For comic book lovers, making a lucrative living from flipping books is the dream.
And, if you know what you're doing, flipping books that collectors want is a side hustle worth pursuing.
But first things first, you'll need to be able to estimate the grade to know what's worth flipping and the value of your comic.
Hi, I'm Bryan 👋 and welcome to the blog!
Today's guide is all about seeing what comic books are worth grading for flipping and what you need to look out for to get that 9.8 for the most value.
Let's dive straight in! 🚀
An introduction to grading comic books
It's tempting to get every book graded, upload them to eBay, cross your fingers, and hope you cash in. While you'll maybe hit some winners here and there, it's not guaranteed, and this approach simply isn’t sustainable.
You risk not only failing to make money but actually losing money, causing a CGC backlog, and passing on a worthless book to the collector who's unfortunate enough to buy it.
Don't be convinced by the school of thought that says everything's worth grading to improve its value.
This then begs the question, if not everything is worth grading, what books should be graded?
Oh, and you can check out the video version of this topic over on my YouTube channel here! Remember to subscribe!
How to Decide What's Worth Grading
To start with, look at the book's sales data at the time of sending, and consider any variables that might affect the price by the time you get the book back from CGC, which could be six months with current turn times.
Consider the example of a recent Thor #6 2nd print edition.
There was an increase in the number of copies of this comic sold due to a Twitter question in which a user asked about the importance of the image on the cover. This announcement shot the price up from around $25 to hundreds of dollars.
Some sellers missed out on the deal by posting their books just before the Twitter question. Another key mistake these sellers made was putting their books up for auction at a price that would have cost them money.
That's a no-no.
Pro tip: Don't risk losing money by listing your item below your break-even point. Instead, start the bid at your break-even point as the minimum, or even better, don't opt for auctions at all!
While the tweet did spark a temporary rise in prices for the comic edition, the prices soon started to lower and will likely continue on that downward trajectory.
If you had a copy of that comic and decided to submit it now, by the time you had it returned six months later by CGC, the prices would have likely returned to the break-even point.
Check the Market
The basic economic theory of supply and demand is well-known for a reason - it's true. If you're unsure whether a book is worth grading to sell, look for other copies on eBay. If you find a saturated market with comics that have zero bids and prices lowering by the day, it's a red flag.
Take the example of Infamous Iron Man #1.
Not only are very few graded copies still available that aren't being sold, but there's also the tiny potential for Tony Stark to show up in the MCU six or so months from now (albeit in the form of flashbacks or memories).
Coinciding that with a possible six-seven month turnaround time from the CGC, you've got a recipe for success.
The $100 Rule
The golden rule of making money on flipping graded books is only to submit books currently selling for $100 or more and will likely increase further in place due to speculation.
If the books you're looking at are hovering around the $30 to $40 mark, it's just not worth sending them to the CGC in the first place. You risk incurring more costs than you make.
Check out my video on which books are worth getting graded for more details here:
When it comes to selling, it's not just the price you'll be paid at the end that counts. Consider costs, such as the raw book, shipping fees, pressing, CGC fees, selling fees, and income tax.
A good rule of thumb is to double what you've spent as a minimum. $60 of spending should mean the book sells for at least $120.
Be vigilant when it comes to eBay, too.
They'll often sneakily show you what you'll get when you sell without factoring in the selling fees, giving you an inflated sense of what you can earn.
Always factor in the selling fees when assessing the value of your books.
Use the Facts
As comic book fans, we get emotionally attached to the stories and artwork we know and love. I get it; I've been there. But putting a comic book on sale just because you love it and hope it becomes popular is not a sound financial decision.
Make sure to always use the data when it comes to flipping, and save your favorites for your personal collection.
How to Spot a 9.8 Comic Book
The TL:DR here is looking for a quality copy of a book. The higher the quality, the higher the grade.
This means looking at every aspect of the book with a keen, detailed eye, allowing you to spot defects and damage.
First off, you need to hold the book up to the light to check for any defects, which could be marks or bends.
If you see bends in the book, it will probably need pressing.
A 9.8 is defined as nearly perfect, with negligible handling and manufacturing defects, so you're on the lookout for any tiny scratches, bends, stains, or dents.
It's worth noting that some books come from the printer with tiny defects (you can tell it's a manufacturing error if it affects every copy), in which case the CGC might go a little easier on you with the grading.
With certain formats like Pokemon cards, errors actually raise the price of the card, and this might apply here, depending on the book, due to the fact the book is rarer than the standard print.
Ticks in the spine can also affect the look of your book, but if they're small and subtle, they'll be allowable for a high grade.
Ink rub can also be problematic, but if it's only slight, it's worth submitting after a safety press.
Make sure the staples are in place and in good condition.
Also, look out for spine roll, which can jeopardize your chances of getting a 9.8 status. The book should lie flat on a surface, without the sides curling up.
Make sure to check out this video for picture examples:
When in Doubt, Press it Out!
If your copy is riddled with scratches, ink rubs, and color run, no amount of pressing will get it to a 9.8.
If your book is in generally excellent condition, but you can see tiny bends or dents, it's better to be safe than sorry, so send it to a safety press, which will clean it up enough to pass for a 9.8.
For the most part, anything is pressable as long as the color isn't broken.
Even if one of your items is a solid 9.8 (and doesn't have any bindery tears), it's worth getting it pressed anyway, possibly boosting your score to a 9.9.
Remember, when handling your books, use gloves and other careful instruments to turn the pages and papers.
When it comes to grading and flipping books, multiple factors make a book worth grading, including the broader context at the time, current market value, and the profit you'd make even after costs.
Research eBay and the wider comic book community before sending any of your books to get graded, and remember to prioritize pressing to get your books in tip-top condition.
And if you're looking for some more great deals and content, check out these links!
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