Monday, February 11, 2013

11 TIPS FOR COMIC / COLLECTIBLE HUNTING


A hobby or collection is a wonderful break from life. 

No matter how bad, or how great everything is going, it’s like a personal escape to fun-land.

The only thing that is any better though, is adding to that collection.

Personally, I get a thrill out of adding new comics to my long boxes every time. 

Getting a good deal is the only way to make it sweeter. 

Hell, that goes for anybody.  Doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, or how broke you may be, nobody wants to get ripped off.

So before you go off and pay big bucks for your next collectible centerpiece, check out these tips on how to save some money.

In order, here is how I would go about saving a lot of money for some expensive comics…

1) RESEARCH
            - It's an old cliché, and it can be applied to pretty much anything, but "Knowledge is power".   You need to know…
- Is a movie is coming out based on a particular character who’s book you want? 
- Is the character in the news for one reason or another (i.e…Amazing Spier-Man 700)?
- Is the general value of a book naturally going up or down like general stock.
            - These are the general questions that’s worth looking into before spending big bucks on a comics.  It’ll give you a proper gauge to see if now is the time to strike, or if you should hold off. 

2) WHAT CONDITION DO YOU WANT?
            - Everybody knows that conditioning is everything when it comes to collecting.  You have the option of picking up anything from a reader’s copy, or a mint condition masterpiece.   So figure out what you want.  It would suck to realize you bought the wrong item, and have to start all over.

3) FIGURE OUT A PRICE
            - The very important question which everyone must ask, “What is an expensive, fair and inexpensive price for the book I want?”  There’s a few ways to go about this, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND, you use all of them to decide upon the appropriate prices…
                        - THE OVERSTREET PRICE GUIDE: This book is a long running guide on comic book pricing.  Many, swear by it’s price listings, while others consider it a joke.  Either way, this guide is a resource, and should be taken into consideration with what you should spend.
                        - EBAY: I’ve gone on record many times that I’m not a big fan of ebay.  However, it does a great job of dictating market value for items.  I don’t base that off of what people are selling items for, but more for the completed sales.  If you’ve ever noticed, once you’re logged-in, and do a search, you’re able to look up completed auctions.  This will show you what books, in various conditions, have been sold for.  Just remember, prices are driven up by market news.  So you still need to do homework.  The price isn’t always appropriate.
                        - STORES / SHOWS: This is probably the most obvious way to price something, but simply shop around.  These are comics, not medicine that we need to survive.  So you have no reason not to take your time and see what people are selling books for.  We all want instant gratification, but if you rush to buy the first book you see, you’ll only screw yourself over in the long run.

4) WHAT CAN YOU SPEND?
            - Yes, we all want to have all those sought after books from the 40’s & 50’s, but will your bank account allow it?  If you want a book that costs $5,000, well you better save up.  You’ll feel better comfortably saving for a $5,000 book, rather than depleting all the money in your savings account.  Also, don’t put a very expensive book on a credit card.  Not only is that just stupid, but it can be a terrible spiral of debt to fall into.

5) WHERE CAN YOU GET THE PARTICULAR ITEM?
            - You can make a valid argument that this should be one of the earlier tips on the list.  However, it needs to be in the middle in order to help you save money, and figure out who to talk with.  Here me out…If you want the ‘Days of Futures Past’ comics, chances are, you can find those in almost anywhere.  Now if you are looking to pick up an ‘Action Comics #1’, you’re going to have to look a little harder.  You may have to plan a road trip to some type of huge comic convention.  It wouldn’t hurt to possibly call vendors ahead of time to see the big books that they may have.  All this work will help you save time, and better yet, figure out your bottom line of what you can spends.
            - It's worth mentioning that there's a huge benefit to buying from your local store, or local show seller, compared to ebay.  I can easily be put on a weekly payment plan at my local store, or show.  Yes, you can do that on ebay, but you'll be paying interest, taxes and shipping.  It's an available option, so don't be afraid to inquire about it if you're interested. 


6) BRING A BUDDY WITH YOU
            - This is something I realized when I went car shopping the very first time.  Bringing an extra set of eyes to buy something is imperative.  Your friend may notice something you may have overlooked, or may ask a question you didn’t think of.  Simply put, bringing a friend helps cover your ass when buying anything.  They may also help prevent you from spending too much money on a shopping spree.

7) ASK QUESTIONS
            - NEVER, be afraid to ask a seller questions.  In fact, not asking questions is one of the dumbest thing you can do.  If I go to my local store, or show, I know I’m buying an item from an experienced seller.  I may learn some history about the particular item, the overall market value or be given an idea of what other books should be on my radar.  You can never go wrong with asking too many questions.  At the same time, this is one of those times where doing your research will protect you.  You need to know when a seller is literally feeding you bull shit, just to sell you something.  I find this more so at much larger conventions.

8) BE NICE & DON’T INSULT
            - I remember my grandfather telling me something along the lines, “Don’t act like an asshole to people unless you have to”.  In other words, don’t be a prick nor insulting to someone selling you a comic.  Sellers not only want to sell items, but they want to make YOU the buyer, happy. Acting like a d-bag will only hurt your chances of getting an item for a good deal.  Hell, I’ve told people to fuck off because they were being so absurd and ridiculous.  So play nice.
            - That being said, don’t take shit from someone that is pressuring you or acting disrespectful.  I’ve dealt with it at car dealerships, which have let to some loud arguments, but I’ve yet to deal with someone trying to sell me a comic. Hopefully it doesn’t happen.

9) DON’T LET ANYONE PRESSURE YOU
            - This is more of a problem at a car dealership than at a comic store or convention.  However, it can easily cross over.  If someone is pressuring you to buy a book, just simply walk away.  You don’t need to deal with someone that is making you feel uncomfortable.  In an ideal situation, you both want to do business in the future.  So why would you possibly deal with someone that doesn’t make you feel comfortable?  This is a hobby, as nice as it is, you will survive without comics in your collection.  So if someone is pressuring you, just simply walk away.

Sometimes, this is what a comic
shopping spree feels like
10) DON’T BE AFRAID TO NEGOTIATE
            - The title of this one speaks for itself, but you really need to grow a pair and be able to negotiate.  At the same time, be respectful with your offers. You’ll get laughed at for a ridiculous low-ball offer. I always try to at least save the cost of me driving to a location, and lunch.  It’s just a personal goal of mine.  Do whatever you need to do to save some cash.  As a last resort, I may even ask them to throw in another comic to sweeten the deal.  You’ll be surprised how often that works.

11) CASH IS KING
            - A wallet full of green will get you much further than a wallet full of credit cards.  Sellers are willing to give you a better deal, and may not even charge you tax. So have that money clip full when you’re ready to buy that book you’ve always wanted.  You’ll save money in the long run, and won’t fall into any credit card debt.
            - Also, bring  A LOT of small bills with you.  You can never go wrong with having an enormous amount of singles and $5 bills at your disposal.  The smaller amounts will help you while negotiating, and you’ll save little by little.

These are my tips to properly purchasing those expensive books you want in your collection.  I hope they can save you some green, and help you become a much wiser buyer.

If you have any tips that you can suggest, what would they be?

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