Buying Comics [2021]-14 ways Condition Equals Value

Dylan Schwartz

Dylan Schwartz

July 20, 2024

Buying Comics 2020-Condition Equals Value

Why Condition of the Rarest Comics Matters:

Do you have the holy grail of comic books? Did you see your exact comic in the article previous article or a comic you think is valuable? If not, read the previous article, click here. Just make sure your comic is not a reprint(a comic printed many years later that looks similar to an original, but is usually not valuable). Condition is important for every collectible. A comic with mold, mildew or that is falling apart, or is “well read” is not worth anything close to a nice “brand new” comic. Rarest comics values widely vary dependent on condition.





But my comics look nice-They’re in Mint Condition right?

Probably not.

Mint Condition is a term that is thrown around that is meant to say perfect condition. This means never touched by human hands. Comic collectors use a grading scale to determine what condition a comic is in. This is based off of how well the comic is preserved. Do your comic books have any creases, spine stress, missing pages, nice color, detached staples, rusty staples, stains, tanning, waviness, dents, or fingerprints?

When a comic is brand new, it is almost never a 10/10.

Here is a shortened version of the grading scale:

Coverless or (0.3)

A coverless comic is simply a comic with no cover. Sometimes coverless comics will be missing pages. The grade of the comic is already below a poor(the next highest grade), so it really can’t go any lower.

Here is an example of Hulk #1 from 1962, 1st app of the Hulk. It isn’t one of the rarest comics, yet there is a high demand making it valuable

It is coverless and is missing an advertisement page. The seller sold if for a little over $1000, missing a page and a COVER on October 10th 2017.

A Near Mint Minus (9.2) copy Sold for $326,000 gross in 2014.

(Not Mint condition, Near Mint Minus.)

Condition does matter!

To be fair, the grades(conditions) of those two copies of Hulk #1 are polar opposites in condition.

Important: if a price guide says your comic is worth a certain amount, remember that is usually the Near Mint value, or even sometimes the Mint value, Not the Actual Value!

Click here to see the actual sale.

Let’s look at an actual sale of a copy that is “nicer”:

Poor or (0.5)

A comic in poor condition is essentially a comic that has a cover, and looks really, really, really bad. Sometimes a poor comic can be much nicer structurally, but is missing one page or more. If a comic is missing a front cover or a back cover but has the other, it is a poor.

Here is another example of Hulk #1 from 1962, 1st app of the Hulk.

It is missing the spine and a large part of the cover. The seller sold it at auction for just under $3000, September 10th 2017.

This comic is graded by a third party grading service. Grading fees are very expensive and start for comic books valued over $1000 at $100. This is in addition to shipping and waiting a long time to get them back.

This copy sold for triple what the last copy(the coverless one) we saw above sell for.

It has a cover.

Collectors do not like comics missing covers or missing anything.

Note: These are sold prices, not asking prices!

Click here to see the actual sale.

Fair or (1.0)

A comic in fair, is still in pretty bad shape. It could look pretty nice but be missing the spine of the cover. It could also have a large chunk out of the cover instead of having a full length spine split. Often times, it will be a combination.

Here is yet another sale of Hulk #1 from 1962, 1st app of the Hulk.

The previous example had two major defects. It was missing the spine and a large part of the cover. this copy has lots of tape and spine splitting. The seller sold it at auction for just under $4800 with the buyers premium, on November 19th 2017.

We believe it should have fetched a little bit more: maybe $5500.

NOTE:You will find with grading that some of the values are proportional sometimes with grading…

For Example: a 2.0 is around half a 4.0 in price, and so on. In the super high grades and in super low grades, this is not the case.

Auctions take months to get paid and some even charge a buyers premium that you do not keep. This means the buyer is willing to give you less because they have to pay that premium on top.

Auctions are also risky; Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Some of the rarest comics in the world have resold soon after the original sale because of auctioneer collusion.

Click here to see the actual sale.

Good or (2.0)

A comic that has been well read, but is still readable. Most of the comic is there. Tape is sometimes on the comic. The cover is generally not attached to the pages in this condition.

Here is an average copy of Hulk #1 from 1962, 1st app of the Hulk.

This particular copy has lots of tape and wear on the spine and edges. We estimate that it is worth around $7000 gross.

This copy does not look bad, but all the tape and pieces out of the edges, greatly affect the condition of the comic and the technical grade. This is a nice 2.0 or Good.

What you might think is a “little crease”, can make a big difference in value especially in higher grades.

