November 20, 2017
Some Beach! Yeah, with the prospect of raking leaves followed by sub-freezing weather and shoveling snow, that’s where I’d like to be–preferably Key West. Fortunately, with one of my sons moving there recently, the wife and I have a free place to stay! Plans are already in the works to meet our newest grandchild when she arrives late February and a huge family gathering is planned for late Spring.
In the mean time, I’m here and always trying to track down new inventory for you guys. A recent trip to lower Delaware (97 miles each way) turned out to be a bust. I took the chance on making the run since one of the gentlemen I was to meet would occasionally stop by the shop and buy Silver Age back issues from me. Knowing that he’s making a long trip, I give him our membership discount. When he called to say that he and a buddy had some comics to sell, I figured it would be worth the effort to check them out.
To be there at 9 in the morning meant leaving home around 7 AM, but I’m up early anyway – no sweat and sure glad I wasn’t going north at that time off day! Easy directions brought to the home of the buddy who offered me a cup of coffee immediately–love a cup of Joe! The occasional customer who called was also there and all three of us had a nice conversation before we got down to business. Up front, they both wanted to sell “all or nothing”–no cherry-picking. That’s no problem for me as I can usually get a better break by taking everything and these guys were obviously both knowledgeable in comics.
Turns out there couldn’t have been any cherry-picking anyway as there weren’t really any ‘key’ issues present. When I mentioned this, they agreed, but still wanted to sell all as a lot. The buddy’s group consisted of somewhere around 230 nicely bagged and boarded comics which he believed to be valued at an average of $20 a piece. I didn’t see it! Loads of Sgt. Fury (but no #13 or single digits), some Conans, some ’90s common stuff, but weak on super-hero titles. We were so far apart in our estimation of its value, that I couldn’t make an offer. I came willing to spend money, but not on that sort of material. The caller’s group was more superhero related–Daredevils, some Spideys, etc., but he wanted 60% of guide. Even though I reminded him of the deals I gave him in the past and the fact that I pay a commission after that, he stood his ground. I’ll pay 60% or more for key issues for usually they’re a quick turn-around, but not for non-keys.
I believe we parted on good terms–it was just a waste on time. and it started raining hard on my return trip home!
Oh, well, even major leaguers making $20 million a year are only successful 3 out 10 times! So, get back out there!
Scouring auctionzip.com, I find a sale about an hour and a half away in PA with pictures of comics, including an Amazing Spider-Man #2, featuring the first appearance of the Vulture, who is slated to be in the next film! The site did not give full pics of the covers (issues over-lapped others in the group shots) but I recognized what little I did see and the auctioneers evidently knew this was a significant one as they showed a close-up of the issue number in a separate frame.
Having been to this auction before, I anticipated a long day as they sell the ‘collectibles’ in the evening. The sale started at 11:00 AM. I was there by 10:30 AM and, as expected, the comics were behind glass in the back room. The comics were rough – VGs at the very, very best and the pictures on the site did not reveal that the ASM #2 had a large tape snag right in the middle of the front cover! All of the issues with 10-cent and 12-cent cover prices had a tag indicating that an absentee bid had been placed. I didn’t see any of the other comic book dealers I was used to seeing at auctions, so I decided to stay. A staff member thought they would get to that area sometime after 4:30 PM.
ELVIS WAS IN THE BUILDING! I forgot that this guy was there last time I attended this sale. Hair dyed jet black with the right ‘do’ and muttonchops sideburns, dark sunglasses and black leather jacket and boots. He happened to remove the jacket and had on a black leather vest covering a black shirt that had the obligatory top two unbuttoned. Me? I kind of stood out a little, since I wasn’t wearing camo or flannel, didn’t have facial hair or a baseball cap and did not have a southern drawl – for example, six 285 – 18 inch “tars” sold for just 5 bucks!
I enjoy people watching and learning potential values of other items, so I don’t consider the hours spent to be a complete waste–definitely better than vegging out in front of the boob tube on my day off! They started with box lots outside. There were numerous times where the bidder ‘won’ 6 to 8 boxes of miscellany for a dollar. A 2000 PSI portable power washer sold for $6. Three tall metal cabinets in nice condition sold for a total of $5. Around 12:30, a cube truck pulled up and they had the promised food sale. The crowd was guaranteed that the steaks and hotdogs, as well as the dry goods, were still okay as they had been frozen, even if some were now past the due date. I passed.
I passed on the shop tools, smalls, hundreds of metal collectible cars, Christmas items, records, clothing , glassware, knives, etc., but I did score several hundred Pez dispensers! Look for them in the shop. Hours of standing, and I retreated to the back room and sat for over an hour waiting for them to finish up before starting there. Evidently, one consignor was a fan of “erotica”. Besides obviously idolizing Marilyn Monroe, he(?) had boxes upon boxes of books devoted to the female form and cases (23 of them) of DVDs of what many call PORN! These were interspersed for sale among the other ‘collectibles’ as they tried to clear out the shelves. Perhaps modesty prevented people from bidding, but finally 18 boxes of books sold for 3 dollars.
Finally, they brought up the comics and the ASM #2 was the first one! Overstreet gives a value of $433 for a 2.0. If it came home with me, you would have seen a $400 price tag on it. Not ten minutes before they got to it, a silver-haired person that I knew to be a comic book dealer came in the room. He bought it for $300