Con Recon Dealer Summary

 

 

As a dealer, my aim is to give you all unbiased raw data and observations for each show I attend as a dealer. For this dealer summary I will talk about my buying and preparation for the 2018 Comic con season, give a brief overview of all the major shows I did in 2018, the re-stocks I did throughout the season and sum up the buying market I have encountered so far this offseason. All in all, we did 8 local shows and 8 major comic cons in 2018.

Preparation for 2018 Comic Con Season – The Bay usually presents itself as a good buying opportunity during the holiday season. Going into the offseason in 2017, I wanted to buy 2 low grade super keys as eye catchers for my wall. I lucked out and won an auction for a Daredevil 1 GD- for $350 and a Batman 121, 1st Dr. Freeze for $250 PR.

 

To restock others spots for my wall I purchased small batches of Secret Wars 8 (average $40), ASM 251 (avg. cost $40), ASM 361 (avg. cost $65), Ms. Marvel 1 (avg. cost $65), Ms. Marvel 18 (avg. cost $30), Spawn 1 (avg. cost $10) and Teen Titans 44 (avg. cost $50) to finish off my buying.

I wanted to get some more ASM 300s but I figured it was too hot to dip in the well at the time even while it was the off season. The average cost for a nice copy was about $350. That was much more than how much I spent the year before where I was buying copies of ASM 300 for $100 to $200.

Biggest Offseason Regret – Fantastic Four # 1 – I decided to do a trip to Florida and to Massachusetts and I had 2 opportunities to buy a Fantastic Four 1. In Florida, I was offered a FF1 GD for $2,000 and in Massachusetts I was offered $1750 for FR/PR with tape on the spine.

My thinking at the time was to there was no spec about Fantastic Four and Sony was still hovering over whether they would reuse the same cast from 2015 to make a sequel. Everyone said to buy and hold for later. I really wanted at least a VG-/VG copy at around $2000.

 

March 2018 – Awesome Con, Washington DC 

 

Noticeable Trends/Observations:  One key observation was that Black Panther was the big-ticket item as it was a box office success and no vendors expected the demand to be so high. Walking through the con I saw very limited Black Panther titled books, and very little Jungle Action 5s and FF52s.

It took only 1 hour to sell my Jungle Action 5 in VF for $85. Venom was in high demand to start off the con season, sold 2 copies of ASM 300 along with slabbed copies of 298 and 299. Thanos keys, along with The Infinity Gauntlet and Thanos Quest books were the other big draw and vendors were ready with tons on display on their walls.

We all pretty much cannibalized each other for those books and it seemed like the lowest priced ones were the only ones that sold.  Attendees seemed to be intrigued about him in the upcoming Avengers movie. Through my conversations with fans, they were curious how Disney was going to use him.

There were a lot of complaints that key books like ASM 129, FF52, Avengers 1 and IM 55 were too expensive throughout the hall. Sales were really good, and it was the 2nd best show of the year for me and I had a majority of my wall bought out for the 1st time in my career.

With my earnings I wanted to save my money for C2E2 next month and made only one purchase and haggled and got a FF52 VG- for $275 from a local vendor.

Keys Sold: Thrawn 1 Mattina NM-, She- Hulk 1 CGC 9.8, ASM 194 CGC 9.4, Venom Lethal Protect Gold 1 CGC 9.6, ASM 124 CGC 9.4, Web Of Spider-Man  118 CGC 9.8, ASM 265 CGC 9.6, ASM 124 CGC 9.4, TOD 10 VF, ASM 606 CGC 9.4, ASM 298 CGC 9.6, ASM 299 CGC 9.4, Defenders 1 CGC 6.0, ASM 300 VF/NM, ASM 300 CGC 9.4, FF49 CGC 7.0, X-Men 94 CGC 7.0, Walking Dead 19 NM-, Jungle Action 5 VF, Black Lightning 1 NM, ASM 238 FN, TEC 359 VG+, Bat New 52 1 CGC 9.6, Killing Joke NM+, ASM 365 NM, Ms. Marvel 18 VF, Cap. Marvel 33 VF, Secret Wars 8 FN/VF, Secret Wars 8 CGC 9.8, Lois Lane 70 FN, ASM 11 VG, ASM 17 VG+, ASM 18 NM-, ASM 19 VG, Ghost Rider 1 VF and a complete 2000 AD 2 FN/VF, 1st Judge Dredd.

