Everyone loves comics. Well, maybe not everyone but most of us.
OK. Some of us do.
But fans of the Big Bang Theory will be used to seeing our favourite gang of nerds checking out the merchandise in the comic book store.
Some of the comics Sheldon and his crew are looking at could be worth a small fortune. Or a large fortune in some cases.
Which is all the excuse we need to bring you this list of the rarest and most valuable comic books in the world.
But there isn’t a 2000AD, Roy of the Rovers or Dandy to be seen. Ridiculous.
There is cash in comics
So get digging through your old collection, dust off those big boxes in the attic you thought would be worth something at some point and see if any match-up with our ultimate rarity list.
For the aficionados out there, we’ve taken the highest sale price the comics have gone for here as direction, not its value price, so the order may be a little different to some sources.
Starting our list as we mean to go on with a big hitting superhero and our favourite alter-ego; “The Incredible Hulk” #1.
The 1962 comic book by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is a serious rarity in quality condition, so much so in fact that a CGC 9.6 (excellent condition) copy was sold in 2014 for $326k. Hulk #1 is the first appearance of the green Banner alter-ego and has been rising up the charts of the most collectable cartoons in the world after successful film adaptations of the character.
HULK SMASH-ing records!!!
9… and a half)
Honourable mention here. The first time a superhero is given their own comic is always going to be a big hit, so no surprise that Superman #1 makes it to the list. Although not the first appearance of Superman (spoilers) this is one of the most coveted comic books in existence.
The first Superman comic book guide price is valued at a tidy $671,000 but the highest figure fetched at auction is $250k… not bad for a comic that originally retailed at 10c in its launch year of 1939.
As you can imagine this superhero was particularly popular in the 1940’s and the first episode of Captain America really sums of the feeling of the decade with its front cover- Captain A backhanding Hitler in an SS-bunker, after foiling a secret plan to bomb a US arms depot…standard.
Aside from the Nazi-slapping, the other interesting part of the “Captain America Comics” #1 was that it fetched a whopping $345k in 2011.
Amazingly this isn’t higher in the value chart than it is… at 8 the original, original Marvel Comic. The first comic book published by the comic company that would eventually become Marvel Comics. It’s like the granddaddy of all the Marvel universe(s).
“Marvel Comics” #1 contains the first appearance of the original Human Torch and the lesser known Namor, a character somewhat akin to DCs AquaMan.
The comic sold for $350,000, a substantially higher price than its 1939 ten cents rrp.
“Tales of Suspense” #39 might not jingle any alarms for the majority of readers, but the character it yielded in May 1963 will certainly ring your nerd-bell. It’s Iron Man’s first appearance in paper.
Admittedly a very different looking and behaving Iron Man to our current Tony Stark (or Riri Williams for that matter), but Tales of Suspense number 39 was the maiden romp of our metal-clad hero.
After a bit of hype and focus from the movie series, episode 39 sold in 2012 at auction for $375k.
At the time, in 2010, Flash #1 was the second most expensive comic of all time (again spoilers). The 1st edition of Flash’s own comic series rocked in at $450k in 2010 and featured the first appearance of Golden Age Flash and Hawkman.
Stuttering just short of the $500k mark but still nearly as rare as they come- X-MEN #1 from 1963. Like many of these top 10s the first “The X-MEN” book was an origin of the series and introduced a number of characters, Angel, the Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Professor X, and of course their magnet-unfriendly nemesis Magneto.
The X-Men #1 sold for $492,937.50 in 2012 and was graded as one of the highest quality CGC 9.8 (near perfect) in the rich list.
Unlucky to miss out on the top 3 but still well worth checking behind the bookshelf for in your nan’s house if you like money… Batman #1 from 1940. The original appearance of the Joker and Catwoman. It was the first of Batman’s now fabled series that is still running today.
The record sale was in 2013 with a winning bid of $567,000 for a CGC 9.2 edition of the comic.
Second and third position run close in this list- You might see it swapped around on a few polls, but for us the number three position is “Amazing Fantasy” #15 featuring, for the first time, Spiderman…
That’s right, one of the first comics to break the $1 million dollar figure at auction in 2011 was the 1962 edition of Spiderman’s maiden adventure in Amazing Fantasy.
It may sound like a failed Mickey Mouse adaptation but Amazing Fantasy is seriously, seriously rare.
Number two on the charts and nearly the most expensive comic in the list goes to the caped crusader himself… Batman.
That’s right the first appearance or the Dark Knight in Detective Comics #27 from May 1939 sold at auction for a $1.3 million. Due to the dwindling numbers and poor state of a number of the Detective Comics, current valuation put a near-mint condition #27 at over $2.2 million… if you have one knocking around… in a hermetically sealed tube.
Now onto the ultimate rarity… he’s the poster boy of the superhero world and commands the highest price a comic book has ever sold for.
It’s Superman… well technically is Action Comics.
That’s right Action Comics #1 from June 1938, the origin and first appearance of Superman hit a record sale: $3.2 million in 2014. Another version of the comic had sold in 2010 for just over $1.1million, that went to $2.3 in 2011 only to be beaten by its namesake two years later.
If you have a copy stashed away. Estimates now put a seriously mint condition copy at well over $3.5million, and a minimum value (which is poor state, but complete) copy at $50,000.
There are only around 50-100 original copies believed to still be in existence so get digging.
There you have it. A list of the top 10 (and a bit) most valuable and rarest comic books on the market. If you have any of the above and want to thank me for highlighting your impending fortune my PayPal details can be DM’d.
For the rest of you… anyone think they once had any of the above which they lost to the rubbish bin of the past?