Most males, especially over 50 are familiar with the semi-joking “I could’ve been rich, but my mother threw away all my (fill in the blank)”. I say men because in the 80’s-90’s the majority of baseball cards/comic collectors were males. It certainly was surprise, to my late-husband when he learned I had become a reader of them in the mid to late-80s. I knew I was a rarity among my friends, a girl who was into comics, my favorite being Marvel’s X-Men series. Yes, I wanted to be Storm – what female into comics didn’t?
I enjoyed the art and the stories, but I was not a collector. I did not purchase with the intent to collect. Still, there were some that I kept for whatever reason. The ones I chose to keep were properly cased in plastic sleeves with backing board. Regrettably, doing so with comics was not a thing when my late-husband was a boy buying them. It was not until he saw me preserving mine that I learned he had comics of his own stacked in box at the back of a closet. He saw how I protect mine, he chose not to go through his and they stayed in their box. A box I did not look in until our third move. Let’s just say when I finally opened that box for the first time I was glad I wore gloves, a good two-thirds of what was in that box was trashed. We did not try to salvage it. As for what was left? Aged, yellow pages, dog-eared pages, cockling, etc. This was the 90s, AOL was still mailing mini-CDs; the Internet had taken off, but it was not the monster we have now. There was no no way to determine the value, if any, of what we had without dragging the entire collection to comics retailer. That never happened. The box was repacked with his hodge-podge of Captain America, Daredevil, Ku Fu Masters et al, and my Spawn and X-Men where they remain untouched through three more moves until yesterday.
Yesterday, I mentioned that I spent the evening going through my comic collection. I say ‘comic collection’ with a massive grain a of salt considering the condition of most of what’s in it and I was not the most conscientious of collectors. Essentially, I finally grouped them by proper title and number. Where 30 years ago I would have had to drag them to a store, last night I used my phone to check the value of a few. There are many I know I bought back in the day, but I was the mom that dumped. However, an unexpected gem, or few, have survived…
One day back in August 1990 I became the owner of Marvel comic’s The Uncanny X-Men #266. I spent one whole whopping dollar for the privilege. I know it’s not in pristine condition 9.8 on their grade scale, but it is a decent 7.0 one. At minimum I would get $100 for it according to a random website I checked even if booted down to a quality of 6.0. I have learned that if I had purchased this issue at a newsstand or retailer rather than the comic subscription service I had at the time would be worth. I’d love to know the logic behind that, but whatever.
The banker box of comics that has existed for nearly twenty years in my possession is now gone. All comics are properly categorized in a filing cabinet. I haven’t gone through each comic and researched their values. Of the random few I checked I know I could pay rent for a couple of months, so that was cool. That’s a project for another, knowing me sunny, day.