Real Time ValueMany times people want to know how much their comic book is worth and go straight to a price guide. The trouble with that is that the economy can really mess with prices of commodities like comic books. The price guide might say its worth hundreds of dollars, but if someone is only willing to pay fifty, then it is really only worth fifty. One of my tricks to find a "real time value" is to use eBay's advanced searching features to see what a comic book is worth right now. When I use the term "real time value" I am referring to what the comic book might be expected to be sold for today if sold at an auction.
The Steps To Finding The Real Time ValueFirst you need to know the name of the comic book you have. This might seem obvious but without the real name of the comic book then you will not be able to find out what it is worth. The title is found on the cover, usually at the top of the comic.
Once you have the title, you will need to know what condition it is in. This is known as the grade of the comic book. If you don't know this, the price you get for your comic will just be a ballpark figure. Take a look at this article to find the grade of your comic. When you know the grade of your comic book, read on.
Now that you know the name of your comic book and the grade, then you can start the search. Head on over to www.ebay.com. For those of you that don't know what eBay is, it is the largest auction site on the internet that sells just about anything you can imagine. People from all over the world put up items that other people then bid on or buy outright.
At the eBay site, just type the name of your comic book into the search engine bar. This will show you the auctions that are going on right now. This will allow you to see what people are asking for comic books similar to yours. Pay careful attention to the grades of the comic books you see. If you want to narrow your search, enter in the grade of your comic book along with the title in the search bar.
After you have done some looking, take it a step further. This is where you will truly get to see the "real time price" of your comic book. Next to the search bar is the word, "Advanced." Clicking on this will take you to the promised land of the real time price.
On this screen you will find some different options, but the only one we are worried about is the check box that says, "completed listings." Now click the search button again. What comes up on the screen is what similar comic books like yours have sold for in the past. It will go back as much as one year.
With the information in front of you, it might be good to sort it. You can do this by clicking the down drop arrow next to the "Sort by" title right above the topmost auction item. You can search by the oldest or newest ending auction. You can also sort by the highest or lowest price the item sold for. I typically sort it by the highest priced item and go down from there.
This is where it gets a little trickier. You need to find auctions that have items as close to your comic book as possible. You can narrow the search by having the grade in the title, but I tend not to do that. The reason for this is that people do weird things in the titles of their auctions. You are not usually having to search through hundreds of listings so I like to see what other comics have gone for.
It is now time to do some hunting. Scan the titles and search for comic books that are as close in grade to yours. You might see some that are CGC graded, if yours is also CGC graded then it should be easy to identify the real time value. If not, then skip these or you might consider getting your comic book graded by the CGC as comics with high CGC grades tend to go for more money.
Once you have found a comic as close to yours in name and condition, you should be able to see what it has gone for recently right there on the screen. Prices in green are items that have sold. Prices in red are items that have not sold. Congratulations! You know now what your comic book has sold for recently to get an idea of its real time value. It isn't a perfect science and sometimes you might turn up empty handed, but eBay can be a great place to start to see what it might be selling for right now, especially if selling your comic is your ultimate goal.
A Case Study In Finding The Real Time ValueFor this case study, I decided to use Captain America #25 that came out in 2004 and showcased the death of Captain America. This comic was one that sold out in record time and was going for huge amounts of cash online when it first came out. What is mine worth right now? I used the strategies posted above to find out.
My comic is not graded by CGC, but I feel that it is in the Near Mint grade of condition. Searching eBay for similar auctions brought in 151 items over three pages. Not a ton to dig through so I went to it. I found out that the comics that had the most value were either CGC graded with a high grade, signed by popular creators, or were both signed and CGC graded. I also had to sift through other incarnations of Captain America #25, such as the Marvel Knights comic book of the same name. Knowing what my comic looked like helped a lot.
In the end I found another Captain America #25 that had the same cover as mine and was also in Near Mint condition. It sold for $4.99 with $5.95 shipping. This is a far cry from the hundreds it was going for, but at least I know what it is most likely to go for right now.