Bronze Bruce. Scroll down 1/2 page...

A guide to CGC collecting

 I could be wrong, however not that many dealers are doing the CGC thing. ( readers can clue me in) . It would be interesting to know how many dealers are very active with CGC businesses. Many, of course are simply collectors who CGC the few good books they own and then are pretty much done with it.

It's not likely that  the entire market will go belly-up. The CGC comic is very worthwhile and those of us who own these,  understand the inherent value. Some underlying principles can be employed in order to insure no one takes a beating.

1. The current price of any comic is not the price at which you will sell. You made the purchase because you planned to enjoy the comic for some time. It's not likely that you bought it to earn an instant huge profit. A dip in the prices is simply a good buying point.  For now, enjoy your purchases regardless of the price you paid.

2. The demise of comic collecting has been predicted from the time of  the" Big Bang". It isn't going to happen. Comics are worthwhile, and will always be around in one form or another. CGC collecting is an extension of this line of thought.

3. You will never really lose anything if you truly enjoy the item you bought. Whenever I think I want to sell something, I weigh the price it will fetch against the market value.

Hot Tip: Not comic related:

6. Smart money people are  refinancing their homes. Auto sales are better than ever! Why? Those who own real-estate  are refinancing with  a once in a lifetime opportunity and using the extra monthly cash to purchase automobiles with no interest financing. The
refinancing of real-estate  easily makes the car payment. 

Hi there...if you have no bids at the end of the auction, a layperson such as myself would feel the starting price of the auctions are to high. .I would be willing to pay $25 for this book or $35 or the 9.8 one...let me know if you are interested if there are still no bidders after the auction ends.

RS 9-24-01

reply

This is the type of letter I like. No words minced here. The comic in question is a Secret Wars #1 published in 1984. Guide values this at $6.00.

Let's examine the economics of producing and selling a CGC book from 1984. The cost of certification, as every CGC collector knows is now $15. A 10% discount can be obtained ($13.50), however the cost of shipping the comic to and from New Jersey brings the cost to $15.50.

Basic economic rules of retail business dictate that the final sales price must be at least double the wholesale price. The wholesale price is $13.50 and the final retail price is set at $27.00.The $2.00 two way shipping fee has already  eaten its way into true net profit.  If the retailer runs a well managed business, the profit is expected to be 8-12% of the retail price leaving a profit of $2.16-$3.24. If the book is sold for $24.84, no profit is left to the retailer and he might as well apply for a job as French fries boy at Mc Donald's where he can earn a minimum wage.

Above figures assume the cost of the actual comic to be zero. If the Secret Wars comic has a cost of  $1.20 ( a bargain ) the retail price must be set at $29.40. If the cost of the comic was $3.00, a reasonable expectation, the final price  can be set at $33.00.

For anyone who might ask about selling over the internet rather than the bricks and mortar system, the figures are exactly the same. Would-be entrepreneurs who began the dot com movement all went bust losing billions of dollars when they calculated in error that their costs would be magically lower.

What does this tell anyone about the CGC comics that sell under these prices? The comics are distress items, damaged merchandise, un-saleable at a profit. If you are a collector that purchases these comics, you might ask why you are collecting unwanted collectibles. 

Note that many comics are sold for $32.50 by Back Issue Comics. This is the profit point for nearly every low priced comic. Remember that these were all purchased at the time of publication at wholesale prices so the initial cost of most comics is under a dollar. Warehouse space for 25 years was a large part of the investment program and ran well over 100,000 dollars. It started in a closet, but I soon ran our of space.   

Any comic that is graded 9.6 or more is not a damaged product and should be sold at profitable prices. Original feeling here was that a 9.4 Near Mint comic was the break point, however the marketplace has told us that 9.4 is considered to be unacceptable as most comics from our inventory would not be priced at 32.50 and sell easily. If we find that customers will not pay $32.50 for a particular comic graded 9.6 or better, it will not be offered. It would be sold one time as a distress item and then not replaced.

eBay is an auction-like activity. eBay recognizes that it is not a true auction in some respects and discusses this at its web site. For Back Issue Comix,  eBay is used partly as an auction and also as an advertisement for our products. Most every week we initiate auctions that begin at a penny and carry no reserve price. This is done for items that often will have extraordinary interest , like a comic graded 10.0. It often is one-of-a-kind and setting a price is not possible. 

