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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Most Expensive Comic Books-Part 4

Who is not a comic book fan?? Everyone wants to own one So what is the most valuable comic book? I conducted some research and came up with the following list.

#4: Superman #1 Highest Previous Sale: $250,000 Current Auction Estimate: $600,000 

Why It’s Valuable: Published in 1939, this is the first issue where Superman had his own title. It was a reprint of Action Comics #1. High grade issues of Superman #1 simply don’t exist—or they don’t make it to auction. The $250k price tag listed above? It was a CGC 7.5 from 2006. You don’t think some folks are chomping at the bit for a high quality Superman #1 to hit the market? (1939) As you can see from the image at top, CGC brought two copies of Superman #1 to the New York Comic Con this year to display with other highly-graded, valuable comics–but the photograph doesn’t capture what grade the issue on the top shelf received and the lower comics are barely visible at all.

#3: Amazing Fantasy #15 Highest Previous Sale: $1,100,000 Current Auction Estimate: $1,100,000

Why It’s Valuable: Spider-Man graced the cover in 1962 in what would be the title’s final issue, and the first appearance of the character, who would get his own title almost immediately. Sure, the $1.1MM sale was a CGC 9.6, and it was WELL above previous sale prices (according to Wikipedia, the previous high was less than $300,000). But the market has been set, and that single sale put this book into another level of comic books. The comic is also one of the most-referenced single issues of all time, with film and cartoon adaptations being fairly slavish in their loyalty to the source material so far and the story’s mantra (“With great power comes great responsibility”) becoming not only Spider-Man’s instantly-identifiable moral code, but fodder for pop culture references and jokes for years.

#2: Detective Comics #27 Highest Previous Sale: $1,075,000 Current Auction Estimate: $1,400,000

Why It’s Valuable: The first comic book to feature Batman, Detective Comics #27 was published in May 1939. Really we could have estimated this higher, as the $1.075MM price was on a CGC 8.0. A 9.0—virtually unheard of at auction—might make a handful of buyers go nuts. The CGC image at top features an 8.5-graded copy of the issue. In addition to being the first appearance of the beloved character, Batman’s early Detective Comics appearances are notable for giving readers a rare look at a more brutal Batman, willing to use deadly force and even firearms (his hatred of guns, which goes hand-in-hand with his origin, was not established until later). In the post-Dark Knight Returns world, it’s arguable that casual fans or people who come to comics through the movies would be as or more comfortable with this take on Batman as they are with the more modern interpretation.

#1: Action Comics #1 Highest Previous Sale: $1,500,000 Current Auction Estimate: $1,750,000

Why It’s Valuable: Published in June 1938, this is the mother of all comics. The original appearance of Superman (also, the wizard Zatara) started a wave of superhero comic books. The previous high for this issue was a CGC 8.5. A 9.0 should fetch a better price. This comic has not only intrinsic value, but perceived value as well; almost everyone knows that Superman is the first superhero, and so his first appearance is recognized even by people who know nothing or almost nothing about comics as the beginning of something remarkable. As with all of the books on this list, Action Comics #1 was published long before anyone perceived comic books as something that might have financial value in the future, so most of them were discarded and the ones that weren’t, were often not treated with great care. What’s heartbreaking about this particular book is that there are rumors that dozens of copies were reportedly thrown out or destroyed by the family of EC Comics publisher William Gaines in the ’50s.

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