Keys Bought: FF52 VG-

 

April 2018 – C2E2 – Chicago, IL

 

Noticeable Trends/Observations: Another black costumed comic character other than Black Panther was the big draw in Chicago: Venom. Tons of fans were cosplayed in Venom and wore Venom tees and hoodies to support the upcoming movie. I was surprised that only after a week or so the Black Panther buzz had fizzled out.

Even more surprised that no one asked me for any Black Panther keys all weekend.

This con showed the first indication of the Captain Marvel buzz. There was a good number of female supporters dressed as her and attendees were looking to buy Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel keys, in fact I blew out my stock of Ms. Marvel 1s. A recurring theme from Awesome Con was that prices were too high and there weren’t many deals.

Even vendors who travelled for buying were having a hard time buying. Some vendors were talking about how the market was blowing up and certain keys were not even making it to the public and were sold to private collectors/investors.

This was the 1st time I heard that super keys were now becoming more popular amongst casual collectors with deep pockets. One vendor I heard got a visit from one of his clients a week before and bought all his super keys and he had nothing to show at C2E2 except for original artwork.

FF48 was also the big draw too, as news had just come out about Disney buying back FF and X-Men. One vendor said he was willing to buy at least a VF/NM copy of FF48 for just about any reasonable price to satisfy a client.

This was my most successful show of the year and had the majority of my wall was bought out for the 2nd time this year. This show confirmed that prices were not going not going to be much lower anywhere else.

Keys Sold: Ms. Marvel 1 CGC 8.0, ASM 6 GD, ASM 238 VF, Star Wars 1 VF, Next Men 3 NM, MS. Marvel 1 FN, Ms. Marvel 1 VF, Journey 112 VG, WWBN 32 FN, Spawn 1 CGC 9.8, FF 67 CGC 9.0, FF67 CGC 8.5, Tales to Astonish 90 CGC 9.4, Surfer 5 9.0, Cap Marvel 26 CGC 9.2, FF49 CGC 7.5, FF49 CGC 7.0, Swamp Thing 1 CGC 8.5, TOD 10 CGC 8.5, Bat 234 CGC 8.5, ASM 9 CGC 6.5, ASM 46 CGC 7.5, Avengers 8 CGC 8.5, XM 266 CGC 9.4, XM 129 CGC 9.6 and a raw FF 67 NM.

Keys Bought: House of Secrets 92 VG+ signed by Wrighton, Silver Surfer 1 VG, and an ASM 13 VG.

 

1st Re-Stock of 2018 – April 

 

After C2E2, most vendors were in a frenzy replenishing for the other big cons: Megacon, SDCC, NYCC and Baltimore Comic Con. My first order of business was to find a collector to sell a bundle of Silver/Bronze age keys to take me into Baltimore Comic Con. I ended up buying a stack of 90 books for $780 from a vendor in Louisiana. This stack consisted of early Avengers, and bronze keys and I scored with an appraised value of $3300 worth of books.

Now it was time to get some bigger keys and to start pulling books for the next CGC onsite in Baltimore Comic Con in October. I had to spec on the next set of hot books. At this time, news came out that Marvel was writing a script for an Eternals movie.

Not many collectors knew about the Eternal 1 30 Cent Price Variant and it was still reasonably priced and was going for around $200 in NM condition.

I made it a mission to buy as many Eternal 1 30 Cent Price Variants to send to CGC. The market shot up quickly for these, I ended up overpaying for a VF+ for $225 and a FN+ copy for $165, I  found a Massachusetts collector and bought 6 presentable copies with foxing issues for $1100.

It was a pretty decent gamble at the time spending $1490 as half of these copies may have gotten a 7.5 by CGC. I then got a Eternals 2 30 cent Price variant for $125. I decided to gamble to buy back in for ASM 300 and spent $250 on a VF copy and $300 on a NM- copy.

