How to Find Out the Value of Your Comic Books
You could have found a box of old comics cleaning out your parents’ attic, or been carefully saving your favorites since you were ten. Either way, the first step to selling them is to figure out how much they’re worth. Here’s a few pointers to help you on your way.
Know Your Comic Book
Comics are sorted into distinct eras depending on when they were published. Knowing these ages will help you find the prices easier and know what you’re dealing with.
- The Golden Age comics were published from 1938 to the early 1950s.
- The Silver Age covers from the 1955 to the early 1970s.
- The Bronze Age is from the early 1970s through the late 1970s or early 1980s (depending who you talk to.)
- Modern Age comics are anything after that.
There are some who also include Platinum Age comics before 1938, and Copper/Dark Age comics during the 1980s/1990s, but these are less common.
What Determines Value
Like any traded item, comics follow the laws of supply and demand. The less there are available, the more the comic will be worth, which is why older comics tend to cost more. Individual issues can also have multiple printings, and the earlier the printing, the more it’s worth.
This is the flip side to the supply and demand coin. When a character is very popular, the demand pulls up the price of comics featuring them. Popularity waxes and wanes, and the value of a comic will fluctuate with it.
A comic in better condition will always fetch a better price. Comic Grades run on a scale of 1-10, starting with Mint (MT) at the top, then running through Near Mint (NM), Very Fine (VF), Fine (FN), Very Good (VG), Good (GD), and Fair (FR) before it reaches Poor (PR). Study the requirements so you know how your comic should be graded.
Comic Book Price Guides
There are a number of published guides with the price of individual comic issues. These are written by experts, and are usually issued once a year. The most common guide is the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, which has been published since 1970, but there are others both online and printed. In addition to just the prices, these will also have valuable advice for collectors on techniques, trends, and more.
For a more market-driven, updated price, you can also check auctions, especially online auctions like on Ebay. While these might give you a more up-to-date price, they’re not as reliable as the guides. Each auction is a different transaction that can change depending on the bidding competition or auction environment. So rather than take one auction, look at several to spot trends.