Ask LH: Is My Vintage Comic Collection Worth Anything?

Dear Lifehacker, Too many decades ago, I used to collect comics. I always thought they might eventually be worth something so I have quite a number of heavy boxes which have followed me through the years. There is no way I am ever likely to read them again and my kids are not interested so it would seem about time to get rid of them.

The problem is that most of them are uncoloured Australian versions of 70s and 80s DC comics released locally by a company called "Planet Comics" (later Murray Comics before folding altogether). I can't even find a reference to the format let alone how much they might be worth. Any suggestions? Peter Parker

Photo: Flickr, David Zellaby

Dear PP,

Without knowing any of the specific comics you own, it's difficult to say how much your collection is worth. But we're willing to bet it's not that much. Sorry.

Comic reprints — even vintage ones — don't tend to attract much interest on the reseller market. While some collectors do hoard every foreign edition of their favourite comic, most people stick to the original imprints.

Unless you have an iconic or ultra-rare reprint in your collection (such as Amazing Fantasy #15, Action Comics No. 1 or The Fantastic Four #1) these are curios at best and cheap knockoffs at worst.

On top of this, it doesn't sound like you've kept the comics in mint condition either. Stuffing them in a box for decades has almost certainly compromised the ink quality. Even if they are untorn and crease-free, this can drastically affect the market price. (Assuming your collection is worth anything at all.)

As you can see from this Comic Book Collecting Association guide, optimum comic book storage is ridiculously complicated — everything from fluctuating temperature to air circulation can accelerate the ageing process.

With all that said, there's no harm in taking a punt: do a search on eBay for your titles to get an idea of prices. If they're worth anything, don't go to a dealer as they won't offer nearly as much as a direct sale. Good luck — you're going to need it.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    I tried looking once, and came to the conclusion it's just better to open them again a few years later when you are feeling nostalgic, and just have fun reading through them again like you did when you first bought them.

    I think comic book guy from The Simpsons just had a heart attack when I said that ;)

      Worst. Conclusion. Ever.

        Worst. Comment. Ever. At least give him some feedback as to why that's a horrible conclusion.

          I believe he was mimicking comic book guy from The Simpsons...

    I dug some of mine two weeks ago. Found rock n roll #1 with guns n roses. Reckon I paid $40 for it in 89. Happy days I smiled. Did an ebay search a you can get it for $4. Lucky I'm not an investment banker!!

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