Many baby boomer clients (and advisors) may yearn for their long-lost comic book collections. Maybe Mom threw out them out or they went missing during college or a move.
Regardless of how the comic books “disappeared,” one question is always the same: Are comics a valuable asset that’s worth holding on to?
Experts say, such thinking may reveal more fantasy than fact. Most comic books that sit around basements or garages aren’t usually kept in top condition and very few are highly prized collectables.
Still, for those who do own well-kept and much-sought-after comics and comic art, collecting comics can be profitable. (Comic art, experts note, is defined as the original pen and ink artwork from the artist that publishers would use to make the production art from which the comics would be printed.)
Consider recent sales activity for comics and comic art at Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, which launched its comics business in 2001.
Barry Sandoval, direction of operations for the comics division, says that yearly sales were between about $10 million and $15 million in the 2006-2010 time frame.
But in 2011, sales reached nearly $25 million. Last year they hit $37 million.
Sandoval points to several factors driving the increased volume. One is live auction bidding over the Internet, which opens up sales to a global audience.
Another trend is that rising prices for the highest-quality items add credence to the idea that there is some serious money in comic and comic art.
“We became the first to auction a $1-million comic book a few years back when we had the Detective Comics 27,” said Sandoval, in an interview with AdvisorOne. “That was in 2010 and, at the time, the auction record for a comic was just over $300,000.