The first comic book to feature Superman, published in 1938, recently sold for $1.5 million.
But don’t tell your clients to dump their traditional assets and start chasing superheroes: Not all comics are considered collectible.
Stephen Fishler, founder of Metropolis Collectibles and ComicConnect.com in New York, says investors and serious collectors tend to focus on issues from the golden age (the late 1930s through 1954) and the silver age (1955–1970).
It’s also a market in which expert knowledge is critical to spotting trends and avoiding rip-offs.
To consider an investment in this field, Fishler recommends that prospective collectors develop a working knowledge of the comics that most interest them.
David John Marotta, CFP, AIF, and president of Marotta Wealth Management in Charlottesville, Va., has been collecting comics since he was 4 years old. He says the prices of collectible comics tend to keep up with inflation and are volatile.
“There are times at which comics hit their height and everyone is bidding them up a lot, and then there are times at which comics hit a low and they just go down in value,” he says.
“Also, it’s a little bit of an illiquid store of value, because you have to go to the auction site and post your comic, answer questions and wait to see if you get the right bid,” Marotta explained.
“Whereas with a normal stock, you get the market price immediately and there are market makers. There are no market makers for comic books; you actually have to find a buyer,” he shared.
As an advisor, Marotta does not recommend collectible comic investments to clients.
If they insist on collecting anything, though, he recommends limiting the exposure.
“Three to five percent of your net worth can be put into things that you may have a hard time selling,” he says. “Then it’s contained and when it comes time to eat in retirement they don’t have to sacrifice their collection in order to eat.”