Along with baseball cards, comic books represent an important component of the collectibles market, and can prove to be quite profitable for collectors holding highly sought-after and rare items.
The “Golden Age” of comic books spanned from the late 1930’s into the early 1950’s and introduced most of the superhero and adventure characters that have become billion-dollar brands today. Among the most expensive comics are the ones that tell the story of a superhero’s first adventures, but in order to carry a large price tag, they must also be in near mint condition.
Rankings are from Nostomania, an online collectibles community, which draws near-mint valuations from CGC, a comic book grading service. Based on their rankings, some of the most expensive comic books can sell into the hundreds of thousands, or even millions.
So, what are the most expensive comic books of all time? Click ahead to find out!
By Paul Toscano
Posted 23 July 2010
CGC NM value: $213,000
Issue dated: February 1940
"More Fun Comics" existed between 1935 and 1947. Although the legacy of the series continued in superhero characters such as Aquaman, the most valuable comic in the series-- and what is estimated to be the 10th most expensive of all-time--is issue #52, which introduced another preeminent superhero, The Spectre.
CGC NM value: $220,000
Issue dated: January 1940
The debut issue of the “Flash Comics” series that was later brought under the DC comics name, and introduced characters like the Flash and Hawkman. The series only had 104 issues and was cancelled in 1949, although the “Flash” series was later revived.
CGC NM value: $263,000
Issue dated: August 1962
Originally selling for 12 cents per issue, the Amazing Fantasy #15 comic is valued around $263,000 for a near-mint copy. When the “Amazing Fantasy” series was in dire financial straits, the publishers allowed writers to experiment with a new kind of superhero, a teenager who lives with more every day problems. From this issue, “Spider-Man” was born. This issue is also listed at #1 on Marvels list of “The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time.”
CGC NM value: $284,000
Issue dated: Spring 1940
Although Batman had appeared in previous comic books, this issue marks the first of the long-lasting series of self-titled comics. The issue’s first story was entitled “The Legend of Batman - Who He Is and How He Came To Be” and the second story was entitled “The Joker.” Interestingly, the issue also contained the story “The Joker Returns.”
The Batman series was originally a quarterly publication, but eventually transitioned into a bi-monthly and then monthly issue. The Batman #1 issue was also the first to feature “Robin, The Boy Wonder.”
CGC NM value: $325,000
Issue dated: March 1937
The inaugural issue of the Detective Comics series, this first issue began the line that eventually featured Batman and Superman. The issue featured stories written in the “hard-boiled detective” genre and contained 10 separate stories. Currently, near-mint copies of this issue are valued at around $325,000.
CGC NM value: $326,000
Issue dated: July 1940
Valued at $326,000 by CGC, this issue is notable as it introduced the iconic superhero the Green Lantern. The issue was published by All American Comics, which was later one of three companies that merged together to form DC Comics.
CGC NM value: $421,000
Issued dated: October 1939
The first issue in the Marvel Comics series featured characters like The Human Torch, The Angel, and Namor the Sub-Mariner. The original publication sold out 80,000 copies in October 1939 and prompted a second publication which sold approximately 800,000 copies in November 1939.
CGC NM value: $525,000
Issue dated: June 1939
Although Superman was introduced prior to this issue, this was the first comic book series devoted to a single character, which was new territory for the industry. The origin of Superman is reprinted in this issue, which also features another first: a pin-up back cover.
CGC NM value: $1,060,000
Issue dated: June 30, 1938
The first issue of the comic book series Action Comics, which is valued at $1,060,000 by CGC, is most recognized as the issue that introduced Superman to the world. The issue, which originally sold for 10 cents, had a print run of 200,000 copies.
The first 13 pages of the book tell the famous story of Superman’s origins and early adventures, while the rest of the comic contains 10 more features with stories on a range of characters, like “Tex Thompson” and “The Adventures of Marco Polo.”
In February 2010, a near mint copy of this issue sold for $1 million.
CGC NM value: $1,790,000
Issue dated: May 1939
Although Detective Comics is the longest continuously published comic book in US history, the most iconic issue, and most valuable single comic of all time, was issue 27. In this issue, Batman makes his first appearance, and the superhero eventually became the leading character of the series. In the issue, Batman’s first story is “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate.”