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Collectibles

Most expensive comic book auctions of all time

Andrea Divirgilio / December 21, 2012

In reference to vintage memorabilia like comic books, it seems like what we traditionally thought to be child’s play has now become a serious business. As the rare comics associated with the Earth’s mightiest superheroes, loved by everyone across the globe, have always garnered hefty prices at the auctions. The comics, which were once sold for just a few cents, now sells for multi-million dollars, as collectors splurge heavily to grab the rare copies, all in an effort to flip the pages of the comics which we all have grown up reading. Here, our edit of the world’s most expensive comic books of all times throws light on how much just a comic book, which is now widely regarded as collectible or artwork to be sought-after and preserved, can actually worth.

Tintin Comic Book Cover

Price: $1.6 million

Known to be one of five remaining originals by late Belgian comic book legend, series’ illustrator and writer ‘Herge’ Geoges Remi who died in 1983 and only two in private hands, a rare 1932 hand-drawn ‘Tintin In America’ comic book cover was sold for eye-watering $1.6 million to become the most expensive comic book ever. Bought by an anonymous buyer from an avid Tintin collector in a Paris auction, the cover shows Tintin as a American cowboy sitting on a rock with his favorite dog, Snowy, along with 3 Indians, 2 wielding axes, creeping behind him.

Action Comics #1

Cover price in 1938: 10¢

Current estimated price: $1,390,000

This is the comic that gave birth to fictional characters called ‘superheroes’ and the first super hero that was introduced, was the well-known Superman. The character is the world’s one of the favorites in all the age groups. This American comic book series changed the look of the comic books and gave them a significant place in the book racks. 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 cover features Superman lifting a car and smashing it against a rock. With the original cost of mere 10 cents, this book today costs $1,390,000.

Detective Comics No.27

Cover price in 1939: 10¢

Current estimated price – $1,380,000

The next iconic comic in the list is the Detective Comics No. 27, not much after the Action comic No.1, this comic was created in 1939 and its cost was only 10 cents. This is the first book to feature Batman, a fictional character that resembles like a human bat.

Batman #1 Comic book

Price: $850,000

With white off pages, a rare CGC universal grade example of the most sought-after golden age comic book Batman #1 of year 1940, CFC-Grade 9.2 has been sold for $850,000. Bought by an investor partnership and sold via a private transaction through the Heritage Auctions ComicMarket on behalf of a private comic collector, this rare copy from the very first publication was listed as the 6th most valuable comic book in Near Mint condition.

Superman No.1

Cover price in 1939: 10¢

Current estimated price: $671,000

Seems the year 1939 was the birth year of many fictional characters, the first comic dedicated to Superman was created in the same year 1939. It was reprinted from the original action comic story. The cover shows Superman in original color.

The first Calvin and Hobbes comic strip

Expected Price: Over $65,000

One of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes hand-colored Sunday comic strip original art dated 10-19-1986 was expected to fetch over $65,000 after being offered Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction administered by the Heritage Auctions. The entire original strip actually comes from cartoonist Brian Basset, who was given the strip measuring 13×9 by the artist himself, some 26 years ago.

Spider-Man #328 Cover Art by Todd McFarlane

Price: $657,250

An original cover drawing for Amazing Spider-Man #328 by multi-talented Canadian cartoonist, writer, Todd McFarlane, which got published back in year 1990 by Marvel Comics has got sold for $657,250 at the Heritage Auctions’ Signature Comics and Comic Art Auction in Beverly Hills, becoming the most valuable piece of American comic book art ever sold at an auction. This amazing cover art shows the iconic Spider-Man demonstrating his incredible new powers on the Hulk.

All-American Comics No.16

Cover Price in 1939: NA

Current estimated price: $430,000

The book was the first to feature the Green Lantern and was created in the year 1939. This comic was the first in the series of scary comics. This comic currently costs $430,000.

Detective Comics, No. 1

Cove Price 1937: 10¢

Current estimated price: $405,000

This comic introduced the Detective Comics series in the year 1937 and was the first one to feature two fictional character together. The series featured batman and superman together and was written in the “hard-boiled detective” genre.

Captain America Comics #1

Cover price in 1941: NA

Current estimated price: $343,000

Next in the list is the Captain America, the iconic comic book that was created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, released on stands in December 1941. The book showed Captain America punching Hitler on its cover a year before the US entered World War II — and solidifying the creative team of Simon & Kirby as key ingredients in the chemistry of what had become the golden age of comic books. This particular copy is from the Atlantic City collection and was sold for whopping $343,000.

More Fun Comics No.52

Cover Price in 1935: 10¢

Current estimated price: $316,000

The book introduced The Spectre for the first time and was a 1935-1947 American comic book anthology. The book’s cost was mere 10 cents while the current price of the comic book is $316,000.

Flash Comics, No. 1

Cover Price in 1940: 10¢

Current estimated price: $289,000

The book that introduced comic book fans to Flash and Hawkman, hit the stands in 1940. The series only had 104 issues and was cancelled in 1949, although the “Flash” series was later revived. Its cost at that time was mere 10 cents while today its estimated value is $289,000.

Tintin Shooting Star artwork

Price: $288,300

At the Sotheby’s comic strip sale in Paris which was held in memory of the French comic book artist Jean Giraud, and was actually aimed to be a catalogue raisonné of the first 100 years of comic strips, an original Tintin artwork created back in year 1941 by Belgian artist ‘Hergé’ Georges Remi for the album “The Shooting Star”, showing how the soil is melting under Snowy’s feet, fetched astounding $288,300.

Marvel Comics

Cover Price in 1935: 10¢

Current estimated price: $250,000

The comic was a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company that featured characters like Iron Man, X-Men, Wolverine, and many more. In 1939, a comic book house called Funnies Inc. approached pulp fiction publisher Martin Goodman and provided him ready-made comic book artwork that was published as this comic book.

Amazing Fantasy, No. 15

Cover price in 1960: 12 ¢

Current estimated price: $42,000

This was the first book that debuted Spider-Man on the cover in August 1960 with the comic book series scheduled for cancellation. The sales were the highest at that time when the book was released probably because of the title. The cover of the book had bubble that said “Though the world may mock Peter Parker, the timid teen-ager … it will soon marvel at the awesome might of … SPIDER-MAN!”

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