The hype was so high that I hypothesized that a ASM 300 CGC 9.8 might rival with value with Walking Dead 1 CGC 9.8. News was ramping up on the Deadpool 2 movie so I went ahead and got a New Mutants 98 NM for $300 from a vendor in Ohio. From the same guy I got a MSH 13 VG/FN for $150.

I wanted another project book and closed out my mid-season buying with a MSH 13 FN+ for $350 at a LCS in Indiana.

 

 

May 2018 – Philadelphia Wizard – Philadelphia, PA

 

Noticeable Trends/ObservationsDeadpool 2 came out in theaters the same weekend as this show so New Mutants 87 and New Mutants 98 were keys that people wanted to buy. I observed that the Avengers Infinity War/Thanos related books were selling at its peak in value and so luckily I sold a IM 55 VG in a trade.

I saw that people started moving on to Captain Marvel, the MSH 13 VG/FN that I bought recently got tons of looks before I sold it for $300. By Saturday my neighbor, Dacard World sold a Hulk 181 CGC 9.0 and they were asking $5000.

There was one vendor having out of business sale and lots of people were feasting on them, I ended up getting a Swamp Thing 1 CGC 8.0 for $200. Sadly, I missed out on a batch Secret Wars 8 copies selling for $25 at another booth. The show presented a lot of buying opportunities.

Although there was a lot of buying and selling it was tough to sell books over $400. A lot of attendees shared with me that they found it difficult to find raw books at high grade over $500. I did however unload a few Golden Age which was cool: 1st Human Torch Prototype, Bomber Comics 4 with a Japanese War Cover and a Superman 87.

Most of my business came from selling a lot of raw keys and more so in volume. Not many of my slabs sold though, other vendors had a hard time selling slabs. A lot of the Silver Age Avengers books I got in a stack of the month before sold as well as they were valued between $25 to $150.

I also sold fistfuls of dollar books too. This was a really fun show, it was the first time I bought a corner booth and being at a 4-day show and we were wheeling and dealing. I had an opportunity to buy a Hulk 181 CGC 9.0 but the vendor wanted $4500, and I couldn’t find it within myself to pull the trigger.

After the show, I also tried to buy out the vendor blowing out his whole inventory but couldn’t reach a deal. Overall it was a good time interacting with a city with a rich history of comic collectors and vendors.  

Keys SoldIron Man 55 VG+, Captain Marvel 1 VF/NM (SA), Captain Marvel 18 NM- (SA), Secret Wars 8 NM, Strange Tales 76 VG/FN, X-Men 6 GD, She-Hulk 1 VF, Nova 1 VF, Avengers 196 VF. X-Men 130 VF, ASM 301 CGC 9.0, X-Men 94 GD, Thor 166 VF+, NM 87 FN/VF, Avengers 257 NM-, Captain America 101 NM-, Marvel Team-Up 95 VF/NM, FF 49 GD, FF 18 GD, Ms. Marvel 18 NM-, Journey 84 VG, Doc Strange 169 VF, Ultimate Fallout 4 NM, ASM 298 CGC 9.8, Avengers 6 VG, Avengers 7 VG, Tales of Suspense 65 VG, ASM 238 VF, Ms. Marvel 1 FN+, MSH 13 VG/FN, Demon 1 NM-, Bomber Comics 4 VG, Superman 87 VG and ASM 25 Campbell Variant NM Signed.

Keys BoughtX-Men 94 CGC SS 6.5 Stan Lee, ASM 300 CGC SS 9.4 Stan Lee, ASM 300 CGC 9.6, NM 98 CGC SS 9.4, NM 98 VF/NM, FF Annual 6 VG, ASM 194 CGC 9.6, IM 1 VG, Swamp Thing 1 CGC 8.5, 2 copies of Miracle Man 12 Hughes in polybag, Tales of Suspense 93 VF, X-

Men 141 VG and a Batman 47 VG.

 

2nd Re-stock of 2018 – July

 

Not many cons were running July 4th weekend, so I planned ahead and flew out to Las Vegas and my old dealer stomping grounds of Los Angeles. Taking in the trends I saw at recent shows I wanted to add some Avenging Spider-Man 9s.

