Wow! The Chicago Wizard World and San Diego Comic Con's were the two best shows of my ten year career. The shows were packed and I hardly had a chance to enjoy the San Diego Con because we were so busy. Also very strong was my September Big Apple Comic Con. My overall view of the market is one of optimism and hope. I think we will start to see a lot of collectors coming back to the hobby. The two big cons coupled with an increase in mail order and internet business have really helped to boost my confidence in the market. I am by no means saying before the summer the market was horrible, I am saying I have seen many interesting trends changing. Markets that were not as strong as they once were are starting to get better. Low grade gold, silver and bronze in lower grades have started to move without heavy discounting. The most exciting part of the market for me has been the bronze age books. We sold so many books from the Oakland Collection it has been mind blowing. What was really great about the collection was grading the books- many of these covers are truly classic and many I never paid attention to before because I had either never seen them or I just hadn't been interested enough. Also seeing straight runs in near mint and mint conditions was a blast. The Neal Adams, Trimpe, Buckler, Wrightson, Jones, Kubert, Kirby, and Steranko covers and interiors always inspire in me memories of my early collecting days. It was great advising collectors who casually stopped by to look at some wall books to look into the boxes of high grade Oakland's, if not to buy but just to look at some great covers and to see a box of 25 to 30 year old near mint books. Five minutes later I'd see the same customer with a small stack of books and a curious smile and sparkle in the eyes. What is so attractive about the Oakland books is the fact that you can buy a small stack of high grade books and not break your bank.
The silver age Marvel and DC market were also very strong. I sold a NM X-Men #1 in Chicago. It was probably the nicest copy I have ever had. I picked up a high grade run of Adventures from the 50's including a glossy, vibrant, #247 with beautiful pages in VF condition. Most high grade Marvels sold rather quickly of note were Fantastic Four #52, early Spidey's, 70's Marvel westerns, DC war, Wonder Woman's, 70's DC Horror and the thick Marvel reprint titles like Marvel Collector's Item and the like. There were some issues that if I had ten or twenty deep I would have sold through ( X-Men 94, G.S. #1, Amazing Adventure #11, F.F. #112). I also sold a lot of high grade Marvel and DC romance books- watch out for this market, it's a real sleeper!!!
On the golden age front, I sold a completely unrestored All-American #16 in VG. Golden age Caps, Supes, Bats and Wonder Woman's also sold very well. Even Westerns, Classics and funny animal books were selling well. Overall the 40's books sell in all grades as long as you price them at what the market will bear.
EC's did not move extremely well except for the near mints. I am actually surprised at this because I think they are the some of the finest quality books ever made. From the gruesomely detailed artwork to the finely crafted stories, EC's always leave you hanging until the last page.
50's Horror was still cooking red hot. If you have the right books you just can't go wrong. Beware Terror Tales, Blue Bolt, Venus and Journey into Unknown Worlds sold well amongst others.
I also see Archie's rising in popularity. Many customers seem to remember at one time in their childhood reading an Archie comic and laughing out loud. They are generally inexpensive and always a good piece to have in a collection.
Slower markets included the Dell's, Four Color Disney books and heavily restored books…
In closing I would like to send my condolences to my dear friend and former partner Mike Carbonaro and his father Tony on the loss of their mother and wife Brigid. She was a truly strong, loving and caring person who will be greatly missed. When we were laying her to rest at the cemetery, Michael and I looked up to the beautiful, sunny mid-day sky and smiled because we knew her spirit was up there and resting peacefully. Keep the faith, my brother…