15 Rare and Valuable Comic Books Worth a Lot of Money

Last year, I remembered being a part of a live auction at a garage sale. One after the other, folks fought a bidding war for items as simple as sewing machines and porcelain mugs until a Spiderman comic appeared. I recall being the only arm that was raised and secured a deal at $20, much cheaper than the price I sold it for, $5000.

I’ve been an enthusiastic collector my whole life. As is true for all antiques, being informed and educated on your piece is the first vital step to ensure that you’re not selling yourself short!

So, to make matters more manageable, I’ve written this guide to provide you with a comprehensive list of 15 rare and valuable comic books worth a lot of money. I will also include the methods of identifying them and a value and price guide to help you assess how far your piece of paper will take you.

Comic Books: A Brief History:

Fascinating illustrations, wood and wall carvings have been integral to civilization for thousands of years. These methods were extensively used for story-telling and to link history with time. Following technological advancements and the birth of print media, wood and wall carvings were soon replaced by newspapers and comics.

What Are Comics?

Comic books are serialized stories, often contained in an alternate universe with a pre-conceived storyline and fitted into a volume. Quite often, they are continuously written and illustrated by different artists, forming the basis of a new storyline according to the need of the hour.

Comic books are not to be confused with children’s cartoons, as most are based on political cartoons and propaganda. This form of media was created and mainly used to deliver silent messages to the public while providing entertainment and spreading disinformation and propaganda.

So, the next time you’re excited about an upcoming superhero-based action film, remember that it isn’t as simple as throwing metal plates around or shooting lasers out of your suit.

The Birth of Comics:

Historians believe that the first comic actively published in 1837 was “The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck” in Europe.

According to the British Museum, the original story was not intended for publication. Still, the creator Rudolph continued designing comics to entertain his friends and colleagues.

This marked the beginning of what would turn into the beauty of print media.

Comic book
The Adventures of Mister Obadiah Oldbuck, published in Europe-1837 (Image Source: Windows)

The first comic was published in the UK as “The Yellow Kid in McFadden’s Flat” in 1897. Children were the focus audience, and it was surprising that it acknowledged itself as a comic book. Full of racial slurs and stereotypes, the comic portrayed yellow journalism or sensationalism by the character wrapped in a yellow dress or robe.

The Adventures of Mister Obadiah Oldbuck, published in Europe-1837 (bitly 3PyzhrG)
The Yellow Kid in McFadden’s flat, published first in the UK in 1897 (Image Source: Goodreads)

With the publication of “Funnies On Parade” in 1933, comic books made their way into the American market. Originally an eight-page publication, it was a reprint of humorous newspaper and comic strips.

The Yellow Kid in McFadden's flat, published first in the UK in 1897 (bit.ly 3uP6o2b)
Funnies On Parade, first comic published in the United States- 1933

World War II and Comics:

Very soon, superheroes entered the comic world with the character of Superman appearing in the classic “Action Comics #1”, the first superhero comic published in the United States.

World War II marked the beginning of the Golden Age of comics, fueled by the war’s political propaganda and military requirements.

Action Comics 1, Introduction of Superman- released in 1938
Action Comics 1, Introduction of Superman- released in 1938

Soon after, Captain America’s character made its debut. It was not only a source of entertainment but also helped in the military recruitment process. The classics of good beating evil, lined by patriotism, fueled American hearts during this difficult period.

Captain America Comic, the introduction of war comics- 1941
Captain America Comic, the introduction of war comics- 1941

Comic book sales drastically increased during World War II. They were cheap, interesting, and full of patriotism. This marked every reason to buy them. After the war, they took off, to this day, inspiring more than 20 movies in the process.

15 Comic Books That Are Worth A Lot Of Money Today:

Whether you’ve received a box of old magazines and comics as a family heirloom, or you’re an antique collector who got a hold of some at a garage sale, you might want to research what you have because the magazines you thought of recycling may turn you into an overnight millionaire.

