In this golden age of superhero films, there is no denying that the comic book industry contributed to their billion-dollar success. These highly imaginative, serialized publications built the foundation for many of the world’s beloved superheroes and villains today.
From the movie world’s different takes on the Caped Crusader and his famous rival, Joker, to the adventures of the Avengers, it all started with comic books. Early comic books definitely paved the way for the success of both industries.
In fact, earlier issues have been sold at outrageous prices. It is no wonder that comic books have become so precious when you consider that they are the foundational base for the top-earning movies in Hollywood today. Here are the top 10 most expensive comic books ever sold.
10. Marvel Comics #1 with CGC 9.0
Let’s start with Marvel Comics, the predecessor of the Marvel Comics (and cinema) we know today. As the very first issue of the beloved comic company released in 1939, this installment is definitely a valuable addition to any collector’s arsenal.
Aside from its age, it is important to note that its condition contributes greatly to its value. This copy is given a Certified Guarantee Company (CGC) verification of 9.0, which means that it is very well preserved but has minor handling or manufacturing defects.
9. Tales of Suspense #39 with CGC 9.6
What makes this collectible a highly sought-after one is its launch of one of the world’s favorite superheroes. Issue #39 of Tales of Suspense features the very first appearance of Iron Man. Sold in 2012, this copy is was likely pursued by fans because of the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the character.
Despite its very good CGC grade, the copy went for a little more than the least expensive item on our list. Regardless, it is regarded as one of the most well-preserved comic books today. In fact, if this copy goes on sale today, it will surely be given a higher price than what it was sold for.
8. Flash Comics #1 with CGC 9.6
Another well-preserved comic, the issue containing the debut of Flash and Hawkman was sold for a high price. When it was sold in 2010, it was considered the second most expensive comic ever sold, despite other characters being more popular than Flash and Hawkman.
Its CGC rating indicates that it is in near-mint condition. This is because the copy was part of The Church Collection which contained 18,000 well-preserved items. Collector Edgar Church is recognized as the most “super” pulp magazine and comic collector. In fact, his collection was valued at $50 million.
7. X-Men #1 with CGC 9.8
The first issue of X-Men featured the appearance of X-Men with Angel, Cyclops, the Beast, Marvel Girl, and Iceman. It also marks the first time Magneto, one of the X-Men’s most famous villains was seen. It was published in 1963.
One fun fact about this issue is that a CGC 9.6 copy was sold for almost half the price of this CGC 9.8 copy. This demonstrates how important the book’s condition is when it comes to determining the value of a collector’s item.
6. Batman #1 with CGC 9.2
While this publication was not the first time Batman ever appeared in print, this series was the first that focused on the Caped Crusader. It features the titular character accompanied by Robin and was released in 1940. It is also the issue where the Clown Prince of Crime made his first appearance.
Surviving two relaunches namely The New 52 and the DC Rebirth, the Batman series remains to be a well-loved one. The sale of this copy was one of the first issues to enter the $500,000 mark in the comic book collecting world, making it a valuable addition to any fan’s collection.
5. Detective Comics #27 with CGC 8.0
Price: $1.07 million
Speaking of Batman’s very first appearance in comics, this issue gave the world the Batman we know today. As it was published in 1939, one year before Joker made his first appearance, a pristine copy of this issue is extremely hard to come by.
In fact, this copy rated 8.0 by CGC is believed to be one of the best-preserved items sold on the market. Make no mistake though, collectors know that there are copies of this issue rated at 9.0 and above and they will definitely sell for more than $1.07 million.
4. Amazing Fantasy #15 with CGC 9.6
Price: $1.1 million
This item is not the oldest on the list, but it is definitely one of the best-preserved ones. Published in 1962 in the so-called Silver Age of comic books, this issue is where our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was first featured.
As Silver Age comics were relatively new, most of the items from this era were sold at under $300,000. This is why fans and collectors were surprised that this copy broke the million-dollar barrier.
3. Action Comics # 1 with CGC 8.5 (2010)
Price: $1.5 million
Showing the debut of Superman, this book definitely deserves to be in the top 3 of the most expensive comics ever sold. Such copies are sought after by collectors, especially fans of the Man of Steel and are even considered a holy grail for comic collectors.
Perhaps this copy can show how important the CGC ranking is when assessing the value of a collector’s item. This item is graded 8.5, making it an attractive collectible with few moderate defects. However, this was sold for half the price of a copy with a 9.0 grade.
2. Action Comics # 1 with CGC 9.0 (2011)
Price: $2.16 million
Sold for more than $2 million, this copy broke the record of its sibling that had the misfortune of being graded at 8.5. With just 0.5 different, this went for around twice the price of the third most expensive comic on this list.
The best thing about this copy is that it was previously owned by Nicolas Cage, a known Superman fan. When it was sold in 2011, this held the record of being the most expensive comic book sold on the market.
1. Action Comics #1 with CGC 9.0 (2014)
Price: $3.2 million
That fact that the first issue of Action Comics was ranked three times shows how popular Superman is, but the fact that it placed first in this list says a lot. Its price was pegged at a whopping $3.2 million, making it significantly higher than the price of the Action Comics #1 sold in 2010.
This item was placed for bidding on eBay at a measly 99 cents. In just two hours, the price went up to more than a million. Perhaps the reason why this issue is valued at higher prices is that there are only around 50 to 100 original copies of it.
Collectors and comic book fans alike know how valuable original copies are. Combined with a well-preserved condition, your most-prized comic can be sold for a huge fortune in the future.
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