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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Statistical Comics Anomaly...?

If you've collected comics for over 10 years (and haven't kept it a secret), it's happened to you. A friend or neighbor finds out you know something about comics, and wants you to look at a stack of "old" books they've had in their basement, attic, closet, etc.

You know, to tell them how much they're WORTH.

Here's my experience. Usually, the books are from the '80's or '90's, (maybe '70's) and look like they were used as napkins, fly-swatters, bats for little-league practice, or all of the above. Even on those rare occasions when someone has handed me an actual Silver-Age comic to peruse, torn or absent covers, loose pages and various stains from food and drink (I hope!) are the norm.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Comics were originally meant to be read, re-read, then re-read again, before being traded to friends, the cycle starting all over again. I mean, that's what happened to comics when I was growing up.

It's never pleasurable to explain to hopefuls how condition can severely decrease a comic book's value, and that it hasn't really been a seller's market for old comics for at least a decade.

So, you can imagine my surprise when a woman in our VERY small town brought me a stack of 72 comics to take a look at. First, know this: ALL of them were Silver Age. No Bronze or Modern. No Golden, either, but....

Also, all of the books pictured had solid staples, although the top staple of Flash 123 is rusted, already affecting the paper around it. Though they have all obviously been read, they are largely free of rips and tears, and only a few bear any stains. Over all, an amazing lot for someone to stumble across, as these were discovered in an old house.

Take a gander below at just some of the books in the bunch. Be sure to click on them for a better look.

Some notables: Strange Tales #110 (First appearance of Dr. Strange and Wong, by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko), Flash 123 (Re-intro Golden Age Flash, origins of both, first mention of Earth II where DC Golden Age heroes live), Sea Devils #1, Showcase Presents #30 (Origin of Silver Age Aquaman), Gold Key's Magnus Robot Fighter 2 and 3, with nice gloss. As you can see, there were many more that are noteworthy.

Though I offered to facilitate their sale on Ebay for her, I advised her to hold onto them, due to the low seller's market and because I think many of these comics will only appreciate. She decided to keep them for now.

So, though I didn't seek to acquire any of the books, I count this as an unusual find. And, if I never have such a lot dropped in my lap again, by someone who knows nothing about them, no less, I'll still have the fond memory of this long shot!