In Vegas, I bought a Batman Adventures 12 NM-, Avenging Spider-Man 9 NM, X-Men 7 VG, Captain Marvel 27 FN, Captain Marvel 33 FN and an Omega Men 3 NM/MT, Star Wars 68, Marvel Spotlight 12 Jewelers Alka Seltzer, Marvel Premiere 15 NM, Betty And Me 16 VG+, MSH 12 FN, Zatanna 15 VF, Avengers Annual 10 VF, X-Men 130 NM, ASM 238 VF, Subby 1 VF, All Star Comics 58 VF.

In Los Angeles, I found another copy of Avenging Spider-Man 9 NM, Lethal Protector 1 Gold NM, Bat 1 New 52 VF, Killing Joke 1 NM and a SW 42 CGC 9.0. I had an opportunity to buy a Venom Lethal Protector Black Error Variant CGC 9.8 but couldn’t pull the trigger at $3000 cash.

It was also cool to see my old LCS: Golden Apple Comics in better times. This LCS was a fixture for many years in LA and had ups and downs like other LCS in the LA area. I was greeted with warm hugs by the owner and she’s told me business has been booming since they launched their online website to selling ratio and store variants.

I snagged a few Batgirl 24 Middletons before leaving. This place has a decently priced rich back-issues area so lucky to find some keys like 1st Binary in the short boxes.

The following weekend I went to the Garden State Comic Fest in NJ. It was my first-time shopping in Jersey. It was challenging finding keys for value but I landed a X-Men 94 FN for $235, which I pressed and slabbed later for an 8.0. I also got an Edge of Spider-Verse 1 Land Variant for $2 which slabbed for a 9.8.

This also was the 1st time I saw a X-Men 1 CGC .5 going for $2000. In fact, from here on out I saw this price for a X-Men 1 CGC .5 as a repeating trend and norm on walls just about every show I attended from here on out.  

One cool experience was shopping next to Chuck Rozanski, the owner from Mile High Comics. Overheard him having a hard time finding collections these days and that he still has to fly out to cons to find key books for his shop in Denver.

To finish up my re-stock I landed an original Ohio Silver Age collection of mostly DC comics full of Bats, Supes, military, and sci-fi/fantasy titles. What an awesome experience it was, I can’t stress how hard it is to land a collection like this. Although it was mostly low to mid-grade, not many collections come out and circulate into the current market.

I’m not the type of person who scours the Bay, craigslist for these and it is the third time in my career that I landed a 3,000 plus comic book collection. Through networking with people at shows I met a retired gentleman looking to cash in and was able to offer him a win/win cash offer.

I was fortunate enough to later on organize and price 6 long boxes for Baltimore Comic Con and unearth some decent keys. All in all I think the collection was worth about $30,000.

 

 

July 2018 Raleigh Supercon – Raleigh, NC

 

Noticeable Trends/ObservationsThis was my 1st show in North Carolina and it was a fun and successful experience. I did not sell too many comics and it was the 1st time all year that my toy sales exceeded my comic sales. There weren’t too many comic vendors around, maybe only 5 of us. I was able to get some bargain books like a Huntress 1 and Batman 475 for $1 each. I missed out on an ASM 129 CGC 7.0 for $750 the first day. There was also an MSH 13CGC 6.5 for $650 which I should have pulled a trigger as there was a record sale of one for $800 over the weekend. The Avengers Infinity War related comics seemed to really cool off as not many attendees were asking for them. Looking back, at this point of the season it looked like this was the peak for demand for collectors looking for ASM 300 with 4 months to go for the Venom Movie. I was really happy to find homes for 2 key books: Daredevil 1 GD+ and a GSX 1 CGC 5.5.

