How to Find Out What Your Collectibles are Worth
Updated: Apr 23
You've just asked a supposed in-the-know person how much your old comics are worth. "They're worth whatever you can get for them"...groan. How sick are you of that trite response?
Sure, there's some truth to the statement, but it's not very helpful, and there's a lot more to it than that.
Perhaps if you rephrase the question, to the one you most likely want answered, you can get a more useful answer(s).
Let's try this instead:
How can I get the most money for my comic books.
Sell them to a collector that really wants them.
How do I know what to ask?
Use the same method certified appraisers use, track sales records of similar items that sold over a period of time. I use the term "similar items" because almost without exception, you will not have the exact same thing as the "comp" you've found. Comps, in the appraisal world, is the term for items found as close in description, age and detail to the one an appraiser is trying to evaluate. You may have the same #24 Incredible Hulk comic book, but the odds are slim that it's in the same exact condition as the one you're trying to compare it to.
OK, so I found a Hulk #24 or an antique duck decoy similar to mine. So the price I see on those, is what mine is worth?
Not exactly...now you're running into the territory where you find out why appraisers are hired. You see, there are varying factors such as: What auction did you find the results? When was it sold? What's the current market condition for that type of item? Do you want to sell it fast, or can you afford to wait?
OK, so it's impossible to find out how much something is worth!
No, but it's an art, not an exact science, you can do it, but what professional appraisers do, is vet multiple sources to get an average of what the item is worth. Among the variables, sources, condition, timelines, provenance averages and other factors are taken in consideration when an appraisal is written.
Where are these sources?
One of the best ones is a Past Auction Record (PAR). The reason the PAR is considered reliable, is it contains actual sold prices, not asking prices. On our Auctions page at capeannauction.com/current-auctions there is a section below the current auction with a link to our Past Auctions Results. It's very useful. Other great PARs are eBay's' completed/sold records, Worthpoint.com (subscription is required) Live Auctioneers and many other auction sites. As a certified appraiser, I also subscribe to the best art & antiques PAR databases, have a pretty extensive reference book collection and of course, years of knowledge buying and selling. If at all possible, get out there and try to see in person, and handle items similar to the ones you own to find out more. Have fun!
Let me know if you have any questions or comments!