I’m mainly posting here to touch base with the progress of my program: there really hasn’t been any. Other than daily price updates and analysis, I haven’t made any changes to my code since around the time of my last post. I’ve found my time eaten up by my day job slowly getting back to normal, and by my comic book pricing research.
This may sound completely out of left field, but one of the assets that I’m diversifying with is collectible comics. I’ve a long history with comics and for a while was flipping them on the side, somewhat successfully. Personal things got in the way and I wasn’t able to dedicate my time to it like I would’ve liked, and it fell by the wayside. Fast forward around 16-18 months and I thought rather than getting back into flipping comics, I could invest in them on a somewhat long-term basis (12 months+).
The problem with investing in comics (or any collectible for that matter) is the pricing: there are no two sources that agree on fair market value for any one asset. Pricing a stock is easy, you can Google it, check your broker, even check the newspaper, they all will tell you the same price. With collectibles however, the key rule is “It is worth what someone is willing to pay.” And a cursory glance online shows you a vast array of people who are “willing to pay” a vast array of different prices. Compound this with the fact that there are “slabbed” (encapsulated and professionally-graded) and “raw” (ungraded, just bagged & boarded) comics, on top of the umpteen different grades a book can come in, you’re now dealing with dozens and dozens of prices for the same book. A slabbed 9.8 Amazing Spider-man #129 can go for $24,000 while a raw copy of the very same might be $6,000. A 1.0 version might sell for just $150.
And because there are so many different prices for every book, it takes me a long time to come up with what I consider fair market value; sourcing multiple sites, copying and pasting values into a spreadsheet that breaks everything down for me, and then scouring eBay for good deals takes a lot more time than triggering my program to download the day’s prices and analyze them. Because there’s no single source, and those sources that ARE there don’t offer any simple way to download their data, there’s no way to automate collectible price analysis the way you can with stocks.
But I have been keeping notes in my little notepad for things I want and need to change or add. And as I’ve been having small successes followed by devastating losses in my stock trading, I really do need to get back on top of my program to improve things.