A Fisherman’s Tale : Fingers Crossed

When I first started collecting comics seriously, I did not know where the stores were. Gone were the days of checking out at the local Food Lion and picking up the latest issue of X-Force. I did a few google searches for local comic shops, but as a newbie those shops can be intimidating.

Why does this copy of Amazing Spider-man 347 cost $3 and this one cost $5 because it has a different letter beside it (F-NM). Grading systems did not matter to me, I just wanted to collect the books from my childhood. (everything Spider-man or X-men) I eventually discovered my first Free Comic Book Day Sale and the wonderful event it can be.

I could find entire runs of Spectacular, Amazing and Web for fifty cents a piece. I am a completionist in my Spider-man collecting. I learned that completing Web and McFarlane’s Spider-man would be pretty simple to complete through these sales. Even the “keys” show up in the bargain boxes. For Spectacular and Amazing I realized that my LCS was not enough.

I hadn’t yet discovered all the small cons around town and my new wife had not yet begun to understand my obsessive collecting nature. To eBay I went. I eventually learned how to write phrases into the search bar “lot”,  “vintage”, and “Spider-man”.

 

 

I first came across a lot of Spectacular Spider-man a 10 issues run, I looked at the seller’s other items and noticed he was selling several runs of spectacular. I was able to get sixty – seventy early issues for a dollar a piece and only had to pay for shipping once.

I have quite a few great eBay finds this way, but one my greatest early fishing stories was with the phrase “vintage comic lot”. The lot only had one picture of spread out beaten up comics. In the lot you could see a few Batman issues, but peaking out was a worn 12 cent silver age Spider-Man. The seller was an old thrift store, sometimes thrift stores can have great deals.

I quickly bid $100 the most I had ever spent on a eBay purchase. I was so nervous waiting on the countdown. I would eventually look up the issues. It was ASM 2, Batman 190 and Batman 197, and some other issues I can’t remember. This was a year or two before Spider-man: Homecoming so Vulture had not taken off, but it was definitely worth more than $100.

I won the auction, but then the anxiety of “what condition are the books in” took over. Sadly the ASM 2’s cover was detached, but complete. The two Batman issues were in VG to F condition. These two Batman issues are some of my favorite covers because of how the colors pop and my fishing story I tell about how I got them.

As my collection has grown and changed over the years I have watched the ASM 2, and have never seen it sell for anything close to what I paid in 2015.

 

 

Investment : $100 (plus anxiety) Estimated Value: ASM 2 – $750, Batman 190 – $20, Batman 197 – $15 + and a few other $5 – $10 issues. Net Profit: $700 + ( if I ever sell)

P.S.     I sometimes have had buyer’s remorse for example I thought I was getting a VF Fantastic Four 51 for a $10 only to find out it was the JC Penney reprint (always take the book out of the bag at the flea market). For every big find I have had I have just as many unimpressive buys where I got caught up in the auction.

 

5 comments

  • Avatar

    Enjoyed the story. I haven’t had too much luck with ebay lots, but that is a great score on your part!

    • Avatar

      Yeah that score was 5 years ago, before the speculation boom. I’ve only found one other lot similar to that and that was still 4 year’s ago. More people scour eBay and those who list typically over value lots

  • Avatar

    I found a Batman #197 in a thrift store for $13 and was like “whoa!” – such a great cover. It was probably in FN condition from the look of it, but upon reading through it, I discovered that the middle pages were missing. Sad. Not sure how much that dumps the value now?

    • Avatar

      Batman 197 is a great cover. Sucks the inside was missing, but I wonder how many Silver and bronze I have bought and never opened the bag to read the book.

  • Ben C

    Great story Chris!

    I wish we could go back and pay 2015 prices for a LOT of books!!

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