Ephemeral Pleasures: Your Comic Book Collection Is Worthless

You are probably not going to retire on the proceeds of selling a comic book collection.

If you have been buying old comic books as an investment, congratulations – you’ve officially wasted your life. I say this with no pleasure, but if the auction of Marvel, DC and indie titles currently underway in the UK is anything to go by, your investment is essentially worthless unless you have one of a handful of highly collectable titles. The average starting price here is £10, and while there is certainly the possibility of sudden, last-minute eBay style surges, things are not looking good – especially as several lots contain several comic books for a tenner. A spot of research tells us that the average price of a new comic book is between $4 and $5, so all in all, it doesn’t seem as though old comics – at least in their British editions, which most of these seem to be – have much value. Personally, I’m irked to see that my copy of The Uncanny X-Men 100 is not going to be paying for a holiday any time soon.

In a way, that’s to be expected – these were mass-produced items and the chances of every issue being a collectable item seem slim. Things got worse when everyone began to pick up on the prices being paid for things like Action Comics #1 and began to horde special editions – I recall when the (first) Death of Superman came packed in a sealed bag with assorted goodies inside, the release made the news and one report had an excitable woman waving a copy and shouting that she had her kid’s college fund right there. That was 1993, and you can currently buy a sealed copy on eBay for $12.

Essentially worthless.

On the plus side, if all these comics came from one collection and all sell, then the owner will still make several grand on the deal, which isn’t to be sniffed at. And let’s be honest – no one should be buying anything because they think it will be worth money in the future – how shallow is that? Buy things because they give you pleasure, something more valuable than any cash reward. So if you fancy buying some classic comics from the 1960s and 1970s for not-terrible prices (especially the job lots), why not throw in a bid? You never know, you might be successful. The auction ends on December 5th.

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