The Long Boxers - Blog Hero - How To Evaluate Your Speculation

How to Better Your Speculation Evaluation

How to Better Your Speculation Evaluation 1024 585 Craig Coffman

How to Better Your Speculation Evaluation

Comic Speculation is Cool

We all like to speculate on comics. What if we were better at evaluating our speculation? There is a rush in finding a book no one has talked about, and when it does see some time in the sun, well that rush is awesome! While there are no promises with any speculation, there are some ways to elevate you evaluation process.

I am not going to tell you what to buy. You can figure that out on your own. More importantly you should figure it out on your own. Otherwise you are just building a collection that someone else likes. Curate your tastes and desires to reflect your own likes. Speculate on books that others like, but make sure you take shots on things you believe in. Just because other folks are not talking about it, does not mean it is wrong.

Made From Our Head

This technique is one I acquired over time and from different sources. I really should have written them down to thank them here, but sadly I did not. In the end, I took the pieces I liked and added in some of my own thoughts. At the moment, the process is pretty good.

If you want to read some more on speculation, perhaps read our four part article.

Speculation Comes From Everywhere

Every day we are bombarded by people, many of them quite smart, with ideas and suggestions for something to speculate on. With the rapidly breaking news of character appearances in existing media, or new properties in development, it feels like every book is a potential gold mine. Many speculation ideas do pan out to a certain degree. I have a thought as to why.

We all read from essentially the same pool. Someone drops a tip and everyone swarms. New blood in the water brings the sharks. Swimming those waters can be dangerous. If you plan on jumping in, better to have a stronger motive than other people’s ideas.

Evaluating When to Cut Bait

People mention a book, all their readers go buy what they can and the pool dries up immediately. Most people think that means the book is ‘hot’ and a ‘ghost’ in the world. The reality is others, just like you, have slurped them up creating this illusion. Naturally, the prices rise when the next wave of people start to sell into the flurry.

The value has been artificially jumped because in a short span everyone made the same purchase. Do not feel like you missed out and have to get in. In most likelihood, you will see some gains but nothing dramatic compared to just buying the book before the hype. Unless a book passes the my test to evaluate the speculation, I just let it go by evaluating the speculation.

Outline of my Evaluation

To reiterate, these are not strictly my ideas. I have borrowed and tweaked them to make more sense for how I collect. I have toyed with taking print run (estimates) into account, but I feel it might be fairly reflected in questions 9 & 10. Most of the time, HTF books do not have many high grade copies.

Be A Tough Evaluator

You must be as objective as possible when using this list. Do your best to bust your speculation. When you shoot holes in your evaluation you strengthen your speculation skills. Everyone wants to win, and no one wants to be wrong. You need to want to be wrong to ensure you can truly be right during the evaluation of any spec book.

  1. Is the character a hero?
  2. Is the character a household name?
  3. Does the book represent either a first appearance or a first issue?
  4. Does the character appear in a high number of issues? (Popularity)
  5. Is the book a Major or Minor Key?
  6. Has the book been Key for more than 10 years?
  7. No single year double (or more) increase in price?
  8. Are there any recent media events affecting the price? (Yes = Risk)
  9. Hard to find in High Grade Raw?
  10. Hard to find in High Grade Graded?

Add them up with each ‘yes’ being a point. High score wins!

Important Evaluation Points: Number 8

That is the gist of it. Bare in mind #8 is opposite in that if you say yes, that implies artificial amplification of the price for your speculation. Remember that reading other spec sites counts, it is not just a media appearance. In my findings, if you can locate speculation that you genuinely can say ‘no’ to number 6 you have potentially stumbled onto something special.

Important Evaluation Points: Number 10

Number 10 is a big one as well. Like it or not, the current market trend is that high grade slabbed (graded) books fetch big time dollars. Given that, not all slabbed books have the same ceiling. A book with too many high grade copies caps the speculation. Look for the highest number in grade, and buy higher for big profits and at the grade for easiest sales. It really is that simple.

NOTE: While hard to put into an overview of the evaluation of speculation process, there are other factors that matter. As well, my speculation also weights some of these points more heavily. When I am assessing a book, I might give a little more or less emphasis to a book despite the actual score based on specific questions.

The Long Boxers - Marvel Spotlight 32

Evaluation in Progress: Marvel Spotlight 32 – First appearance of Spider-woman

  1. Is the character a hero? – Y
  2. Is the character a household name? – N
  3. Does the book represent either a first appearance or a first issue? – Y
  4. Does the character appear in a high number of issues? (Popularity) – Y
  5. Is the book a Major or Minor Key? – Y
  6. Has the book been Key for more than 10 years? – Y
  7. No single year double (or more) increase in price? – Y
  8. Are there any recent media events affecting the price? (Yes = Risk) – Y
  9. Hard to find in High Grade Raw? – Y
  10. Hard to find in High Grade Graded? – Y
Total Risk: 8/10

That is pretty solid speculation evaluation. I went ahead and said yes to the media events as I think the recent spider movie is putting a little pressure on this book. While not perhaps the actual effect at the moment, I think that we will see it pan out sooner than later. But where this book really shines is in the high grade area. The cover of this book makes it tough to secure in high grades. Try to find raw copies while they are still out there.

Evaluation in Progress: Avenging Spider-Man 9 – Carol Danvers becomes Capt. Marvel

  1. Is the character a hero? – Y
  2. Is the character a household name? – N
  3. Does the book represent either a first appearance or a first issue? – N
  4. Does the character appear in a high number of issues? (Popularity) – Y
  5. Is the book a Major or Minor Key? – Y
  6. Has the book been Key for more than 10 years? – N
  7. No single year double (or more) increase in price? – N
  8. Are there any recent media events affecting the price? (Yes = Risk) – Y
  9. Hard to find in High Grade Raw? – N
  10. Hard to find in High Grade Graded? – N
Total Risk: 3/10

While this speculation evaluation does cover a sought after book, which might go up anyway, the supporting data does not show this as a long term hero. Granted, if she is loved in the movie it might change, but I suspect it will have more of a positive impact on her earlier books. We can see growth in Ms. Marvel 1 as support for this, despite Carol playing Capt. Marvel on screen.

The Long Boxers - Avenging Spider-man 9

Does This Up Your Speculation Evaluation Game

Obviously, a collectable book will have value despite how it grades out. My goal is to help you all better decipher if a book is a longer-term hold or one you can move from when the time is right. That moment is up to you, but ideally you can better evaluate your spec picks. The better your choices, the better the returns. Selling becomes a bit easier in this process as well, which is often the hardest phase of speculation.

What Are Your Thoughts?

I hope you have learned a bit from this. You are encouraged to take these points and use them as is, or modify them into something that works better for you. There are many ways to speculate on comics, and whatever you can find to hone your evaluation process is powerful.

Remember to re-assess the process over time to make sure it is working for you in ways you hope. Sometimes you discover more criteria or learn one does not matter. Make it your own to make it work. Let me know what you do differently in your speculation evaluation in the comments below.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.