It seems to me that there is a very fine line separating what makes someone a Collector in a hobby versus what makes them an investor in the hobby.  I suspect that many of us in the comic book realm are often a hybrid between the two.

The dictionary defines the two as follows:

Collector – a person who collects things of a specified type, professionally or as a hobby

Investor – a person or organization that puts money into financial plans, property, etc. with the expectation of achieving a profit.

There have recently been a couple of really good blogs on GoCollect discussing investing versus collecting.  These bloggers have knowledge and insights well beyond my level of expertise.  Remember… I’m just a guy who has been reading comics for the last forty-plus years.  Luckily, I’ve managed to save many of them.


I bet that most people reading this blog consider themselves Collectors.  perhaps your collection contains books you have read and bagged over the years.  maybe it’s some boxes you found in your grandpa’s attic.  It could be that you’ve decided to seek out more star Wars or other big-screen adventures in comic book format.   Whether it is the heroes, the art, or the storylines, collectors are united by their appreciation of the comic book medium.

I got started when my big brother left a few random issues laying on the end table.  Herb Trimpe’s visuals on a certain Jade giant during his “sympathetic” years in the ’70s had me hooked.  I do regret that I was not wise enough to bag and board each issue I had back then.  I get aggravated when I think back on issues that I owned but did not keep.   There was the terrible cereal bowl disaster of 1978 that prompted me to toss my now sopping wet, well-read Hulk #181 into the garbage.

A college roommate in the ’80s encouraged me to send my giant size X-Men #1 to his friend to assess its value.  That classic issue disappeared.  (I suspect our archaic college mailbox system was more to blame than his friend).  and I don’t even want to talk about trading my teen Titans run from the ’80s in to my local comic dealer for that Warhammer boxed set.

Now, not all of my luck has been bad.  two of my favorites have always been Conan and the X-Men.  long ago efforts to fill in some of the gaps in their runs from dollar bins now makes me look like a shrewd investor.


Collecting is fun.  To me, investing is scary.

Comic books have been around the better part of a century.   Comics have a value beyond the enjoyment of just reading them.  This fact is well established and has been for decades.  While I do worry about the current over-valuation of certain issues based upon their tie-in to a new movie, wise speculators and investors have managed to turn comic books into solid long term investments.

My first foray into investing was buying all five copies of Superman #75 from the local newsstand.  I brought them with me to the comic shop the next week.  I managed to quickly sell one to another patron at the store for a quick $50.  two others netted me enough store credit to upgrade to the next generation of D&D books.  I still have the other two (who could have guessed Superman wouldn’t stay dead?).

Thanks to the CLZ app and the GoCollect database, once I organized my comics I was happily surprised at their potential value.  I stress the word “potential” here.  The process of successfully selling them for a profit anywhere near what my app shows me they are worth is the part that scares me.  This is why I currently consider myself a Collector, but not quite an investor yet.

Define Yourself…

Luckily, like most of you, my retirement plans won’t depend upon the Comic book market or my limited speculation skills.  However, it sure is fun to watch some of my books jump in value based on MCU movies or trends.   So as I mentioned… I am labelling myself a beginning Collector, with an eye towards becoming an Investor.  would you consider yourself a Collector or an Investor?  What do you see as the difference between the two?  and on a side note… do you have a “big fish that got away?”  What’s the most valuable book you once owned that is no longer in your collection?  Please include any “fun” stories detailing what happened to that poor comic!

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