Why didn’t I have an obsessive compulsive older relative?

There was this guy and he was an avid comic book collector in the 1940’s and then he died and his family made a lot of money.

The article has all the details, but here’s what I noticed. The collection was valued at $2.5 million dollars, and the family ended up with just over $700,000. So, the value of collectible comics, even real collectibles like these, as opposed to slabbed late 90’s comics, is probably overvalued in the real world market. Also, isn’t it weird that the family expressed no sadness at all for their dad’s passing?

“Hey Dad’s dead….oh well. WHOA! Look at all this money he left us! Woo Hoo!”

Also, it’s only touched upon that these books had a real value to their original owner, and that’s just given a passing mention. Everyone else in the story can’t turn them into cash fast enough. But that’s the thing about why our comics are valuable to us now. And it has very little to do with money.


  1. He got a glimpse of his newfound fortune last week when Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas sold off a first batch of 550 comics. By the time the final gavel fell, Mr. Crippen, his mother and brother were $717,000 richer.

    I understood this to mean he made 700K off the first batch.

  2. Gene’s right. He had 11,000 comics and they got $717,000 from 550 of them.

    Looks like $2.5 million might be a low estimate.

  3. Damn! How cool would it have been just to the see some of the comics. Also, I would be looking up that contractor that stole the comics.

  4. I found the auction house selling off this collection, and they have a full list of the items on the block so far. Check it out:


  5. I am curious. When did people start bagging and boarding their collections? Before mylar, how did they preserve their comics? How does a collection from the Golden Age survive until today?

    All of the comics I bought through the 90’s are in bags only. From 2000 to 2003, I bagged and boarded. Now, I stack my comics into a pile and drop them into a box at the end of the year. No bags and no boards. I have become lazy in my collecting management.

    As I write this I am growing a little concerned about my collection. At least how my comics will reflect on me when I kick it and my family is looking to cash in. Since the bulk of my preserved collection is from the 90’s my grandkids won�t be getting rich. They’ll have to find another way to pay for college. I am sure they will enjoy my complete runs of Darkhawk, New Warriors, Bagley’s run on Amazing Spider-man but they will also be picking through parts of the Clone Saga, Onslaught, and more than a couple Lady Death comics. Anything I have bought in the past couple of years will be yellow and crack apart when they turn the pages.

    The solution: cradle them to sleep while telling them all about Bendis’ run on Daredevil. Tell the tykes all about the Ultimates while they bounce on my knee and bed time stories that ask “Whose side are you on?”

  6. In a way, I do both. I put comics I’ve read in an ever-growing pile on my desk; two or three times a year, when the pile’s about to topple, I then go in and bag/board them, all the while muttering, “I am such an idiot for bothering to do this. No one is ever going to look in these boxes again. Why am I still doing this? Stupid OCD-nurturing hobby. Grumble mumble grumble.”

    In other words, be glad you’ve broken free. Years from now, you can buy your grandchildren the Premiere Hardcovers and let them actually read the stories. By then, of course, your grandkids will say, “Comics? On paper? Where’s the clickwheel?”

  7. My famous big stack of unbagged and unboarded comics is, at the moment, mighty. I kinda miss the days of bagging and boarding my comics. It was almost like meditation. In college, I used to get girls to help me do it.

    Oh, college.

  8. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I like to bad and board my comics. Not because I think they will keep their value, but it gives me a sense of completion. I usually wait about a month before I B&B my comics. It actually calms me down and I do it on a Sunday night while watching TV, usually after my kids are asleep. It’s kinda like my own time when I don’t have to worry about them coming in and destroying them. Not only that, I put 2 comics in each bag.

  9. I bag & board all my comics. I do it more because I want them all to look the same in the boxes than because it is protecting them. The bags & boards standardize how they all fit in the boxes and makes them easy to move, reorder, adjust, find, etc… I usually only do it about once a month, similar to gene, but it does get done eventually. My clean-freak, overly-anal nature doesn’t let me stack them up for too long without bagging, boarding and boxing them.

    Not only that, I catalog them all on an Excel spreadsheet. Disgusting, I know.

  10. Derek! Help IS available! Hold on!

    Actually, I’ve considered doing that, but I’d have to go back and do it to the stuff I already had, and I’d never catch up.

  11. When I was like 12 or so I categlogged all of my comics in the very crude database program that came with the crappy Apple my family had in the early 90s. I was very proud of the accomplishment and I had so much fun doing it.

    And if I’m truly honest with myself, I’d have to say that I’d have so much fun doing it again.

  12. I would do that, but– and I suspect many of you will relate to this– I think that database already exists inside my head. I can’t remember 80% of my college education, but give me a title and issue number and I probably know whether or not I have it.

  13. I go away for a few days, and I come back to find out I’d misread the article. Whoops.

    I don’t know what I’m going to do about bags and boards when I go to a shop that doesn’t give them to me for free. We’ll see how much life I want to devote to the sport of preservation.

  14. Speaking of keeping a database, have you all seen this website?


    I’ve started doing it slowly. Seems pretty cool how everything is linked.

  15. Yeah I just found that site recently too. The linking stuff is great. It is all user-created and maintained, isn’t it? They already have almost 60,000 titles cataloged? Almost everything I tried looking up was there except for some obscure indie stuff. Maybe it could be a good alternative to my Excel spreadsheet…

  16. Comicbookdb.com is great! Warren Ellis did a run on X-Force? Who knew?

  17. It is user maintained. Throw out that Excel spreadsheet and get started! J/K

  18. Hmmm…I think I know what I’ll be doing this Sunday afternoon…

  19. bags only…although i am recently returned to comics and that habit may in fact wear off…i have also started an access database to catalog them as well…but i see all of that getting to be too much because i seem to be picking up more an more books every couple of weeks…

  20. data-base, schmata-base.

    You know what’s fun? Going through boxes and boxes of books trying to find a certain issue, and pulling up copies of stuff you didn’t remember existed.

    Also fun, pulling out whole runs of great books. I have, in my closet, as I prepare for a major move, a huge stack of the complete runs of Powers, USM, Y: The Last Man, Lucifer, and Queen and Country. And they’re impressively awesome.

  21. Josh, having recently done exactly that, the first box i pulled nearly made me cry – full of things i wish i’d been smart enough to not buy, let alone read (ah, the 90’s..). second box was better with a few absolute gems. third box, excellent quality. fourth box? no way. i stopped at three.

    fully agree on the complete runs.

    have kept a databse for a long time and once you’re up to scratch it’s easy enough to maintain. use it for orders and purchases.. nothing worse than an anally-retentive obsessive-compulsive geek..