World's Most Valuable Comic Books

1 & 2. Action Comics #1 (June 1938) and Superman #1 (1939)

This is it, the comic book Holy Grail, the one that introduced the world to Superman. The cover bears the famous - if somewhat crude - drawing of Superman smashing a car against a rock. Written and drawn by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster, the comic introduced Superman as "Champion of the oppressed, the physical marvel who had sworn to devote his existence to helping those in need!" The last survivor of the doomed planet Krypton (duh), Superman could "leap 1/8th of a mile; hurdle a 20-story building ... raise tremendous weights ... run faster than an express train ... and nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin!" Superman was so popular, he became the first character to get his very own comic book. Superman #1 hit newsstands in the summer of 1939. The Man of Steel has held up pretty well, you could say.

Action Comics #1
Cover price in 1938: 10¢
Estimated top value today: $350,000

Superman #1
Cover price in 1939: 10¢
Estimated top value today: $210,000

3. Detective Comics #27 (May 1939)

Less than a year later, an artist named Bob Kane decided to create a caped superhero of his own, one much darker, more mysterious, and more "human" than the squeaky-clean Superman. His creation: Batman. Unlike the campy '60s TV version of the character, the Batman in this first issue was a dark, vengeful crusader who stalked the night (he watches as a bad guy plunges into a vat of acid), presaging the hero's reemergence in the 1980s in The Dark Knight Returns. Perhaps this darkness was a reflection of the dread of war looming on the horizon in 1939? The cover proclaimed, "Starting this issue: The amazing and unique adventures of THE BATMAN!" and promised "64 pages of action!"

Cover price in 1939: 10¢
Estimated top value today: $300,000

4. Marvel Comics #1 (October 1939)

In 1939 a comic book house called Funnies Inc. approached pulp fiction publisher Martin Goodman with a proposal to provide him with ready-made comic book artwork. All he had to do was publish it. Seeing the kind of cash Action Comics and others were raking in, he agreed, and Marvel Comics was born. The first issue introduced three legendary Marvel characters: the Sub-Mariner of Atlantis, prince of the Deep; the Human Torch (a different Human Torch than the one that would become part of the Fantastic Four 22 years later - let's not get them confused); and Ka-Zar the Great, a man who lived in the jungle among apes (strangely similar to another popular ape man whose name had a lot of teh same letters).

Cover price in 1939: 10¢
Estimated top value today: $250,000

5. Batman #1 (Spring 1940)

After appearing in 13 issues of Detective Comics, Batman and his new sidekick - Robin the Boy Wonder (introduced in Detective Comics #38) - were so popular, they got their very own comic book. Batman began as a quarterly, but that wasn't enough for fans. Neither was a bimonthly. So, before long, readers could get a new Batman adventure every month. The first issue introduces two of Batman's most legendary nemeses: the Joker and Catwoman. More than 63 years and over 600 issues later, Batman is still fighting villains - as well as his own demons - on the streets of Gotham City.

Cover price in April 1940: 10¢
Estimated top value today: $100,000

6. All-American Comics #16 (July 1940)

How many times has this happened to you? Man finds alien metal lantern. Man makes ring out of lantern. Man presses ring to lantern. Man has incredible superpowers over everything. Except wood, obviously. That's the story in All-American Comics #16, a book published tangentially under the DC Comics umbrella. When regular guy Alan Scott made his ring, the superhero created was, of course, the Green Lantern. The idea of an everyday schmoe just lucking into superhero-ness proved incredibly popular. A similar idea struck gold in 1962 when a young nerd named Peter Parker got bitten by a radioactive spider (see below).

Cover price in 1940: 10¢
Estimated top value today: $115,000

7. Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)

The word bubbles on the cover say it all: "Though the world may mock Peter Parker, the timid teen-ager ... it will soon marvel at the awesome might of ... SPIDER-MAN!" And writer Stan Lee (pseudonym of Stanley Martin Lieber) and artist Mike Steve Ditko could not have been more right. Spider-Man was the first comic book hero to be a regular teenager, going through the same thigns his readers were dealing with: shyness, insecurity, a crush on a pretty girl, and trouble with the popular jock (Flash Thompson). No wonder people of all ages are still true believers.

Cover price in 1962: 12¢
Estimated top value today: $42,000

___________

From mental_floss' book Condensed Knowledge: A deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again, published in Neatorama with permission.

[Update 3/15/07: Original article written by Christopher Smith]

Be sure to visit mental_floss' very neat website and blog!


