A Fisherman’s Tale: Lists and Mislabels
Last issue I mentioned the joy I have found scouring eBay. If you are not too picky about grades you can usually find the books you are looking for at reasonable prices. I sometimes wonder if a great comic lot is more about timing than it is the grind of eBay searches. I have been on long road trips chaperoning teenagers, and just happen to find a lot of 100+ ASM vol 2 for less than a dollar an issue on eBay with my LTE connection switching back to 3G, and I have spent weeks looking for a decent priced issue and found nothing. I was negotiating a purchase of ASM 4 (first silk) 1:10 variant for $50 and the seller refused to drop below $60. As I was about to pull the trigger, all the issues shot up over $100 because of the Cindy Moon movie news.
Probably my greatest moment of reading the fine print was an unusual eBay lot back in 2016. A lot popped up on eBay, it was a stack of comics. I always struggle with comic stacks, because you can only see the top comic and the spines, usually these books are reader copies (though keys are keys). The lot only had one picture with Marvel Super Heroes 1 on top. A fun issue, but not a key. I read the description, and found a list of all the comics in the lot. The lister had created a shorthand for the books. MCI 1, MCI 2, MCI 3, MT 1, MSH 1, MSH13, MSH 14, MSH 21, MSH 22, Superman 233, 234 and a few more issues. It took some thinking but because there was a Marvel Super Heroes 1 in the picture I figured it out. MSH stood for Marvel Super Heroes, MCI is Marvel Collector’s Item, and MT was Marvel Tales. I knew MSH 13 was a key issue, but the Captain Marvel movie rumors were just starting. I looked up the issues and set my price that I was unwilling to cross.
Ended up getting the lot for $50 + shipping. As always the anxiety of condition was there, but also the hope that it wasn’t some random Charlton comic with MSH as the initials. Comics showed up and everything was in the VG to VF condition. The Marvel Tales 1 and Marvel Comic Items 1 could easily earn me my money back (if I sold them) and MSH 13 was a key that I don’t think will drop below $75 for awhile. I took a $50 dollar gamble that my interpretation was correct and netted a key that is quickly establishing itself as a late silver age “must have” key.
I have gambled before on those ridiculous eBay grab bags. This one was slick the picture showed some books I wanted and had a $25 price tag for a group of SA books. Sadly I did not read the fine print. I could get one of these books. The only guarantee is one silver age book amongst the five in the lot. I got a random non key DC silver age book and bargain bin books. I learned my lesson read fine print before pressing Buy It Now. I like to celebrate my finds alongside my failures to show what a good comic fisherman needs to do.
Till next dig,
A Fisherman’s Tale