answer in turning that perception around.

Nobody is trying to put any "scare tactic" out there concerning that. Like I questioned, how would average collectors benefit from that? They wouldn't. They don't make a single penny in telling people their experiences when it comes to that. Nothing. Nada. Zip. 

And according to you, even if that "scare tactic" was out there would it even matter if most people and collectors didn't want the hassle of selling their comics by themselves? If most people didn't mind getting low balled for that convenience, they'd still be coming to you and other comic dealers with their collection no problem.


Well, that doesn't seem the case, so it is what it is. The market has changed. 

Scare tactic or not the simple truth is that the only people who do have an agenda in this argument are comic dealers. They want other people's valuable comics for super cheap so they can make a profit and then try to come up with rationalizations that most people just aren't buying into nowadays. That's the real skinny, and you can slice it any way you want.

It's a lot harder to get these collections on the cheap because a lot more people know about it. A lot more collectors and the general public are aware that comics are valuable or can be valuable.

If that weren't true, there wouldn't be anyone like you or other comic dealers pounding the pavement trying to score some sweet keys in these collections for super cheap would there? The fact that you and other comic dealers exist on that side of the business is testament to what most everyone is aware of now.

The words you used like "most books" and "never" was seen as misleading, because "most" is vague and encompasses a lot of comics that are now valuable or recognized as key issues instead of common issues. Never is misleading, because who knows what over-looked comic from yesteryear may all the sudden see high demand for whatever reason in the future.

And since we're being real here, the last agenda any comic dealer has is providing a safe, hassle free way to liquidate one's collection. Seriously, gimme a break on that selling point.

I don't buy it, most the readers here don't buy it, and now most of the general public don't buy it for a reason. Saying I'm using a "scare tactic" is absurd and maybe you did make some people happy by taking a comic collection off their hands so they didn't have to go through the hassle of selling it themselves.

Sure, I can see that for sure. I don't dispute that. Carry on with what you do best, and I wish you the best of luck.

Regardless, the fact still remains that more people weren't all that happy in what they perceived as trying to get "low balled" or basically "ripped off" when selling to comic dealers. If that weren't a fact, it wouldn't be "almost impossible" trying to buy comics from the general public as you pointed out in your own words.

You claim to tell people that their collections are worth more than what you're going to pay them, but yet complain that most of the general public is now more aware that comics are valuable and now demand the most they can get for them? Seems like a bit of a contradiction to me.

Most people want the most they can get for their comics just like comic dealers. There's no difference when it comes to that.

Stirring up a fuss when comic collectors or the "general public" basically wants the same as you or other comic dealers is hypocritical. Double-standard is a good word also.

The difference when comic dealers whine about it is that they believe the comic collecting masses should just accept getting low balled or ripped off for reasons that basically boil down to just because. 

"Just because I need to make a profit too."

"Just because I put in the effort to find your collection."

Not like any comic collector put any effort in hunting for their comics at the best possible price either. In all actuality, they put in more effort hunting for each individual comic in their collection over the years than it did for you or any comic dealer to discover their collection. At least you're purchasing a boat load at one time and in one shot, as opposed to doing it comic by comic.

The era of comic dealers being comic collector's main or only option in cashing out their comics is over. The internet greatly helped in that decline.

It has nothing to do with OPG or false over-inflated values. It has everything to do with the points I outlined in this rebuttal to your rebuttal. 

Like you, most people want to make the most from their comic collection. There's very little reason to sell to a comic shop or dealer when there are plenty of other market venues to sell at nowadays, and most collectors were sick and tired of being ripped off by comic dealers in the past.

Plain and simple. Period. Time to own up to the facts.

Sure a small minority may not want to deal with the hassle of selling a comic collection piece by piece and you may see yourself doing such a great service to them, but like I brought up, if you truly made the majority happy with your so called "respectable offers", you wouldn't be complaining about the general public thinking you're trying to "low ball" them or how "It's made buying books from the general public almost impossible".