If you want some real data on the value of the world's most valuable comics, I'd like to point out the list I keep:

http://comics.drunkenfist.com/top.shtm

It deals with specific copies and will offer a little more perspective on the actual values of top copies.
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I like the commentary on each comic and the pictures of the covers. I never knew that "Batman" was originally called "The Batman". I love reading about these kind of things and I find the comics interesting. One of the first things i noticed however, was how the cover price of a comic book only went up 2 cents in a matter of 24 years. I'm sure the price increases over those years came slow, and the kids buying these comics were working very hard and saving all month long to buy them. It is really a shame that a comic book could cost more than $5 today, and if a child shows interest in it the parent quickly buys it so the child will actually read a "book" instead of playing video games and watching T.V.
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Ravi - there is no standards body for comic pricing. It's all market-dictated. There are a couple of price guides out there, whose numbers will vary from month to month and title to title. They'll disagree, although that's largely through methodologies used in coming up with their numbers and not purposeful agendas. Some take eBay auctions into account. Others weigh CGC-graded comics into the equation.

The average Marvel and DC comic these days is $2.99, although much of that has to do with economics of scale, distribution, paper prices, etc.
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A few years ago a got a bunch of comic at a Dollar store. They were all Marvel issues, in a plastic bag 3 for a $1. and in the third bag I opened was a copy of Ghost Rider #1, that comes out to be .33, and was listed in the current price guide, at $75.00 that was pretty cool. I need to get a new price guide and check my collection of over 3500+ comics.
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Hi people, could anyone help me?? i have marvel comics from the mid 70's, avengers in running order (about 8 of them). 2 spiderman comics and wanted to know what sort of price i could get for them. thank you
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I have a question for all you experts. There are a number of sites that give prices, such as StashMyComics.com and ComicsPriceGuide.com
Ok, so in ComicsPriceGuide.com, there's the usual prices for books I want to sell, then they have another set of prices for the same books using CGC Comics Guarantee, LCC, at cgccomics.com which is actually double the regular resale price. Has anyone else come across this and is it worth the investment to get comic ratings guaranteed to get a higher price?
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In general, only your really expensive comics are worth having graded. There is a significant cost to grading, so you wouldn't want to do it for every book you have.
Also, grading comics means they get sealed in a plastic case. If someone wants to have AND read the comic, they likely won't buy a graded copy. However, if you have a comic worth a fair amount (like any of the issues above), it is completly worth getting graded.
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a friend of mine has some marvel hero comics with british prices on them.. Titans Team Up... 401 spiderman....368 marvel super heros ... some hulk .. and green hornet.. most likely forty years old....would they be worth anything....
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I have a superman comic book dated 1939. Its a picture of superman in the center within a oval yellow cover marked 10cents. Its 64 pages.I have had it more years than I can recall. Its a large size, still in great shape some bends on the corners. Can any one tell me its value?Thanks
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Lorraine,

I'm guessing that you're just joking around, but if by some fluke you happen to be serious, the comic could be quite valuable. Let's see, 10 cent cover price...I'd be happy to give you a $100.00 for it. That's a 1000% return! :)
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I think british and us comics are of equal value. proof: at least 10 marvel uk books offered on ebay equated in bucks equally.
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Here is a thought...

An asset is only worth something if you can create or expect to create a positive cash flow from it.

IE

Owning a business is good because you expect to be paid from the earnings

Owning a house is good because you can rent it out and receive rent

Owning stocks are good becuase you might get paid a dividend (or not and you are simply hoping for appreciation)

Even investments like gold, diamonds, art, baseball cards, and comic books can be good because they might go up in value. My impression of the current collector market though is that they are all bad investment! If I buy superman #1, it is rare and could very well appreciate more than my WACC (weighted average cost of capital...aka, my opportunity cost). If I buy anything modern though, the chances of it appreciating at a faster rate than my WACC are low. Buy new comics because they are fun! They suck as an investment.

If you want to buy a collectible though, it is only worth it if you are going to get better than your WACC (5% in a CD...10% in the market), otherwise it is a losing proposition. Furthermore, in most cases, you have no idea whether a modern collectible will be worth what you paid for it in 10 years or nothing.

