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confessions of a collector

Long before my life and home were filled with piles and piles of books, shelves upon shelves filled with books, I collected other things. One of these other things I collected were comics. When I finally sold the whole collection it was over 40,000 comics. Long boxes (boxes designed specifically for comics holding 300 issues each) filled 8 foot high shelves. I was spending upward of $400 a month when I finally said enough. Part of my deciding to stop was the cost of the comics. They were hitting $2.25 each average with many costing more. Add to that the fact that I just wasn’t reading all of them and was only bagging and storing it seemed like a good time to stop.

I refocused my collecting urges toward mysteries, and now have over 11,000 books in the house, though a few are in storage, many are out in the shelves.

I never really stopped reading comics altogether. In fact I still buy them and like any anal retentive wanker, I store them in order and bag them. But…. and this is a big BUT. I’m not collecting comics. I keep them, yes, but I read them and I think of it as my own library. I’m not worried about the value or if they are in mint condition. I keep them in good shape, but only for re reading later. I also am building a huge library of Comics trade paperbacks. But these are all for reading.

There is a company that is offering an interesting service. You carefully package and mail comics to them, they “Officially Grade” them and then seal them in what can best be described as a plastic slab, sealing them in to preserve the condition. This seems like a good idea….
If you are running a museum. I don’t understand sealing up a comic so you cannever read it. Sure, if I had a 1947 Superman comic in mint condition I might consider it, but most people don’t own comics that rare. I personally think a lot of people are getting ripped off and having their comics sealed up so they can’t read them. Most of the comics being sealed aren’t really that valuable.

The book in this "slab" is a great comic. But the truth is, if you gave me $20 I could go out right now and get a couple of them in damn good shape.
In mint condition it's worth $95, but slabbed it's supposed to be worth $at least $600.
Stupid.
What I’m getting at is this.
What is the point of collecting something you can’t enjoy? This leads me to my book collection. I do have some books that are worth some big bucks. A lot of them in fact. But every book we own is for reading. Granted, I want people to be careful with my books, but that’s so that they can be read and enjoyed for years. The truth is my collection could have no value and it wouldn’t matter, because I have a wonderful collection of books. A ever growing collection of a reading library. I have some books that we paid an embarrassing amount of money for. But we still hold them and pull them down ff the shelf. Carefully, yes, but they are still enjoyed.

Because that’s what books are for. Reading. Comics too.
Yes, you should take good care of them. But for heaven’s sake. If you can’t touch it, open it, enjoy it what’s the point?

Collecting is a very fun hobby, but you should collect something you can enjoy even if it has no monetary value.