Bulk collectable card and comic appraisal
September 4, 2011 8:05 PM   Subscribe

Like every other kid born in the 1980's I collected comic books, baseball cards, comic cards and MtG cards. Also, like ever other kid born in the 1980's I was a absolutely certain to become rich by holding onto these things for the coming years. We were all wrong and we all still have them in our closets. I realize that they are worth very little since everyone kept these 'collectibles' closely guarded so supply outpaces any possible demand but still I'm sure there must be a handful of slightly valuable finds in the entire lot. Does any service exist where I give them my 'collectibles', they sort through everything and give me a honest appraisal or offer?
posted by snoopydies to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The market, aka ebay.
posted by pompomtom at 8:29 PM on September 4, 2011

Response by poster: That is what I was intending to avoid. I want to avoid identifying, looking up and listing thousands of cards/comics to put in an ebay listing.
posted by snoopydies at 8:32 PM on September 4, 2011

Not what you're asking, but here's a link about the collapse of the comic market. I did the work and looked up hundreds and hundreds of titles of comics and cards, and took the ones that seemed worth the time to bother with to a comics dealer for an appraisal. He was less than a tenth of what I was expecting. The truth is, it's very unlikely that you're holding onto something insanely valuable without knowing about it already.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 8:38 PM on September 4, 2011

He was offering less than a tenth, I mean.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 8:38 PM on September 4, 2011

"Identifying, looking up and listing thousands of cards/comics" would be something you would have to pay somebody to do; the odds of a golden ticket are so low that nobody will do that for free. If you are really convinced you're sitting on hidden gems, you could hire a kid off Craigslist to go through them. EBay now has apps for smartphones that let one scan in a bar code and quickly see what the title goes for on eBay; this makes things pretty quick, but, for thousands, still a lot of work. Your best odds might be to track down a kid who is keen on comics and also internet-savvy, and see if you couldn't pay him or her in comics to check and see if there's anything special in your hoard.

Your other option is, I think, going to be limited to taking them to your town's best-reviewed comic book store or Craigslisting them and seeing if you can get $50 or whatever for the lot, uninspected.

I am an eBayer, and I get semi-regular inquiries from friends: can you sell my [not dissimilar to yours] comics collection for me for a cut of the profit? And I have never sold a single comic for anybody because there's just not enough money, if ANY money, in it. I don't look through people's collections for free in hopes of finding a rarity because the odds are just too low.

The Magic: TG secondary market on Wikipedia: "Common cards rarely sell for more than a few cents and are usually sold in bulk. Uncommon cards and weak rares typically cost around US$1." With a few possible rarities worth lots; if you think you really might have some, again, I'd look for a geeky neighbourhood 12yo with good net access and a willingness to accept minimum wage...

I have two boxes stuffed with Archie digests to give to my young daughter in a few years. If you think there's a chance you'll have children, or even nieces and nephews, I'd hang on to them and pass them down.
posted by kmennie at 9:47 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Comic books could be tough.

MTG cards on the other hand, not as bad as you think, most of it, no one really cares about buying as a lot. Depending on what sets you played there's a handful of cards that are worth taking the time to sell. Obviously if you're holding on to a Black Lotus in any condition or Moxes from unlimited, you may actually be able to make some dough.

Beyond that the cards that really "held" value are non-basic lands. Specifically duel lands from Revised. Even then, we're talking hundreds of dollars not thousands. Unless you really have some insanely good condition multiples of some of these, your turn in will not be insane. With that said, the cards that are worth money from back then only continue to go up in value as each new set is released, Magic is more popular now then it has ever been.

