Comics In The Trash

If you work in a comic store for any amount of time, you will hear stories from customers about how their parents threw their comics out.  If you work at a comic store long enough, you will get sick of hearing this story.  Especially since almost every person who tells you this story "used to own some super expensive comic."  They never tell you  how their parents threw out their Richie Rich comics.  It is always an Amazing Spider-Man #1 or Superman #1.  I love how they will tell you "I used to have Spiderman's first appearance in Spiderman #1."  You just smile as you hold your tongue and not correct them about how Amazing Fantasy #15 was the actual first appearance of Spiderman. 

While I have heard these stories hundreds of times, I never actually found any comics in the garbage.  And I did a fair amount of garbage picking or as they call it these days, recycling, in my time.  I found toys, video game systems, playboys, even a jar of money (it was half filled with change, mostly pennies, about three dollars worth), but never comic books.  But I did once buy comics from someone who picked them from the trash.

One day a sanitation worker who worked in the city my store was located in (Lakewood, Ohio) brought me a comic box full of comics that someone had thrown out.  I was excited to see what treasures he saved from destruction.  My hopes of silver or golden age comics was quickly dashed as I found they were all newer comics.  They were made up mostly of 1980's independent comics.  At first, I did not see anything special and offered him $50.00 for the box.  It was a full comic box and all the books were in bags and boards and neatly organized.  I did decent business with independent comics and there were some good ones in there.  Stuff like early Badger comics, Judge Dredd comics and other books like that.  At first, he turned down the offer as he expected them to be worth more.  But after going to the other comic store in the city and being turned down, he came back and took the offer.

While I figured it would take awhile to get back my money as these books did not sell quickly, I decided to put some for sale on ebay, which was a much smaller site back then (this was 1996).  One group I put up were Miracleman #1 - 12.  I figured to get maybe $10.00 - $20.00 for them.  The lot ended up selling for $120.00 and allowed me to double my money!  Unfortunately, these were the only valuable comics in the group.    The rest sold over time for anywhere from a buck to maybe three bucks apiece for some of the better books like Lone Wolf & Cub. 

For the first time, I actually started to believe the stories about comics in the trash.  I had proof that comics do get thrown out, even in this day and age.  They were not the super expensive comics that every customer swore they owned, but they were still a nice little find.

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Tom Zjaba 1997 - 2015      

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