With the release of multiple superhero movies, the film industry has dramatically increased the prices of comics. According to experts and comic evaluators, here is a list of 15 comic books worth a lot of money today:

No.
Name
Year
Price
1
Superman 1
1939
$5.3 million
2
Fantasy 15
1962
$3.6 million
3
Action Comics 1
1938
$3.1-3.2 million
4
Batman 1
1940
$2.2 million
5
Detective Comics 27
1939
$2.1 million
6
Marvel Comics 1
1939
$1.2 million
7
All-Star Comics 8
1941
$936,000
8
Captain America Comics 1
1940
$915,000
9
All American Comics 16
1940
$850,000
10
X-Men Comics 1
1963
$492,000
11
The Incredible Hulk 1
1963
$490,000
12
Flash Comics 1
1940
$450,000
13
Sensation Comics 1
1942
$450,000
14
Pep Comics 22
1941
$375,000
15
Tales Of Suspense 39
1959
$375,000

1. Superman 1- $5.3 million:

Superman 1, the most expensive comic book of all time, 1939
Superman 1, the most expensive comic book of all time, 1939

Superman, the super strong superhero, made his debut in the classic Action Comics. He was soon given his own separate space but continued to appear in the original comics, running two stories at once.

As Superman became one of the most popular superheroes of all time, his comic books turned into the most valuable comic books in the world, with the original copy selling for an astounding $5.3 million in 2022.

The buyer and the seller decided to stay anonymous on the deal as the CGC 8.0 graded Superman cover appearance made the record of the most expensive comic book sold.

CGC Comics announced the deal, which took place in early January.

 

2. Fantasy 15- $3.6 million:

2. Fantasy 15- $3.6 million
Amazing Fantasy #15, first Spider Man comic, sold for $3.6 million.

This 1962 issue marks the debut of the most famous and beloved superhero: The Amazing Spider-man. The web-slinging hero was so undermined by the publisher that reportedly, he only published Stan Lee’s masterpiece because it was the “last of the series”.

This top-selling comic sold for a whopping $3.6 million in 2021, making it the world’s second most expensive comic book. It was sold at Heritage Auction’s Signature Comics and Comic Art Auction, as reported by New York Times. It had a CGC grading of 9.6.

 

3. Action Comics 1- $3.1-3.2 million:

3. Action Comics 1- $3.1-3.2 million
Action Comics Vol 1, the first appearance of Superman- 1938 

This action-packed comic is so famous because it was the first appearance of Superman and tells his origin story. It is also the first superhero comic to be published.

This beauty is considered to be the holy grail for comic enthusiasts. Costing just about 10 cents back in the day, it has sold for a million dollars 4 times since its publication in 1938.

The Action Comics 1 has been labelled as the single most valuable comic book collection in the world of comics. As the years go by, its value will only increase.

It is worth mentioning that a CGC 8.5 certified copy was sold for a whopping $3.25 million at a private auction, breaking the previous sale of a CGC 9.0 copy for $3.2 million on eBay. Similarly, a Red Rocket copy with a red rocket stamp and a 6.0 grade was sold for $3.18 million in 2022.

 

4. Batman 1- $2.2 million:

4. Batman 1- $2.2 million
Batman #1, first Batman solo appearance, 1940

This book is valuable because it was the first solo appearance of Batman. Issued in 1940, it also introduced important Batman’s arch enemies, Joker and Catwoman.

The first batman comic is one of the few books to break the $500,000 mark. According to New York Post, this remarkable piece of art was valued at $567,000 until it made a record sale in January 2021 and sold for a jaw-dropping $2.2 million.

 

5. Detective Comics 27- $2.1 million:

5. Detective Comics 27- $2.1 million
Detective Comics #27-1939

Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and published in 1939, it was the first appearance of the much-loved superhero, Batman. It came out for quite years, but it wasn’t until 1939 that DC Comics introduced Batman. Following his popularity, he was made a regular part of the publication.

Detective Comics #27 became the most expensive comic book collection when it changed hands in 2010, selling for a million dollars. This record was short-lived and has been broken by many comics since then.

According to multiple sources, a copy of Detective Comics 27 was sold for $2.2 million. An unverified report also claims a document to be sold for $2.8 million. A CGC 9.6 graded Detective Comics 27 was recently listed on eBay for $3 million.

 

6. Marvel Comics 1- $1.2 million:

6. Marvel Comics 1- $1.2 million
Marvel Comics #1- 1939

Marvel Comics, today is known as Marvel, is one of the mightiest names in the entertainment industry. It made its first appearance in the comic world in 1939.

