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Old Comics for Sale, Rare and Valuable Comic Books

Search the Internet's most popular online comic book stores and auctions with ComicSeeker.com for old comic books. To find Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Green Lantern or any other back issue vintage comic book, type in the title of the comic you are searching for. You can also include an optional specific comic issue number to find the rare comic book you are looking for. ComicSeeker will search online comic stores, dealers and even Ebay comic auctions to find results.

Martin Luther King Jr. Comic Book

Comic books celebrate people, events and things. Today, happens to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. His life was chronicled in a 10 cent comic book in 1956, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.

This comic book was published in 1956 by Fellowship of Reconciliation. It was short, even by today’s standards at only 16 pages.

Although the comic book features Martin Luther King Jr., appearances were also made by Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks.

Today, this comic book is tought find. However, by most standards, not that expensive.

Comic Book Backing Boards - which side for your comic

I just read an interesting thread over at the CGC forums. Someone did an experiment on standard backing boards to determine which side you should place your comic book against.

First, the tester conducted his pH test on standard comic book boards that you find in most comic book shops. These are the boards that are coated and shiny on one side. What he determined in the test is that you should place your comics on the side of the board that is shiny.

Finally, remember the test was not with a true archival backing board. For all your valuable comics, I recommend that you do not use the backing boards with the coated surface. You should use backing boards that are 100% archival on both sides.

Restored Comic Book Prices of Silver and Bronze Age Comics

In this third post about setting prices and the value of restored comics, let’s review the impact to Silver Age and Bronze Age comic books.

First, the previous discussion was primarily aimed at Golden Age and Platinum Age comic books. Those are generally the comics that have value in lower grade, thereby potentially justifying the restoration work.

When pricing restored Silver Age and Bronze Age comics, the negative hit to the value of the comic is potentially greater. The reason for this is very simple, the comics are not as rare. My comic book collection has a Flash Comics #5 from 1940 that has been restored. My guess of the value is probably 30-35% of the unrestored value. However, there are simply not that many of these comics around. My guess is anywhere from 100-1000 copies in existance. A search for Flash Comics #5 right now show that there are no copies available for purchase at this time.

I also have a Flash #123 in my collection. Actually, I have four mid-grade copies of this comic. And, a seach on ComicSeeker.com shows that there are about 15 other copies available that I could purchase. If any were restored, I simply would not be interested in buying it given how many choices I have. Therefore, a restored copy, especially in mid-grade, is going to be roughly 20% of the unrestored value.

Bronze Age comics are so readily available that any comic book that is not a major key comic that has been restore can be placed in the $1 box.

Value of Restored Comics vs Comic Books that have Conservation

Since I’ve received some comments on the last post about the value of restored comic books, I have received some comments that I thought would be helpful for readers.

First, clarification on what is comic book restoration. There are many different points of view on what constitutes restoration and what is conservation of a comic book. The opinion of ComicSeeker.com is one that has been mentioned among collectors often, restoration is an attempt to restore the comic book back to its original published condition.

Conservation is much more limited in that it attempts to protect a comic from damage. To me, conservation is somewhat narrow in scope. Much more than basic protection and you are trying to improve the condition by restoring the comic book. One good example of conservation is cleaning or replacing rusty staples. If this work is not done to an old comic book, the rust could expand to the paper and eventually destroy the comic book.

Sealing tears may be considered conservation. But, to me, it is restoration. There is nothing wrong with it, but generally, a tear isn’t going to get worse if you handle your comic book properly.

Now the bigger issue is how to price a comic book that has had conservation or restoration. Naturally, the value of the comic is something only you, as the buyer, can set. If you don’t like the asking price, you can simply walk away. Today’s market, there is not much distinction made between pricing a restored comic book and setting the price or value of a conserved comic book. In the eyes of most collectors, once the comic book has been touched, they classify it as a PLOD. Therefore, the price will be a percentage of the untouched value.

Value of a Comic Book that has been Restored

The comic book collecting community has taken an obvious stance when it comes to pricing restored comic books. Generally, a restored comic book is valued between one-fourth and one-half of the value of the same book, in the same condition, but unrestored.

This trend is only about 6-8 years old, since the advent of CGC encapsulation and the disclosure of restoration on CGC labels. In fact, there is a term that has been given to CGC graded comics that have identified restoration, PLOD. PLOD stands for Purple Label of Death. CGC puts a purple label on comic books that they have found to have restoration.

How do you price a comic book that has disclosed restoration? There are several factors, but the main ones are the degree of restoration, the type of restoration and the grade of the comic.

First, the grade of the comic. If the comic is high grade, it generally will have a greater penalty on the value. The lower grade, the less the penalty.