Keys SoldDD 1 GD+, GSX 1 CGC 5.5, Captain Marvel 27 CGC 9.2, ASM 300 VF/NM, ASM 238 FN, Thor 165 VF, NM 87 VF-, Spider-Gwen 24 Campbell, Tales of Suspense 65 VG, XM 134 NM-, Man-Thing 1 VF+, WWBN 33 VF, GI Joe 1 and a Ms. Marvel 17 FN/VF

Keys Bought: Batman 189 FN-, New Avengers 11 NM/MT

 

August 2018 Fan Expo Boston

 

Noticeable Trends/ObservationsThis show was a great show for me last year as there was tons of hype with it moving to a new huge venue at the Boston Convention Center. Last year it felt like I was in Europe with tons of redheads sporting Spidey suits as Spider-Man with a huge sense of urgency to get ASM 300s as Venom was getting a movie.

This year was different because the spotlight of this show on the calendar was shared with Terrificonn as that show was getting a new hall in the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut which is a state away from Massachusetts. Collectors had to choose between both shows on which to attend and a lot of vendors felt like half the collectors that usually would go to this show went to Terrificonn instead.

All in all, a lot of people still attended the show as there was a huge Back to the Future reunion and Jeff Goldblum was a hot ticket revving up hype for the new Jurassic Park movie. Walking around I saw a lot of keys up 20% from the norm but nothing was high grade in raw for me to pull the trigger.

I did find 2 Miracleman 12 Hughes 1:25 variants in the poly bag for $40 total which was a nice find. My big sale was a TOD 10 VF. A lot of people were looking for raws and not slabs. Of all shows I have been to it, it is usually a mix of people wanting to buy raws and slabs but this show specifically people were only looking for raw books to press and slab.

Keys Sold: Venom Gold 1 NM, X-Men 266 VF/NM, TOD 10 VF, Marvel Spotlight 28 VF, Nova 1 NM-, Teen Titans 44 NM-, Captain Marvel 17 NM 1st print, Hulk 340 FN and Swamp Thing 1 VG

Keys Bought: 2 Miracleman 12 1:25 Variants Hughes, Avengers 4 VG

 

August 2018 Keystone Comic Con

 

Noticeable Trends/ObservationsMy second show of Philadelphia was way more different than the first. Reedpop brought in top end dealers making it a huge show for buying and selling between dealers and high-end collectors with deep pockets.

The vendors speculated that this show will have a huge impact in the near future as it is slated before NYCC and Baltimore Comic Con. It may take a few years but we all think this show has huge promise and can lift Philadelphia as being one of the key cities for comic cons.

The FF buzz was huge, FF1, FF5, FF 48 were the ones people wanted the most. In fact, I sold a FF5 CGC 1.8 for $1800 in a bundle deal. Lots of Hulk 181s sold here and I ended buying 2 Hulk 181s, a CGC 6.5 and CGC 2.0 from an appointment with a customer that met me at the show. Literally in 20 minutes I had both sold to another customer of mine.

In retrospect this time of the summer was the apex for flipping value for Hulk 181. For those following the 181 prices they have decreased in value throughout the winter. The Spider-Man Animated movie spec I would like to say started at this show as I saw many Ultimate Fallout 4s and Spider-Man Noir 1s selling and being taken off shelves.

I made 2 regrettable buys of Thor God Of Thunder 6, at this time of the year I did not know the value of those have peaked and were now settling for $25/$30 flip value. I did great at this show and sold a majority of my wall for the 3rd time to Anthony Snyder from Anthony’s Comics.

I also did a good job buying out another vendors wall of moderns and a short box of Venom and Spidey-related comics.

Notable sales: FF5 CGC 1.8, 3 copies of ASM 300 (CGC 9.6, CGC 7.5 and a raw VF). FF52 CGC 7.0, FF50 VG raw, Strange Tales 178 NM, Daredevil 158 VF+, X-Men 94 CGC SS Stan Lee 6.5, 3 copies FF Annual 6 VG, 2 copies ASM 238 VF, and a VG/FN Newsstand, ASM 194 VG/FN, X-Men 130 NM, Marvel Super Heroes 13 VG, Batman 181 GD /VG, Mister Miracle 4 VF and Spider-Man Noir 1 NM+.