If that were really as true as you say, the general public and most comic collectors would have no problem coming to you to sell their comic collections to you, because most would feel that they're getting a great deal. Actually, they'd be coming in droves, wouldn't they?

For those who do appreciate your efforts though by giving them a hassle free and respectable offer for their collection, keep it up. Seriously, if you can seek them out and make them happy in that convenience you provide for those peeps, carry on with what you do.

I apologize if this rebuttal seems overly harsh. We have different views and neither have to agree with one or the other.

I surely don't expect that, nor do I hold anything against you personally. Still though, for most in the comic collecting, speculating, or comic investing world aren't doing a community service either when it comes to this side of the hobby. And especially not for comic dealers. As a comic shop owner once told me back in the 90s, "It's just the way it is."

21 comments:

  1. great article!! pot,meet kettle. thank god for good reads like your's and the like-minded and of course the all mighty internet!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Holy Crap Batman! That's a lotta' Tongue Lashin'!! I once tried selling a bunch of records to a dealer.
    He came over to my house and was very friendly, right up until I refused his offer to buy 40+ Ultra Rare Records for $200. I told him "you must be kidding me" I then showed him my Guns N Roses "Live Like a Suicide" was worth that much alone!!...or maybe he missed my Motley Crue "Too Fast For Love" on Leathur Records, which also fetches @ $200 alone. Those were only 2 of the 40+ records in this stash....His reply "I only pay $6 for the gnr and even less for the crue. I said "I think we're done here." I let him out and vowed to NEVER let dealers have ANYTHING! I thought of him as my first record sold on ebay. Green Day "32 Smooth" 1st Pressing on green vinyl.
    Oh the price?....$650 for the first of 40+ records. Do It Yourself and Reap The Rewards for all of the risk you incurred. ROCK ON MAYHEM!!! lk

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  3. OMG TCM, What a long crazy post. When I get a chance and enough time, I'll maybe have to put another rebuttal in.

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  4. This seems to be a rant from someone that has never owned a business and tried to make a living. I currently own and operate my 2nd comic books store (I started collecting in 1987 and opened my first store in 1992). I understand what it is to pay rent, pay employees, pay utilities, and try to make a living (not to mention start up costs like a sign, a point of sale, tables, shelves, slat wall). I am known as a fairly strict grader of comics, and I will pay up to 50-75% for key issues, and 25-40% for "common" issues. Am I ripped people off?? NO!!! I am running a business! How do you expect a local comic book shop to stock its shelves and stay in business if you expect them to pay 100% OPG for books and make ZERO profit??!! My customers love coming into my shop, they want a place to hang out and talk with me and others who love comics, and pick up new issues as well as back issues and keys. If everyone just sold themselves online, where would these people go??
    If you sell or trade in a car to a dealership do you expect them to give you the exact price they will be reselling that car for?? NO!!
    I am seriously sick after reading this! I actually brought it up with some customers today (who were actually selling me some books) and they all laughed and agreed that you have NO CLUE what it is to own and operate a business... so now its a joke in my store with my customers that I am "ripping them off" as we totally laugh at how ridiculous your thinking is.
    I thought this was a fun and informative site, but now I am sad to see what poor opinion you have for LCS's... This is a great hobby I have loved it for almost 30 years even in the mid to late 90s when it crashed, but without Local Comic Shops.... its nothing.... If we want an internet based comic hobby we could just download all the books and be done.....
    As I collector, a fan, a hobbyist, and a LCS owner, I stand up for Comic Book Shops and thank those out there that have kick and clawed and kept the doors open to bring in new fans and keep the comic books alive and growing!!!!
    If you want full price when selling books, open your own store, pay rent, work 80 hours a week for little money, find employees that don't steal from you....
    or sell online and hope the buy pays, and that USPS don't lose your books, or the buyer doesn't complain he doesn't like your grading once the books arrive and your have to refund them or pay return shipping....
    OR support your local comic book shop, sell the books you don't want to him, so he can find a new owner for the books, make a little money to feed his family, and continue to keep the doors open so you have a place to stop by to talk comics and buy comics and enjoy super heroes!!!

