Hits & Misses

Ahh that beautiful Fall air is certainly curious. Welcome to another night in Diesel City.

As stated before, I’ve been buying, selling, and collecting for nearly 15 years. I feel I have a good idea of the market and I can also spot trends. That certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t had my fair share of flops, because trust me, I have.

In the world of speculation you really need to understand the market and understand when to let a book go. Sell a book to soon and you may miss out on the big payday. If you wait even a day to long, you could have already missed it. This rant will be a random assortment of some of my wins and some of my losses, or organized confusion if you will.

Walking Dead #1As a collector first, I have sold books in the past for the payday and have not been able to get my hands on them since. Take for instance The Walking Dead #1. In 2007 I purchased a CGC 8.0 for $72. In 2012, I sold it for $450, right as the first season on the AMC TV show was premiering. At the time I felt good about this. As much as I love the comic, which I do, I felt audiences would grow tired of the theme and the book would lose hype. WRONG. Here is an example of me not only missing on the real cash (likely could have got another $300 out of it) but I also no longer have it in my collection. This is a prime example of how I collect comics today. Unless I’m in financial trouble … I do not touch anything in my personal collection. That’s not to say that Walking Dead #1 is unobtainable. It would set me back $800-$1000 for an unslabbed copy, but it’s certainly not yielding the cash prime time silver age (in high grade) books do. But with 1k cash, I would rather buy a bunch of hundred dollar books then blow it on one book. So if you’re a collector, I advise you to always think twice about selling a book that you have sentimental attachment too. Money is great no doubt, but sometimes it’s hard to get those gems back.

Next, I have one of my greatest “specs”. In 2003 I was really into 90s Deadpool, so I went to my local comic shop and hunted through the back issues. At the time, New Mutants 98 was only a wall book if you were using it to throw darts at. So as I’m searching through the books, I came to the New Mutants section. Low and behold, there were six copies of #98, all priced at $2.99. Who would have thought that Deadpool would become the (worst) greatest gimmick in comic books. I made just north of a grand on those New Mutants.

A book that I completely missed the mark on selling; Amazing Spider-Man #583. If you don’t remember the Obama Spider-Man book of 2008, then you weren’t collecting books or you were hiding under a rock. This book was selling at $700+ in CGC 9.8 grade. I bought one for cover price and got it slabbed a 9.8. I had a ton of offers but felt because of all the presidential controversy and interest, the book would only gain smoke. Five printings later and hype dying, I sold my #583 for $80. So it wasn’t necessarily a loss, but it was a poor excuse for flipping a book. In this case, you need to see the ceiling for a book. In my opinion, if you buy a book for cover and can turn it for 10X the price in the first month, then do it. If you have no personal investment in the book, take the money while it’s still hot. Most trends lose interest and popularity, so take the money while you can. A brief example would be Uncanny Inhumans #11 (First appearance Mosaic). This book was HOTT for about a week. I was in Boston watching the Sox when a buddy of mine text me asking what I thought about the new character in the Inhumans. I had no prior knowledge to there being a new character introduction. So I picked up multiple copies for cover price at Newbury Comics in Boston, MA and flipped them that weekend for $20 a piece. Just last month at a comic con, my brother scooped a copy for $1.

I also missed the boat on some recent Image titles. My speculation was right on, but my execution was poor. I purchased a number of copies of Seven to Eternity #1 and God Country #1. As you can imagine when I saw intnial sales, I was very pleased with my speculation. But like the greedy fool I am, I turned down $100 offers, expecting one last big jump, and now I’m struggling to get rid of them. That being said, I do believe Seven to Eternity will continue to be a relatively hot book.

Chew #1 on the other hand, I scored on. I purchased it the second weekend for $30. I got it slabbed a 9.8, and sold it for $600 a few months later. Today, you can find a Chew #1 9.8 for buy it now $425.

So there we have a few of my ups and downs in the speculation game. As always thanks for reading and keep your eyes on the skies! Comment below on some of your own triumphs and failures! I’ll enjoy reading them while I’m binge watch Stranger Things 2 and eating pumpkin roll. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Golden Age covers and wish you all a Happy Horror-Filled Halloween!!!