Keys Bought: Hulk 181 CGC 6.5, Hulk 181 CGC 2.0, FF 48 VG-, ASM 129 VF and ASM 129 FN

 

September 2018 Baltimore Comic Con

 

Noticeable Trends/Observations: There was so much talk about Baltimore Comic Con during the year and being a vendor in Virginia I heard even more talk about it as it is a little over an hour drive for me to get to Baltimore. Vendors say this is hands down the best show in the country and legendary buys are made at this show.

In fact, one of my big clients at this show bought a raw Showcase 55 NM+ from me last year and got a CGC 9.8 after slabbing onsite. This year, I wanted to spend some time as a buyer and get a worthy key to press and slab. I succeeded and found a FF11 in FN+ for $450 from a local vendor I know that could get a bump with a press.

Thinking about my regrets of not buying a FF1 pre-con season, I reached a pre-arranged deal to buy a grail book that I have been wanting to since childhood. I purchased a X-Men 1 CBCS 1.5 from a buddy vendor of mine before it hit the floor. I did hear there was a legendary buy of a raw FF48 VF+ for $1500 and that was snagged the 1st day of the show.

I heard of only 3 booths selling raw copies of FF48 through FF50 and they didn’t make it to Saturday. I was surprised that a FF48 CGC 7.0 selling for $2100 and a FF49 CGC 5.5 for $550 survived the weekend. This was the 1st time too that I saw collectors buying X-Men from the bronze age at Overstreet prices and above.

Desirable keys like TEC 880 and Hulk 180 were bought from me and sold right away at the show. Not all hot keys were desirable, it seemed that ASM 300 was a tough sell all weekend. Seeing that sales were bad for ASM 300, I even had to turn away a customer trying to trade/sell an ASM 300 CGC 5.0.

Batman Damned 1 was also a hot ticket and I had multiple people asking me if I had it. Also, like what happened at Fan Expo Boston, some collectors had to choose between this show and NYCC or if they went to this show, they had to budget themselves to do both shows.

It was cool to witness a female collector seeking a copy of FF50. We had copies of it buy in too low of a grade for her liking though and she told us is was a gift for her husband and she was looking for a nice copy.

I told her a nice copy will start at $500 and she said price isn’t an issue and she did not want to seem cheap to her husband. Really was amazed how great a wife she is and how lucky her husband is. They say diamonds are a lady’s best friend but for us collectors, key high-grade comics are a man’s best friend.

CGC onsite grading was a big thing going on at the show. Many collectors couldn’t do the 1st one at C2E2 because of snow around the country and couldn’t fly out. I heard a lot of collectors/vendors scored big time on grades.

As previously discussed, my batch of Eternal 1 30 cent price variants did well as most of them had foxing and I am holding on to these until they reach TOD 10 status.

 

 

Notable sales: AF15 CGC .5, FF48 CGC 4.5, FF13 FN/VF, TEC 880 CGC 9.6, Hulk 180 CGC, 7.5WW 160 VG+, Hawkman 4 VG, Brave and Bold 54 VG, VG/FN, Batman 232 VG/FN, JLA 75 FN, Ms. Marvel 17 NM, Avenging Spider-Man 9 CGC 9.4, Flash 139 VG-, VG, DD 168 CGC 6.5, DD 131, Hulk 182 FN/VF, Bat 155 VG+ and Bat 171 VG.

Keys BoughtX-Men 1 CBCS 1.5, Detective Comics 359 GD/VG, FF11 FN+, FF 13 CGC 5.0, FF 13 VG, Hulk 180 CGC 7.5, Hulk 180 CGC 8.0, WWBN 32 CGC 7.0, TEC 880 CGC 9.6

 

2018 October Rhode Island Comic Con

 

Noticeable Trends/Observations: This show was one of a kind. It felt like the Rose Bowl Flea Market and a major Comic Con all mashed up into one. There was so much to see as many local vendors set up at the coliseum area and the more serious vendors set up in the main hall.

This show attracted a lot of local collectors, I think about 85k showed up. This was a different crowd from Fan Expo Boston. At this time the Venom Movie had been received well by fans and it turned out to be my big seller.

I sold a Venom 1 McFarlane Sketch CGC 9.8, Amazing Spider-Man 316 VF/NM, Amazing Spider-Man 361 CGC 9.6 Newstand, Secret Wars 8 NM raw, Amazing Spider-Man 569 Granov raw FN and a X-Men Blue 1 Hans CGC 9.8 along with other minor Venom back-issues.