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  5. damn mayhem ruined someones weekend JW

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  6. First time posting here,a long time reader but had to comment on this. I jwant to start this by saying I appreciate all the work that Mayhem has put into this site for all of us. I definitely benifited from his work and my collection has become valuable since I found this site. I don't know about anyone else but this read brought back not so good memories for me. I collected during the late 80 & 90 and remember the store credit system that my comic shop had then. Anyone else? I never sold comics to a shop after. in response to the comic shop owners comment here, I think you missed the entire jist of what Mayhem was trying to say and it was to explain why most of us would rather not sell to a comic shop or dealer in this current comic boom when we can get a lot more back for our risk. Some of us have had the experience of selling our comics to shops and its true that many of use would like to get back the most for our investments. The post brought up the point that all of us do even dealers. The alternate reality part of the post was meant to be humorous. I got that, and it was in What If comic book fashion. Talking smack to your customers only proved to me and to others who actually had the experience of selling to comic shops means you refuse to see the other side of things and why we shouldn't see yours. You took it personal but Mayhem was talking about the dealers who gave a bad name for other dealers in the past. It may be you or it may be not. It's clear hes talking about the perception now and how the market has changed and how both his rant and the other guys rant are both pathetic. He even admits that when he ends it with the qoute. Keep up the great work Mayhem! I def appreciate it.

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  7. I watched a dealer rip off someone selling some nice SA comics last weekend at a comic market. The dealer insisted there was color touch 'almost invisible' which took away 60% of the value and the seller didn't have any idea what he was on about but was devastated to realize his comic was restored and low in value - no doubt the unrestored comic soon went on sale for multiple times what the dealer paid. As long as this keeps happening, collectors will rightly avoid selling to dealers. I think this article is laying it on a bit thick, and there is a valuable place for dealers, but they do need to accept that 'the good stuff' is not going to come their way unless they can offer much fairer deals, unless, of course, they use the tactics I described.

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  8. luckily my customers value having a local shop to come to to buy their books.... they do not want to buy online from people they dont know and hope their books arrive in the condition described... too many have tried buying books on ebay only to have them arrived damaged, or not as described. They understand that for me to stay in business I have to make a profit, which means I can not pay them 100% value for books. They actually love coming into the shop and seeing their books for sale in my display cases awaiting a new home. I also offer them to sell their books on consignment, so that they will get more money when they sell instead of they price I can offer to pay them up front. After almost 30 years in the comic book industry, I have always treated my customers fairly, and been very up front with what I can pay for books. I know their are plenty of "dealers" out there that treat people poorly, this is true in every aspect of retail not just comics... but most of these people are the ones that 1. don't understand how to properly run a business to begin with 2. many sell only at shows or on ebay and don't understand true customer service and repeat business. ... So I don't feel that the statement "Never sell your comics to comic dealers" is total absurd ... There are many great shop owners out there! Support them! They help drive this industry!!!!!
    I didn't miss any of the points here... but this one sided, dont understand what it takes to own a business point of view is sad. .. Should I also pay Diamond Comics full cover price for new issues every week and not make any money at all??? Does Target, Wal-Mart, Burger King, Ford, etc sell things at exactly what they pay for them???? Seriously, retailers have to make money to stay in business.
    If the shop owner doesn't provide good customer service, is too lazy to stop paying Solitaire behind his counter to even say hi, and lies about the condition of your books and "restorations" to offer lower prices... then yes they are not good for the industry and you should not sell to them nor shop there.... but MANY of us comic shop owners are barely making a living but stay open because we love comics and our customers!!! I great everyone with a smile... walk out from behind the counter to offer help and talk comics, remember most of my customers by first name and know what they like to collect... and I am up front and honest about what I can pay for their books!! I havent signed in to display my name here... but I am not hiding who I am... I have even told my customers to read this, and they like what I have to say. If you don't have an honest shop owner where you are, I am in a small town in the South, and I sell on ebay as well.
    But please support your local shops, this industry will die out if the only way to buy books is to get them from ebay.