Let's go  back to the original  feeling that opening prices , "Seem too high." These auctions are closer to advertisements that simply offer thinly traded comics at reasonable prices. A true auction cannot take place as serious buyers are not necessarily shopping at the moment. A hundred dollar item might find a buyer for a penny or no bid at all in these instances. Very often I look at concluded auctions and see items that had real value not receiving a one cent bid.

For every 10,000 collectors who would want a Wolverine #1 , there is only one ( or less) who would want a Secret Wars #1. A market for an auction exists daily at eBay for the Wolverine while none exists for the Secret Wars. Does this mean that Secret Wars is going to be fairly traded at unprofitable prices? Nope. It means that the seller will be patient until the proper buyer steps up to make the purchase.

I'd like any collector to look over a list at eBay any day of the week for the 9.8-10.0  listings and examine the publication dates of the comics that reach those  grades. For the most part they will be comics from the last ten years and are not particularly rare. Comics from the 70's are non-existent and few early 80's comics hit this mark.

Our company has drawn the line at 1985 for comics that hit high grades. Comics before that date in 9.6 and up are fairly rare and 9.8's are almost non-existent. At this point, many collectors are not aware of this and expect to pick up  thinly traded pre-85 comics for distress prices.

Secret Wars falls into the thinly traded pre-85 realm. Rare, rare, rare and likely to continue to be rare as few are likely to ever exist. Collectors who want 9.8 at low prices will need to shop for post 85 comics. They are not rare and virtually anyone can get Spawn #1( 1991) certified at a 9.9 or 10. Our company sent in 7 Venom #1's and received 5 each 9.9 and 2 each 10.0 grades. We have more, but what is the point? In fact we have 200,000 90's comics that all would receive 9.9 or 10.

See our article CGC and Back Issue Comics that describes CGC data indicating Back Issue Comix is the only consistent high grade source for bronze age comics. Other articles at this site will give insight as to why we have these high grade comics while others do not.

The purchase of a pre-85 high grade comic is backed by our company. The value will not go down  as we are now seeing with post 85 comics. We will not be offering these for less , nor dumping large quantities into the market place. Competitors do not exist  and we do not concern ourselves that they somehow could offer comics of this quality. The data base at CGC confirms this.

Prices at eBay could appear to be high to the customer who is accustomed  to bidding for 90's comics at low prices. In time, the rarity of upper grade 70 and 80's comics will be apparent and the current pricing will seem to be a bargain as more and more collectors begin collecting the older comics in high grade.

We feel that the entire Secret Wars series is of interest to collectors and any issue  of 9.6 or better should turn over a minimal profit. If we are wrong, we would have had trouble selling these, however interest has been high and we expect to continue selling these at stable prices. Those collectors who made purchases from us can rest easy knowing that prices on these rare comics will not go down. 

Bronzebruce13/eBay ID
 

Positively a Resubmission Candidate!
 

Those of you who have checked out my auctions from time to time will no doubt note that I have taken issue with CGC's grading more than a few times. Am I doing this to "oversell" my books and extract more money from potential buyers? NO! I'm a fan first and hate over grading as a rule! (ask the many dealers who I've returned books to and/or called on the carpet for obvious over grading). In fact, I appreciate CGC for at least bring somewhat of a standard to the hobby. The explanation simply is, that CGC has gone through several "adjustment periods" concerning their grading standard (whether they'll admit to it or not). From my own experiences, and from the larger, more reputable dealers I've spoken with (who submit heavily and regularly), I've concluded the following. CGC started out grading conservatively, and this makes sense since they knew dealers had to make money on CGC books to secure return business so CGC could prosper. They gradually became stricter as they no doubt received complaints from buyers who were not happy with their conservatively graded CGC books (I in fact called regarding a woefully over graded 9.0 Hulk 181 that would only get a 8.0 today and possibly a 7.5 four months ago). By the time this past Late Spring/Summer rolled around, they were at their strictest! Almost every dealer I spoke to was complaining about the sudden "tightening". You may also recall related comments being mentioned in quite a few auction descriptions. I UNFORTUNATELY SENT IN MY LARGE BATCH OF COMICS TO CGC DURING THAT ULTRA-STRICT PERIOD! I was VERY displeased with the results, as I had purchased many CGC books at that point for comparison and my "Submitted 9.0's and 9.2's" were comparable, as nice as, or even better than many 9.4's I bought (many of which I suspect were graded during CGC's initial conservative period). From that point in the Late Spring/Summer, CGC has started to gradually return to the more "forgiving" grading. Now, I hear dealers and collectors regularly mentioning that almost all their books surprisingly came back as high, or higher than they expected. (Visit the de-lekkerste "ME" page for more). I cracked out my clearly "Under graded Hulk 181" that received a 9.2 in the Late Spring, and it came back a 9.4 2 months ago. I also have a Hulk 180 that received a ridiculous 9.0! A few days ago, a dealer came to my house to sell me a CGC 9.4 Hulk 180 that was NOT graded during the Summer apparently. My 9.0 was CLEARLY the better copy to my amazement! (he agreed). I'm puzzled at how CGC can have more than a (.2) "error" range on high grade books (between 9.0 and 9.6 mostly). I'm cracking that one out and sending it back in too! So, due to my poor timing and misfortune, I have done more than my share of complaining. Many of the CGC books I have sold and offer currently (including this ASM 129) are from that strictly slammed batch I sent in. In all fairness to CGC, it's not an easy service to perform. I'm sure there are many who had the opposite experience and are happier than "Pigs in S**t". Imagine sending in a huge batch when they were forgiving? and/or buying many of the strictest graded books and having many resubmission candidates purchased at lower prices? That would have been sweet. I am putting together data so I can check grading dates via the CGC serial so I can make more intelligent CGC purchases based upon this understanding. Also, DON'T ASSUME that "Maroon Labels" mean they were "conservatively graded". Before the switch over to the Blue Universal Label, the "later" Maroon Label comics were the toughest graded group yet. 'Nuff said!    