Continuing the trend from mid-summer to cons presently, collectors were looking for copies of FF48 but only 2 vendors had a copy. I had a low-grade GD/VG copy which didn’t go and there was a detached cover copy that sold for $150 at another booth. I also had my biggest sale to a female collector ever and I sold an X-Men 135 CGC 9.8 for $300.

She told me her favorite character is Dark Phoenix. I also had a few sales to few female collectors buying and filling runs for their collection. This show more than confirmed to me that female collectors have become more knowledgeable on the worth of key comics.

Wish I had more time to rifle through comics at this show. I missed out on some good deals on early Spidey-keys like 1st Kraven and 1st Sandman but those were in low grade.

Notable sales: X-Men 130 CGC 9.8, X-Men Blue 1 Hans CGC 9.8, ASM 361 CGC 9.6 Newstand, Venom 1 McFarland Sketch CGC 9.8, Secret Wars 8 NM

Keys Bought: ASM 101 VG and Thor 225 VF

 

 

Re-Stock 2018 Con Off-Season

 

One lesson I learned was not buying enough keys during the year. Each time I went back into the well on the bay or at other shows prices kept getting higher and higher with smaller margins to flip.

I felt forced to get in the modern game of flipping and I tried dabbling in the variant game and my big hit was 7 copies of Batgirl Middleton 23 but overall sales on moderns weren’t as great as I thought they would be but there is a market for moderns and variants. Going into 2019, I wanted to buy back into mostly vintage and did not want to spend more than $15 on a single modern book.

I started buying early for the 2019 Con Season at Baltimore Comic Con and started with a bang acquiring my first X-Men 1 shown above as a CBCS 1.8. After Baltimore I drove up to Philadelphia and acquired a Hulk 181 FN-. With that purchase I had to set a new lineup of slabs for my wall.

I sent to CGC the Hulk 181, Hawkman 4 (in the collection I bought), MSH 13 FN+ (acquired during my 1st re-stock), the FF 11(acquired in Baltimore) and got back a Hulk 181 CGC 6.5, Hawkman 4 CGC 5.5, MSH 13 CGC 8.0 and an FF 11 CGC 7.0. I then acquired a FF48 CGC SS 2.0, FF49 CGC SS 5.5 and a FF50 CGC SS 6.5 all signed by Joe Sinnott.

  

I went down south in September and traded my Batman 121 PR for other more sellable keys: Batman Adventures 12 VF/NM, FF50 VG and a Booster Gold 1 NM-. At the same spot I bought an ASM 50 FN-, Marvel Spotlight 5 VG-, Edge of Spider-Verse 2 VF, TOD 10 VF, Avengers 8 FN- and a X-Men 94 FN/VF.

The bay did not represent a lot of good buying opportunities, vendors predicted that the market wouldn’t slow down and it really did not. It seemed like the window of opportunity opened and closed so fast during the holidays with only a week or 2 to buy and pickup good deals.

My bay buys were an Eternals 2 VF 30 cent price variant, Aquaman 34 FN/VF, 2 low grade FF Annual 6, FF 25 CGC 7.0, FF 356 CGC 7.5, Ghost Rider 1 VF, Spider-Man 2099 1 Toy Biz variant and a TOD 10 FN. All these buys were bought at 25% to 50% of value. I usually do a lot better.

My modern buys I spent no more than $15 on each issue. Was really happy to get a stack of unread GL 25s along with some Black Hammer 1s offered to me before news was announced on them.

Everything else I bought were at LCS shops during Black Friday sales or shows at the end of the season where you find some dealers wanting to unload.

I want to conclude that many local vendors are feeling the squeeze on restocking on keys. I myself am having hard time as well all year and I have had to spend more time researching and coming up with my own spec.

Collectors have gotten smarter and are way ahead of the curve than I have ever witnessed. That being said local comic vendors are thinking about doing less shows if they cannot keep up with restocking thier walls. Bigger vendors have restocked through me 3 times this year which a good problem but I then need to go spend time to re-stock through limited resources.