The first issue of Marvel comics included the original appearance of The Human Torch and Namon The Sub-Mariner. After its rapid success, it soon introduced the biggest superheroes, including Iron man, X-Men, and Wolverine.

According to SellMyComicBooks, it is one of the rarest comic books worth money, with only 26 copies in original condition.

 

7. All-Star Comics 8- $936,000:

7. All-Star Comics 8- $936,000
All-Star Comics 8

The plot of this comic book centres around the Justice Society of America. It marked the origin story and appearance of Wonder Woman, one of the fiercest warriors in the comic world.

This unique comic has excellent value among collectors as the popularity of Wonder Woman rises. This rare issue is challenging to find in fair conditions.

Accordingly, the All-Star Comics made this list because it sold for an impressive $936,000 on eBay.

 

8. Captain America Comics 1- $915,000:

8. Captain America Comics 1- $915,000
Captain America Comics 1, origin and first appearance of Captain America and Bucky- 1940

My favourite superhero, the book, blew up, especially during World War II when mandatory military service took its toll on everyday folks. A short prologue outlining the young men of America lining up for voluntary military service and overcoming the Nazi infiltration was a boost for the American people.

This comic marked the origin and first appearance of Captain America and his ally, Bucky. Created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, it not only features America’s favourite superhero but also has a front cover appearance of Captain America punching the brains out of Hitler.

It made a record sale of $915,000.

 

9. All American Comics 16- $850,000:

9. All American Comics 16- $850,000
All-American Comics 16- 1940

Initially published in 1940, this comic delivers the origin story and first appearance of the Golden Age Green Lantern. One of the most famous superheroes of all time, this comic is one of the rarest books you can get your hands on.

According to experts, only 21-50 of these remain today, and a recent, verified copy has been sold for $215,000.

 

10. X-Men Comics 1- $492,000:

Uncanny X-Men 1- 1963
Uncanny X-Men 1- 1963

This comic marked the beginning of the X-Men superheroes, with the first issue published in 1963. Created by the legendary Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, this is a comic that gets many collectors worked up.

The X-Men comic is one of the few publications from the series that is seriously hard to find and thus, justifies its sky-high value. In 2012, a near-perfect condition of a copy earned its seller $492,000 at an auction.

 

11. The Incredible Hulk 1- $490,000:

11. The Incredible Hulk 1- $490,000
The Incredible Hulk 1- 1963

The iconic green-giant comic hit the stands in 1963, introducing another Avenger to the world. While not exactly rare, finding one in excellent condition is almost impossible. Most copies found have “Marvel chipping” present, which reduces its value.

According to The Guardian, a near-mint copy of the comic was sold for around $490,000, only going up in value now.

 

12. Flash Comics 1- $450,000:

12. Flash Comics 1- $450,000
Flash Comics 1 

Those who love reading comics know the importance of this supersonic speedster. Published in 1940, this book introduced Flash and Hawkman, two big names in the superhero world. Written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Harry Lampert, this Flash-featured comic made sales go through the roof.

The highest price of this comic fetched $450,000 at a private auction.

 

13. Sensation Comics 1- $450,000:

13. Sensation Comics 1- $450,000
Sensation Comics 1- 1942

Published by DC Comics, the series featured the first cover appearance of Wonder Woman. It briefly became a romance title, later turning into a mystery/supernatural-themed comic. The title was later changed to Sensation Mystery.

The comic made a record sale of $450,000.

 

14. Pep Comics 22- $375,000:

14. Pep Comics 22- $375,000
Pep Comics 16- 1941 

This issue initially began with the superhero, The Shield. Still, it was later replaced by Archie Andrews, who became the face of the cover. Archie Andrews, Betty, and Jughead made their first appearance in the 22nd release of this comic in 1941.

An instant success, it made a record sale of $375,000.

 

15. Tales Of Suspense 39- $375,000:

15. Tales Of Suspense 39- $375,000
Tales of Suspense 39- 1959

Featuring the first appearance of Iron Man, this comic was issued in 1959. It became one of the best-selling comics of this era. Its popularity and demand further soared with the release of the Iron Man movie franchise in 2008.

Finding this beauty in fair condition is a daunting task and is very rare.

According to ComicLink, a comic auctioning site, it sold a 9.6 CGC graded copy of Tales of Suspense 39 for an impressive $375,000.

