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How do I Choose the Best Comic Book Price Guide?

Jason C. Chavis
Jason C. Chavis

When choosing the best comic book price guide it's important to determine what needs an individual may have regarding his or her comic books. There are a variety of markets within the comics industry, ranging from people who collect older books to speculators who purchase rare or newer issues, such as variant covers, in an effort to make a profit. Different types of comic book price guides offer different services.

The first thing that needs to be considered is how far back the collection goes. Some collectors have comics that go all the way back to the Golden Age of comics, during the 1930s and 1940s, while others have more recent collections. Comic book specialty stores became popular during the 1980s, allowing many new collectors to become exposed to titles and issues they otherwise were not capable of purchasing. This also provided the publishing houses with a place to sell more specialized issues. As a result, the amount of individual titles grew exponentially during this time period. It also spurred a rise in more independent companies releasing books. Different types of comic book price guides specialize in each of these new fields.

eBay is a primary source for the resale of comic books.
eBay is a primary source for the resale of comic books.

The Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is one of the oldest pricing guides in the industry, having been published annually since 1970. It was established by Bob Overstreet as a method for collectors to keep accurate yearly changes in their investments. The Overstreet Guide has the benefit of containing detailed information about pricing on American comic books all the way back to the 1930s. Many regard this as the most influential and conclusive pricing tool of the industry.

Wizard Magazine is also a valuable source for more recent publications. It is a monthly publication and comic book price guide that covers major comics releases from the past decades. This is a very good option for those collectors that primarily focus on the modern releases and different aspects of those publications. Many companies at present release smaller runs of their issues with alternative covers. These issues are generally sought-after by avid fans and are usually worth more than the regular issues. Wizard gives a collector a good source for pricing on these issues. It also features many articles about up-and-coming issues and various artists and writers working in the industry.

Comics Buyer's Guide is a catalog released monthly, again with articles. This publication has the advantage of listing most issues that will be released in the following month. It's beneficial to both collectors and dealers in determining which issues will be highly-sought after. Comics Buyer's Guide also features many smaller companies that other publications generally ignore. The company also features a yearly comic book price guide release that features pricing and figures for delivery including those from the U.S. Postal Service.

There are also online options for collectors and dealers. A variety of websites have been established that offer up-to-the-minute details about pricing. Since the inclusion of eBay as a primary source for the resale of comic books, entire collections are being cataloged and sold. Most of these websites have begun keeping track of these sales. These sites, such as comicbookrealm.com and comicspriceguide.com work with a variety of dealers and resellers to keep track of daily sales figures that change the value of a book. This has essentially made the comic book market operate similar to the stock market.

Each of these examples offers different solutions for different investors. When determining which comic book price guide is the best option, make sure the collection is analyzed. A fair assessment of the condition of each book and the original publication date will allow for the most accurate estimate of the value of your comic book collection.

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Discussion Comments


@Melonlity -- another problem is that people have problems accurately assessing the condition of their comic books. A comic book in mint condition will, for example, bring more money from a collector than one that is in very good condition, but what is the difference between the two?

The local comic book guy can tell you that and some of them actually grade comic books and certify their condition. Paying a visit to your local comic book store before selling your collection is well worth your time.


Regardless of what comic book price guide you use, there is something to keep in mind -- you are often looking at retail price and that is not quite the same as what an individual can expect to receive for a comic book.

Say, for example, a price guide says a comic is worth $400. That is what a comic book store retailer could potentially charge for it, but what about individuals who don't have the advantage of a large, specialized market of people drawn to a retailer? An individual won't get the retail price if he tries to sell a comic to a comic book store and doesn't have the same access to the market used to determine the value.

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    • eBay is a primary source for the resale of comic books.
      By: Ana Blazic Pavlovic
      eBay is a primary source for the resale of comic books.