Here at ACC HQ, we don't get a ton of walk in traffic. We're located in an industrial area in Atlanta and aren't even visible from the lightly traveled road we're off of. So we tend to have about 4-5 people a month that will find us online and actually come by. Well, today that all changed.
I happened to get in a bit earlier than I normally do today, and that was a great decision as the collections started coming in at 11 AM and didn't stop until about 6 PM. When I finally got home I had bought comics from 5 different people, declined to buy books from 2 other guys because they didn't have anything we could use, AND sold books or Funko's to an additional 3 customers. Again, we could go a month straight without selling anything "in store". And we may have 5 people we buy comics from all month. So to have this sudden influx on one day was something we definitely weren't used to.
I should also mention that I had ZERO appointments scheduled for today, just one of those weird phenomenons where everyone happens to show up on the same day. Guys you've been talking to for weeks about coming in, guys you've talked to all week about coming in, and guys that just show up. There must be a secret astronomical sign sellers use to know when to come in, as I have no better explanation. We affectionately call these days "sell you comics to Jeff" days around the warehouse.
The people and the collections that came in today were so varied and cool that I felt like it'd be a fun set of stories to share this week, so here we go.
Collection # 1
Timeframe Collected: Early 2010's, while he was in the Navy
Reason For Selling: Out of the Navy, back home, wife wanted her closet back
Collection Size: 1 long box, 2 short boxes.
Pat called me from the front of the building because he couldn't find us, I explained that we are on the backside of the building that you see from the road and around he came. I was never quite clear about how he found us, but there he was. I went through the collection and it was almost all Marvel Now issues from 2011-2012 until 2014. All bagged and boarded, all minty fresh. This isn't the type of stuff we "specialize" in, but it's incredibly easy to sell as people are still reading and collecting these volumes currently. Pat had dozens of complete mini series & cross over events that Marvel had done in the last few years, as well as a bunch of nice runs of in-demand Image titles like The Walking Dead, Chew, and Thief Of Thieves. Pat was a pretty young guy that had been into comics when he was younger, then decided to start collecting again when he was stationed in Virginia a few years ago.
Pat was one of my favorite types of collectors in that he collected to completion. We sadly see far too many people that will have issues 1, 3, 6, 9, 14, etc. of a series, and in doing so they cripple the value of the "set" as we're very limited with what we can do with a run of odds & ends. Luckily that wasn't a problem with Pat. I asked him why he was selling as it seemed like a relatively new thing that he'd gotten into, to get out of so quickly. He gave me our # 1 reason for why we acquire comics..... my wife wants them gone. I sometimes wonder if there's a secret wives convention that's held every year, on the same weekend of SDCC, where they all get together and plot to get rid of their husbands comics. As I swear to you, that and someone passing away are far and away the two main reasons people sell us their stuff. Anyway, it's fine with me, I just wonder what comics ever did to wives, lol.
The highlights of the collection were a Ms. Marvel # 1 B&W Sketch Variant (which we literally sold to a customer 3 hours later, IN STORE), Hawkeye # 1 (Aja), and a ton of limited series that are pretty easy for us to sell like Deadpool Vs. Carnage.
Collection # 2
Timeframe Collected: Sixties - Nineties
Reason For Selling: Moving, downsizing, needs the space
Collection Size: 3 Big plastic tubs.
Ken emailed me about a week or so ago. He explained that he had a complete run of Classics Illustrated, and Tarzan's Dell and Gold Key run, as well as every Jungle series you could think of from the period (think Bomba, Rima, Korak Son Of Tarzan, etc.), that he wanted to sell. Ken was an older man and explained to me his passion for hunting down every Tarzan and Classics issue he could find as an adult, to try to replace the same issues he had lost from his childhood. He told me he wasn't even that into Tarzan, but that a neighborhood kid that was older had given him a bunch of Tarzan books, and he fell in love with them. I couldn't help but tell him that I'd wished for his sake that the older kid had given him an EC, Atlas, Batman, or Early Marvel collection, but I digress. Ken is one of those guys that you meet in comics that you instantly love. He wasn't in it for the $, wasn't in it to brag about what he had, he just collected what he loved. And whether that stuff had a lot or a little value, you have to respect that.
The highlights from this collection are probably the Tarzan books as I don't think many of the Classics Illustrated issues are 1st prints. Full disclosure, I've never sold a full run of Dell Tarzan before, so I don't really know what to expect, but I'm holding out hope that they're rare enough and in good enough condition to make it a good buy for us.
Collection # 3
Timeframe Collected: 1980's
Reason For Selling: He inherited the books from his uncle, no emotional attachment, just looking to sell them.
Collection Size: 1 rolling suitcase.
