How To Identify Rare Comic Books

Among all of the worldwide categories of collecting, comic books are relatively new. At one time, only kids were interested in reading them for entertainment. In June 1938, Superman, the first superhero appeared in Action Comics #1, most kids were attracted to the man dressed in blue and red holding up and crashing a car above his head. Suddenly, a run of other types of superheroes had most kids paying a dime to buy one. If they had a dollar, they could have bought ten books with zero tax. However, kids read them up to a certain age and their mothers generally threw them away, which is a shame because they would have been valuable.

So, can comic books still be lucrative investments? Absolutely. This is why so many serious collectors wish they had time machines, so they could go back to the past to buy those good oldies. They could imagine getting their hands on Action Comics #1, or Detective Comics #27(the first appearance of Batman) and selling them for millions of dollars today. However, collectors must put fantasy aside and look to more recent and possibly less expensive prospects.

What kind (genre) of comic is it? For this article, I refer to the most popular superheroes. Although they are usually worth more than other genres that include: Cowboy; Romance; Famous Cartoon characters like Disney, Warner Brothers; War; Comedy and others.

Period: Comic books belong to different “ages”: “Platinum Age”(Printed on or before 1938); “Golden Age” (1938-1955); “Silver Age (1956-1969); “Bronze Age” (1970-1981); “Copper Age” (1981-1991).

Is the book “DC” or “Marvel”? Some better known DC superheroes include Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern. Marvel Comics began in 1939 with Captain America, Human Torch and the Submariner. Before 1961, Marvel Comics were originally named “Timely Comics”. Some titles became popular, such as: “Tales to Astonish”; “Amazing Fantasy”; “Tales of Suspense”. These titles introduced some of the famous characters that movies widely feature today: Tales to Astonish 27 introduced Antman; Amazing Fantasy #15 introduced the world to Spiderman; Tales of Suspense #39 featured the first appearance of Ironman. Other well-known comics brought groups of superheroes: Fantastic Four #1 (1961); The Avengers #1 (1963), The Xmen #1 (1963).

Edition Numbers: The lower the edition number, the more the book will be worth. As you know from the last paragraph, many heroes’ first appearance didn’t originate in issues #1. Superman originated in Action Comics #1, but, a year later he got his own comic book – Superman #1(1939). Also, Batman got his first appearance in Detective Comics #27, but soon got his own comic with, the first appearance of Robin – Batman’s sidekick in Batman #1(1940). Wonder Woman’s first appearance happened in Sensational Comics #1, which later became “Wonder Woman”.

Original price: Comic books have gradually increased their newspaper prices. The lower the original selling price, the older they are and in most cases worth more: $.10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60, 75 (from 1938-1988). Today, the lowest priced comic books cost around $3.99-$4.99.

Condition: If your book either has tears, a partially detached spine, or missing pages – it will be worth significantly less. They can be restored, but repairing them costs more money and it will sell for less. The more pristine the condition, the more it will be worth, of course. All books should be placed in Mylar sleeves with cardboard backings. The ultimate protection for comic books would be to get them hermetically sealed in a hard plastic display case, which is provided by “CGC”, or the “Certified Guarantee Company”. CGC is one of the only organizations that can truly give peace to the collector that the book has been graded properly and can almost never be damaged.

Using A Dry Cabinet to Store Your Electronic Components

If you are finding it difficult to keep your electronic components in tip-top condition due to the high level of humidity, you are on the right page. Humidity can cause the growth of mold and condensation on your electronic components. Therefore, you may want to get a dry cabinet as these units can help you resolve this issue without any problem. Read on to find out more about the importance of using these products.

Typically, a dry cabinet is an enclosure that can protect your materials from excessive moisture. In most cases, these products are used to store appliances and equipment that may not work properly if exposed to a high-humidity environment.

Actually, some instruments and equipment such as electronics, pcb boards and lens will stop working if stored in a high humidity environment. Moisture can reduce the internal performance of components and may cause them to malfunction.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some solid reasons why you may want to store your electronic components in an Auto dry cabinet.

Importance of Using Dry Cabinets

First of all, you need to understand that fungus can develop in areas where the humidity level is too high. If something can damage your electronic components the most, it cannot be any other thing but a fungus. On top of this, the fungus is difficult to remove and may cause a lot of damage to your expensive electronic components.

Apart from this, the fungus continues to grow between the lens and the lens of the glass. Usually, you may face this problem if you keep your camera in an environment with fungus and a high level of humidity. The moment fungus starts to grow, it won’t take much time to spread and infect other things that you have placed near your gear.

If your electronics has been infected with fungus, you may not want to clean it with force or you may end up damaging the special coating on your electronics.

Typically, EMS manufacturers store their humidity sensitive devices in drawers and cupboards. Inside these storage units, the environment is dark and humid. As a result, fungus can easily thrive. Besides, these EMS manufacturers are from countries where the climate is humid and tropical throughout the year.

So, the best solution is to get dry cabinets. These units can make sure your expensive electronic is protected against dust, water vapor, and a high level of humidity.

