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The Zen of Collecting: 8 Tips for Building a Better Collection

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Jim Watari:
You are not allowed to view links. Register or LoginPft.  Hoarding schmoarding.  I sleep on a bed of dollar comics like Smaug on a pile of gold.

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I thought you were going to say Scrooge McDuck

My "specialized" area is pretty broad. lol That would be "Marvel." Whether it's variants of fave issues, rare issues, trading cards or figurines/toys. I am pretty good about limiting it to my fave characters but "Marvel" is kinda sorta a big broad range of things to collect. I am also a completist when it comes to my comics. I think that part kills me. :X but if it's wrong...I DONT WANTA BE RIGHT

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You are not allowed to view links. Register or Loginif you buy reflexively or compulsively, you’re a hoarder

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I'm not sure I agree that reflexively = hoarder, but I will agree that compulsive collecting is a trap that a lot of people fall into and something to look out for.

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It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a super auction!

Local collector hopes to strike it rich with his Golden Age comics

By Peter Rowe 5:36 p.m. May 20, 2014

When John C. Wise sold his first comic book collection in the 1960s, he netted enough to buy a car.

This time, he hopes to do better.

“I’m going to fund my grandchildren’s education and I’d like to buy a bigger home in San Diego,” said Wise, 62, who now lives in a harbor side townhome. “Or maybe in Coronado.”

These are lofty goals, yet Wise’s latest stash is a treasure trove of 175 comics he bought in the 1980s. Among these Golden Age (1935-1956) landmarks are “Action Comics #1,” Superman’s debut; “Detective Comics #27,” Batman’s introduction; “Marvel Comics #1,” launching Sub-Mariner and lighting the Human Torch.

“Those are seminal books,” said Robert Scott, the veteran owner of one of San Diego County’s largest comic book shops, Comickaze. “Those are kind of the holy grail of comics, the first appearance of Batman and the first appearance of Superman.”

Heidi MacDonald, a former comics book editor who founded “The Beat,” a blog that tracks this industry, agreed. “That’s a very, very significant collection,” she said.

Yet Wise’s books, which could fetch more than $1 million, extend far beyond the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. It also includes the first “Archie” (1942). The first “Classics Illustrated” (1941). The first appearances of Flash (1940), Captain Marvel (1940), Green Lantern (1940) Justice Society of America (1940), Joker (1940), Catwoman (1940), Daredevil (1941), Wonder Woman (1942).

“This is one of the great Golden Age collections,” said Stephen Fishler, whose New York-based Metropolis Collectibles is conducting the online auction. “It is incredibly hard to put together a collection like this today - it has pretty much all the important key issues.”

How much money will these fantastic adventures command?

“Hopefully a bunch,” Wise said. “Already, it’s a bunch.”

The online auction will continue until June 3 at 4 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, at In the first week, total bids topped $500,000. Even so, Fishler maintained, the action is just beginning.

“We’ve got thousands of clients all registered for the auction,” he said. “The last day of the auction is where the activity happens.”

$1 million

Born and raised in Rockford, Ill., Wise was the son of a high school principal who hated comics. The boy began collecting comics in junior high school, only investing about five years - a few thousand dollars - in this hobby before a car caught his attention, prompting him to sell out.

Too soon.

One example that still rankles: The teenage collector bought a “Detective Comics #27” for $200, held it for a few years, then sold it for $400.

“That comic today would be worth $1 million,” Wise said. “That’s an example of woulda, coulda, shoulda.”

On graduating from high school, Wise drove south to Kentucky. At Murray State University, he studied business and snagged an internship with Northwestern Mutual that led to a career. In time, he became that insurance and financial services corporation’s managing director in Paducah, Ky.

He began to collect again, this time with an adult’s discipline and focus. He sought vintage comics in good-to-mint condition, tucked into hermetically sealed plastic sleeves. He kept them locked away, safe from his three daughters and - as the years passed - seven grandchildren.

“They are not going to get within 100 feet of a real valuable comic,” he said.

Nothing personal. Even now that he’s divorced and living on his own, Wise doesn’t crack open these publications. “I haven’t read a comic book in 25 years. I’m just one of those people who likes to collect.”

In this pursuit, he became familiar with prominent comic book dealers, traded with other collectors and, in 1988, made his first pilgrimage to Comic-Con. The visit introduced him to Metropolis’ Fishler and to his future home. Soon, he bought a place here and began shuttling between Paducah and San Diego.


Wise is not just a comics collector; he also buys Superman toys and movie posters. The living room of his San Diego home contains cinematic salutes to his two homes - an original poster from “Some Like It Hot,” shot in part at the Hotel del Coronado, and lobby cards from a 1922 silent, “The Kentucky Derby.” Upstairs, a framed banner over his bed touts the Cary Grant-Deborah Kerr weepie, “An Affair to Remember.”

He’s keeping some comic books, yet their worth is largely sentimental. “The ones I’m selling are the most valuable.”

This is a good time to sell. At “The Beat” last week, MacDonald followed an auction for an original piece of art from 1974, the first appearance of Marvel Comics’ Wolverine. The final bid: $657,250.

“The collectibles market is skyrocketing,” she said. With comics-themed movies and TV shows popular now, “there’s a lot of interest in all these characters.”

For Wise, though, these comics are a means to an end: retirement in super-sized digs in San Diego - or Coronado. He’s also planning for a more distant future.

“My kids,” he said, “would probably rather inherit real estate in San Diego than a collection of comics.”

But the Wise estate’s size depends on the Wise collection’s fate.

“On June 3rd,” he said, sitting in his living room, “I’ll be right here. And on June 4th, I’ll be real happy or real sad or somewhere in between.”

I'm a hoarder and I know it *dance* but I get emotionally attached to many pieces in my collections

Sent while on the move!


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