Priceless

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price guideIt. Is. Time.

Well past time, really.

After 15 years of handing out hundreds of comic books every Halloween, I have finally whittled down my vast storehouse of comics to a single closet.

Admittedly, a single highly and deeply stacked closet, but, yes, a single closet.

So did it come to me that yea, ’twas the time to pull out those long white boxes full of comics and begin the painful (literally, we’ll get there) process of recording and valuing all those 4-color fantasies.

Five boxes in, I said, “Phew!” Ten boxes in, I said, “Whew!” Fifteen boxes in, I said, “Maybe I can finish later?” Twenty boxes in, I cursed my poor math skills.

Somehow, when estimating how many boxes were in there, I saw 5 high, 3 deep and came out with 14.

First, that’s 15. Second, it was two columns wide. In fact, there were 28 boxes in all. Yeah, time forcomic boxes another shower.

Tired as I am, let me do the math for you: 28 long white boxes of comics, each holding about 300 comics equals 8,400 comics. Yeah, not the 4,200 I originally thought.

But wait, there’s more! Each full comic box weighs roughly 50 pounds. So, 28 boxes times 50 lbs. each is 1,400 lbs. Yeah, I carried about 3/4 of a ton of comics into the spare room.

And that’s after 15 years of giving away thousands of comics!

Let’s pause for a moment and blow the dust off the wayback machine. Forgive me if the engine coughs a little as it gets started.

We’ll only head back to year 1 A.M. (After Mom), that is the year I began rebuilding my comics collection after Mom threw away everything because I refused to clean up my room. Mom, if they have internet up there and you’re reading this, please be aware I could have bought your granddaughters houses with the value of those lost treasures (but I love you).

Fast forward (isn’t time travel the best?) to my junior high years. My friend and I began buying and selling comic books for spare cash. We attended a few conventions and generally just had fun.

In senior high school, I spent the last few years before college effectively managing (the owners rarely showed up) a used book store. They let me buy and sell comics off to the side of the counter and my collection size exploded during that time.

Fast forward another ten years and I was coming to the end of active comic book selling. Mail order was the art of the day and it was tedious, especially waiting for checks to clear when I didn’t get money orders (remember that?).

But, all this time, I continued to read comics. And continued to purchase long white boxes (and plastic bags).

Fast forward another ten years and I made a trek with my brother-in-law to Orlando for a table at Megacon. It was the last time I sold a comic.

Watch your step as you leave the wayback machine. Sorry for the smudges, I didn’t think to wipe the dusty seats.

In all those years, very little software was written to catalog and price comic collections. There is one that is probably the best and it prices itself that way. I’m testing the demo version now. We’ll see if that make more sense than just using my macro skills in an Excel workbook.

In the meantime, I’ve got my new price guide, my plastic bags, my invisible tape and my ibuprofen. Beyond all the lifting and carrying, there will be hours upon hours in uncomfortable sitting and staring positions, likely with terrible posture.

Most of the comics will simply go into new plastic bags (the old ones will be yellower than the books, probably), but a few are probably destined to go under hard plastic.

Those rare few, the 30’s and 40’s Superman’s and the key origin and first appearance books, make more sense to get “officially” graded and valued and then stuck in the will for whoever lasts longer than me.

It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but eventually, I will get all those priceless comics priced and, who knows, one of more of them may actually be priceless!

Maybe those granddaughters will get their houses after all.

(now, just don’t ask me about all my baseball cards…)

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