Have you ever found yourself with time to kill or possibly your imaginary significant other (let’s just pretend for fun) drags you to look for some old antique furniture for his or her new apartment? If you’re anything life me you completely dread going into antique shops. It’s a bunch of “junk” from past generations that are extremely overpriced. I would rather watch basketball (and I hate basketball) than go antiquing. But what if I told you you could find a goldmine of vintage comics in local antique shops?
Ok, “goldmine” might be a stretch but you can find some kickass things at an antique shop. I have heard stories of friends going into these shops and coming out with sealed magic cards from the early 90’s, or sometimes even finding those comics they have been searching for since they got into the comic book world. I myself have found some really cool (but worthless) comic books while my girlfriend drags me on these antique missions. But be warned, sometimes you will just be thrown into a nerd rage when you see how some of these comics are packaged, priced and conditioned. But remain calm my friends.
So, you want to take my advice and hit up a local antique shop? But you don’t know what they heck you are getting into? My first word of advice is DO NOT get your hopes up on the first, second or third shop you go to. I can not tell you how many times I have gone into a shop and left disappointed because I had my hopes up, and every time I go into an antique store, I keep my expectations and hopes low. That’s the key to this, like going into any movie, keep your expectations low and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. My second word of advice, take about 50 dollars in cash with you. You can suffice with $25, but personally I would rather be safe than sorry. And who knows, maybe you won’t find any comic books but you’ll find that kick ass Victorian candelabra your girlfriend has been wanting for your apartment.
Ok, so you are wandering around the antique shop aimlessly and you don’t know where to look. Your best bet is somewhere that has toys, collectables or even books. Most of the time you can find comics on a magazine rack or even in a comics storage box (Surprising isn’t it?). Now this is when the hard times can come pretty quick. You begin to see the condition of the comics, the wear, the tear, the bent pages, and the stains on the covers (is it coke, pizza, spaghetti sauce, or some other stuff from 15 years ago?). It’s almost like the people that collected these before you have never even heard of comic boards and sleeves.
So lets say you found an awesome Deadpool comic from the early ‘90’s. Its got a price tag of $10. And guess what, the sticker is right on cover and there is no plastic sleeve on it for protection. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? Well calm down my nerdy little friend, some people don’t know how to properly take care of a comic, just like you have no clue about football (See Cody’s article on Fantasy Football). So what do you do now? You found the comic and you do some research on your trusty smart phone and the 10-buck price tag is just a little too high, you learn it’s worth at least 8. Here comes the fun part, you get to interact with a person (try not to have an anxiety attack while you converse). Now, this isn’t very hard, strike up a conversation with the old guy behind the counter, maybe even ask him who his favorite superhero was, or what his favorite comic was. I bet he’ll have a fun story to go along with it. Those antique guys will talk to you longer than the owner of your local Friday Night Magic shop.
Once you’ve had a good talk, I bet you’ll be able to haggle the crap out of him. Here is how you’re going to want to haggle; do not insult him with a price. Say “I collect comics and I feel 10 is just a little out of my comfort zone. There are a few little problems with the book…” point out exhibit A) Torn pages, B) Stains on the cover, and C) Price Tag right on the book itself.
More than likely the clerk will agree with you on this, that’s when you send your price his way, once again do NOT low ball the old man, offer about 7 or 8 dollars. Then mention it’s in cash. This doesn’t really do anything except make you feel a little cooler, and let’s be honest; you need all the self-confidence you can get. So you throw out the price and the old man just kind of looks at you and it becomes extremely awkward. You dart down at the comic book and then back at him, you completely forget what your doing, stay calm! Once again mention that the 10 dollars is a little too much for you to spend on it. Let it be clear that you really want this comic but don’t let your guard down to much, then he wont lower his price. Throw out there one last time that you’ll do no more than $8.00 or you’ll be walking away. Chances are this will be enough for him and he’ll finally settle on that fixed price.
This is the moment you have been looking forward to since you walked in the shop! You are now the proud owner of a less than perfect comic book. It’s got some value, by some I mean purely emotional. This is one of your prize books in your collection, want to know why? It’s the one you found on your own, you didn’t go to your local shop and rummage around a bunch of organized comics, you spent time and you were tedious about shorting through endless garbage and worthless comics. Hang this one on the wall my friend, or cut up the pages and make an artistic statement. You got this book for a hell of a deal and you should be damn proud of yourself.
So get out there and rummage through all that old crap you nerds, and if you have any cool stories, feel free to share them in the comments below or shoot an email our way.