He Got the Snare Drum, I Got the Funny Books!
December 5, 2016
I picked up an unusual collection recently – no major super-hero keys, but it did have some books I hadn’t even seen before. The lady of the house brought in only 4 issues to see if I might have some interest in checking out the rest. There was an early Mad comic (as in a pre-magazine issue), a decent copy of the ultra thick Picture Stories from American History and a couple others. Oh, yeah, my curiosity was piqued! Supposedly, though, they had a few friends who were also into comics somewhat and wanted to look at them first. I gave her my contact info, hoping to hear from her again.
About a week went by before I got the call. The husband agreed that they didn’t want to get into parceling out the collection. They just weren’t into it. Turns out, they got 8 boxes of comics thrown in when the husband made an offer on a snare drum his friend bought as part of a storage bin purchase. The friend took what he wanted out of the bin, offered a drum set to the husband, which happened to have a decent snare drum in it (the rest of the set was not of the same quality). From what I gathered, when the husband made an offer on the snare drum alone, the friend agreed, but only IF he took everything in the storage locker! Normally, one must clear out a storage bin within 24 hours of a sale or pay an extra fee.
I checked out the 8 boxes on a Friday afternoon, which included a box of manga (we agreed to just donate it to a school library), a box of Mad magazines and a strange grouping of comics. However, there was a nice run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from #1 up. Although #1 was a second print, the rest were first prints! There were several golden age comics, 5 mini-comics from the 50s that were originally only 5 and 7 cents, maybe a half dozen super-hero issues, and lots and lots of Charlton Comics, including #1s. Most of these are in the boxes on top of the back issue bins–check ’em out. Need a copy of Hee-Haw #1? It might still be there! Knowing full well that I wouldn’t recoup my offer quickly, but it was fun stuff, I gave what I felt was a fair offer for the wife to relay to the husband when he got home.
No phone call that evening, but it did come late Saturday afternoon. Offer accepted! No counter offer made and my check would be okay. I sped back to the house as they needed to leave within the hour. As requested, I made the check out to ‘the boss’, but the husband didn’t mind–it was for 7 times what he revealed that he paid for everything!
Other than these, I haven’t picked up much lately–quantity-wise. I did score a couple of key issues that will not be in the shop for a while, maybe never. I’m saving them for the First State Comic Con on the 18th at Millcreek Fire Hall. Look for two low grade–as in “affordable”–copies of Amazing Spider-Man #1, a Batman #7, Submariner #1, Avengers #1, , the 1st Punisher appearance (ASM 129), and a couple more to be debuted at the show. Just in time for Christmas, be it for yourself or that collector on your list! (I accept plastic).
As I’ve noted many times in the past, low grade keys are in! I see them going for well more than guide all of the time. As reported earlier, a 1.0 graded ASM #1 sold on eBay for $2,200 – more than the “guide” for a 2.0. A recent lot on eBay though was a little confusing. A pretty beat up copy of FF #1 (loads of wrinkles, soiling, tape along the complete spine) did not sell at auction (there was a reserve) for a little over $1,100. So, the seller re-listed it as a Buy It Now item for $3,000. At the other end of the spectrum, the local (Newark, Delaware) owner of a CGC graded 9.9 copy of Walking Dead #1, re-listed his unsold copy. Originally, besides the WD #1, he was including a 9.8 Preacher #1 and a 9.8 Absolute Vertigo that introduced Preacher. The bidding stopped at just shy of $9,000 but did not meet his reserve. It has now been re-listed for $13,000 without the two Preacher comics!?
I used to do written appraisals for people, but stopped it after a bad experience. Thinking that I was compiling a detailed list for insurance purposes, I spent hours doing just that. A two-fingered typist, it was very time consuming and I charged way too little for my time. Okay, a learning experience. Then, months later, I get a subpoena to appear in Family Court to testify in the divorce proceedings with regard to the value of this family asset! After driving into the city, having to pay parking, I’m instructed to sit outside the courtroom until they call me in to testify. You got it–after about an hour and a half, the bailiff comes out to tell me that I could go home–they settled the matter without needing me. No compensation for my time or inconvenience.
So, when I get a call from an appraisal company out of California to see if I would do an evaluation for an insurance claim on approximately 600 damaged comics in the Wilmington area, I politely declined, citing the amount of time necessary to do it right. “Oh no”, I was told. I was assured that I only needed to inspect the damaged comics and come up with a “ball park” figure as to the total amount of loss and submit it–no itemized list expected. It did seem a little strange (I should have stuck to my guns), but I relented and quoted a very reasonable fee for my anticipated time. I wasn’t talking to the person in charge and a further email from that person stated that a list of the ‘more expensive’ ones would be needed (which makes sense!) and that pictures ‘would be nice”. Now I do have one of those new-fangled phones that takes pictures (I really miss my old flip phone), but have never sent a picture with it. The email gave me the owner’s contact.
My conversation with the owner revealed that these weren’t going to be recent $3-5 comics, for these were a collection of a guy about my age, collected way back when. They were Silver Age superhero comics! He hadn’t done anything with the collection in years and had just stored them in the attic. Who knows when it first occurred, but he wasn’t aware that his roof leaked until it finally came through the bedroom ceiling. That’s when he discovered the wet, now moldy, comics. Fortunately, the water had not affected all of his comics, as he mentioned that his copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1 were spared!! He just couldn’t get around to sorting and listing the comics, as requested from the insurance company previously, but claimed he would try–soon.
I called the appraisal company back and spoke to the man in charge, explaining that this would require more than originally thought. He understood and said to do the work and then send him a bill. Curiosity has got me again. I agreed. Stay tuned for details.