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Adventure! Thrills! Cold, hard cash!

Old comic book collections may be worth far more than the paper they're printed on

comic books
Selected comic books in good condition can be worth hundreds, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- It's not just Hollywood or Marvel Comics making money off comic books.

Consider this: If you bought a copy of "Spiderman" No. 1 back in 1962 -- a 12-cent investment -- and kept it in good condition, today it would be worth more than $6,000, according to the Wizard Magazine pricing guide. That's your money back, 50,000 times over.

With Hollywood digging deeper into the comic book vaults in search of new material, comic book collections are more valuable than ever. That means your own vault -- or closet, or garage, or basement -- may better be described as a goldmine. That is, if your mother didn't throw your comic books away when you went off to college.

CNN's Valerie Morris takes a look at why comic book collections are more valuable than ever

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"A lot of the comics that could be in peoples' basements could be very valuable, anywhere from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially depending on condition," says Gareb Shamus, chairman and CEO of, a Web site devoted to comic books. "If books are in high grade (condition) there is really a lot of demand for them, especially today."

Where do you find that demand? Many comic book collectors do it the old-fashioned way, trading at conventions and dealers. But the power of the Internet has invaded the comic-book collecting world, and a number of aficionados have turned to online auction houses such as eBay, which make it easier -- and more lucrative -- for many to buy and sell.

"The good thing about (online auction houses) is that people all over the world can see what you have -- and you can't beat that," says Steve Passarelli, owner of Action Comics, a comic book dealer in New York City. "I'm certainly pro-Internet. I think it's a great thing."

Steve Passarelli
Steve Passarelli, owner of Action Comics in New York City  

The popularity of movies like "X-Men" create a lot of buzz in the comic world, adds Shamus. And that can only mean good things for collectors, sometimes in unexpected ways.

"Take a look at the 'X-Men' movie. All of a sudden the Sabretooth character became such a big deal that his (comic) book was selling for under a hundred bucks," says Shamus. "Now, in high-grade, it's anywhere from $300 to $500."

It can be a better ride than the stock market. Who knows? Even with comic books costing a couple dollars nowadays, if you hold on to them, in the long run you may be able to cash in a fortune.

Review: World hangs in balance in rollicking 'X-Men'
July 13, 2000
Artist threw away convention to become comic book writer
February 15, 2000
Comic-book writer Paul S. Newman dead at 75
June 7, 1999


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