A Guide To Underground Comics & Collectibles
(Part 1 - Photos and Images)
Through our own observations and due to communications with our customers we felt it was about time we made the effort to make some suggestions for those Ebayers interested in collecting Underground Comics and Collectibles, or any comics - but who are perhaps in need of a little more know how or knowledge before spending their hard earned cash. Through the time we have spent buying and selling we have learned a great deal, mostly through trial and error. Here are a few pointers that will hopefully help you make fewer errors than we have made in the past.
Buying On Ebay, Things To Remember
1) Photos/Scans : are all important, if there isn’t a photo, ask the seller if they can send you one. Scans are preferable (the higher resolution the better) as they generally show the condition of an item (particularly a comic book) a great deal more clearly than a photograph. Photographs are often taken inexpertly, sometimes with a poor quality camera or camera phone and often do not accurately reflect the true condition of an item. We generally do not bid unless there is some image of the item present. Why? It means the likelihood of paying out good money for something in poor condition is drastically reduced.
What might be hopefully described as being in “Near Mint” condition by the seller who wants their item to sell for as much as possible is sometimes rather less appealing in the flesh. Inexperienced sellers will often post these phrases after seeing them on other auctions without fully understanding what they mean. Some auctions will list the author/artist, the publisher, the ISBN number, etc - basically everything you need to know, a lot you don’t, and still completely neglect to mention the condition, which is of paramount importance, as it is one of the main indicators of value, particularly in the field of underground comix and collectibles, and comics generally.
Photos to watch out for : “Stock” photos are a real problem on Ebay, these are photos that have often been copied in cut and paste fashion, from websites, scanned from catalogues/books, and sometimes taken by/from other Ebay sellers. Telltale signs are that the photo still has a copyright/watermark that seems to have nothing to do with the seller or has a blank section on the image where the copyright information has been removed. Other indicators are that the picture used is a small “thumbnail” image, which is a pointer that the image has probably been taken from a website, or perhaps the description of the item gives a different cover price, details or condition than the item pictured.
Some sellers will even directly “hot link” to a website in their listings – where a web address of an image from an entirely separate website has been posted into the auction listing. You can establish whether this is the case by right-clicking your mouse on their images and then clicking “Properties” - the internet address or URL is displayed, which will also confirm that the photograph is not of the item for sale. This is also an infringement of current copyright law unless consent has been granted.
If in doubt, politely ask the seller if the item for sale is the one pictured. Make it clear that you are interested in bidding but need to be sure of the item’s details before making your bid. If it isn’t – well, its your choice, but personally we like to see what we’re bidding on before we win an auction for an item that looks vaguely similar to the item we wanted, or is a shabby beaten up copy of something we expected to be in great condition due to the photograph being of a Mint condition item copied from a website.
If you believe the photo is of the article for sale but is too small to be of much use, save it to your desktop and zoom in on it using a picture viewer, it might allow you to view flaws in an item that you are not willing to accept, and save you the misery of a damaged, unwanted item landing on your doorstep. Just remember the image belongs to someone else, and delete it after you have finished viewing it.
Country Cowfreaks Head Shop auctions always feature our own images. We aren’t happy bidding on auctions with thumbnail jpgs, so we wouldn’t expect you to be either. Incidentally, if you do believe someone else is using our images, feel free to contact us.
Hopefully this guide will have given you a few pointers as to what to bear in mind when buying and viewing comix on Ebay. In the next part of this guide we will look at the considerations regarding the "condition" of items offered for sale.
We hope you have found this guide useful, feel free to view our items for sale. Our About Me page can also be found here. If you have any additional questions about any of our items or if there is anything you might want to ask advice about, please feel free to email us.
© Country Cowfreaks Head Shop