Sorry, collectors! Turns out vintage comics aren't worth as much as you think

Contributed by
Nov 4, 2013

Been holding onto that old crate of comics, thinking they might turn out to be a nice nest egg in a few decades? Well, think again.

The financial gurus at Bloomberg Businessweek have put together an intriguing news feature looking into the value (or lack thereof) in holding onto old comic books. Despite reports of huge, pricey sales of some of the most sought-after comics (i.e. your Action Comics No. 1, Amazing Fantasy No. 15), it seems the market for rare-but-not-that-rare comics is starting to dip. Hard.

The report looked at several stories of folks who thought they had thousands of dollars' worth of comics that went on to sell for just a few hundred bucks (if that). The main reasons for the crash? The proliferation of reprints, digital comic back issues, and pirating that makes it easier than ever to access comics that used to be hard to find.

Rob Salkowitz, a business analyst and author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, explained it like this:

“There are two markets for comic books. There’s the market for gold-plated issues with megawatt cultural significance, which sell for hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. But that’s a very, very, very limited market. If a Saudi sheik decides he needs Action Comics No. 1, there are only a few people out there who have a copy … The entire back-issues market is essentially a Ponzi scheme. It’s been managed and run that way for 35 years.”

The full feature is well worth a read, and it’s interesting to see how the comic market has changed in recent years. So if you still have that old box of classics in your attic, don’t get too excited until you’ve had them checked out by an expert. Then you might want to sell them. Fast.

(Via Bloomberg Businessweek)

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