*CGC 8.5 "VF+" Amazing Spider-Man #129 WHITE Pages!*
FIRST PUNISHER!!!! A WHITE Paged Beauty! Remember that a premium is almost always paid (15 to 35% or more) on "key issues" with coveted White pages!
This copy was obviously graded during the "Ultra-Strict" period mentioned above! I have a 9.2 that is only a hair better and I feel that book was graded a bit harshly as well. (SEE SCAN). I have many CGC 9.0 and 9.2 books that are easily comparable to this 8.5! I would crack this out and send it in too (since I'm 3 for 3 so far), but CGC is 4 months behind, and the difference in value from a 8.5 to 9.0 barely covers the grading fee, shipping, etc. If it was resubmitted, a 9.0 should be a very realistic.

Be sure to check out bronzebruce13 auctions at eBay.

 RJ

INSURANCE FOR COMICS?

Hello, Reynold, my name is James Rudd, E-Bay user ID "fantastic-four".  I've bought some comics from you in the past.
 
Do you have any general advice for collectors to help protect their comics with insurance?  My homeowner's insurance company, Nationwide, tells me that comics are covered under it as long as I'm not keeping them for business purposes.  They say that as long as I keep an inventory, I'm fine.  They also told me "you might want to take pictures of the more expensive items," which doesn't make sense to me since you can't tell condition from a picture.
 
I know that there is a "collectibles insurance" company that sells insurance; they advertise in the Comics Buyer's Guide every week.  However, if you don't keep more comics in your house than would be covered under your homeowner's policy, do you really need this?
 
I've always heard that insurance companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying a claim to its fullest, so I'm really worried about how they would value a collection.  I've asked them this specifically, and they said they'd consult with a "comics dealer."  Have you had a claims adjuster call you, or have you heard of someone's experience with making an insurance claim for comics?
 
What sort of insurance do you carry for your comics?  Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated!

 

I've never carried insurance as it would be cost prohibitive and then you mention the problems with collecting a claim. You must decide for yourself what seems in your best interest. I spread my risk by storing  items in various locations. If  one of the locations should have a disaster, I would not experience a total loss.

 

You might wish to use a video tape recorder to simply walk around your house and record everything including your collection. Keep the tape off the premises. You will probably treat the collection as personal items and they will simply be a part of "contents" on your policy.  If you feel you need insurance beyond this, you probably should give the CGB advertiser a call and see what they say as they are probably experts. Local insurance people are not very good at this sort of insurance and most often you would end up hiring a lawyer to collect a claim with any of them.
 
RJ.

 Dear Reynold, I don't know if you remember me out of all the hundreds of deals you make, but when I won one of your auctions, the book about the 9/11 tragedy, and you even sent me a free copy. And I also asked you how to ship to CGC and you included in your website, the question and my name. It was great. I felt like a celebrity. Anyway, I'm bidding on Origin #4 @ 9.8. I look forward to your mailings as they are written well and with the best books on the Net. Nothing really to say, but thank you for making a tough business a lot better and much more honest. Sincerely, Arnie Bush

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