What to Consider When Buying Vintage Comic Books

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What to Consider When Buying Vintage Comic Books

Comic books are illustrated delights that fans can read over and over, and they make excellent collectibles, as their value can increase dramatically under the right circumstances. Vintage comic books, especially, are highly desirable. However, not all are worth the buy, so it is important to know some fundamentals before purchase.

 

Genre

Those looking for vintage comic books for pleasure may want to know that they can be categorised into five main genres, though there are often overlaps. Superhero comics feature protagonists that have superhuman capabilities, while science fictions comics cover a bigger scope, encompassing time travel, space adventures, futuristic environments, and more. Horror comics often feature collections of short horror narratives. Comedy comics aimed to make the reader laugh, and many early issues were satirical in nature. Lastly, children's comics revolve around any subject matter targeted towards children, such as Archie and Scooby Doo.

 

Grading

The grading of a comic book's condition, besides the demand, heavily affects value.

 

Condition

Numerical Scale

Description

Mint

10 to 9.8

Perfect condition, with no flaws of any kind, and typically unread

Near mint

9.8 to 9.0

Exceptional condition, but may have some colour fading, off-centre cover printing, or miniscule tears

Very fine

9.0 to 7.0

Some wear on cover, slight fading, light creases, or one or two lines along spine from bending

Fine

7.0 to 5.0

Several noticeable creases along spine, bending corners, or some minor discolouration or stains

Very good

5.0 to 3.0

Significantly worn with creases, discolouration, and fading, and possibly with missing or repaired cover

Good

3.0 to 1.5

Cover badly torn or missing, missing or rusted staples, coupons or ads cut out, heavy wear and damage, but good enough to read

Fair

1.5 to 1.0

Readable, but extensive wear, staining, discolouration, creasing, and bending, with likely missing cover or staples

Poor

Below 1.0

Have missing pages, ripped, torn, heavily bent, stained, or discoloured, and almost or completely valueless

 

Era

Though the price and collectability of a comic book largely depends on the number of prints and print runs it had and its rarity, the era it came from can still play a small role.

  • Golden Age Comics: Late 1930s to 50s, when comic books were becoming more mainstream.
  • Silver Age Comics: Mid-1950s to the late 60s or early 70s, and comic books were continuously developing.
  • Bronze Age Comics: Early 1970s to mid-1980s; comic book themes placed more emphasis on political and social issues.
  • Copper or Dark Ages Comics: Mid-1980s to 1990s, where comic book narratives took on darker and more violent storylines, and sales boomed.
  • Modern Age Comics: Comic books post-1990s.
 
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