A Fisherman’s Tale : BEATER BE AWARE

I am not a perfectionist when it comes to my collecting. For me it has always been about owning a copy over owning a high quality one. I know each collector is different, this one guy I collect with wants every Amazing Spider-man, but they have to be 8.0 or better. He is willing to pay Fair Market Value for them, but not eBay prices, so he is slowly amassing his collection (nice to be independently wealthy). Another guy I run into, has never met a book that wasn’t a “9.8 All Day” with a press (doesn’t matter if it has been sitting in a box without a bag for awhile). For me I am a completionist and flipper, so of course I want the best condition copy, but if I can get a beat ASM 50 for under a $100, it means I am closer to finishing my run and can put my money toward those last few ASM I need.

For flipping purposes quality does matter, because I have had a few eBay sales returned because I have put words in my description like “great” and “good” and didn’t realize someone would open the book flipping to each page until they found a speck of dirt. Even when I have flipped beat copies with clear wording that they were readers, I’ve had buyers want refunds or discounts.

I have started a little collection of cover-less, beat and torn comics. These comics are important keys which I hope to have a complete copy of eventually, but I can wait until I complete my ASM run. I have 2 cover-less comics that I am very proud of, they were throw-ins on a couple of eBay lots. The first cover-less is ASM Annual 1 which came in a lot full of Marvel Super Heroes 13, Neal Adams Superman 233, and Marvel Tales 1. I did not buy the lot for the book, but I am happy to have it. The next cover-less book came with my copy of Golden Records Avengers 4. The seller threw in a few cover less books as filler in the box, one of which was Captain America 117 first Falcon.

I got lucky one day and my LCS was putting out some Silver Age books he had just got in. He knows I am looking for Spider-man so he shows me this beat torn copy of ASM 4 (first Sandman) the corners were chewed, but you could still tell what book it was. I was hooked, especially, when he sold me that along with Fantastic Four 9 for $5 each. I can now claim to own ASM 4, without paying hundreds of dollars.

My favorite beater I have found happened a few months ago. My collector fishermen and I were diving through the latest batch of quarter comics, when I did a double take, there was a batch of old 20 cent and 25 cent comics. These were pretty worn and without bags. They put stickers directly on the comic so it is always a challenge to pull off the sticker without further damage. I flipped through a few and they were some old Marvel Western comics, but then I saw it a few Tomb of Dracula comics, in fact the two biggest issues you would want, issue 10 and issue 12. This was the type of find you want to hide in your stack because you think the shop will cite you for shoplifting. I have found beater comics before that eventually become keys (Marvel Premiere 48), but I have never seen a well known key end up in the box before. The Squirrel Girl was $12 and Gambit was $50, so the shop usually prices under market, but not stupid. They can recognize Squirrel Girl first appearance but miss Blade!!!

Until Next Tale

A Fisherman

 

 

18 comments

  • Avatar

    You have to be careful. Some online buyers will switch out books on you. Say, they have a copy of the book you just sold them. Their copy has a few defects. They will claim you sent them that book..ask for a refund, keep the better copy you just sold them.

    • Avatar

      I’ve had that happen before. The worst was I sold an obvious reader copy of ASM 361, even was very clear in the write up. But buyer claimed it wasn’t the condition purchased and sent me back the copy hanging off the staples. eBay did me right and didn’t make me refund it, but I got impression that was a one time thing.

  • Avatar

    Finding those really beat up and cheap old comics is always satisfying. It definitely falls under the category of “Well, technically I own a copy,” but is a point of pride nonetheless.

    One of my comics that has the most sentimental value is a coverless copy of Amazing Spider-man #7 that I bought for $0.50 20 years ago. Back then I had to do a bunch research to find out what issue it was (I didn’t know about the incidia at the time, now I feel stupid for missing something so blatantly obvious), I had only bought it because it was an old Spide-man comic, so why not? It’s probably not even worth $50 even now, but up until a few years ago that was the oldest Spider-man comic I owned, so I will always treasure that comic.

    • Avatar

      I bought a coverless w/photocopy cover of ASM 7 for $30 not to long ago, only to buy a graded 2.5 a month later from the same store. I don’t feel to bad, because I figure I can flip the coverless eventually.

  • Avatar

    “He is willing to pay Fair Market Value for them, but not eBay prices,” i.e. he’s willing to pay what he thinks is fair, just like everyone else? 😉

  • Mike Morello

    Love this topic! I particularly enjoy doing this with golden age books. Prices on those are so high that it is quite often the only way I’m ever going to own them. Thanks for this story.

  • Avatar

    I don’t know how lads square that, as FMV incorporates eBay, Heritage, etc. Most lads don’t want to pay Overstreet prices either. They just don’t want to pay at all. LOL!

  • Avatar

    I usually do this on golden age books and high end silver age keys but they have to be at least complete. I never go as far as coverless though.
    My goodness! I would never falsely claim as a buyer that a comic wasn’t as described in a listing when it’s clear as day. That’s just down right horrible. Every once in a while I have an issue with one.
    I just got some books on Ebay from a seller the other day. One of them I’m probably going to have to return for refund if we can’t work something out. Usually the most frustrating part of this is that it seems like it’s always on a book that I’ve been trying to win on there for multiple years.

  • Avatar

    I have just happened into my coverless, but I do stop and check coverless books in dollar bins, because I’ve seen pages of high dollar keys go for a few hundred graded NG. I am convinced I will come across an incomplete, but good cover copy that I can transplant.

  • Avatar

    I owned beater copies of Hulk 180 (with stamp) and 182 for years. Got the 180 graded and sold it for $130 last year. It was fun to have a copy.

    Also had a coverless Giant Size X-Men #1 for 25 years which finally found a new home last year to someone who also thought it would be neat to just to have one.

  • Avatar

    it’s been a little while but about ten or eleven years ago someone put a beat up copy of FF#12 for $15 with free shipping on Ebay. Even then the book was worth four or five times the price. Probably the fastest I ever pressed that buy it now button! It is very beat up but complete. A 1.0 on a good day, but still, an awesome book in any grade! Still have it. Enjoy flipping through it from time to time. Doubt I will ever sell it.

  • Avatar

    As far as cover-less comics go the best I did was come across a cover-less Hulk #1 for $5 from I kid I went to school with that said he found it in his attic.. That was back in 1987 or 1988 though.

  • Avatar

    I still want to come across one of those “in the wall” finds, where the old comic had been stuffed in the walls for installation. There could be some victorian house in New England full of Golden Age comics, just waiting for the wall to be opened.

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