One Outta Four Ain’t Bad, If…
January 31, 2017
In a 5 day span last week, I went one for four, starting out with a hit on Friday (more on that later), then 3 strike-outs in a row.
Saturday morning, I headed out early in the morning to an auction about 70 miles away. This was on my calendar for quite a few weeks as the site showed some interesting Silver and Golden Age offerings. Besides a copy of Planet Comics, a Captain Marvel Family, an EC here and there, loads of Disneys and war related, there were about a dozen or so pre-superhero ‘monster’ issues–Tales To Astonish featuring “Elektro’ and ‘Goom’ (no ‘Groot’, though); Tales of Suspense with the likes of ‘Thorr’, ‘Blip’, ‘Vandoom’, and ‘Rummbu’; Journey Into Mystery with a character called ‘Hulk’, Strange Tales, Marvel Tales, and many more. From the pics on the site, the Silver Age issues seemed to be in pretty decent shape. Within the last week prior to the sale, they added more pics and it was of many more comics, including a Hulk #181! The other shots were of groups of issues, but I did spy a couple of early X-Men. I had to check out this auction.
It was held in a fire hall, in a room no where near the size of room used by the First State Comic Con–more like a meeting room. The chairs set up in the center were surrounded by folding tables full of all sorts of items. Up near the auctioneer’s podium with an employee overseeing the selection of coins and the initial comics shown on the site–plus the Hulk 181. The rest of the newly listed comics were along one side and the site did not do it justice. There were WAY more than suggested. Twenty or more ‘flats’ and bins, each with 50 to 200 comics covered about 3 long tables. Evidently, the auctioneers tried to do a little sorting as some flats had a theme, but most were a hodge-podge, with a strong flavor of Hulks, Roms, Ghost Riders, X-Men, Avengers, and other Marvel titles. Yes, they pulled out the 181, but they left the 180 and 182 in one of those piles. In a separate stack I saw the Hulk #271 (1st Rocket Raccoon in comics) and Hulk Annual #5 (2nd Groot) in another. X-Men #12 and #13 were in one flat with lots of Byrne X-Men in another. There were semi-keys scattered through-out the boxes, so I made notes to myself (location on the tables – top issue being shown, etc.) to try an identify the individual boxes when they were presented. Some of that went out the window when people rearranged the comics within a stack, no longer leaving the issue on top for identification purposes. THEN, the auctioneer’s helper moved them to the front table and not in the same order. O-kay, I could still recognize as few as one was a plastic bin with the word “cards” on it instead of just being the bottom of a cardboard box. Two were the kind of storage bins one would slide under a bed, so I knew at least a few of them for sure. It didn’t matter.
Besides my arch-nemesis being there (that guy with deep pockets who buys everything significant), there were several other serious comic buyers present. All of those great monster comics went for over a hundred bucks each. The Hulk 181, which in my opinion was a VG+ at best, maybe worthy of a $600 bid on my part, sold for $1,600! NOT counting the buyer’s premium! And, no, Lex Luthor did not get this one – he dropped out at $1,500.
I went home empty-handed.
No potential buys surfaced on Sunday, but it was a good day due to sales of some of my Friday buys. A few alert readers took advantage of the sale mentioned in my previous blog (see below).
Monday was homework day as I did lots of research for an upcoming auction. The site was shown twice on Auctionzip but seemed to lack some key info. Links provided showed a catalog with antiques, glassware, coins, and golden age comics with online bids placed so far. One link said the auction started at 9:00am, so I assumed that there was “in person” bidding, also. But, the other link showed a “TBD” for the time? That has now been changed to 10:00am, but the other one still says 9:00?! Anyway, what were the terms? Method of payment accepted? Buyers premium? Couldn’t find it on their own website. So, I decided to spend time and blow-up the pics using my computer, assign a grade, and look up the corresponding values. This was continued during the slow work hours at the shop. I put in a number of hours preparing (at least I got paid for some of it – Joe doesn’t read this stuff, right?). Then, I finally found what I was looking for – all forms of payment were accepted, except for out-of-state checks unknown to the auction house. (some houses do not accept Discover or AMEX, some don’t take ANY credit cards). And the buyers premium? – 24% – that’s not a typo – twenty-four percent! Naturally, bidders should think about this when raising that card or hitting the on-line link, but it has to hurt the consignor. He/she does not see any part of that portion, only the actual bid, which will be lower due to the high premium that must be considered. Me? I’m balking at 24% What a waste of time.
Tuesday, I stumbled upon a storage bin auction being held that morning right at the Easy Storage units on Ruthar Drive. Four units were up for grabs. What the heck, I was free, so I took a drive down there. About 10 of us showed up in the light drizzle. The first bin was a 5′ by 15′ unit that was crammed top to bottom. There was a 6′ aluminum ladder on the side, used furniture and boxes piled high. Bidding opened up at $25 and that’s where it ended. The second unit was about twice as big, but not nearly as packed. I saw a box spring and mattress with a couple of kid’s bikes on top – otherwise nothing interesting. Ten dollars took it. The third one was pretty full, but unlike the first one, the contents just seemed to be in better shape. Still, I wasn’t seeing any of those long white boxes, if you know what I mean. The same bidder as #2 won it after going as high as $100. Alright, one more to go and we’re leaving the outside units and going into the “climate controlled” section! When the door on the small unit was opened, it revealed nothing but about 20 or so boxes. Nothing but evidently well sealed, taped boxes of various sizes, and all had a pre-paid mailing label on them. Now these types of auctions are “cash only” and I had a fair amount on me, and my curiosity was piqued. I almost popped on it, even though it ended going for $250 – a complete gamble. Again, nuttin’ for me.
