British Columbia

Victoria comic shop turns the clock back to 1975, selling thousands for 25 cents each

Co-owner of Legends Comics and Books in Victoria, Gareth Gaudin, has been collecting comic books for nearly three decades, but after amassing thousands of copies over the years the time has come to sell.

Legends Comics and Books is planning to sell 50,000 comic books for a quarter a pop

A Victoria comic book shop is offloading thousands of comics for 25 cents a piece. (Gareth Gaudin)

Co-owner of Legends Comics and Books in Victoria, Gareth Gaudin, has been collecting comic books for nearly three decades, but after amassing thousands of copies over the years the time has come to sell. 

"It's weird my store's been here for 28 years and usually you can walk around it, but currently it's floor to ceiling boxes," said Gaudin in an interview with CBC's All Points West. 

He says he had been storing comics in a nearby warehouse for many years, but the property is up for redevelopment, so he had to move his collection into his store last month. 

"It took a few hundred trips with dollies back and forth, so yeah most of July that was my life, moving," said Gaudin.

"The back of the store is creaking as if the store might give way."

Priced to sell like it's 1975

With comics piled up and down the aisles of his store, he turned to social media to sell them off quickly.

"I was just going to put them out for a dollar each because that seemed reasonable, but I thought if I'm going to sell them for less than I paid I might as well make it fun," said Gaudin. 

"Twenty-five cents was how much they were when I first started buying comics."

He says he may have more than 100,000 comics and his plan is to sell around 50,000 by the end of September. 

"They're everything from the 1950's to now, so there's Spider-man, Batman, Wolverine. Marvel and DC are the big two super hero companies, and they're the majority of it, but there's a couple of underground and alternative companies."

One thousand all-ages comics have also been set aside to be donated to a local children's group.

Legends Comics and Books is trying to sell off 50,000 comic books after the store became overcrowded with stock because its warehouse closed. (Gareth Gaudin)

Gaudin says the collection grew so large because he would routinely buy the comic collections of everyone that came in and offered.

"When you buy a collection you usually take the 10 or 20 good comics, and you price them, put them on the wall and that's what you'll live off of and pay for the collection. And the rest just because of time constraints gets put in the back, and slowly everything that you didn't want to deal with gets shoved into a warehouse until something like this happens," he said.

Profitable comics hidden within 

Gaudin says the sale started on Tuesday with patrons lined up and thousands of books sold, from families coming in and taking a couple dozen to some carrying away hundreds.

Though he says he is quickly sifting through the collection and has found some valuable issues, he maintains he's not looking too closely at all the boxes, so there's the potential that someone could find a treasure buried within. 

"Yeah, thousand-dollar comics, when you find those in the 25 cent bin that's exciting."

"I'm trying not to be nostalgic," said Gaudin. "My whole life has been collecting things, so when you have to let them go you have to flip a switch in your brain and allow other people to enjoy them."

 
It sounds like a comic collector's dream: boxes upon boxes of comics stacked from floor to ceiling. But what if you had nowhere to store them? That's the dilemma facing the owners of Legends Comics and Books in Victoria. The loss of warehouse space has left them with several hundred thousand comics and nowhere to put them. So now they're all on sale at 1975 prices. Gareth Gaudin is the co-owner of Legends and he spoke with Kathryn Marlow. 7:55

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cory Correia

Video Journalist

Send tips or comments to cory.correia@cbc.ca

With files from All Points West

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