I’d written and re-written this edition of Sales To Astonish a number of times before settling on this final version. I was going to say that June was a month of big highs and huge lows, but instead felt it was far more important to focus on the highs and positives from what was the best month of 2023 so far, than whine about the negatives. Glass half full instead of half empty and all that. 

Sales in June were 50% more than those in May, revenue was also 50% more than May and on 15th June I had my single best ever day or trading so far when the stars aligned and I sold an almost complete run of Warrior magazines, early issues of Captain Britain and a big stack of books amongst other things. I’d never really thought there was much value in UK comic magazines and Marvel UK titles from the 70s/80s but I was delighted to be proved wrong. Warrior #1 in FN sold for £125 in Captain Britain #1 in FN- for £60 (without the free gift) and Captain Britain #8 in FN for £225 (1st Betsy Braddock)

As we hit the middle of 2023 one of the apparent trends that has developed this year is the tail off of activity on days other than a Thursday launch day. Thursdays is now by far the busiest day of the week for website traffic and sales whereas last year Monday and Tuesday were equally as good and weekends performed relatively well too.

In order to try and mitigate against this I’ve trialled another emailer on a Sunday showcasing 4 comics that I have come across in the unlisted stock. They could be silver or Bronze Age, first appearances, variant covers or just plain fun. This now runs alongside the Saturday emailer which focuses on fantasy and Roleplaying items. Both of these ‘mini-launches’ have generated sales in July and I will continue to do them as long as interesting stock allows and also I am conscious I don’t want to bombard people with emails.

The one huge positive to take during this downturn in website traffic is that the turnover of stock in Vintage Guru in Northampton has increased month on month from October when I first took space there. I am keen to replicate the mixed offering of comics, graphic novels, books, wargames and even VHS that I have at Vintage Guru and have agreed space in another outlet in Northamptonshire and that should be up and running in July. Ideally I would like 5-10 of these retro/vintage/collectible outlets in 60 minute drive from HQ so they can easily be served at least once a month. If you know of any in the Midlands then please do drop me a line or put something in the comments below 👍

Mid-month I picked up a huge collection of SF Film & TV magazines, Star Trek fanzines and Roleplaying and board games from a seller in North Yorkshire. It was a 6 hour round trip but both the seller and I were happy with the deal.  (As a side note magazines seem to sell well when I have them in stock as June saw the aforementioned sale of the Warrior magazines along with a nice run of the first dozen issues Marvel UK’s Savage Sword of Conan, a copy of Heavy Metal # in FN- @ £32.50 and also other more obscure magazines like Eclipse Monthly

I’ve had a number of approaches over the last few months from people wanting to sell their comics. I always try and give a fair price based on the fact that I will have to resell the items, often individually, and have to factor in the work to photograph, grade, list and the time it would reasonably take to sell the items. On numerous occasions I have found that sellers (understandably) want to achieve retail value for their collection but don’t appreciate that I need to make a mark up, or once I have made an initial offer they disappear possibly because the offer is too low or they were just seeking a ball park valuation. Keeping my stock turning over is fundamentally important to the business so when I am able to conclude a deal that’s good for me and the seller it’s always cause for celebration

Other notable sales in June were a number of mid-grade Silver Age Amazing Spider-man with prices ranging from £20-£40, Marvel Preview #7 in FN- @ £100, Uncanny X-Men #119 in VFN @ £20 and a nice run of early Elementals issues by Comico/Bill Willingham which has always been a personal favourite.

June was a month of highs and lows, but that’s life!  See you in the back issue bins next month!