Some people see it as a handful of paper, others see that it’s just as valuable as a diamond ring. Comic book collecting has been a popular hobby since comics started becoming normalized in the early 1900’s. With so many limited prints being published over the years, it’s no surprise that some editions are worth more than others. Due to this fact alone, there’s now a dedicated community of collectors who now turn to pawn shops for more rare issues.

Identifying a Good Comic Book

What makes one comic book worth more than another? Like with many other valuables such as jewelry and trading cards, there are a great number of factors that determine the issue’s final value. Even having a basic knowledge of these traits will help you in your search for collectible comics when you visit your local pawn shop.

How a Comic Book is Valued

The major characteristics of every comic book are the condition, rarity, demand, and grade. An expert pawnbroker is well-versed in how to point out these factors and the comic’s standing in each category.

  • Condition can be described as the status of the comic’s appearance. Are there tears or fading present, or is it in fine shape? Even if you have a comic that’s considered extremely rare, a single tear could drag the price down by a great percentage. In this aspect, the condition is arguably the most important deciding factor in a comic’s overall value.
  • Rarity is the term that gets tossed around a lot by collectors. Even if a book is in excellent condition, it may not go for as much if there’s a mass quantity of them on the market. Older comics tend to be more rare since they’ve been out of production for a while and copies tend to get lost during that time.
  • Demand plays an important role in the current value of a comic book. A comic that may not have been pursued one year could rise in price exponentially the next year if the market calls for it. Many things can drive the demand like a franchise gaining relevance or an artist passing away.
  • Grade is a more concrete method of placing a comic on a value scale. Depending on the condition of the comic book (or trading card) being graded for the mint scale, it can range from the pristine title of Mint to the absolute worst title of Poor. There is also a CGC Grading Scale available specifically for comic books. Some pawnbrokers will have their comics graded before putting them up for sale so you can see exactly what you’re getting.

Things to Look For

Even if you’re not sure how to identify the traits listed above, there are a few objective details that are hard to miss, making it easier for you to determine a comic’s current state. A few of these flaws include:

  • Torn pages
  • Missing pages
  • A loose spine
  • Color fade
  • Stripped gloss

Some pawn shops will put flawed comic books through a restoration process in an attempt to fix up any blemishes. This can include retouching color, sealing up tears, reinforcing weak spots, re-glossing the cover, and so on. Some of these corrections may be difficult to spot, but if that doesn’t bother you then that’s perfectly fine. In the end, it’s up to you and what you’d like to see in your personal collection.

Now that you have a general idea of what to look out for, you can point out these details when inspecting comic books that you’re interested in buying in case you feel like the pawnbroker is asking too much.

Will My Local Pawn Shop Have Comic Books?

No two pawn shops are alike, and so you never know if you’ll find comic books until you walk in. Typically, a pawn shop’s inventory falls in line with what’s popular in the community. A store closer to the woods with a lake might have more sporting gear while a store in the busy city is more likely to have comics. In the end, you never know until you go for a visit. However, with superheroes becoming more mainstream with movies and shows reaching new heights, it’s very likely that comic books will increase in popularity along with the hype.

Comic book collectors would rather sell their issues in person rather than using classifieds online in order to completely avoid the hassles of getting scammed. Plus, there’s the added time that comes with finding the right buyer and having to ship it out. It’s much faster and easier to swing by a pawn shop and take the cash, and so there’s a higher chance of seeing comic books at these stores.

Why Not Go to a Comic Book Store?

With the existence of specialized comic book stores, why not buy from there? Comic book stores stay in business by selling the newest and most recent titles in bulk for just a few bucks each to those who are looking to keep up with current storylines. In that aspect, it’s the better option. However, pawn shops are better for collecting more rare pieces. Pawn shops are for valuables, and that includes comic books that go for a higher price than new issues due to their special characteristics.

The Best Pawn Shop in Azusa

Where is the best place in Azusa to look for rare and collectible comic books? Azusa Pawn is the best pawn shop in the area dealing in anything of value, including comics. You can even take a look at the online store to see if there’s an issue that’ll fit nicely in your collection. Since people are constantly running in and out every day, it’s in your best interest to check the store regularly so you don’t miss out on that special comic you’ve been waiting for.

Azusa Pawn is open seven days a week at 1028 West Gladstone Street in Azusa, California. You can call (626) 334-2274 any time for all of your inquiries including updates to our comic book stock.