The degree and type of restoration is interesting to calculate. Much of the value will be determined by the buyer’s perception of the restoration. Some buyers will consider color touch differently than cover cleaning. But, the end result is somewhat similar.

However, it is clear that the more restoration there is, the greater the discount on the comic book.

The Spirit Movie Now Out

The Spirit movie is now out in theatres. It’s been out since Christmas, but I have not yet had a chance to see it. Unfortunately, the reviews are not that great.

However, The Spirit comics are timeless classics and well worth reading. The spirit was created by Will Eisner and was initially published as a Sunday comics insert in newspapers starting early in World War II. I have a few in my collection as well.

The Sunday inserts were popular for their groundbreaking stories and classic artwork. My favorite part is viewing the wonderful Eisner “covers” on the inserts.

Later, after World War II, and when Eisner completed his war service, he continued with The Spirit and eventually a standard sized comic book was published.

Today, DC is reprinting all the inserts, in chronological order as part of their Archives series. However, I suggest finding the originals for their wonderful art.

Old Comic Books with Walt Disney Christmas Themes

There are countless Disney comic books, both rare and commonly available, with Christmas themes. Disney did publish a few very specific Christmas titled comic books.

The following is the first issue of Walt Disney’s Christmas Parade published by Dell Comics in 1949. This 132 page comic book from the Golden Age was penciled by Walt Kelly. Dell published this title annually for 9 years before it was taken over many years later by Gold Key.

An old and rare Disney Christmas Parade comic book published by Dell

An old and rare Disney Christmas Parade comic book published by Dell

The one issue series of Christmas in Disneyland was published by Dell in 1957. This 100 page comic book from the late Golden Age or early Silver Age of comic books is now somewhat hard to find.

Rare comic book Christmas in Disneyland featured Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the cover.

Rare comic book Christmas in Disneyland featured Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the cover.

Thanks again to the Grand Comic Book Database, the best comic book resource on the web.

Old Christmas Comic Books

I was thinking of doing a series of posts to highlight Christmas Comic Books from the Golden Age, Silver Age to the Present. So, I took a quick look at the Grand Comics Database and was amazed to find 77 comic book titles with Christmas in the title.

That count does not include comic books of regular series that had Christmas stories and/or Christmas themed covers. For example, here are a couple of Batman covers with Christmas themes from very early in the Golden Age run. Although these are not rare comics, they can be hard to find this time of year. The first comic is Batman #27.

Batman #27, Classic Christmas cover with Santa

Batman #27, Classic Christmas cover with Santa

The very next year, DC issued another Christmas themed Batman, #33, with Robin atop a falling Christas tree.

Batman #33 features Robin attempting to put a star atop the Christmas tree.

Batman #33 features Robin attempting to put a star atop the Christmas tree.

Finding a comic book with a Christmas theme, whether 50 years old or just printed should not be too tough. Good luck and happy holidays.

Thank you to the Grand Comic Book Database.

10 Mil Mylar for Comic Book Storage Follow-Up

This is a short post to update everyone on 10 mil mylar for your vintage comics. Last week I wrote about this new product from Bill Cole Enterprises and sent them a request for a sample.

I received the mylar sample in the mail. It was not a full mylar. There is no way you could fit a comic book inside. I suppose the sample was to showcase the thickness and the sealed edges.

The edges are well sealed. Compared to some of their products I have used in the past, it does not seem as though this product would have any issues such as splitting at the edges.

It is an “archive” mylar. That is the open top type to slide your comic down into. There is no flap.

The thickness is noticeably thicker than normal mylar. However, it is not as rigid as I thought it would be. Given this, I believe you would still need a backing board to protect your old comics with. That sort of defeats the whole reason I would consider purchasing 10 mil mylar. It will be fine in your storage system as it fits in standard comic boxes. So, for now, I think I’ll pass on this product.

Comic Book Circulation Data - The Comics Chronicles

I recently came across a new website call The Comics Chronicles. This site is a great resource for comics data. More specifically, circulation data. The information is a great help to get an understanding of the overall health of the comic book industry and of specific comic book titles.

The amount of data is vast and presented in differing types of analyses. For example, Marvel Comics was the overall leader in comic book market share from July 2007 to July 2008.

I found the data for comic book sales from 1960 fun to look at. Check out this chart…

Title Publisher Avg. paid circ.
1) Uncle Scrooge Dell 1,040,543
2) Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories Dell 1,004,901
3) Superman DC 810,000
4) Superboy DC 635,000
5) Mickey Mouse Dell 568,803
6) Batman DC 502,000
7) Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen DC 498,000
8) World’s Finest Comics DC 476,000
9) Looney Tunes Dell 459,344
10) Action Comics DC 458,000

In October, 2008, the top seller of all comics was Secret Invasion by Marvel Comics. This comic outsold Hulk, Batman, Avengers, Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men and the Justice League of America.