Bonus Tips:

It’s not a good idea to store your electronics in an environment where the humidity level is too low as it causes irreparable damage to the rubber seals.
Generally, the humidity level should be lower than 30%, or you may face problems with your moisture sensitive components.

5 Methods For a Good Banking Relationship

Banking has become an essential part of our life. Money matters everywhere. It’s the lifeline for banks. Even the richest person needs to keep money with a bank only. The dealings with banks and conduct of accounts go a long way in determining the benefits a person derives from them. There are many opportunities to prove oneself as a good and loyal customer. However, the five aspects discussed here cover the avenues for developing pleasant relationships.

1) Opening of account: Get the list of documents necessary for opening an account and seek the clarifications and guidance. Never be in a hurry when opening a new account. Banks are required to verify the genuineness, and confirm the credentials of the person or firm opening the account for the first time. No bank will issue a debit card or check book on the same day of opening the account. So, have patience for the banker to comply with the systems and rules in vogue. However, keep in touch with the bank to know the status and give any information or clarification when sought.

2) Operating the account: Regularly and properly transact as per the rules and regulations of the account. You cannot use any account for illegal or unlawful activities like Smuggling, Terrorism, etc.. Maintaining the account with good balance earns not only interest, but goodwill from the bank. Do not forget to send greetings or compliments on special occasions like New Year eve, Festival, etc.. In case of emergency or inability to deposit funds in the account, talk to the banker about your situation and seek help. A prudent banker will never turn down a valid request.

3) Personal contacts: At times, you might be visiting your banker to avail a service or for some other purpose. This is the opportunity to impress the banker. Politeness, Clarity and Precision are sure to produce long-term benefits. Even when the response from the banker is not as expected by you, try to convince by projecting the issues and seek the right solutions. Even if the bank’s rules do not permit what you request, its officials will make honest efforts to get done. Nonetheless, do not hesitate to appreciate the sincere efforts of the bank and express thanks every time your purpose is satisfied.

4) Loan repayment: A common mistake committed by many borrowers is the failure to repay the loan on time. A borrower, if necessary, should seek the extension of time for repayment. No bank will decline a genuine request. However, the banker will neither excuse any default after such extension nor consider any repeated request for extension. Similarly, when there are changes in residence, job, phone number and other things, keep your bank informed of such changes by email or letter. These are courtesy and duty as well. So, the banker will be able to direct the future communications to the new address and phone. Banks take legal actions only when the borrower doesn’t respond to their notices or when the latter’ house is found locked at the time of visits by the banker or his agent.

5) Helping the Bank: Bringing business by way of new deposits and good customers makes a bank value your relationship. Likewise, your voluntary efforts to settle or recover the sticky loans by the defaulter earn reputation and rapport from the bank. Sometimes, buying an asset auctioned by the bank indirectly enhances the relationship.

One customer brought a brand new car to the bank office to show his new acquisition and thank the bank for guiding him to invest in a mutual fund that matured into a huge sum and enabled to buy the prized car. The staff at the bank felt proud of such good customers. Some people tend to deal with a particular bank for decades together. Even the fourth generation of a family prefers to continue with the same bank. The reason for such loyalty is the RELATIONSHIP with the bank.

A New Tool To Address Special Needs

In Washington’s current hyper-partisan climate, a law with strong bipartisan support is worthy of notice. Yet one such law, which had the further distinction of creating a new financial planning option for individuals with disabilities and their families, may have flown under your radar as 2014 wound to a close.

Before Congress finished the year, it passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which President Obama promptly signed. Among other provisions, the act created the brand-new 529A account, sometimes also called a 529 ABLE plan or simply an ABLE account. Like the 529 college savings accounts with which many Americans are already familiar, 529A accounts will provide tax-advantaged benefits. Instead of helping families save for educational expenses, however, 529As will help families support loved ones who have special needs.

Since the law only passed in December, it is too early to say with precision how these accounts will look or how valuable they will be. To some extent, we will have to wait until the accounts are available to the public. Most likely, however, the new accounts will prove useful in at least some situations, even if they are not a perfect fit for everyone.

To qualify for a 529A account, a beneficiary must meet the Social Security definition of disability, which excludes short-term or partial disability. Further, a beneficiary must have developed or been diagnosed with the disability prior to age 26. In practice, the Internal Revenue Service will verify eligibility in one of two ways. First, an individual who qualifies for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) before the age threshold will automatically be eligible. If an individual does not receive SSI benefits, he or she may still qualify if a doctor submits a letter to the Treasury secretary certifying that the individual is blind or has a “physical or mental impairment which results in severe functional limitations.” The letter must also confirm that the condition has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months continuously.

While beneficiary eligibility will be confirmed at the federal level, 529A programs will be state-run. As such, the programs may not roll out rapidly everywhere. Some states, including Pennsylvania, Maryland and California, are already looking into setting up 529A programs; other states may take longer to get started. As with 529 college savings plans, states will be able to impose their own additional rules and conditions when they set up such programs. States may choose to provide tax benefits for contributions, such as tax deductions, but are not required to do so.

