When you're in "The Game", it's easy to get off track and chase big scores. It's fun to make $100+ sales, and it's exciting to score that rare Miracleman hardcover, and there's nothing quite as exciting as holding one of those obscenely expensive Marvel Limited books from 94' in your mitts.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with thinking big...as long as you aren't stuck there. Here's a fact of the game that I've learned over the past three years that nobody else is going to teach you: there's a mental barrier for a lot of buyers out there, and it's sitting right at about $30.
Obviously, it is possible to make sales beyond that mark. Funny stuff happens, a movie comes out, and all of a sudden you can sell that $15 copy of Losers Vol 5 for $100. It does happen. But the vast majority of folks out there are just like you, which means they think spending $50 on a book they can read in 45 minutes is pretty silly. So they don't do it.
The flip side of that coin is that there are a ton of people who will drop $20-$30 on just about anything that suits their fancy. People love reading comics in trade form, but the problem is that 90% of everything is out of print and relatively difficult to come by. So when a collection picks up a little steam and gets any kind of scarce, you can often fetch that $20+.....regardless of initial cover price. Hence today's topic - gutter gold!
There is plenty of fodder out there available for a couple of dollars that you can turn around at 10X very quickly. This is the best of all possible worlds. No, you aren't going to be able to retire on one sale. But on the other hand, you're never going broke on your initial investment, either. That's the best place to live - your upside can be 1,000% profit, and your exposure is less than the price of a cup of coffee.
I'm spotlighting a handful of DC books, all with suggested retail prices of less than $10. These are all items that can be found in discount bins and Half Price Books. These are all books that can be flipped very easily, because they are aren't priced out of Joe Plumber's budget. The other bonus is that each of these books is a very slim volume, which means no weight, which means you can offer it to international bidders and Priority Mail seeking domestic buyers without losing your shirt on the shipping reimbursement.
Aquaman: Time & Tide
ISBN = 1563892596
SRP = $9.95
Peter David is a known commodity, his run on Aquaman is remembered fondly, and there isn't much of it that has been collected. All of that translates to a book with a little heat behind it right now.
When I purchased mine over the weekend, min price on Amazon was $50. I've since dropped mine down to a more reasonable $30 to get it into that buyer's "sweet spot". Remember, you don't have a profit until you sell the damn thing. If you have a book listed on Amazon for $270, congratulations. If nobody buys it, you've got nothing.
Find this one at Half Price Books for $5 and then flip it for $30. Do it four times and you've earned about $100. Your total investment? $20. That's a win-win formula.
Wonder Woman: The Contest
SRP = $9.95
This one will never go out of style, because the Deodato art kills. I've sold this item for $28-$30, and it's a pretty easy sell in nice shape at $20. Even if you pay full retail, a $20 sale is worth it. You're investing $10 to make $6-$7 at the low end of the cycle. Again, these can be found in half-off bins at conventions and used book stores for much less than retail.
Condition is a factor in everything, but don't sweat it much if you're getting them below retail. The market here is a reader's market, which means they'll pay that $20 even if it's been a little loved. At the same time, everybody prefers a fresh copy, and buyers will often pay a little premium for something near mint. If you find a really nice example, don't be afraid to pay full retail for these at all. (UPDATE: I just sold a particularly nice copy of this book for $29.99 on 5/22)
Batman: Darkest Knight
SRP = $4.95
I've sold this tiny little Elseworlds volume for $50 on the good end of the cycle. It's always an easy pop at $20, and you can find it for $2-5 all over the place if you keep your eyes open.
I bought one this weekend in very nice shape for $2.50 and just dealt it for $30. That's a $24 profit that I risked nothing for. Batman with a Green Lantern ring - when is that going out of style? Never. Darkest Knight is a tiny little gem.
Superman: Speeding Bullets
SRP = $4.95
I've seen this cycle down as far as $10-12, and I've seen it hit the $30 range quite often. Again, if you're picking it up for less than $3 at Half Price, you just can't lose. Other items under $10 that I've had success with:
Batman: Nosferatu (Elseworlds)
Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight
Zatanna: Everyday Magic
Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
Batman: Gotham Noir (Brubaker!)
Star Trek: Enter the Wolves