It is worth mentioning that earlier this year, a single page of artwork from a 1984 Spider-Man comic sold for $3.36 million at an auction, depicting the transformation into black Spider-Man.

 

Value And Price Guide:

Valuing your old comics can be very hard, time-consuming, and requires extensive research.

I hope to simplify the process with this article.

Valuing by Grading:

Like all other antiques, comic books are valued according to their condition. The better the state, the higher the value it will fetch. It is the only collectable that can be worth nothing or simultaneously make its owner filthy rich someday.

Many criteria exist for assessing the condition of your comic books, but the most widely used and industry accepted is the CGC Grading.

The company doesn’t specify the exact characteristics they look for. Still, there are a few things that experts will indeed evaluate. These are the things you should look for:

Staining:

When it comes to something as practical as a comic book, it is impossible that it doesn’t have some levels of staining.

Storage:

If your comic book comes with a storage box, its availability will fetch you a higher price.

Ink Saturation:

If the ink on your comic has started to fade, it will receive a lesser grade.

Completeness:

Comics with all of their pages intact will be valued at a much higher price than those with missing pages.

Once your comic has been evaluated, it will be allotted a grade by the CGC. The grades explain the book’s condition and are used by the buyer and seller to set prices. A breakdown of these is:

  • 0 Gem Mint
  • 9 Mint
  • 8 Near Mint/Mint
  • 6 Near Mint +
  • 4 Near Mint
  • 2 Near Mint –
  • 0 Very Fine/Near Mint
  • 5 Very Fine +
  • 0 Very Fine
  • 5 Very Fine –
  • 0 Fine/Very Fine
  • 5 Fine +
  • 0 Fine
  • 5 Fine –
  • 0 Very Good/Fine
  • 5 Very Good +
  • 0 Very Good
  • 5 Very Good –
  • 0 Good/Very Good
  • 5 Good +
  • 0 Good
  • 8 Good –
  • 5 Fair/Good
  • 0 Fair
  • .5 Poor

Valuing by Era:

As a general rule, the older a thing is, the better the price it’ll fetch. Comic books are also valued by the era, so the next time you go sifting through dusty boxes, make sure you take those valuable comics out.

Platinum Age: The oldest era includes comic books before 1938.

Golden Age: Starting in World War II, this marked the introduction of Superman and Batman and lasted till the 1950s.

Silver Age: Beginning in 1956 and lasting till 1970, this age began with the appearance of the Flash.

Bronze Age: This period continued with the mainstream superhero but later included dark and mature subjects. It lasted from 1970-1985.

Modern Age: Starting 1980s and continuing to this day, comic book stories became complex and included cross-overs.

Valuing by Popularity:

Another method of valuing comics is by their genres. Comic books with well-established storylines and characters will generally be valued more than those with rip-off characters.

Similarly, those with love or mystery themes have been said to fetch higher values. Comics with a lower issue number are rarer and have a greater chance of being worth something.

Comic Book Price Guides:

Ensuring that you buy or sell a comic book at “just the right price” can be a daunting task, and so came the invention of price guides. Whether you’re thinking of listing your old comics or you’re a collector, it is a gold mine of information.

Overstreet Comic Price Guide:

This is the industry standard and the oldest price guide for comics. Published in 1970, it is the market leader and can be used to assess your comics. Recently releasing its 51st volume is the Bible of comic book collectors.

You can order it from Amazon by clicking here!

GPAnalysis:

It is the first and the most comprehensive analysis and valuation service for CGC comics. An additional advantage is that it updates with live sales and contains the current prices. You can check it out by clicking here!

QualityComix:

Another online price guide that can help you look out for CGC-graded comics. Visit it by clicking here!

Other Sources:

You can also look for valuable comics on platforms such as:

eBay: provides one of the biggest comic marketplaces.

Etsy: is also a comprehensive search platform.

You can also find them at garage sales, auction houses, and online auction sites such as Christie’s, GoAuction, and LiveAuctioneer.

Final Thoughts:

Comics once considered child’s play now form one of the most significant parts of the entertainment industry. Blockbuster movie releases from Marvel and DC have only increased the hype.

The comic book collection is a professional business and requires dedication and a piece of extensive knowledge on the subject. Hopefully, this guide has helped you identify and price your comic.

So, next time you go around moving dusty boxes in the attic, keep your eyes peeled for your million-dollar card!

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