Assets in 529As will grow tax-free, and distributions will not be taxed as long as they are used to pay for qualifying expenses. The definition of qualifying expenses for a 529A account is broad. Not only will it cover health and wellness expenses, but also housing, transportation, education, employment training and legal fees. If withdrawals are made to pay for nonqualified expenses, however, they will be taxed at ordinary income rates, plus a 10 percent penalty. The beneficiary, or a person able to make legal and investment decisions on his or her behalf, will make investment choices within the plan’s options, and can alter these elections twice every year. (This is a change from the previous once-a-year limit on existing 529s, and it applies to both 529 college savings accounts and 529A accounts.)

Perhaps most important, assets held in a 529A plan do not disqualify the beneficiary from federal and state aid, such as SSI benefits or Medicaid, as long as the total account balance does not exceed $100,000. This is a significant change, since previously, individuals with more than $2,000 in available assets were disqualified from SSI. In addition, if the 529A account balance exceeds the $100,000 limit, SSI benefits are suspended, but not terminated; if the balance falls below the threshold, SSI benefits resume. Because of this limit, 529A balances will be effectively capped at $100,000 for many beneficiaries.

While a 529A is similar to a 529 college savings account in many ways, there are some important differences in addition to the implied $100,000 funding limit. The 529As will have a yearly contribution limit that matches the federal gift tax exclusion. For 2015, that limit is $14,000 – per beneficiary, not per donor. While friends or relatives can make one-time or recurring contributions to a 529A, the account holder must be the beneficiary, and each beneficiary may hold only one account.

Further, that account must be established with the program offered in the beneficiary’s state of residence. This is a major difference; a 529 college savings account holder often shops around for a plan that offers an appealing mix of tax benefits, investment options and cost-effective administration. A 529A beneficiary will be stuck with his or her state’s plan, even if it does not compare well with those offered in other states. For states that do not offer 529As, an eligible participant may be able to seek out another state’s plan, but only if both states have set up the arrangement in advance. If the beneficiary moves, he or she will need to roll over the account into the new state’s plan.

Importantly, because the account holder must be the beneficiary, family members such as parents or grandparents will lose the option of withdrawing contributions to meet personal needs. Gifts to a 529A will be irrevocable. The accounts will not be eligible for the five-year accelerated gifting provision that applies to 529 college savings accounts, either.

The requirement that the account holder be the beneficiary may prove a complicating factor, since many beneficiaries may be minors or adults with diminished capacity. In cases where the beneficiary is not well-equipped to direct his or her own investments, careful planning will be necessary to make sure that someone with custodianship or power of attorney is positioned to manage the account.

It is also worth noting that one of the appealing features of a 529 college savings account is the ability to change the beneficiary. With 529A accounts, changes in beneficiary to a sibling or step-sibling are permitted, but would presumably necessitate a change in the account’s ownership as well, making it more complicated. This scenario may require regulatory clarification.

The 529A accounts come with one major downside, which may be a dealbreaker in certain situations. Any beneficiaries who receive Medicaid will need to proceed with caution, because the accounts include a provision allowing states to make reimbursement claims on 529A assets that remain unspent at the beneficiary’s death. The beneficiary’s estate must repay any Medicaid benefits received after the account was created out of the remaining account balance. This provision could wipe out a 529A’s balance if a beneficiary dies unexpectedly or 529A assets are not spent down over time.

Before Congress created 529A accounts, the main financial vehicle families used to provide for those with disabilities was the special needs trust. While 529As will fulfill many of the same purposes – most notably preserving state and federal benefits while providing for an individual’s other financial needs – some families may find a trust is still the better option, or may wish to consider a combination.

While a trust lacks some of the benefits of a 529A, it also comes without many of the restrictions. Allowable trust contributions are unlimited, and if structured properly, trust assets will never affect the beneficiary’s eligibility for government benefits. In addition, a 529A can only receive cash contributions, while contributions to a trust may take other forms, including securities, life insurance or tangible property. Trusts also carry the advantage of avoiding the Medicaid payback requirement to which 529A accounts are subject (as long as the trust was not funded with the beneficiary’s own savings). Families who think there may be money left over beyond a beneficiary’s lifetime, or who wish to provide for expenses that would not be considered qualified for 529A spending, may prefer a trust that grants additional security and flexibility.

On the other hand, the tax-exempt growth that 529A accounts offer will be attractive to anyone planning for someone with special needs. In addition, a 529A will almost certainly be simpler and cheaper to set up and administer than a trust, no matter what particulars a state’s plan eventually involves. A properly created special needs trust involves legal fees at the outset, along with ongoing administration expenses. This puts such a solution out of reach for many.

As states begin to roll out their 529A offerings over the next few years, individuals with disabilities and their families will be better able to evaluate whether these vehicles are worthwhile in their particular situations. While Congress has shown an inability to agree on even small matters, it has managed to come together to create what is likely to prove a solid, useful option in the future.

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