I loved Scrooge. The stories transported me into exotic far-away places in search of fabulous treasure and great adventures. I reasoned that anyone who felt as strongly as I did about these wonderful stories would never sell a treasured comic, but could be induced to trade. I had traded 45 rpm records in this manner with a neighborhood peer, so it all made sense to me. My precious box of Scrooges were stored carefully under my bed apart from the thousands of others stashed in the closet.
This great passion, and the stacks of comics, were forgotten as I packed up and headed for college in order to study art. Years later I happened to pick up an Overstreet guide and I was fascinated that prices could be attached to old comics. I began a quest of buying up my favorite titles that had been thrown out by mom. After a year or so of this, it became apparent to me that the prices of comics rose quite steadily, much more so than stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or anything considered respectable. I dabbled in many varied investments often trading as much as $100,000 a day on the stock market. I did well with all of my investments, often using intricate strategies to earn profits.
I had paid my dues with the Wall Street crowd, now it was time to leave them in my dust. I began a strategy of buying up new comics from a distributor at the rate of 1000 comics or more each month. I picked them in the same manner as I did stocks. If it looked like a winner, I bought heavily usually 100 to 500 of a single issue. Comics were still cheap in the seventies such that $15 could purchase 100 comics. My "retirement investment plan" was in high gear with a mere $150 a month investment.
I incorporated several basic philosophies into my investment of comics, some of which I had learned so well from Wall Street. Rule number one in the quest to "buy low and sell high" was to never follow the crowd. Comics fit that format. Absolutely no one was buying comics as an investment. Comic dealers, of course, were somewhat aware that money was to be made by buying low and selling high on a daily basis, but few were really holding on for the long term.
There is a major difference between a dealer and an investor that I had always kept foremost in my mind. Dealers make money by holding back books for a short period, and then selling when the price of a book goes up a few dollars. This works well and pays the overhead, but an investor simply buys and holds as long as the investment is performing well. In 1981, I purchased five each of the first four lithographs by Carl Barks directly from the publisher. This struck me as a great investment. My childhood favorite, Uncle Scrooge was depicted on a sailboat with Donald and his nephews. I could hang the litho on the wall and enjoy my investment as it went up in value. The twenty lithos cost me $3,600 and carry a current value well over $50,000.
One of my investment strategies, "Always buy quality" worked well for me. I stayed with the best comic characters, writers, and artists. My art degree was always at work for me with these decisions. I could sniff out talented artists long before anyone else and buy up large quantities of issues that would soon be in demand. I liked Dave Stevens, for example, and the whole Rocketeer world he had created. These issues were somewhat worthless until the movie came out nearly ten years later. I've enjoyed watching the careers of many talented writers and artists over the years and will be rewarded for investing in their published works. I never lost a penny in the black and white craze in the eighties, because I didn't see quality work.
Another type of quality that was apparent to me from the very beginning was the condition of the books I was buying. When I bought #1 issues of Spiderman or X-Men, I made sure I possessed the best copies available. In the late seventies, those sitting on "good condition books" watched as prices plummeted while the better paper held steady. Collectors have money and always want the very best. Bargain hunters, (who don't have the money) will never pay much for anything. This accounts for the ever widening gap between the common place "good" and "mint."
"Trading up to higher quality" was another important strategy. I had decided that I would invest in artist, Frank Miller in the early 70's. However I felt that perhaps I was late in discovering this talented artist as I didn't have any Daredevil 158's (or much else). Daredevil was just beginning to bloom with the Eletra issues 181 at a nearby comic shop. I inquired as to whether any of the earlier Daredevil issues were on stock and the dealer said he had a couple of hundred including around thirty of the 158's. "Sorry buddy. They're not for sale at any price. Frank's going to be hot soon."
Customers were standing at his counter clammering for the current 181 with money in their hands. He was out of stock and customers were threatening to go down the street to his competitor. I told him I had a couple of hundred 181's in the trunk and would give him those and $50 for the whole lot. Being a dealer (a bird in hand...) he took the offer and three months later I was sitting on a collection valued at several thousand green ones.
From the very first day of investing in comics, everyone had been warning of the end of comicdom and how risky it was to be an investor. Everyone who sold me comics felt lucky to sell just before the big coup de gras. In retrospect, comics were the second best investment of the eighties (baseball cards were number one). The traditional respected investments, stocks, bonds, and money markets followed far behind and real estate had gone bust!
Of course it's far easier to pick up the phone as you reach retirement and ask your stock broker to sell those dusty issues of General Motors that did very little over the many years. I'm rather proud that I didn't follow the crowd and made about 100 times more than all the rest. I'll be cashing out my investment for some time over the internet . It's a little more work, but I enjoyed the ride. Thank you Carl Barks for making the dream to become a millionaire for a ten year old kid, come true.
If you are interested in retiring wealthy, as I have, read Born To Be Rich and begin aquiring the wealth that has always belonged to you. Most anyone can have fun becoming wealthy by simply following a few simple guidelines. For example, if you like to read (including comics) why not turn your passion into an endeaver that will end up placing great wealth in your pockets? Purchasing comic books at low prices can be that beginning. It worked for me and it can work for you too.
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This comic was distributed 3 months before the Starwars Movie came out. The poor timing caused most comic collectors and film fans to miss out on the first printing which was long gone when the epic sci-fi film reached the screens. I knew little about the movie when I placed an order for 500 of these at 15 cents each. My only feeling was that the premise ran counter to everything that was occuring in the media at the time." Never run with the crowd," is an important investor premise that paid off well in this case. Market value is $60-$70. Why not enjoy a copy before the next round of Lucas classics drive the prices higher. $25 NM. See Monthly Specials for more great savings and perhaps make an investment in your future. If you already have a copy that you have purchased recently, it's likely that the dealer obtained it here!
remember the excitment of discovering Todd McFarlane with Amazing Spiderman
298! By the time issue 300 had hit the stands I was buying up bushels of
these early issues from dealers for 25 cents. I always inquired while I
bought out dealers of McFarlane ASM issues, " Is this issue selling
well?" Most often the response was one of disinterest.
It was kind of incredible... like everyone around was blind. These issues all headed for the 25 cent bin and no one wanted them!
Pick up NM+ copies far below market value.
See Monthly Specials for cool prices.