I Collect So That I Have It

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This is the week that the first auction of the Don and Maggie Thompson Pedigree comics collection will be held, offering a few of the valuable comic books that we bought over the years. Maybe you've seen this feature or this one - and, at a guess, there will be more. The pricey issues aren't in my house any more. First, it was scary to have valuable stuff in my home. Second, it was intimidating to have to care for them. Third, Heritage Auctions' Steve Borock helped me to work out a way to have them after they're gone.

Because my collecting began so that I could have what I want when I want it.

When I was learning to read and such comic-book creators as Walt Kelly and Carl Barks were telling me fresh stories every month, I also learned that what I didn't buy one month would be gone forever the next. I haunted the newsstand and planned my allowance accordingly, because I wasn't going to get another chance at those issues. I certainly was never going to find them at the library.

And pop culture (a term years away from its coining then) was fleeting. Daily newspapers were discarded. Movies passed through theaters in a flash. Even more transitory were the weekly visits of such favorites as The Shadow, Suspense, and Jack Benny. Gone. They could be no more than memories.

Lesson learned: When you appreciate something enough to want it with you - to be able to have it if you want to check a fact or revisit an entertainment at 2 a.m. - you'd better collect it. This lesson learned has a variety of results. If many other people have that same appreciation for an item but don't have the item, it may become valuable. If no one else gives a hang for it, you're going to have to deal with storing it so that you can enjoy it again.
My collection of old cassette tapes?
Not so valuable to other folks.

But sometimes, belongings become too valuable. What if there's a fire? A flood? A windstorm? What if, when you are scanning a page of a comic book, you actually hear the cover begin to tear at the staples? Given that we are only temporary custodians of what we own, we should take the best possible care of our treasures - and then pass them on.

And - lucky for me - we live in an age in which having kept comics in great condition makes them worth more. Because (as you know if you've followed those links earlier) the goal is to replace them with comics in rotten shape: copies that are so beat-up as to be the cubic zirconia to the disposed-of diamonds. So I'll have them, even while I'm getting rid of them.

And the proceeds from the auctions (of which this is, as I say, the first) will go, first, to paying the capital gains tax and, second, to the custody of the guy who's been my financial advisor since before Don died. Last week, he frowned as he threatened, "You know, you could live 20 more years."

So no mink sandwiches. And I hope the new owners will get as much pleasure and use out of my comics as I did.


Anonymous,  November 19, 2013 at 4:05 PM  

i've got a very old THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY given me by Betsy Curtis, yes that Ms Curtis, when she was doing something similar. 1908. bondi and liveright publishers, new york. she mocked me when i sent $10 for postage. didn't really want me to do that i guess. :)

Paul Chadwick November 21, 2013 at 12:50 PM  

Hope the auction is a smashing success and you can feel secure and comfortable for many years.

Anonymous,  November 21, 2013 at 4:06 PM  

Hello Maggie! Well, this is my very first foray into comic books.
I have an excellent copy of:
"The Lone Ranger" 1969, number 14,
and the cover has a number:
10121-904. The month on the cover is April.
The book is in excellent shape. I have it in a safe place, and was wondering how I can determine it's worth. Can you point me in the right direction?
thanks so much! I can really use some help here.
bob gill, rjgillcorp@yahoo.com.
Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.

Maggie Thompson November 21, 2013 at 4:24 PM  

Hey, thanks for writing, folks! The auction (the first of several) was delightful - and it was especially fun to have daughter Valerie with me to share the live feed. Bob Gill, the basic price guide for comics is The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, and it indicates that a dealer would charge $3-$28 for your Lone Ranger #14 (1969); of course, a dealer would PAY much less.

Dane Hill,  November 21, 2013 at 5:26 PM  

Hi Maggie, your words above definitely resonate with me in terms of missing out on any given issue and regretting it forever after.

I'm a child of the 80s, collecting comics since '81 or so as a little kid. Mostly Marvel and DC, since those were the only comics found on the spinner rack at my local mini-mart in Georgia back then. Well, that and the occasional Archie and Gemstone book.

I didn't branch out beyond the Big Two until the black-and-white explosion of '86 or thereabouts. To this day, I fondly look at Trollords, Fish Police and a myriad others that quickly came and went during that time.

However, the white whale book that I missed out on was TMNT #1. It was always too expensive for a little kid like me to even consider picking up, and as the years went by just seemed to get more and more beyond my reach. I figured one day I'd bite the bullet when I found the perfect copy for me and pick it up.

Well, that day arrived today. The moment I saw your pedigree copy pop up at Heritage, I knew it would be mine. To own the copy that had belonged to you and Don is an incredible honor for me as it travels from your home to my own. And I'll cherish it until it's time for me to send it on its way to the next loving home.

So thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to finally own a piece of my missed childhood.

Anonymous,  November 21, 2013 at 5:42 PM  

Maggie, how can i get in contact with you in a more private manor -have a few questions regarding another WI collection

Thanks in advance


Maggie Thompson November 21, 2013 at 5:46 PM  

Wow, Dane, my eyes are watering right now. Thank you for sharing - your letter wraps up the event on a fantastic note! I'm SO glad Don and I could pass on the treat, as you have given me a treat today! This is wonderful.

