It's been too long, Cabin Weekend really derailed blogging and my prep for Chronic Insomnia # 205. Oh well, on with the show! Some items that have recently caught my attention:
Amazon min: $45/$80
This is a really strong opportunity, because these Conan books fit a very predictable pattern, and there's a history of earners from this particular line of books. It's the usual story, where a niche but fervent audience seeks out the best and most desirable material. Hardcovers are nice but expensive, which works in a Gamers favor both ways. People want the material the most, but retailers are less apt to order it, because it entails more financial risk.
If you've got an exceptional copy, I don't think $75 is out of the question, which puts you in that very cozy 3:1 profit/entry ratio I'm always looking for. I really don't even mind 2:1 on this one, for a couple of reasons. First, I'm extra confident I can make a sale on this product. Secondly, I think the odds are good that even if I'm 2:1 now, I'll be better than that by Christmas.
Here's a little tip: come holiday season, your higher priced items pop with ease. It's often necessary to slash prices in summer, but when somebody absolutely has to have that deluxe signed Spawn slipcase for their husband, they will pay the going rate for fresh, quality product.
Just as an aside, your earners now for that Conan HC series are volume 0,1, and 4. Volume 4, Hall of the Dead is especially in demand right now. I think you can score $100 or more with that book currently.
Amazon min: $15/$40
I haven't sold this book yet, so I'm not sure if I trust it yet. It certainly looks good on paper, though. It's certainly got age in its favor as a 1999 release. Many items from the mid-to-late 90s eventually crawl into some form of profitability.
As I type this, the money seems to be tucked into the high end of the condition spectrum, which is not unusual. If I saw this at my LCS in really nice shape, I'd feel comfortable paying cover. Hell, I'd feel comfortable paying cover for just about any TPB in great shape from 1999. They're hard to find, and increasingly preferred collectibles. I snap up any old collected edition if I see if its in pristine condition, because I'm pretty sure I'm going to retire on my CGC graded editions. More on that in a bit.
Amazon min: $35/$40
So, we covered The Painting That Ate Paris a couple weeks ago, and that has certainly worked out. I bought a copy of Volume 2 a few days ago for $18, posted it for $50, and it sold inside of six hours. It's really quite odd that DC has let these modern classics go out of print, but I certainly advocate taking advantage of the situation for the (I'm guessing) brief window of opportunity available.
The thesis is pretty simple. Doom Patrol is a Grant Morrison favorite. It's probably never going to land on the Diamond Top 300 chart again, (unless somebody makes a movie?) but a steady stream of emerging Morrisonites are going to be interested. If they can't find the book at their LCS or Barnes & Noble, it's feeding frenzy time. And that's what we've got going right now.
Musclebound is currently sitting at around the $40 mark, which is only 2:1, but I think it's such an easy sell right now it's probably worth it. Again, check in periodically to see where supply is at on Amazon. If things really dry up, I can see something like this commanding $100 until DC finally wakes up and goes back to press.
My Retirement Fund
I've been experimenting with sending books to CGC for grading. When I started, I wasn't even sure that they'd accept them, and I was deathly afraid that they'd reject anything thicker than a four issue collection.
I should honestly keep my mouth shut on the issue, because I'm giving away some pretty powerful milk for free, while simultaneously creating my own competition. The problem is that I am in the words of Malcolm Gladwell, a Maven. So I just can't help myself. I'm going to retire on the profits secured sending my high end trade paperbacks to CGC, and if you're smart, you can as well.
It's really a perfect storm of opportunity. When released, these books were not perceived as collectible, and as a consequence very little survives of any age that isn't dog-eared. Just sitting on a shelf is often hard work for these books. The perception of TPBs has shifted to the point where it's obvious to anybody paying attention that they are the preferred format of a strong and growing segment of the comics market, and they are just now beginning to ascend as collectibles.
Start cherry-picking now, folks. Anything old with sharp corners, a nice spine, and lays flat will work. It's better if it's a Batman book, and it's better if it's a first print/first edition. I'll say this about my grading results from CGC - they're very fair, and I'm a tougher grader than they are. I used to feel bad about posting my trades on Amazon as "new" unless they were pristine. What I recognize now is that I shouldn't have been selling those books, I should have been grading them.
I just sent my four best copies of Miracleman vol 1-4, and earned a pair of 9.6 grades, one 9.4, and one 9.2 for my copy of Olympus. Now, Miracleman is a pretty known commodity at this point. It's also well known in 2011 that the TPBs are even more scarce and collectible than the floppies, because the legal issues appear to have halted the printing press on more collections.
I've just received my copy of Dream of Flying back with a CGC 9.6 mark. I don't really know what that's "worth", because the market is in its infancy. I know this - if you offered me $1,000 for it, I wouldn't take the money. Mind you, I'm not claiming I could get more for it at present on the open market. Frankly, I think the open market is currently too stupid to know what it's looking at. I'm saying that I think it's worth far more than $1,000 in less than 10 years, and it's harder for me to find a high grade copy of that book than it is to keep the one I've got. But it can be done.
Keep looking for those shiny, perfect little trades. Get them graded. Nobody else is doing this right now, bless their hearts. Now is the time. Happy hunting!