Recently, one of my Instagram followers sent me a direct message asking if I could help him determine the value of some comics he’d purchased that day from a local flea market, including Deadpool The Circle Chase #1. As I was using a few of my go-to websites and apps to help him discover this comic book’s current value it occurred to me that putting together a list of these tools might be pretty useful.
Whether you’re an avid or casual comic book collector, there are plenty of situations where knowing the market value of a comic book would come in handy. Sometimes you just want to know if your comics are gaining value, losing value or holding steady. Or perhaps you think you might have a hidden gem that you bought in 1991 tucked away in a long box somewhere and want to check to see how much it’s worth today. And other times you’re simply wanting to buy a comic at your local comic shop or online, but just aren’t sure if it’s fairly priced.
In order to answer these burning questions back in my day (the 80’s & 90’s) all we had to rely on were printed materials like the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, or the last fifteen or so pages of a Wizard Magazine. While fun to look at and daydream what it would be like to own Amazing Fantasy #15, the problem with printed price guides was that as soon as they were printed, they were almost immediately irrelevant. Because when market conditions change two weeks later, the values printed don’t hold as much water.
Luckily today we live in the information age. Through our smartphones and computers, we have on-demand access to more information than we even know what to do with – and that holds true in the world of comic books as well.
While there are online versions of the traditional price guides (like comicspriceguide.com) that are continuously updated and give you pretty solid data when it comes to everyday comic book values, they don’t always reflect up-to-the minute market conditions. As a seller, If you list a comic for sale based off a pricing resource that’s out of date you could be grossly priced above market, or worse, you could be priced severely under current market value (leading to a quick sale at the sacrifice of a significant amount of money). And on the other side as a buyer, you want to ensure you’re getting a fair price – or even better – a great deal on that comic you’re dying to add to your collection. If your reference material is outdated, how can you be sure?
So how do you figure out what any given comic is worth at any given time? It just so happens there are quite a few websites and apps out there today that help you accomplish just that. However before we jump into the list, there is one rule when it comes to the value of anything, not just comic books.
“An item is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.”
Please remember that as there will always be outliers when it comes to a market that can be as volatile as the comic book market can. That being said, and without any further ado, here are five resources you can use to help determine the value of a comic book in real time!
ADVANCED EBAY SEARCH
Thousands of comic books are sold on eBay each and every day. Luckily eBay has a pretty neat advanced search feature that will let you see exactly what items have recently sold for. It’s pretty easy to use, all you have to do once you’re on the advanced search page is:
- Enter the keywords for the comic book you want to find prices for.
- Tick the Sold Listings checkbox.
- Click the Search button.
- Inspect the results!
If you want to, you can even get more specific by selecting various other options to only show auction or buy it now listings, listings with free shipping, or listings that fall within a certain price range.
GPA FOR CGC COMICS
GPAnalysis for CGC Comics was the world’s first online reporting tool that tracks online auction and dealer comic book sales. It’s a subscription based service, but for $10.95 per month, you get access to a veritable firehose of valuable sales data, including:
- Individual issue sales data spanning 16 years
- Average prices and year to year movements for each grade
- Sales and volume charts to identify trends
- Drill down to individual transactions, access CGC cert numbers and link to CGC census data
- Save frequently accessed titles to your personal list
- Access to monthly GPA Market Reports
- …and so much more!
I myself have been a subscriber to GPA for quite some time and have used their resources effectively to make determinations both on how to price my CGC comics for sale as well as determining my max bids for graded comics that I want to add to my collection.
GOCOLLECT FOR COMICS
I recently discovered GoCollect for Comics, and have been thrilled with what I’ve seen during my free 30 day trial. Also a subscription service, but for just $5.99 per month you get:
- Look-up comic info, variants & printings.
- High-level sales data.
- CGC Census data.
- Sales data including values by grade and holder type, trends, averages, individual sales details.
- Ability to ‘watch’ comics and get alerted when new sales are discovered.
GoCollect for Comics also has sales data on CBCS graded comics as well, something that GPA does not offer.
Another cool feature is that if you become a subscriber to GoCollect, you can add your own active eBay listings to their database. Then when someone is searching for a particular comic that you have for sale, they will see it in the “Where to Buy” tab which is awesome for some extra exposure for your graded comic.
After my free trial had expired, I had found GoCollect for Comics so useful I signed up for the paid membership. In my opinion it’s well worth the $5.99 a month. That being said, I have noticed that their data isn’t as comprehensive as GPA’s so I currently maintain subscriptions for both services.
Neither GPA nor GoCollect offer a mobile browser experience and quite frankly it’s a shame considering how much time we spend on our mobile devices. When you’re at a convention or your LCS and want to quickly check the price of a comic, trying to pinch and zoom and use one of those websites on your smartphone is a monumental chore.
Luckily Comic Collateral is here to save the day because they have both an Android App and an optimized mobile website to make the checking of graded comic book prices quick and easy. Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE?!
The app can actually do so much more than look up recent sales data. It also provides…
- New comic releases
- Upcoming Variant covers
- Lookup graded CGC or CBCS comics by serial number
- Grading reference tools
- Google Trends data
- The latest comic book news and more!
Download the Android App or bookmark their website on your smartphone and you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips!
The last tool I’m going to tell you about is one of the most comprehensive but also the most expensive. Terapeak isn’t just for comic books, it gives you easy access to millions of transactions and billions of dollars in e-commerce activity. Search by keyword or product, targeting your search with powerful filters to get data on the parts of the market that matter for you.
Starting at $29.99 per month (there are discounts if you prepay for a whole year) for their “Research” package, you’ll have access to a year’s worth of eBay sales data to help you price your items as a seller, or give you an idea of what other people have paid for the same item you’re interested in as a buyer.
As a digital marketer by day, I deeply appreciate the ecommerce analytics that Terapeak provides. As an owner of a new online comic book shop, I can’t justify the expense for Terapeak just yet. If you want to try it out, Terapeak does offer a 7-Day free trial with full functionality.
Are you currently using any of these services to inform your comic book buying and selling decisions? Are there other similar websites or apps that you’ve found extremely useful? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below!