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How I made $1,500 selling 3 comic books on eBay

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader

2013-09-06


Typically I don't collect things because I think they'll increase in value, I collect things because I think they're cool. That's why I bought the first issue of the comic book The Walking Dead (TWD) back in 2003, because I thought it was cool and was interested in the story. After I'd read the comic a few times, I bagged it up, filed it away in one of my comic book boxes and all but forgot about it.

Until recently, that is.

A few weeks back I noticed a local comic shop had posted on Facebook that they were surprised to see that the first issue TWD was worth $800. I didn't believe this since a) TWD #1 came out less than 10 years ago and conventional wisdom says that only comics 50+ years old are worth that much and b) no comic I've ever owned has been worth much of anything.

Sure, I've had a few comics over the years that were worth $20 or $30, but $800? Out of the question.

But that post had my interest piqued, even if TWD #1 was worth $100 I might be able to make a few bucks selling it. So I did a bit of research and found that TWD #1 wasn't worth $800, it was actually worth closer to $1,000! And a cursory search on eBay revealed that several issues of TWD #1 had active bidders, which is important, with bids upwards of $500+.

Why is TWD #1 worth so much? Two reasons. First the TWD TV series is incredibly popular and secondly early issues of the comic had very short print runs. For example, while a popular comic today might sell 200,000 copies, reports indicate that only around 7,000 copies TWD #1 were ever printed, making it a rarity for collectors looking to own it today.

Having collected comics all my life and seeing the insane price swings that comics can take and the fact that what's popular today won't necessarily be popular tomorrow, I wanted to sell my copy of TWD #1 as fast as I could and make as much as I could while I still had the chance. Knowing that the comic could easily increase in value later on but it could just as easily decrease in price faster than I could sell it.
First I had to find my copy of TWD #1. I've got boxes and boxes and boxes of comics and I had to dig through practically all of them to find it. In my digging I also found copies of TWD #2 and #3 that I had bought back then too. And, luckily for me, all were in great shape with no scuffs or corner dings. So I took photos of my stash and put each issue in eBay under separate auctions all with starting bids of $25 each.

Within five minutes of posting the auctions I had bidders contacting me wanting me to pull the auction and sell them the comic directly, which I took as a good sign of interest. By the next day bidders had sent #1 to over $200 and that's where I thought the auction would sit for the next week until closer to the end of the auction.

But that's not what happened.

Over the coming days more and more people bid on my TWD #1 auction, and in no time the comic was sitting at nearly $600. And to be honest, I was ecstatic that something I had bought for $3 was worth even that much. But on the last day of the auction the bidding really took off. First $700, then $800 then $900. At one point the bids were coming so fast that the eBay app on my phone let out a series of "dings" to let me know new bids had been placed for nearly ten straight seconds.

Then the auction settled at $1,000 and I began to literally shake. Somehow I had gotten lucky, had won a sort of nerd-lottery and had a copy of the most desirable comic out there at one of the most desirable times to be selling that comic.

In the end I got $1,050 for TWD #1 and that along with #2 and #3 would net me right around $1,500 for all three issues, of which eBay would take about $50 in fees, and I would spend more than $50 to insure and ship the comics to the various winners.

What do I plan on doing with the money? Using it as a slush fund to buy more comics and toys, of course! Visit me online at DangerousUniverse.com.

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