Copyright 2009 – Kimberly Clay

Vintage comic books are popular collector’s items, both for their rarity value and their sentimental value to many people. Such books are part of many children’s lives and remain a part of them until they become adults. This is one of the main reasons why prices of old comic books increase as they get older. Their value increases over time, particularly those that had a limited publication life, or even better, the initial issues of popular comics.

Many grown ups can relive their happy childhood days with their superheroes on the pages of these books. Others share their memories with their small children. Still others do it for a hobby.

The history of comic books stretches as far back as 1897, and in the absence of any other means of doing so other than by title or publisher, collectors have found a unique way of categorizing them, grouping them into five “ages”. Those that were published from 1897 to 1937 belong to the Platinum age. Those published from 1938 to 1956 – Golden Age, from 1956 to 1969 – Silver, from 1970 to 1979 – Bronze, and 1980 to present – Modern.

The value of comic books depends on several factors, but age and rarity are two of the most significant. Following are some tips on how to determine the value of a comic book. Whether you are a collector or a seller, these will help you to put the best value to your vintage comic books.

1.Check the cover. Is it intact or torn, clean or dirty?
2.Are there missing pages? Are the pages yellowing?
3.Look for price guides online and get a fair assessment of your comic book’s value.
4.Check recent online auctions. You might find out vintage comic books that are comparable to yours.
5.Set a realistic price, not based on its sentimental value to you if you are a seller, but on the prevailing market. If you are buying comic books, you should have an idea of how much you are willing to pay.
6.If you find that the market is currently unfavorable to you, then wait until prices get better. Remember, the older the comic book gets the more it is worth, but you have to take good care of it. Value increases with condition.

Among the comic books that command the best prices at auction are DC comic s such as Superman, Marvel comic books, and Archie books. Large auction houses carry rare collectibles, some of which enjoy annual sales of more that $700 million, and attract online bidders of almost half a million members.

By means of these old books, you can relive those ‘good old days’ when radio characters were brought to life with imaginative and well drawn color graphics. Think of the millions of toys and clothes that were based on comic book characters. Visit your childhood world, a world that you enjoyed back then with the same nostalgia that you’ve always had.

Original comic book illustrations command the best prices. Notable high auction prices have been Flash Gordon by Alex Raymond dated April 28, 1935 at $50,787 and the Jack Davis Tales from the Crypt dated 1954 which was sold at $47,800. For updates on such auctions, many auctioneers use Twitter, Facebook and other sites to give you the details of their activities as they happen.

Superheroes dominated the first era of comic books and most collectors would relish a copy of these priceless possessions. The Superman comic books in 1938 signaled the beginning of a superhero era that has lasted to the present day. Others prefer to collect crime comic books that assumed popularity in the late 1940s and 50s when the initial impact of the superhero began to die down. This was quickly followed by the Western, romance and sci-fi comic book.

These were not universally well received, however, and criticism of the Western and romance genre in respect of their effect on children heralded a return in popularity of the superheroes. The showcase comics introduced by DC in 1956 saw the return of Flash Gordon, the Green Lantern character being particularly popular. From them on, it was the superhero that was the dominant character in comic books.

Going back to the five “ages”, those books belonging to The Golden and Silver Ages are the main areas involved in most collections. It can safely be said that books belonging to these areas are a little more expensive, especially the more popular ones, although the early editions of earlier ages also command high prices.

However, irrespective of the price you pay when collecting, what is most important for many people is not the price but the memories that become refreshed and revitalized as they open every page of those old comic books.

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