Got a 1938 Action Comics #1 sitting in a box in the attic? It might be worth half a million dollars. I learned that last Saturday.
My son recently turned nine, and at his birthday party I happened to be talking to another parent, talking the party talk, as one does. Talkety-talk-talk. What sort of work do you do? I inquired blithely. I am the pre-eminent restorer of high-value comics on the planet she replied serenely. NOTE: She didn’t actually say this. She was very casual and modest about it. But in fact she is the pre-eminent restorer of high-value comics on the planet. Her name is Susan Cicconi, and her site is called The Restoration Lab.com. If you have a weatherbeaten comic book that needs sprucing up, she is the person you need to talk to. Trained in Paris as a restorer specializing in high art, she eventually made the shift into pop culture, and business has been good.
I love having interesting neighbors.
More and more money has been pouring into comics collecting. Susan was the one who told me about the current price being fetched by Action Comics #1 (she has restored several of them over the years). Interestingly, she said that a recent trend may start to impact her business: you get more money for a valuable old comic that has never been restored. It reminds me of those appraisers on Antiques Roadshow: “If you hadn’t just scrubbed the filth off of this ugly-ass chair, it would be worth $1.4 million. But now all I can offer you is $3.50 and a couple of scratch tickets.”
Now that I think about it, there would be a big market for a new show called Antique Comics Roadshow.