Anonymous,  November 22, 2013 at 9:16 AM  

Hey, Maggie.

All the best on this. It's amazing and I'm stoked that you've enjoyed the collection and taken such care of it. The memories last forever.

Your amigo,

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch

Unknown November 22, 2013 at 4:57 PM  

I have to ask: "Did you start out as a collector or did you just not know what to do with them when you were done reading them?

I still don't see me as a collector but, because people never took care other peoples stuff you had to read my comics at my home if you wanted to read them.

I kept my comics because I couldn't bring myself to give them away or throw them out.

Then I decided that maybe when I had kids they could read and love them but by the time they got to age twelve they had found other distractions to occupy their time.

So now I'm a "non-collector" collector, sitting on a few thousand comics hoping they will benefit someone else when I'm gone.

I have comics dating back to 1973 when I started my first job.

Zack,  November 25, 2013 at 2:36 AM  

Hi, I heard about your comic collection from a friend. What an incredible collection it must be! I am thrilled that you are able to share your enjoyment of comic books with others and I hope you get good prices for your beloved issues (I'm sure you will) because I think ultimately that's what comics are about... sharing the enjoyment with other people. Good luck to you!

Unknown December 4, 2013 at 1:20 PM  

looking to sell several older comic books if your interested. beauty and the beast 4 series,wonder woman,incredible hulk,spiderman,conan,avengers,groo, ewalk,etc. Tg808808@yahoo.com

Unknown January 4, 2014 at 4:01 PM  

Hi Maggie,
Seems like we have the same idea.
My husband has had comics boxed up for years, and like you we decided to let them go. I ended up making a list in excel of 1,675 comics and started researching the value through CPG. We found one that led us to your web page and felt we needed your assistance in answering our puzzle with it. It's one from Classics Illustrated, dated April 1953 of Buffalo Bill #106. It's in 9.8 condition value, except it has a signature in the upper right corner on page 7 of the comic. The signature is in script in red ink, "Thompson". My husband googled the name and it led us to your information and blog page. We were wondering if it was connected to you or your husband in some way. I can email you pictures of the comic and signature if you would like me to do so. My email address is swirl4158@msn.com, and my husbands is crzycabbie59@msn.com. Any information you can help us with will be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, Tamara and Kegan Young

Maggie Thompson January 4, 2014 at 4:32 PM  

Apologies to those to whom I've not yet responded! I'll try to get back to you. Tamara, Thompson is a common name, and I don't think Don would have written in the issue. Yes, if you can post a scan of the signature, I can probably tell if it's Don's.

Unknown January 18, 2014 at 5:59 PM  

As soon as I can figure out how to post the pictures on here I will be honored. I'm new at the google blog. If you can tell me how to do the photo posting.. please help

Anonymous,  February 17, 2014 at 8:27 PM  

Hello Maggie! I hope all is well, sounds like your auctions have been doing well so far - I wish you the best of luck with those!
I have a query and I'm not sure how best to get in contact with you about it, but I'm hoping you don't mind if I ask here.
Many years ago - either in late 1993 or early 1994, your amazing husband Don wrote a lovely little review of a comic series that I was self-publishing down in Australia. It was called "Bug & Stump", and he was very kind to it! The review was a quick one, mentioned in his run-down of independent titles.
Unfortunately it's proving very hard to find old copies of the CBG Monthly down here in Australia... I was wondering if, perhaps, you may have access to copies of the CBG from that time? I'd love to find out which issue it appeared in. If you were able to help me out, I'd be extremely grateful!
Thanks so much for everything!

Mark Sexton, inkymonkey@bigpond.com

Unknown March 10, 2014 at 9:36 AM  

Maggie, I am not able to get the pictures uploaded on here. I posted them on google, but have note received a response from you. Could you please send me an email address or link I can send the photo's of the Buffalo Bill #106 to you with the signature. My email is swirl4158@msn.com. I messed up on comic con message question, so I can't message you on there.

Unknown March 10, 2014 at 9:39 AM  

Hi Maggie, I tried to post the photos of the 1953 Buffalo Bill. I am not sure you got to see them. And I apologize for not being on here in awhile. I have been extremely busy trying to get things done. I messed up on the comic con message question, so I cannot message you there. Can you please email me a web address or link I can upload the pictures to so we came find some answers. Again, than you for all the help.

Anonymous,  July 14, 2014 at 6:31 PM  

Maggie, couldn't find an email address for you, but I though you should see this, about the Best American Comics series:

Unknown August 25, 2014 at 1:50 PM  

Hi Maggie,

I just wanted to say how wonderful it was meeting you on Friday afternoon. It was the highlight of the show this year for me. I was really surprised to see you looking through boxes for new purchases but after seeing this post it all makes sense. Thanks some much for the wonderful conversation.

Thank you
Robert Destromp

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