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    1. I get 10% of my comics from a comic shop and the rest from comic cons, flea markets, ebay, online auction houses, toy shows and yard sales (my personal favorite). I sell valuable comics on ebay and cheaper comics at comic cons and flea markets. I have found that everyone wants the cheapest deal, and I'm no different, but to make good money, it's better to let the market decide, instead of one individual. Comic shops have rent and overhead to pay and many times their comics are priced as such. Collectors pay more than dealers and shops. Either way, the industry will continue to move forward as interest is gained from the movies that are pushing record breaking values higher. lk

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    2. I don't know about anyone else but whats really sad is this guy is doing exactly what TCM pointed out in his article. He's getting all bent out of shape over a hypothetical situation that would never happen and flips the one-sided mentality around back on him. I for one think its off-putting when a dealer throws his finicial circumstances in my face when I'm simply making him an offer on a comic and I've had it done a few times to me already. TCM pointed out he doesn't do it to them when buying comics and I agree that it shouldn't be done at all. Its a business and with business there's competition. My money goes to the best deal I can get and my comics goes to the best offer I can get. The whole rant brought up several points about putting the entire blame on Overstreet was absurd, how the internet gave collectors more options to buy and sell, and how some people have been burned by dealers with shady practices not about having dealers pay 100% of their stock. The way that this guy felt sick and upset after reading the rant is exactly how those people felt when they sold their comics to dealers and got scammed past or present. LOL. Too darn funny!

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  9. Hey Mayhem,

    thanks for giving the collectors a voice. Actually I pity everyone who has to make a living from our hobby. Having to pay your employes, your rent and so on, on a monthly basis must be pretty hard.

    Ace

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    1. I'm with ya' Ace. The problem with the brick and mortar stores is that overhead sometimes influences buying and selling decisions. Get rid of the overhead and you have free thinking, rather than fear of loss (rent, closing, etc) The best way for these businesses to survive and not have to "take advantage" or "price gauge" is to lean on multiple streams of income.
      Many shops now have Magic Card Tournaments, Comic Con Shows, Ebay Accounts, etc to keep the prices lower and compete with ebay and not take advantage of "the little old lady with her deceased husband's collection of golden age goodies" Once the store owners realize that their customers have MANY CHOICES to purchase, and that the power is in our hands to decide, they will get with the program and give good deals, buying or selling, or they will fail and close. People will always find the Best Deal and Mayhem is looking out for us, and here to offer THE BEST advice for us to win. lk

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    2. LK has it down to a T. I'm not against selling to a dealer 100%. I've noted in prior posts "Sell Comic Books For Cash! Where Can I Sell My Comic Books Part 2 " back in 2011 that if someone needs the cash fast and is under a time restraint then calling up a dealer or answering a Craigslist ad might be the only option to go.

      I don't like the word "Never" and used it in the title as a pun because I actually bash the word in the article. Although I admit the article was a crazy, long-winded, and ridiculous alternate take, you definitely got what was the under lining points in the article.

      Then again you are a musician and lyricist, so not surprising. ROCK ON LK!

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  10. My two cents: TCM is talking about dealers ripping people off, and it does happen. Quick example: last night I'm at a buddy's house. He whips out his box of 1990s comics. I sigh. They are all going to be worthless. I start looking through the box. New Mutants. Numbers in the 70s. Uh oh. Mid-80s. Uh-oh. There's a New Mutants 87 in the box. (Alas no New Mutants 98, but I was hoping). Now, what am I going to say to this guy, who has NO IDEA that New Mutuants 87 is worth at least some money. Everything else in the box is kindling—completely worthless.

