Comic Book Appraisal

Terry Hurley
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Whether you are new to comic book collecting, a seasoned collector or are thinking of buying your first collectible comic, knowing where to get comic book appraisals is an important aspect of the hobby.

Comic Books as an Investment

Although many comic book collectors think of their collections as an investment, they need to be aware that just as in all types of collectibles, values often fluctuate over time. Most serious collectors want to keep abreast of changes in the comic book marketplace that may affect the value of their collections. They know the importance of appraisals from a reputable source.

Grading a Comic Book

Before determining the value of a comic book, its condition, or grade has to be determined. How well the book has been preserved through the years has a great impact on its value. For example a comic book in mint, or near mint, condition will be much more valuable then the same book in poor condition.

The grading scale for comic books include:

  • Mint
  • Near mint/mint
  • Near mint
  • Very fine/near mint
  • Very fine
  • Fine/very fine
  • Fine
  • Very good/fine
  • Very good
  • Good/very good
  • Good
  • Fair/good
  • Fair
  • Poor

In addition to the above traditional system of grading comic books, there is also a numerical system called the Overstreet Numerical Equivalent.

Professional Grading Services

To ensure a comic book is graded accurately, collectors generally use a professional grading service. Once a comic book is graded by a grading company, it is encapsulated in a holder that is tamper-evident. The following are examples of comic book grading services:

  • The Certified Guarantee Company is a leading authority on comic books. This well known grading service, known as CGC Comics also includes a restoration check on all comics they grade.
  • Professional Grading Experts, known as PGX Comics

Free Comic Book Appraisals Online

Metropolis Collectibles provides a free comic book appraisal service. Along with the appraisal, the company:

  • Checks the comic book for signs of restoration
  • Assigns a numeric grade
  • Assigns a nomenclature grade

The company bases their appraisal on the following:

  • The comic books relative scarcity
  • The comic's desirability
  • Historical significance of the comic book

More Free Appraisals

Fee Based Appraisal

Comic Book Price Guides

  • For almost two decades many comic book collectors have relied on the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide by Gem Publishing. Often referred to as the Bible of comic book collectors, the price guide is published annually. In addition to a hard or soft cover volume, this collectible price guide is also available on DVD data format. Compiled by Robert M. Overstreet, the 39th edition contains more than 1100 pages.
  • The Standard Catalog of Comic Books by Maggie Thompson and Brent Frankenhoff is a yearly periodical published by Krause Publications. Krause also publishes the Comics Buyers Guide each week. The 5th edition lists more than 180,000 English language comic books from the Golden Age through the present. This invaluable resource is on a DVD data format.
  • A comprehensive comic book price guide by Maggie Thompson, Peter Blickf and Brent Frankenhoff, the 2009 Comic Book Checklist & Price Guide, 1961-Present, 15th Edition is a great resource for identifying and valuing comic books.

Comic book appraisals and staying aware of the comic book market trends, keeps you informed about the value of your collection. Whether you enjoy attending comic book show and events, visiting collectible comic book stores or browsing garage sales in hopes of finding a pristine comic from years past, collecting comic books is a hobby that you can enjoy alone or one that the entire family can enjoy together. .

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Comic Book Appraisal