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How to Buy Old Comic Books
By Carl Hose
OverviewOld comic books can be valuable, depending on the condition they're in. You can find many old comic books in local comic shops or from online comic dealers, but buying from these outlets will likely cost you a premium price. Half the fun of buying old comics is finding a valuable comic at a bargain-basement price. But you have to know where to look for old comic books and how to identify them.
Step 1Obtain a comic book price guide. If you are serious about hunting down old comic books, it's a good idea to subscribe to "Wizard," a monthly magazine/price guide devoted to comic books (see Resources). "Wizard" gives you an updated price guide each issue for nearly every comic there is. The magazine also features articles and tips on collecting comic books and grading them, as well as where to hunt down hard-to-find comics. Another good idea is the "Comics Buyer's Guide" (see Resources), which gives you practical advice on hunting down and purchasing old comic books.
Step 2Familiarize yourself with the comic book grading system. You can find a comic book grading chart online (see Resources). Print it out and carry it with you when you hunt for old comic books. The grading chart will help you determine the condition of the comics you find, which will help you identify their worth.
Step 3Visit yard sales and flea markets. Many people who aren't familiar with comic book collecting often put comic books up for sale at cheap prices just to get rid of them. Attending yard sales and flea markets on a regular basis can result in a gold mine discovery of old, valuable comics.
Step 4Use your grading chart to determine the condition of the comics you find. If you collect comic books for the fun of it, you may not be concerned as much with condition as you are if you collect comics strictly for value. If you see a box of comics at a yard sale and you want to go through them without risking a price increase from the seller, you might want to purchase the entire box and pull out your grading chart or price guide later.
Step 5Don't be afraid to haggle. If you find a good-quality comic at a yard sale or in a comic book store, try to get the seller to come down on the price. Comic book values fluctuate, and comic book dealers are like other businesspeople. If the price marked on the comic is near top dollar or doesn't match the condition the comic is actually in, chances are good you can get the seller to negotiate.