How to value the worth of a magazine or comic book collection


Although much of our scanning or microfilming work is based around projects for businesses, clubs, and organisations, we also cater to private magazine or comic book collection enthusiasts.

More often than not private collectors will want to store their collection in digital form to protect them it environmental dangers or loss.

With that in mind, how does a private collector value the worth of a magazine or comic book collection?

Vintage magazine collections

Much of the time the kind of magazines that pass through our document and book scanners are beautifully preserved magazines originating from a bygone era.

Despite this, it is often the case that these magazines are being preserved either to retain their information, or because they hold personal value.

It might come as no surprise to learn that 86 per cent of magazines on eBay are sold for less than £10 – despite there being around 600,000 magazines on sale on the site in 2015.

For those looking to make money from magazine collections it is important to note that large amounts of patience and product knowledge are involved to make money from the sale of old magazines.

Occasionally of course, there are magazines of a certain cult status which might be sought after by certain collectors. First issues for example, might fetch between £5-£10.

Despite this however, among the masses of low value issues, there are of course hidden gems tucked away in attics and basements.

For example, an auction in 2007 sold a complete run of the 1960s magazine Oz, which ended up selling for £3,600, while an (almost) complete run of International Times went for a fruitful £3,000.

Fashion magazines such as Tatler, Vogue, Town and Nova also tend to sell quite well at auctions.

Of course, how a person sells magazines will affect the value of a collection, and when doing so it is best to:

  • Store magazines in special storage boxes designed especially for magazines. You can also get acid-free cardboard boxes for valuable magazines.
  • Keep an accurate record of what magazines you keep so that you can refer to the roster should you need to check the value or condition of a magazine.
  • Be aware that if you stack copies on top of each other, it is advised that you don’t align the spines for anything more than six copies as the spine is thicker than the opening edge.


Comic book collections

As with magazine collectors, we also work with a large number of comic book collectors who are looking to preserve their favourite and most valuable comic books.

Like magazines, the comic book market can also be quite tough if you don’t know what you’re doing.

There are always stories of comics selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but for every one comic sold for that price, there could be millions that would take only a dollar or two.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Rob Salkowtiz, a business analyst and author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture says that, “there are two markets for comic books” and that:

“There’s the market for gold-plated issues with megawatt cultural significance, which sell for hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars.”

“But that’s a very, very, very limited market. If a Saudi sheik decides he needs Action Comics No. 1, there are only a few people out there who have a copy.”

For those who are looking to sell their comic books however, there are a number of tips to take into account for when it comes to the big day:

  • Present the comics well, keeping them neat and tidy so that you can prove a level of care.
  • Do research to understand that your price data is correct.
  • Do not tell a buyer that the books are “still in their bags” as a high percentage of them do not come in bags when new.
  • If you are buying comic books to sell them on, ensure that they are in a good condition to begin with.
  • Don’t get caught up in the hype of new books, as usually the price of a comic book will peak and collapse within a small amount of time.
  • It’s okay to politely refuse an offer that you are not comfortable with.

Different comics book in basket near the black amp


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