    I told him that this one comic was worth something (like maybe 30-100, depending on grade if he consigns it) and the rest are literally garbage. Do I buy the whole box? Am I lying? I truly think what I said is correct—am I ripping him off? I didn't think so. The problem comes if I say the whole box is garbage. 99% of the box was garbage.

    It's also A LOT of work to send comics in to CGC and then send them off to consign. My buddy is not lazy at all, but he has ZERO interest in doing this himself to make 25 dollars profit. He has a kid showing up in 3 months. So I would say, people who want to unload all of their books wholesale are not lazy, but they just don't value the time and energy to get a bit of money. Life is short, and I can't argue with someone who would rather sell me a box of comics for cheap (they at least get some money) and they go for a bike ride in the sunshine instead of researching Cable appearances in their basement for 5 hours. GREAT ARTICLE and RESPONSES!!!! - Wiebes

    If you really like comics, it is great fun, but if you aren't passionate about it, it can be a real chore.

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    1. Heya Wiebes, yes this is mostly about those shitty comic dealers who have given a bad perception to quite a few comic collectors. The keyword is perception.

      Not all dealers are bad for sure, but there were plenty of them (especially during the 80s or 90s) that turned off a lot of collectors, especially when it came to selling comics. Back then there was only one store that actually paid cash in my general area. The others had store credit.

      Overstreet's inflated values on some comics may be a factor, but it's not the whole picture of why most collectors would rather not sell to one who deals in comics. Even if Overstreet complied and lowered prices on some of these books, it still wouldn't or barely would change the mentality of going around dealers when it comes to selling...or even buying since it's infinitely a lot easier for collectors to sell and trade with each other due to the internet.

      Unless these dealers or brick and mortar stores can provide better incentives for collectors to do so, the trend will continue the way it's heading. I mean incentives like eBay has with eBay Bucks. Those incentives were purely created so eBay could compete in the market place with other sites like Amazon, etc. The don't necessarily have to create something to the effect of eBay Bucks, it's just an example of competing.

      In a 45 mile radius North, East, West and South, I have about 30 to 35 comic shops in my area currently. Talk about a lot of competition these guys have to deal with...not including those collectors who are actively buying up collections themselves through Craigslist or comic cons or what not. But gaining a hard line collector's loyalty or trust who has had rough experiences dealing with comic dealers in my area's market place would be extremely tough unless they understood and could circumvent or change the "perception".

      I've had a total of four comic shops come and go in just my city alone, and every single one of them that went out of business were run by shady dealers who pissed off their local bread and butter.

      Overhead expenses, having to make a profit, and other things I've heard from a variety of dealers are not incentives to the customer. Walk into any retail store and the standard greeting for a customer is "How can I help you?"...not "How can you help me?"

      I don't think any customer that walks into Walmart with the mentality of, "Oh, how can I help Walmart pay for their electric bills today." It's the mentality of, "How much money can I save by shopping here today?" Even Walmart emphasizes that fact in their commercials.

      In fact, I've never seen a commercial for a business that listed all the benefits the customer could provide them...it's usually all the benefits they can provide for the customer in order to earn their business.

      The only commercials that have it where your money can benefit them are charity commercials. If you're a business, compete. Save the charity lines for the charity organizations.

      All I ask is one competes for my business...no guilt trips..cause this is business, and it ain't my business. If I can find a better deal whether buying or selling, I'll go there.

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  11. I love this article and I'm sharing it because the truth is a hard pill to swallow and you did a great job putting him in his place.

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    1. Wow, long time Gabriel...how you doin', man? To be honest, I really didn't want to respond to the comment and didn't even want to write this article.

      No point really since the comic market has changed drastically since the 80s and 90s to where collectors and dealers or sellers can now make money. It's like crying over spilt milk 20 to 30 years ago.