The bay these days is not the best option for me anymore. In conclusion, I have seen comic collecting go from a niche hobby to a more elaborate hobby. You really got to pay to play these days. Through my travels in 2018, I am happy to see so many young vendors getting into the game of selling all types of products at cons.  

I’m also glad that the market has been relatively strong in the offseason even in spite of the long government shutdown.

Thanks,

Philip Lee

Vintage Comics And Toys

 

19 comments

  • Wow great Write up

  • fantastic write-up. Thank you!

  • Ben C

    SUPERB info and super detailed, thanks!!

  • VintageComicsAndToys

    Thank you Ben and all, glad you enjoyed the write-up 🙂

  • Dude, Philip. Man, Dude. That was an amazing, amazing read. Thanks for taking the time to write it. So much good info, and I had so many questions along the way that I’ve now forgotten. I guess the one that sticks is something I’ve always wondered about pro vendors like yourself. How can you make it worth your time and money? I’m in Chicago, and C2E2 sponsors my site so I go every year. I feel like Wizard Chicago is a waste of time. I’ve been to Baltimore, and I’m friends with Shelton who does Heroes Con; both of which are great. But I have never understood how a pro vendor can afford travel, room and board, gas, and keeping a relevant inventory by doing con after con. Kudos man!

    AC

    • VintageComicsAndToys

      Hey AC, I’d like to say its tough to do shows with such a high overhead. The key to selling is to be transparent and of course getting comics at a decent price to make your margin. Every vendor has a different margin. Sometimes you have to gamble and buy at 100% cost and speculate if it goes up in a few months. If I feel that is has alot of legs to go, I go ahead and push my chips in. Eternals keys right now is one example as it has a high ceiling.

      Every business has growing pains and its always good to set a goal each year then make another goal the year after.
      Heres a simple business model:

      So year 1, best to stay local so you don’t incur travel costs, say you have a modest goal of making want double table and then maybe year 2 you want to make to make 3 or 4 times table. If comfortable and adventurous then year 3 you try a big show and maybe do another show which incurs travel and so forth.

  • Very insightful article Many thanks for the time and effort

  • Awesome article sir, thanks for the cornbread. I totally see where you are coming from throughout this.

  • Thanks for the write up, if you ever do HeroesCon or any of the SWVA cons post it on CBSI, i’ll gladly stop by.

    • VintageComicsAndToys

      Thanks Rob, Im trying to make it happen with Heroes for sure.

      • I’ve thought about doing local shows occasionally but i’m wondering if it’s worth it with the table fees and such at these cons? it sounds like you come close to doubling what your investment most times, how do you get other retailers to come off stock they know they can double up on as well? what’s a good stock “level” to be at before you do a show and at what point do you re-up?

        • VintageComicsAndToys

          It use to be easier to double your investment but I try get close to about 30% profit after overhead fees. Majority of my inventory in my short boxes I have made 100% to 200% on investment. These are $10 to $30 type books. Although these sometimes dont sell as much as keys its important to stock them. This is why during my 1st re-stock I did business with a bundle guy who had desirable titles mostly in bronze and silver. I made close 500% profit on my investment with him but again you have to be able to sell those books because sometimes your stock with them for 10 years to offload them. You have to give yourself a lot of cushion for every buy you do.

          This con season was tough some key books I bought too high and ended up in a few cases 10% profit after overhead.

          Local cons are very challenging, most customers dont have huge pockets. Its a really good crash course and test that you can benefit from. The test is that yuu have to sell to the person who has likely $20 to $200 to spend and you have alot of competition. So doubling table is very good from that standpoint. From there you work on your selling craft and if you can normally make 3 to 4 times table then its time to move up in level of buy in for shows.

          Local shows are still important even after doing big shows on the road. I don’t own a local comic book shop but I do have a local book book show I attend as a vendor when I can, so at least so I can interact and possibly sell to a customer base that already knows me.

  • Loved reading this.

  • This was really interesting. Thanks for the wrap up.

  • Adam Lebednik

    great info Thx!

  • Fantastic write up, really informational and a pleasure to read.

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