This was a complete walk in situation. I honestly don't even think he called prior to coming. He pulled up, grabbed a rolling suitcase like you'd see someone use at the mall, kind of like the one Deb used in Napoleon Dynamite, and came on in. We got to talking as I was looking through about 100 books, that were mostly in poor condition that I couldn't really use, about his uncle who'd collected the issues when he lived in New York. There's something about people that collect in New York. They almost always have a fantastic eye. Even in this pile of mostly un-usable issues, I found a first appearance of Jubilee, Scott Lang, and Todd McFarlane's classic Wolverine Vs. Hulk cover on Hulk # 340. He also had a script from the Cosby show, because his aunt had made an appearance in an episode. How cool is that! I've never been the biggest Cosby fan (obligatory, especially not now), but to see an actual script that was marked up with notes from the episode was pretty neat.
Demetrius told me that what he'd brought was just a small part of the collection he had, which is always a bummer for me, and that he'd sell me the stuff I wanted (keys) and bring everything else back at once for us to make an offer on the rest of the lot. Don't get me wrong, I love sellers that let me cherry pick, that's great, but I always hate to hear that this is just a small part of the larger puzzle. I always tend to lean toward wanting to "buy it all" rather than cherry picking, and when I see runs of New Mutants, Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men all around #'s 87, 98, 300, and 266, I'd rather see everything to see if I can find the big keys. But sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and buy what you can, when you can. Demetrius said he'd come back with the rest next week, hopefully he does and I'll tell you guys about it another time.
Collection # 4
Timeframe Collected: 1990's-Present
Reason For Selling: I think Scott was a "storage unit auction" guy, and these were the books he'd acquired recently
Collection Size: 5 Long boxes
Scott called me pretty late in the day, asked about our process for buying, and was one of those phone calls that I didn't have a ton of hope for it materializing. Sometimes you can just tell, based on the types of questions that people ask whether or not they're going to come in or not. I put Scott at about 50/50, then an hour later, there he was. Scott had gone through the books he had and painstakingly organized them by "character family", which is always a telltale sign that you're not really dealing with a serious collector, but rather someone that is looking to unload some stuff they found. He had 5 boxes worth of stuff that he'd either bought himself, or got at auctions over the last several months. I was never quite clear as to why he wanted to sell the stuff that he'd personally collected, my guess was just that maybe he thought he would be able to flip the stuff for a bunch of $ and realized he didn't really have anything of substantial value, so he just wanted to offload it or something.
After looking at the 5 boxes, I wasn't too motivated to take them all on, as there was just too much stuff that would fall into the traditional dollar bins. Well, we're an online shop, so dollar bins aren't really our thing. Those books tend to just pile up in the back until I dump them to a bulk guy for $30-50 a box. I explained this to Scott and luckily, he also let me cherry pick it. This was fantastic as he actually did have some cool stuff. It was just like 60-80 books of the 1000 in the total collection.
We got an almost complete run of New 52 Batman including a 1st print of # 1, a Man Of Steel # 18, couple of complete Sin City story-lines, a bunch of variants, and a few other nice books for a real good price. All in all it was a very good buy, and we were lucky that both Scott and Demetrius let us pick only the stuff we could use as we saved a bunch of time and money and still got the good stuff.
Collection # 5
Timeframe Collected: 1970's
Reason For Selling: Randolf found the books in his dad's basement after he passed away
Collection Size: One "Thank You" / "takeout" plastic bag worth of books. about 40 in total
I felt kind of bad for Randolf, he called me to see how late we were open, then went to the address of our old location that we haven't been at in over 2 years. I guess no matter how hard you try, you can't scrub anything off the internet. I explained to Randolf that I'd actually be heading in the direction of the old shop and could meet him over there in about a half an hour if he wanted to wait. I didn't know what he had at all, but figured the least I could do was try to look at them since he'd driven out to us. Well, I got to meet him and honestly there wasn't much of anything I was really interested in, 1 bronze age non-key Batman issue, 1 bronze age non-key Amazing Spider-Man issue, and then a bunch of bronze age Superman. But sometimes, you just need to buy stuff for the Karma of it.
I just couldn't justify telling him I didn't really need them after he'd driven an hour and waited almost another hour for me to look at them. So I gave him twenty bucks for them and chalked it up to doing the right thing. Who knows, maybe we'll be able to pull $50-60 out of them, but I doubt it.
And there you have it!
As you can see, today's seller's offered a nice little cross section of what it's like to buy comics. of all 7 sellers, only 2 had the books in standard comic book boxes. I always get a kick out of how books are brought to us, as just when I think I've seen every method conceivable, someone throws them in a take out plastic bag and brings them in that way. Today's sellers also offered us almost every reason why people sell their comics, whether it's because they inherited them, are moving, the wife wants them out, or they found them, we hit all the avenues today.
It's certainly rare that we'd have this much traffic/volume on one day, let alone one week, but it serves as a wonderful reminder that more and more people are realizing that the comics they had, found, inherited, etc. aren't worthless, and should be moved into the hands of someone that will cherish them as the person that once had them hopefully did. As Ken explained to me today when communicating the story of his older friend that gave him the Tarzan issues, comics absolutely have an emotional connection with people. And our awesome customers that are motivated, like Ken, to "re-collect" their childhood, are what we do this for.
Look out for all kinds of new goodies next week as we bring all of our "Friday Finds" to an eBay store near you soon.
Until next time, keep collecting!