      I did not want to put anyone in their place, but the point of the rant is to shed light on some of the mentalities that many collectors have in this current market and the factors that contributed to it's evolution. Those who have never experienced selling to comic dealers during the 80s or 90s or ever, most likely won't understand or get the article and just take it as psycho rubbish, which is fine.

      However, the mentality that there are actually quite a few collectors who can't stand dealing with comic dealers and sellers shouldn't be ignored, and there have been quite a few that have had bad experiences with them - selling or buying. Believe me, I got a few emails from people telling me their horror stories about the subject after I posted this.

      As LK pointed out, it is a hard gig for them in this current market and with all the available tools for us collectors to go around the middle man (Comic Dealers) to buy and sell, it's even harder for 'em but if they don't find ways to compete or gain the trust & loyalty of customers, they'll go out of business.

      Overstreet may be a factor in the initial argument that I responded to, but I still think there are more powerful forces or perceptions that make it harder for dealers to acquire good collections. Ignoring them, as LK pointed out and understood, is not a good thing for brick and mortar comic dealers or even those who create competition for them by buying up collections and selling them on eBay or cons or where ever.

      Anyways, I even apologized in the rant for being overly harsh, and it was overly harsh which really isn't to my liking. Like you said though, it is a hard pill to swallow. Thanks for sharing this though and good to hear from ya.

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  12. I was in need of money recently, and decided to suck it up and sell my personal collection. Everything was lovingly bagged, boarded, alphabetized and inventoried. Book value on the collection: $30K. Since I was accepting bids from dealers, I was expecting to get low-balled, and was prepared to accept anything in the $10k range. I was shocked when he offered $1100. $1100 for 4500 comics in great condition including very early Avengers from the late 60s/early 70s. One issue was booked at $2000 alone. The weird thing was, he initially said the offer was "Eleven-five." Which I took to mean "$11,500." But things got really awkward when there was a zero missing from the payment. It felt like a punch to the gut.

    So it looks like I need to hunker down and start the slow grind selling on eBay.

    I actually thing 30% is to be expected when selling to a dealer, but 3% is just immoral.

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    1. Exactly! I went thru the OPG to find dealers and got all the same sob stories. Offers you a "fair" price for your collection but then gives you chicken feed for it and wants the whole collection to boot as well. I was offered 6,000.00. Cripes!!!! With 12 books in my collection .... that would cover that amount! :P The fella who wrote this article above is right on the ball. If the "buisness" of running a comic store was not making money to continue then there would not be a lot going on wheeling and dealing these days! He is right though!!! We are the one's who spend all the time hunting and collecting... so in turn if the collection peaks a stores interest then that person knows what and how he can make a return after buying the collection. I agree with a very high % with the fella who wrote this article! Truth sits better than snakes in the grass!!

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  13. I know this article is a little old, but I just stumbled onto it. In your article you say "What if the tables were turned?" Good question. As an experiment you, or maybe one of the like minded commenters should go get a small business loan, get well versed in accounting software, and then pay 60%, hell go big, 75% of what people's comics are worth. Then hire an employee or two, business isn't fun if someone else's livelihood isn't subject to your decisions. I'm sure everything will work out. I know you will make some old lady's day, her husband had all those old comics and didn't care about their value because he just loved reading comics. Of course, if more than 30% of the comics you bought are still on the shelf you have to fire your employee and try to convince your landlord you are mentally disabled so the lease is invalid, but that shouldn't be too hard.

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  14. Yeah.. no one is saying you have to pay 60-75% for everything that walks in the store.

    If you want the books, but they are common, I would say 50% of FMV is a fair offer.

    For key, especially hot keys, something in the neighborhood of 75%-80% of FMV is what I would consider fair.

    For the ones you don't think you can ever move? Don't buy them. Say no. No one is forcing you to lose money and no one expects you to not make a profit.

    But don't offer me $50 for my short box of keys when any one issue in that box has a FMV of more than that. And yes...that happens all the time.

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