I not counting Wednesday, even though I made the 71 mile trip up to Sellersville. No comics of interest, but I did go home with a few things that will make their appearance on either eBay and/or one of our flea markets – a nice Beatles lot, a group of 100s of Heroclix, and a mixed lot that included a 32″ Batman figure. If any of that seems interesting to you, let me know. Let’s call that a “base on balls”
So, one for four, but that hit was a home-run! Two weeks before we met up, the gentleman stopped by the shop and handed me a list of what he had, with what condition he believed them to be. All were Silver Age DC comics–not a single Marvel issue in the lot! But, he had an almost complete run of Green Lantern from #1 through #71. It included the 1st Sinestro and Guy Gardner and in decent shape. Besides the GLs, he had another almost complete run–Justice League of America from #1 to about #60. Not that this wasn’t good enough, he had a nice copy of Atom #1 plus his first appearance in one of the Showcases. There were Brave and Bolds, Batmans, Detectives, Actions, Supermans, Adventures, Flashs (even a #123!), and more. With the lead time that I had before seeing them, and the list provided, I worked up a price I would be comfortable with IF they were about the same as described on the list.
Welcomed at the door, I found the owner had them spread out by titles on a dining room table. We drank coffee and talked comics and people that we both knew from the ‘old days’ as I started to inspect the comics. Our new President was being sworn in, but I stayed on task and missed it, as it was on the telly in another room. After about two hours, the owner came back in the room and said I could go home and mull it over. I didn’t need to. Typically, when I ask people what they want for a collection, they come back with an “I don’t know”. BS! They know, just want to hear what I have to say first. Still, since they are the seller, they should have a price in mind. Incredibly, he came out with EXACTLY the figure I had come up with. Easy Peasy! A Done Deal! I spent the rest of Friday afternoon and when I returned from the Saturday auction failure processing the find. Check the DC showcase in the shop! and, again, website readers – be sure to make sure you’ve read the previous blog! I think you’ll admit it was a homerun!
While ending on an “up’ topic, I thought I’d share a couple of extraneous items that have my endorsement:
Electrical Solutions: one of my sons needed some electrical work done, so he called a contractor that he had used previously for other work to get an estimate. Going on YELP, and looking for at least one more estimate, we found that Electrical Solutions had received very good ratings from consumers, so they were called. The first company came out and gave a figure over $1,200. “ES” came out the next day and gave a figure roughly one-half of that. Less than a week later, they did the work, and when done, actually LOWERED the figure because it did not entail as much as previously thought. They didn’t have to install two boxes in the ceiling as originally planned. Do you really think we would have known? No, but they were honest and charged accordingly. It was our first experience with them, but they are definitely our next call if an electric problem should arise in the family.
SHERLOCK: I just finished the second season of this BBC series found on Netflix. It came highly recommended to me and I definitely agree.
GOTHAM is back and so is the JOKER! The actor who plays the Joker is also on Shameless, another of my favorite shows. Warning: Shameless is NOT for kids! Get them out of the room, maybe out of the house. William H. Macy plays “Frank”, one of the most irresponsible, system-playing characters you’ll ever meet, but he’s a riot! And the rest of the cast, incredible.
PRS Reality: Pure favoritism here, but if in the market to buy or sell a home, call Paul Stitik (302-383-7998) for complete professional service. Paul, licensed in Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania (and Florida) and is the owner. Potential agents – check out the fees charged by other companies and compare with those of PRS Reality!
Excipial: I’m not a doctor – don’t even play one on TV. But I am a life long sufferer of extremely dry, itchy skin – especially during the Winter months. Believe me, I’ve tried everything – Corn Huskers Lotion, baby lotions, Vaseline, all sorts of aloe and hydrating creams, Nivea, prescription lotions, you name it. Most would not absorb and left me feeling very uncomfortable to touch or rub against anything. For those of you with similar problems, you know how the constant itching saps you of energy. At the suggestion of a doctor years ago, I’ve even had the unnatural glow of a suntan during the Winter due to going to a tanning salon (it actually did seem to help as I don’t have these symptoms during the Summer), but we all know about the potential dangers of overuse (and, full disclosure, I had a spot of basal cell removed just this past Fall- probably due to lack of using sun screen for 7 decades). I was given a small sample of Excipial last Fall and it works better than anything I’ve tried in the past. It’s thin, spread well, absorbs and has even eliminated a few dry patchy areas within a day or two! And, it is calming. Ask your doctor about it. It’s ‘over the counter’ but a little hard to find so the boss orders it for me online (Amazon). Made in Switzerland, but distributed by Galderma out of Texas – a little under $10 for a 6.7 oz bottle.
Whereabouts Cafe: I just learned about this place in Peoples Plaza on RT 40. Our own Ms. Ellie works there and from her description, Dave and I were chomping at the bit to try one of their selections. breakfast and lunch only, as they close at 3:00 PM. Everyone raves about their bagels.
Disclaimer: Except for the obvious nepotism blurb above regarding PRS Realty, I have no financial arrangements with the above services or products. I just like’em!