As a teenager, I got caught up in the speculating hoopla of thr late 80s/early 90s. How many copies of X-Men #1 did I buy anyway? I was young and dumb. More importantly, the comic companies hid their production numbers from the public so I was at a great disadvantage. Oh ell, live and learn.
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Stupid is right, modern comic books are a poor investment. Flooded market and all. I saw where pre WWII comic are worth more because of rarety. Same as stupid had over 1,000 in the 80's(still have a complete collection of Warlord). Went to buy some for my son not too long ago, now they are too expensive and shorter. Alex great pictures and nice blurbs about each one.
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Thanks not with stupid - what made these comics so valuable is their rarity. New comics are printed in such abundance that they're unlikely to be valuable any time soon (or at all).
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the idea that new comics are printed in too great of number to ever be worth anything is exactly what has made comic books of the past valuable. eventually, they get beat up, eaten by little brother, or just thrown away with other childhood toys (also of some value).
Is it a risky investment? less than playing the market, because it is a known factor that there will be less, of good quality, over time.
Is it a stupid investment? not if you enjoy the collecting and maybe reading, and it's a much cheaper speculation than trying to play the stock market.
So, what should you buy? buy what you like, and enjoy them, but take care of them too. many years down the road you may have one of the few surviving issues of the next big score.
but if your buying things that already have a high value, beware and know what your buying, there are a lot of hustlers out there trying to pass of reprints as original copies.
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You tell evry one about Comic Books that cost 12cents
or higher, what about the ones that cost only 2cents.
Is there a value on them?
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My boyfriend has the first issue of Superman dated 1938 with the green car on the front ..... his father left it to him , it is in mint condition kept in those protective sleeves since he was young ... we were in total shock when we saw the suggested value here !!! I mean we knew he had it but had no idea the worth !!!... as well his father left him the entire Silver Surfer Collection... any idea where we can find out what that is worth?
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Just to answer a lot of the same questions, the Wizard guide book could tell you how much the comics are worth roughly. And yes, today's comics are not as valuable because of the high circulation. However the dealer incentive comics have the real value nowadays.
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My name andres i live in New Mexico, and i have alot comics in real good condition.. So if any of out are interested email me back...Some of my comics are from 1950s.. So email back before they all go...
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Hello, My name is Jeryl and if anyone is interested I have the very first Superman Action Comic. if you are looking for one my e-mail is jeryl.mapp@yahoo.com
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I have a legacy of superman #1 1993 its an autographed limited edition # 2041/ 0f 2500 but i cant find a price for its value can anyone tell me where to look?
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Hi all, if I find those comics up there listed where and to whom should I contact with to sell and how to go about it? plz shed some light here, cheers.

Best

mahendra
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You also have to take into concideration the conidition of the collectors item, to actualy be able to sell one it has to be "mint" or "near mint" condition, or else it won't hold to value and restrict the chance of even finding a buyer.
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wow! My neighbors dad has a couple of those including superman #1, but he sais he wont sell them when i ask about them. Didnt know they were worth tht much
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I have an origional issue of action comics #1 yeaR 1938 were he is holding car let mi know I'd tour interested thanks.

Creeksideedge@yahoo.com
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HI There,

I was hoping that someone could tell me if I am getting a fair price? I have a bankers box full of Archie Digest comics from the late 90's early 2000 in mint condition.

Thanks,
J
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Hello!!

i have a collection of comics, some from the late 70's and most from the 80's. They are comics such as uncanny xmen, other types of xmen, x factor, some gi joes, spiderman, batman, etc. I am curious, so i don't overlook anything, do you know of any very valuable comics from the late 70s and all of the 80's that you would recommend i watch out for?? I have a hodge podge in addition to what i mentioned. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Bit of an unusual one here. I don't have actual comics, but have a bed cover/spread featuring prints of the first edition covers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Whiz and Green Lantern. Not sure how old it is, but is in vgc, and would also make a great wall hanging. Any value to a collector of first edition imagery? Happy to send pictures, just email leithn@hotmail.com
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I own what looks like a 1983 copy of the 1938 issue number 1 of original Superman comic. It is very realistic looking to the 1938 original. It looks like it was issued by the Superman Peanut Butter Co. as a promotion. Is there any information about this?
b
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where apart from charity shops do people find all these comics because i've began to find and interest in them especially 'Archie' and i would love to read more of it :p
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i have the first batman made in 1940 but i don't know how much it would be worth with one or two pages missing ! can some one out there help me with this??
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Bexsy, i have a ton of archie comics from the 90's-2000's if you're interested, I used to buy them all the time when i was growing up, but now that i'm graduating, i'm getting rid of a ton of stuff, i'm not sure if they're worth anything, but i'm totally willing to sell :)
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i have most of those. some guy died and game the to an op shop and they where all there. not mint though there in pretty bad condish
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Currently in possesion of AMAZING FANTASY #15 CGC 5.0 Unrestored - 1ST SPIDER-MAN.

This is the even more rare UK Edition and the 2nd highest rated copy
in existence

CGC CENSUS

Contact me at DarrenDreamweaver@yahoo.co.uk for more information.
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I have the Wonder Man comic from 1939.
Its intact but in terrible condition. Brittle pages and tears.
The last time I checked there were only 8 copies in existence. I can't find any online for sale.
If anyone has some info I would appreciate it.

Thanks
John
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Anyone Know?
I have only No.1 June, 1938 Action c-26 32103 Famous 1st Edition Limited Collectors' Golden Mint Series, 10 cents.
Is that the same as the above or not?
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ok i have an 1st edition limited collectors silver mint series may 1939 no. 27 detective comics batman i cant tell if it is a fake and i was wondering how much its worth if someone can help please email me at Ch3ls3alynnbrown@yahoo.com i will send i pic of it thanks
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I have at least 20 comic books dated back in the 1980's and up. (Marvel & DC)Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Superman, etc. etc. Anybody interested in buying??? Really need to sell them. Also, does anybody know how much they are going for???
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AIve got about 200 dc and marvel batman,flash.ation comic and detective and some others need2get them priced up the best i can .silver addition.what would b the best site2get up2date prices.please email me with ideas thanks
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