Trade Secret Halloween
Greetings all. Secret agent Newton reporting as requested.
I’m here today to share with you a couple of adventures from the field. Remember, if these trade secrets are traced back to me, I will deny any and all knowledge of said events.
The Halloween season is upon us and brings to mind two stories in particular.
One occurred during my first year of service. It came by way of a store who’s back issue bins were organized, I assumed, by Stevie Wonder.
No worries, amid the chaos of comics was the largest inventory of trade paperbacks and hardbacks I have ever seen. If I were to guess, I would say the store contained over 10,000 volumes.
As I said, these were my early days and though I knew there was value to be found, I felt a bit overwhelmed. I took a deep breath and formulated a plan.
First, I went up to the man behind the counter and asked if there was a discount on trades. He told me that they were buy one get the second half off. Music to my ears.
Second, I looked for an area hidden from view of the front counter. I was worried that the owner might notice me looking books up on my phone. Nowadays, I have a good feel for what will make a profit. Back then, I relied greatly on eBay searches. It turned out not to be an issue. He was busy binging season two of Star Trek TNG.
Third, I performed a quick recon of the area. I decided to start with the omnibuses. I couldn’t resist those thick, glossy hard backs. I looked them up and nearly knocked down a shelf pulling four of them down.
The one I will mention today is Tomb of Dracula Omnibus volume two (Gene Colan cover). The retail price for each was $99.99.
Tomb of Dracula Vol. 2 (Colan Cover)
For my fourth and final step, I offered the guy $300 cash. I got the books tax free along with the discount. I’m sure he paid the taxes after the sale. (You never know who might be listening).
The omnibus sold the next day for $150 plus shipping, double my money before fees. Mission accomplished.
Trade secret #1: Search eBay with the string “Omnibus -lot -set”. Filter for sold items. Sort by highest price, but pay attention to sold on date! Prices can fluctuate and they do reprint omnibuses. The Dracula Volume mentioned above has held its value thanks to the Colan cover, but volume one dropped big time since they reprinted it.
Remember, you can save searches and subscribe for future use.
My latest adventure comes from a recent visit to a different LCS. They give a 10% discount on used TPBs. As I scanned the shelves, a unique horror title caught my attention. I’d never seen it before. I knew nothing about it. Being a now-experienced agent of over four years, I knew I should look it up.
Trade Secret #2: Low print run trades (particularly horror titles) often sell over cover price in the aftermarket.
The book was War of the Undead TPB. The trade collects War of the Undead issues 1-3. The series was written by Bryan Johnson and illustrated by Walt Flanagan, both stars of Comic Book Men on AMC. More about this in a moment.
Cover price was $12.99. Used, but in great condition the store had priced it at $6.99. I used trade credit, avoiding taxes yet again. It cost me $6.29 after the discount.
Research showed a few sales between $25-35. At the time there was only one other copy listed for $125 (one of those guys). I put mine up for $39. I felt I could flip it fast.
Sure enough, with in 24 hours I received a best offer of $30. At first I planned to counter with $34, but then I noticed who the offer was from. The buyer was none other than, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. AKA the Comic Book Men! How cool is that? I gladly accepted the $30 offer. You can’t beat $20s profit and a great story.
That’s all for now, true believers. Time to get back out into the field and do some good.
I wish you well and Happy Halloween!