No Money in Collectibles, Part 1 [11/24/00]

When you were young, how many of you thought that the comic book you held in your greasy little hands would be worth something down the line? If you were a child during the Golden or Silver Age of comics, you're probably kicking yourself for not keep a hold of those old comics. With that idea in mind, we find that most comic companies are forcing out variant covers of their comics, in hopes of making them worth something. To them, collectibility equals profitability.

But that in itself is the problem. Old comics are worth something now because no one then thought they'd be worth keeping. How many people read X-Men #1 and then threw it away or traded it for a baseball card or two, little realizing that it would be worth thousands thirty years later. With so few mint or near-mint copies of these comics floating around, collectors are willing to pay an exorbitant amount to have a copy. This was also helped by the fact that comic companies only printed a certain amount of each comics.

Today, millions of copies are printed of the major titles, flooding the market and destroying any chance that the issue will be worth anything more than cover price (and sometimes less than that). Point in case: When Marvel decided to create a new X-Men series a few years ago, the released five different versions of the first issue, each a variant cover. People snatched up multiple copies of the issue, hoping that their investment would be worth the expense. A year down the line, the multiple-million copies of the issue were still only worth about cover price.

Another example is the issue of Batman in which Robin dies. When it came out, you couldn't touch a copy for under $50. Now, it really isn't worth much more than any other supposedly special issue. The gimmick of killing off super heroes has been done so many times that the market just doesn't flinch at it anymore.

Since comics have become a mainstream item, their collectibility has really taken a nose-dive. Unless you already own a number of old (at least fifteen years old) comics, you're really just wasting your money. If you enjoy reading comics, then, by all means, continue to buy and enjoy, just don't expect any kind of monetary return on them.

- Vane

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Old issues of Batman and X-Men like these can net you some decent cash. The older your issue, the more you can get.