AIRBOY Vol.5 #2 – Published by Hillman Periodicals in March of 1948, “AIRBOY MEETS The Wild Horse of Calabra”. I found this book in the garbage and instantly fell in love with the cover and subject matter. The art work by Dan Barry is absolutely phenomenal in painting a great bold image that screams a different era. Some of you may not be familiar with the book, others may, either way, I hope you like it!

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19 comments

  • jason jones

    Fun read. I got lucky and struck while hot on the Image books, but have a whole mess of others I sat on too long.

    • A. J. Diesel

      Isn’t that the truth! I’ve got some titles that are just ridiculous when I look at them now!!! Anything Albedo that isn’t Usagi pretty much haha. Keep up the good work!

  • sdalton32

    Enjoy these speculation stories – thanks for the article!

  • Great article, a nice reminder how volitile the comic market can be. After making out good on quick flipping books like heathen 1&2 my motto has been take the quick money while the hype is on. So I managed to find 2 copies of totally awesome hulk 22 on release day and was pleased to sell them for 30$ each……until it shot up over 100$. Turning 8$ into 60$ is great. No regrets:(

  • Great read! Thanks for sharing.
    As others have said, you just can’t look back if you’ve made a profit (super hard to do – and we all do it anyway).
    My biggest problem – getting a great grade on a great looking book that was purchased for a flip – and then not wanting to let go…
    I’ve got to get better at spec vs PC.
    I’ll share my biggest miss of the last few years. I hate to say it, but I did not see EoSV 2 doing what it’s doing. I really thought it’d be a flash – quick heat and done when it came out. Boy was I wrong. I sold fast and really really really should have held on.

    • A. J. Diesel

      I’m a huge Spider-Gwen fan! But c’mon, nobody could have seen that coming! I sure didn’t. Snagged two, and kept one in the PC

      • Great advice A J. Whenever I can afford it I go on the hunt for not just (1) book, but always for (2) or more depending on the $.
        I have found that when you send that 2nd book Graded and it sells it will come close if not totally pay for the other copy to be kept safely in your collection.

  • Really enjoyed reading this. I’m also glad to see I’m not the only greedy fool speculating. LOL.

    • A. J. Diesel

      It’s what makes it fun I suppose! The chance of hitting gold! And much like the lottery, I seldom hit HUGE! That’s why we enjoy the little victories!

  • Great article, thanks! With what you wrote it’s like looking in a mirror. Ups ,downs, missed opportunities, and on occasion you hit pay dirt. Looks like NM98 treated us both very kindly! You with your 6 copies and me with my 5. I bought a couple of IM55’s for $15/$30 and sold one of them raw for $700! Go figure. Totally fell asleep on the whole Rick&Morty thing going on though. Keeps me humble!

    • A. J. Diesel

      Thanks for the comment! And I couldn’t agree more. Gotta stay humble in this business, or you’ll burn yourself! Excellent spec on the IM #55s! Impressive!

  • The first comic I ever sold on eBay was a raw Peter Panzerfaust #1 for $330. Looks like I sold it at the right time! On the other side, in the past I have sold books like NM 87, NM 98, ASM 300, NYX 3, & EoSV 2 all WAY WAY too early:)

    • A. J. Diesel

      I’m right with you on the ASM #300 and NYX #3. I think I sold one of my #300s for like $35 back in 2008 haha. And as for the NYX…bought two in a craigslist lot back in 2010…sold them for $40 a piece..damn. Haha

  • I got back in the game after a lot of the non image stuff had already blown up and the silver/copper first where still pretty high. Thankfully i’ve scored more than i’ve lost and flipped books so that I can get a GSX1, ASM300 and more. Great article! you’ve got to take the good with the bad.

  • A.J. I’ve only recently joined this website because I find your articles most interesting and the knowledge and work you put into them is rewarding to read. My question is an investment one, but let’s say you have 2k to invest in a couple of books or just one book…what do you buy? Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.

    • A. J. Diesel

      @jhowes26
      My apologies for not getting back to you sooner! I didn’t see your comment until just now! Thank
      you for the kind words, I appreciate it. If you’re into Marvel collecting as I am, i would recommend the obvious in a mid-grade Hulk #181 (first appearance of Wolverine). The book seems to just keep going up. I would also reccomend picking up Werewolf By Night
      #32 (first appearance of Moon Knight). With some good old hunting, i think you could find these two books unslabbed, but nice copies for right around 2k. Hope that helps!!!

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