Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Eight Rules for collecting...

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends! I can't believe it's already the end of 2010 and here comes 2011.

Came across this interesting article from that talks about the "Eight rules to remember about memorabilia". While original comic book art might not exactly fit into the category of memorabilia, many of these "rules" may apply to those of us that collect original comic book art, especially if you are treating the original art as an investment. Regardless lessons can be learned if you are in it strictly for the love of the art, too!

1. Don't fall in love with your investments.
This is especially true if you are treating your artwork like an investment. However, it's probably exactly the opposite if you are a collector. But I always remind those new to collecting art to love what you want to buy and buy it because you love it, not because it will go up in value.

2. Go with the tried and the true.
There probably is truth to this if you are investing as the more people that the art may appeal to, then it may be easier to sell/trade it later on. However, that doesn't mean you should completely skip stuff not mainstream. Again, acquire pieces that appeal to you individually, that has meaning to you. Then again, if it's not mainstream, good chance it will be easier to acquire and maybe at a price point that fits your budget. It could also increase in value later on.

3. The law of supply and demand is in effect.
While all original art is one of a kind, "supply and demand" still does come into play esp if an artist is more prolific in getting out quality pieces. Take for instance Jim Lee. Does he ever stop drawing or sketching for his fans?? There is a lot of his art out there but does his demand ever really slow down? Perhaps it may fluctuate some over the course of a year but his stuff is still very sought after.

4. To get top dollar, it has to be pristine or museum quality.
Perhaps in theory, but again all original art is one of a kind. Buy it if it appeals to you. Will that older Neal Adams, John Byrne, Dave Cockrum or Jim Lee Uncanny X-Men cover art that has yellowed over time be worth less than a pristine white cover from a current issue of X-Men?

5. The market is fragmented.
There is truth to this in that big auction houses are not the only game in town. eBay, comic book conventions, smaller auction houses, other collectors, art dealers, even some comic book shops have come into the game and make art more widely available.

6. No matter whom you deal with, make sure they are reputable.
This is so important and I can't emphasize this item more. There are many dealers that are flaky, unreliable, and often try to get the best out of any deal. Trust me, I have met quite a few and have had unsuccessful transactions which have not been fun to sort out. Find fellow collectors that you can trust, meet them in person at conventions, talk to dealers at shows and on the phone, etc. While email, websites and the internet make things easier, don't think you are exempt from getting scammed just because you have their email address. Making a few friends in the hobby will go a long way, in comparing experiences, sharing stories, and getting tips on best ways to make sure you don't get cheated. Great to have a knowledgeable friend who can help you value a piece of art you want to get. :)

7. Prices fluctuate.
Yes they do. This then leads us to the question, what exactly is current market value? Is this solely based on sales numbers within the past 3-6 months for equivalent pieces? Related to trends for similar artists/art from the past years? What the seller wants to sell it for? All of the above and or none of the above? :)

8. There's no accepting for taste.
Great point. What I may collect does not mean everyone loves it. Stick to things you enjoy if you are collecting. If you are in it for investing, go with mainstream and things that you think would appeal to most others if you want to later move that piece. The more obscure may be more difficult to move.

I'd love to hear your feedback and opinions on what you think are your rules for collecting original comic book art.

Here's a link to the CNBC article.