I have been spending TOO much time browsing through my comic hobby for the past weeks. I am actually amazed at my own ability to suppress my buying urge everything I see something that catches my eye. I didn’t know I had it in me but I guess my low bank balance made sure of that.
In my previous article on whether comics make a good investment, I noted that comics as a hobby and as investments are two entirely different matters. Mixing the 2 will likely result in unsatisfactory outcomes for both. Today’s post will focus more about the investment mindset. If you want to buy comics for investment, keep your interest out of this. Don’t let your personal bias or certain characters for comic book covers cloud your judgement on what will you will invest in.
(Updated: You can also check out my article on the top 10 undervalued bronze age issue one comics)
Once you are cleared of that, there are a couple of comic investment strategies that you can employ. Today will focus on what I called the silver age key issue strategy. For those not familar, silver age refers to the period between 1956 to 1969. This period was a boom for comics, especially from Marvel as we saw the introduction of several iconic characters including the Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Avengers, Hulk etc. The issue that started this whole craze was Fantastic Four 1, which marked the beginning of the bloom for Marvel.
As a investor, you will realised that this period holds many key issues that contain the first appearance of the aforementioned characters. These issues are not cheap by any means but they seem to be appreciating in value year after year. This is the case even for comics that have low grades in terms of their condition. Knowing this, one way I can invest is to buy lots of low grade silver age key issues such as avengers 1, xmen 1, hulk 1 etc. Most of them will cost you less than 2k in low grades so they are certainly within reach for most investors. In terms of growth, these silver age key issues seem to be appreciating at about 5-10% per year.
One reason why silver age keys are more valuable than comics from later period is due to the supply issue. Most comics in this era have not been well maintained, resulting in lots of issues not being readable after nearly 60 years of publication. Print runs were also smaller, thus adding to the limited supply issue. Such low supply, coupled with strong brand recognition for these iconic characters meant an ever increasing price in the long run, or at least until the era where none of us recognize these characters anymore.
The downside of collecting silver age issues is patience. Even with a 1k or 2k price tag, it still takes a while to save enough to purchase one issue. That is easier said than done where there are so many possible things a comic collector can buy at low prices. The funny thing is that it always seems so easy to buy a couple of lower priced issues than to save up to buy one of the silver age keys. This lack of discipline and patience is what make collecting silver age keys a challenge.