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Testing the GoAntiques Waters: Buying a Comic Book Part 1

by Matt Baum (02/24/09).

Not too long ago, WorthPoint purchased GoAntiques.com, an online marketplace for antique collectors and buyers. Unlike other online collectible sites or marketplaces, GoAntiques seems to speak to those “in the know,” which I like. Those of you who have been at WorthPoint for a while might recognize me as the comic-book Worthologist. In short, I’m a longtime comic collector who speaks the language and knows what I’m looking for, which can make other online auction sites a little tedious to sort through.

I’ve spent hours cycling through countless eBay auctions looking at comics that the seller swears are in mint condition only to receive a comic in Very Good condition at best. If you know what I’m talking about in that last sentence, then you know the difference between Very Good and Near Mint is huge. In fact, I’ve often argued that mint-condition comics do not exist, and even near-mint copies are hard to come by.

Yet, if you search “Mint Comics” on eBay, you’ll currently find more than nine pages of results. Near mint, maybe, but 10.0 mint condition, no way. I’m not saying all these sellers are frauds, but rather they don’t seem to have the knowledge that longtime collectors or even retailers have of their own comics.

This is where GoAntiques seems to have an advantage. Are there some sellers there are asking ridiculous prices for garbage comics? Yes. However, there seems to be a large group of sellers who have professionally graded their comics and actually know what they are talking about.

Our Fighting Forces #158. After browsing like a nerdy shark looking for a back-issue to sink my teeth into, I found this one on GoAntiques. I made the purchase, and will report on what I actually bought when it shows up.

Our Fighting Forces #158. After browsing like a nerdy shark looking for a back-issue to sink my teeth into, I found this one on GoAntiques. I made the purchase, and will report on what I actually bought when it shows up.

This afternoon, I spent an hour looking at some Bronze-age Jack Kirby war comics on GoAntiques that I would love to own. As of yet, I haven’t made any purchases but will let you know about my experience when I do. I don’t think I can resist these Our Fighting Forces comics much longer. When clicking on the page, I found the layout easy to read and simple enough not to get lost in the details. Most of the sellers I clicked on stated the grade/condition of the comics and that the dealer was using the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide for their pricing.

I’m not saying that Overstreet is the end-all, be-all of comic-book pricing. Remember, just because a comic-book guide says something should sell for hundreds of dollars does not mean you’ll be able to find someone to buy it for that price. I do like sellers who state they are using Overstreet as their guide because it is well accepted and used by most professionals and collectors alike as a way to establish a condition grade and a fair price.

So I’m browsing like a nerdy shark looking for a back issue to sink my teeth into. One thing that could be improved upon is the taxonomy. Rather than just lumping everything into comics, it would be nice to see Golden, Silver, Bronze and Modern-age sections (by the way, if anyone from GoAntiques is looking for a nerd to help with comic-book taxonomy, I’m your guy). Not all of us can afford Golden-age comics or are even looking for them in some instances. Some of the sellers have included ages in their descriptions, and when I searched “Bronze-age” comics, I did find quite a few issues including the Our Fighting Forces #158 I keep coming back to. So maybe my taxonomy gripe isn’t warranted, or at least it wouldn’t be if more sellers would include the ages in their descriptions.

The next step is to buy, I guess. One thing that leaves me a little uneasy is the lack of feedback on the dealers. Maybe I’m missing something, but there doesn’t appear to be any. I’m sure this dealer is a fair-enough guy but reading someone else’s message to confirm this would put my mind at ease. Oh well, this is a learning experience, and I’m getting paid $10 dollars a word (chuckle), so here goes.

Checkout is pretty self-explanatory, paid with PayPal, but had the option of using my credit card, and now I wait. In Part Two of this story, I’ll talk about what happens next (how long the comic took to arrive, the condition, etc.). For now, I wait to hear from the seller to make sure they still have the comic in stock, which is a pretty handy function for store owners who want to have their inventory for sale in their brick-and-mortar store and on the Web. I’ll report back with my findings soon.

Matt Baum is a Worthologist who specializes in comic books.

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