Everyone and their mother knows that people will more than likely pay out the nose for anything in the name of “collecting”. A great number of people go to Comic-Con every year as just an opportunity to buy up exclusives to flip online. They will spend a boat load in hopes of getting a bigger return on that.
Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool recently put up a chart of toys and other exclusives that are currently being sold, listing their cost, average selling point, and total profits as seen on eBay. While some of those figures are impressive, in all honesty the real profits come from something you paid nothing for.
This magical money tree that I’m talking about is the booth swag. The practice of selling con swag is not something that everyone condones, and is borderline ethical, but it is a very useful tool in helping recoup some of the money spent in the name of attending the show. Items just given out booths are always things that somebody somewhere wants to own. In this post I am going to highlight six of the more sought after items from last week’s Comic-Con International. I’ve sure there are more so please feel free to let us know what other items that were given out are currently hot.
To kick things off I’m going to mention that, for me at least, the most profitable item at Comic-Con can fit easily in my jacket’s inside pocket and I will almost never have to step foot into a post office for the customer to enjoy it. I’m talking about video game DLC codes. As video games become a bigger and bigger part of Comic-Con, companies hand out large quantities of promotional card to fans and soon-to-be fans that contain anything from in-game content to avatar items. The cards given out to promote HALO 4 have been fetching in the $20 range each, as has the codes for a Tauntaun pet in the Star Wars: The Old Republic game. These are the most profitable because there are usually no lines for these, you can just go up and ask for a couple, and you can email the code to the winner for instant usage. A skilled Swag seller can easily rack up $300 – $400 by selling these codes via multiple trips a day over the entire con and aside from eBay fees there is no other money being lost. Bringing these home, if you havent sold them all, is a breeze too. Put them in a bag and that’s the end. WARNING: If you place these items on eBay you MUST offer to mail the physical card if the customer requests it. 90% of them don’t but it is against the policy rules to offer digital-only goods. If you don’t offer this your item could get taken down, especially if the listing is reported by competing sellers or haters.
Second, we have the Walking Dead zombie ear necklace. This wasn’t a straight up giveaway as only the first one hundred people to pre-order the upcoming Walking Dead video game at Activision’s booth were given this, but seeing as the game was a pre-order only your card was not charged and you could always cancel the order after you get your prize. With such a low number of these out there and the worldwide popularity of the Walking Dead franchise, this cool prop is something that is something people will drop loot on. Current sales have been between $100 and $125, with one signed by Robert Kirkman even selling for $200. Expect this price to go up once the current post-con supply dries up (if Activision doesn’t make more to sell at NYCC). Please note that there were also two versions of this given out. It is a trivial difference, the leather string is either light or dark, but completionists everywhere will probably scour the Earth to get their hands on both versions.
Next up, Court of the Owls masks! If you have not been reading Batman comics over the last year it is okay for you not to know what these owl masks represent. For those of you who have been reading Batman then this is something not to be missed! A simple white half full mask made out of sturdy plastic with a rubberband on it, these masks were given out at the Batman comics panel first, and the DC booth shortly afterwards. Given the large supply of these that ended up in hands, there sure seems to be quite a decent profit margin with sales averaging at about $30 each. It isn’t the highest selling item out there but there are a large number of fans out there who could end up looking for this for a while, so long term sales might be steady.
For Fringe’s final panel before the end of the series, they gave out a slew of fedora hats as an homage to the bald headed Observers who have been around since the start. Originally selling for high $60’s, these hats are now bottoming out at between $20 and $40 due to the large number of individuals who these were given out to. Much like the Owls masks above, I expect these hats to have a longer shelf life and the show comes to an end.
An unexpected giveaway that seems to be causing a bit of a stir this year is the Battle Beasts Gold Vorin Minimate. This item was given out primarily at the Heavy Metal magazine by Diamond Select Toys, a handful of them were given to fans who asked questions at the Minimates panel. While this is a very niche collectible, there is a very vocal group of Minimates fans who are constantly looking out for this item to end up online. To date, there has only been one sold online and it went for $75, but I think that the next one, if left to an auction, could fetch about $150 if the listing is properly advertised on the Minimates forums.
And finally, la creme dela creme of SDCC 2012 swag: Marvel & DC Lego Minifigs! There were four given out this year, Shazam, Venom, Bizzaro, and Phoenix, but I decided to lump them into the same section as people who have been selling complete sets of them are bringing home some f*cking LOOT! Given away at the LEGO booth, a full listing of four will bring anywhere from $700 to $1000!!! partial sets will still bring between $300 and $650, while individual figures are averaging at $120 each. I cannot even begin to describe to you what that means. But these LEGO items are always fetching high prices year after year so I am not surprised.
So there you have it. Just a few items from this year that are bringing home the bacon all for the low low price of waiting in a line. be sure to check those massive bags of yours, you just may have one of these items sitting at the bottom under all the other stuff given out. There are giveaways like this every year at the con so be sure to do some research and prepare yourself before hand. If done properly, you can even balance out your expenses and end up going to Comic-Con for free.