Secret agent Newton here with more reports from the field.
A few years back, I walked into my favorite local honey-hole. It was Thursday night the new back issues would be out. Time to dig and find some gold. I looked over at the boxes and my heart sank. There were four people already digging though the back issue bins. My days of finding $50 variants and Amazing Spider-Man 607 for cover price were over.
Oh, there might be some meat left on the bone, but my missions would never be easy again. I would have to look through every book in every bin for two hours, to possibly find nothing.
As I stood there deciding whether or not to give it a try. I looked to my right. There sat seven bookshelves packed tight with trade paperbacks and hardbacks. Time to do what I was trained to do. Seems to be my lot in life.
I had recently learned by accident that a particular Star Wars tpb I owned was selling for good money. Maybe there was a another copy on these shelves. It was a long shot, but since the competition was zigging I decided to zag.
I scanned the independent shelves thoroughly and came up with nothing. I decided to pull out my phone and scan some of the older books to see what came up.
I noticed a run of The Ray Bradbury Chronicles (hardback comic adaptations of his stories). Volumes 2-7 were all priced just under half retail at $9. Volume 5 listed Mike Mignola as one of the artists. I slid it out and opened it.
There on the title page sat the signature of not only Mignola, but three other artists as well as Bradbury's.
Published 1993 by Byron Preiss this series contains a limited number multi-signed copies (1,000 for some volumes 1,200 for others). Signatures vary with each book, but include Bradbury, Mike Mignola, Matt Wagner, Dave Gibbons, Raph Reese, and Mark Charello.
I didn’t need to look up any values. This was big win. Two days later I sold the set for $375. I’m sure if I’d been patient I could have sold them for more.
Trade secret #3: Always check hardbacks for signatures.
Weeks later at this same store I found a copy of The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb, signed.
A friend of my has found Sandman trades signed by Neil Gaiman. All well trained agents keep their eyes open for graphic novels like these.
Trade secret #4: Advance search sold listings in Ebay category: Graphic Novels, TPBs for “signed”.
It’s a good idea to set the low price around $25 and play with the maximum. If you leave it blank you will be amazed at some of the prices. Like the two volume Spawn Origins Collection Deluxe Edition, signed by Todd McFarlane sale price, $900!
This particular title was a limited edition of 150 copies that cost $150 each. So, you’re not going to find it second hand for a discount, but I have found a Lady Death hardback signed by Brian Pulido that netted me a quick $20.
I think these results reveal another possible secret.
Trade secret #5: Have creators sign trade paperbacks and hardbacks.
Go to the table of a favorite artist you plan on buying from. During your purchase ask if they mind signing the book. They might want to charge you, but in many cases they won’t.
Do I expect you ferret through every book on the shelf to see if it is signed? No, not even I am that obsessed. But, I do think you should search eBay and see what sells. Take a few minutes and browse through the Independent hardbacks. Here’s a crazy thought, check books by writers and artist you enjoy. The shelves can be a gold mine.
That’s all for now, true believers. I hope to see you soon, in the field pulling books off the selves and checking the title pages for signatures.