BACON! I loves me the bacon, but I guess you heard the news–the cost of bacon is going to go up due to the drought affecting the corn crop this year. Of course, instead of feeding the pigs, we have to continue feeding the fat cats behind the addition of corn-based ethanol to our gasoline. Ethanol, that less energy efficient additive that requires you to but more gasoline to go the same distance as before.
One thing is for sure–when the pundits predict that prices will go UP for a product–they will. They’re basically writing a blank check for big corporations. What happened to the prediction we got at the end of Spring saying that the price of gas would go down to about $3.00 per gallon by the end of Summer? With the cost of premium well over 4 bucks a gallon, I haven’t been using the ol’ Chevelle as much as before. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been out there trying to bring back some interesting stuff for the shop.
The last month has been somewhat of a drought, collectibles-wise–until last week that is! My favorite Friday night auction offered some hopes on their website as I spied some Silver Age war comics, ’50s movie magazines (I wasn’t going to bring them into the shop–eBay fodder), and a 1966 Batman and Robin lunch box. As a reseller, I dropped out of the bidding for the 15 Silver-Aged DC war comics when it hit a hundred dollars. I had spent some time actually looking them over carefully and they would guide out at about $500, but not here in Newark and definitely not on eBay. Next came the movie mags. There were 56 of them and in half way decent shape, but I had a chance to check out their selling prices on eBay in advance. They only seemed to average about $3 – 5 in auction listings. The group sold for over $150! PLUS, the buyer pays an additional 15% “buyer’s premium” and, if he doesn’t have a resellers license, sales tax! I dropped out real early on that one. The Batman lunch box was auctioned off later, but the picture on the site did not reveal how rusted it was, and, of course, it didn’t reveal that there was no thermos. Decent ones on eBay had sold for $45 – 75, without the thermos – $170 for a nice one with the thermos. This sold for $50, but not to me! So… I did not score any of the comic related items, BUT I did go home with a penguin costume used in a Mummers’ parade. Don’t ask. It was cheap. O-kay?
As an aside, many auction houses offer a “discount” (typically 3%) on the buyers’ premium if one does not pay by credit card. Remember when gas stations did the same? It is a way of circumventing the contract with the credit card services and banks that prohibit adding a surcharge to a payment. Evidently, that restriction has been lifted. Why do I bother to mention this, you ask? Well, unfortunately, since we are a small shop, we do not receive the sweet deals that chains get on their credit card transactions. We are charged a swipe fee plus a percentage. That percentage is dependent upon the size of our average credit card sale. These are periodically analyzed and if one’s average goes down, the percentage charged goes UP– for ALL charges until the next time they crunch the numbers. Those chains with “volume” are not as concerned, since they receive a deal we are not offered. It’s part of the “trickle up” economy we all experience. However, recent legislation has made is allowable for stores to add a surcharge as a way to off-set this added risk. Joe has had a sign by the register requesting that people kindly refrain from using a card on purchases less than $10. That request is not always followed, costing us higher fees. With much regret, we feel is necessary to add a surcharge to purchases under $10 in the future. Hey! I just had a brain storm!! Bring cash OR spend more than 10 bucks!!
Back to comic hunting. As I mentioned earlier, this past week was good. I purchased 10 boxes of comics from one Craigslist posting (I haven’t even gone through them to see what I got, yet) and a small group of DC New 52 first prints from another Craigslister the same day. However, the big news is that two days earlier, a group of golden age comics had just surfaced after 65 – 70 years, and I bought them from the original owner!
Giving CBH customers first crack at the big ones, they are now in the shop. Included is a nice copy of Batman #4, a Flash Comics #27, Action Comics #47, All-American #65, All-Star Comics #9 (just one issue past the first Wonder Woman!), Superman #12, a really nice copy of Planet #18, and several more. As these were produced during WWII, many had patriotic covers and stories–one even with our hero banging Hitler’s and Hirochito’s heads together. In addition to these, I have a couple dozen others that unfortunately are incomplete–some without covers, some missing the centerfolds. What do I ask for a Superman 10 and 11, both missing their centerfolds? How about a cover-less Action Comics #24? In addition to the nice Batman #4, there was also another Batman #4, but missing the cover and centerfold. The internet is certainly helpful in identifying comics that are missing the cover and indicia. Just do a search of some of the included stories within and bingo! That’s how I discovered that the partial comic I had in my hands was Batman #3. I have now had a chance to research the rest of the pile of cover-less comics, hoping to find the innards of the one lone separated cover in the group. No luck. The cover, complete front and back and in VG+ condition, belonged to All Winners #1. This comic guides at $35,000 in NM, $1900 in Good. What’s a cover worth? Any ideas out there? I’d like to hear your thoughts out there. While you’re at it, what percent would one ask for a comic without its centerfold like the two Supermans above? Stop in and check out these great covers. To me, nothing produced today compares.