Also to note, your neighborhood 12yo will not be able to identify this for you, Magic has grown into quite a complex card game with over 12,000 cards and someone who knows about those older sets and their value will need to be pretty knowledgeable.
posted by straight_razor at 10:13 PM on September 4, 2011

1980s comics are almost totally worthless, as you said. At our used book/music/comics store we never pay for them; when they're donated to us we immediately put them outside on the quarter rack and are delighted when folks eventually take them off our hands. Sure, there may be a rare first appearance of some beloved hero that makes a particular issue more valuable, but if you don't already know about those issues you're smart to avoid the hours and hours of work required to dig them out (and they're probably not worth as much as you think, anyway).

kmennie's right: your best bet is the local comic book store, which might be willing to sort through them relatively quickly and pull out a handful of good ones they're willing to pay for. Selling the rest as a lot on Craigslist for a smaller-than-you-probably-wanted lump sum is almost certainly your best bet after that.

less than a tenth of what I was expecting

Yeah, price guide values are routinely much higher than what the comics sell for among actual humans. And FWIW, we offer 20-30% of what we think we'll be able to get for a rare comic in cash, 30-50% if you prefer it in store credit.
posted by mediareport at 10:14 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

With baseball cards, at least, you wouldn't want to go online and look up each card you have -- you'd instead want to find out which cards in any given year and brand are worth anything, because if all your cards are from the '80s and up we are not talking about very many cards at all, and then look through your collection to see if you have them. Pick up a hard copy of a Beckett Sports Card Monthly, you can see everything in one place and make yourself a list of stuff to look for while you halfway-watch TV. It's quite possible that the total wouldn't be worth what you'd have to pay somebody to do it. Yours truly, my $15 1990 Score set.
posted by Adventurer at 10:26 PM on September 4, 2011

I sold off some collections over the past few years.

One of these - Blythe dolls - had a few fora dedicated to buying and selling. I was able to scan the past sales, and the price list put together by the community, to work out whether what I had was worth selling off singly or as a job lot. The plus point to this is that selling to fellow collectors cuts out the fees of eBay and you're more likely to get a good price - but you need to be patient. Is this something you can do for baseball or MtG sets?

I'm not an expert on either, but are there not similar price lists for the rare/sought after items in each field you can use as a reference?

The other option, which you're not keen on (but I use this if I'm trying to work out whether it's worth my effort and time) is to search completed eBay listings. Find the category, enter in the appropriate keywords (1987, Mega Orc Land or whatever) and sort by highest price first and see what you've got there, rather than doing each card separately.

The main rule for selling anything is - is the time and effort it will take to do this worth the return I will get? If the answer is no for you, then you might want to gift them to someone who will use and appreciate them. If the answer is yes (it often was for me when I was unemployed or needing funds for something frivolous) then go for it.
posted by mippy at 4:41 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

sort by highest price first

I think you'll get a better sense of the item's real value if you sort by lowest price first. One or two outlier auctions where a couple of insane folks get in a bidding war that most other buyers ignore isn't your best indicator of an item's value. What it sells for regularly at the low end, however, is.

Also, everything I said about 80s comics goes double for 90s comics.
posted by mediareport at 7:24 AM on September 5, 2011

As someone who sells on eBay and sort of dreads being asked to look at stuff like this, I'd like to add that offering 10 percent of what a collection like this is worth is TOTALLY FAIR.

The time & effort expended in trying to squeeze out a few bucks from this sort of product means that it's only worthwhile if the cash expenditure is next to nothing. And sometimes it's not worthwhile if someone is literally offering to give it to you for free.
posted by the bricabrac man at 10:02 AM on September 5, 2011

And let me empasize what mediareport said -- I just went through this with someone who wanted to sell me a stack of Dungeons & Dragons books.

The seller looks them up and says to himself: "Look! This guy got $25 for his! I should ask 25 bucks a piece for these! Oh, I'll be nice and say $200 for the entire collection.

I look them up and say to myself: "Look! One guy got $25 for this, one guy got $18, and 15 people got between $5 - $10 (this is for the same exact title, mind you). I should offer $70 for the entire collection".
posted by the bricabrac man at 10:08 AM on September 5, 2011

A friend of mine runs a site called checkoutmycards.com where you basically mail in all your cards and they take care of listing them and what not. Very easy, though it won't help with your comic problem.
posted by JasonSch at 12:43 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older How close could a satellite get to the sun, and...   |   What is the millennial vision of the future? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.