Note: Third Party Grading is often not even necessary because most collectors and dealers know how to grade. Sometimes collectors and dealers will hypothesize that a comic got a low or high technical grade but it presents worse or nicer. How did collectors and dealers transact before third party grading existed? Most collectors prefer raw comics because they can read them instead of being in a heat sealed plastic “prisons.” Many of the Rarest Comics are Third Party Graded-but some are not; Sometimes it can even hurt the value.

Very Good or (4.0)

The average reader copy. It has been read multiple times. Sometimes Very Good Copies are folded down the middle, this is known as a subscription crease. A very good condition comic should have very little or no spine splitting. This is the highest grade that a cover can be fully detached from interior. If it is fully detached, it must present really nicely otherwise(small amount of wear) and have little or no tape.  One staple can be detached, yet there is a middle amount of wear allowed. When the cover is fully attached, a larger amount of wear is allowed.

This comic presents nicer than Very Good. Although the technical grade is Very Good. But there are some defects keeping it from being higher grade.

There is spine wear and some edge creases. There is also writing on the L in HULK. The writing just hurts eye appeal.

There is also a tiny chip out of the bottom edge of the comic.

We estimate that this comic is worth in the ballpark of around $13000 in a retail setting.

This comic looks nice and is only worth 4% of what the nicest copy in the world is worth. There is an exponential difference between nice, and nicest.

An apartment is going to sell for a fraction of what a mansion would sell for. They are both places where people live; Go figure.

Fine or (6.0)

Comics in this grade often have a couple of defects but nothing major. Usually having this grade is a combination of a couple small creases and some spine wear A few tiny creases are allowed as well. Sometimes a comic could have very few or none of these defects, but still be considered Fine. This sometimes occurs, when the color of the cover is moderately faded, so that the color is not as strong and is lighter.

Fine(6.0) copies of early 1960’s Marvel Comics are considered to be in nice condition. Fine copies were usually read once or twice and were put away somewhere safe a long time ago.

This Nice Copy of Hulk #1, sold for $24,000 gross recently.

Notice the multiple small creases on the right edge and the minimal amount of spine wear. There is not a lot wrong with this comic!

However, the edge creases and the couple of small pieces missing from manufacturing on the right edge, cap the book at a Fine.

This nice copy is worth about 7 percent of what the nicest copy known to man sold for.

Do you think your comics look this nice? Contact us here to get our offer first!

Very Fine or (8.0)

Comic has barely been touched. Maybe it has been read once, if the owner was careful. The only defects comics in this grade have are a couple of spine stress marks and sometimes a very tiny crease.

This copy of Hulk #1 sold for $70,000 Gross back in March of 2016.

$70,000 is almost triple the 6.0 sale. Why? Very serious collectors have to compete with one another just to own a Hulk #1 in this grade.

As stated in the condition description for an 8.0, “Comic has been barely touched.” This is essentially the closest, almost any collector with even lots of money to play around with will get to owning a MINT copy!

Do you think some or all of your comics are in Very Fine Condition? Let us know. Condition is important.

Click here to contact us.

Near Mint Minus (9.2)

Comic has not been read. Comic may have a couple of spine stress marks, but nothing else wrong with it.

The Very Fine Copy above has a tiny bit of tanning on the colors. This is not allowed in Near Mint Minus.

9.2, Near Mint Minus is the basically flawless comic.

This copy sold for $326,000 back in 2014.

The nicer the condition gets on an always in-demand comic above a certain point, the more exponential it becomes in each ascending grade.

But why isn’t there a mint example in this guide?

It does not exist simply.

Mint Condition Misconception

Note: Mint or 10/10 almost never exists. The chances of a brand new comic book grading a 10/10 are about 1 in 5000. No Joke. Most comic books people claim to be Mint, are from the 1980s & 1990s which are quite common, have so much larger print runs than the rarest comics in the world.

Important: We pass on so many collections because the owners of the comics look at the first value they see on inaccurate online Comic Price Guides and apps. The first value is the Near Mint Value, sometimes even the Mint Value. “Old Comics” are almost never in that condition as seen from the examples given. When it is a heavily desired comic like Hulk #1, and it is in NEAR MINT CONDITION, it is worth a fortune. People want to believe they have a fortune so they believe they do. They assume the first value they see on the price guide without clicking on the actual comic to see the condition break downs.

Hey aren’t there other grades too like Near Mint (9.4) or Very Good Minus (3.5)?

Yes. We stuck to the basic grades. There are in-between grades such as Good/Very Good (3.0) or Very Good Minus(3.5). It is somewhat easy to estimate the grade of your comics using the basic grades. A Good/Very Good is in between a Good (2.0) and a Very Good (4.0). The numbers out of 10 help too. Note: Once you get to 9.0, the scale goes by .2 instead of .5, & .1 after 9.8.

If you would like to sell your comics or contact us click here. $$$$$$$