Ever wonder what the most expensive comic books in the world went for in days past or what they’re going for presently? As a collector, I utilize resources such as the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide & Ebay’s “sold” auction listing… Even though Overstreet’s been around for about 50 years, it’s important to point out that it can be out of date at times, especially with current (limited edition variant) comic books. Ebay on the other hand is filled with past & recent auction information on comic books sold where the sellers and buyers alike have done their research.
However, the comic books I’ll be referencing here are incredibly rare in the sense that they contain the first appearance of significant comic book characters such as Batman, Spiderman, Superman… I myself have an impressive comic book stash that is worth a very pretty penny, but nowhere as beautiful as the ones on this list.
How can you tell if a comic book is valuable?
One more thing before we get to our list… It’s really important to point out that the best way to know the cost or value of a comic book, especially those as rare as the ones on this post is through CGC (Certified Guaranty Company). This is the place where you send your most prized comics to get graded and sealed! Yeah, this is big!! I myself have some CGC Graded Comics including the first appearance of Red Hood, Harley Quinn and a few others.
CGC Grading Scale
So, what is the CGC Grading Scale? Great question… The CGC Grading Scale is comprised of grades between 0.5 (Poor) to 10 (Gem Mint) to evaluate the condition of comic books.
- 10.0—Gem Mint
- 9.8—Near Mint/Mint
- 9.6—Near Mint +
- 9.2—Near Mint –
- 9.0—Very Fine/Near Mint
- 8.5—Very Fine +
- 8.0—Very Fine
- 7.5—Very Fine –
- 7.0—Fine/Very Fine
- 6.5—Fine +
- 5.5—Fine –
- 5.0—Very Good/Fine
- 4.5—Very Good +
- 4.0—Very Good
- 3.5—Very Good –
- 3.0—Good/Very Good
- 2.5—Good +
- 1.5—Good –
About Certified Guaranty Company (CGC)…
CGC is like the appraisers in Antiques Roadshow, remember that? You would bring your antique trinket to the show and have an appraiser assess the value of the trinket, painting, picture or piece of furniture to see if it was worth anything. The difference; however, is as a collector, you should already have a very good idea of what you have in your hands before sending it to CGC, as there’s a price involved in getting your comic shipped, graded, sealed & shipped back to you. You wouldn’t want just any comic book sealed in a piece of plastic that’ll always be worth more than what’s encased, you know?
The 10 most expensive comic books in the world…
- 10). BATMAN #1
At number ten, we have Batman #1, the comic book that sets off the business of Batman from the moment Bruce Wayne’s parents are killed and well after Batman is born! In 2013, a 9.2 (Near Mint) CGC Rated copy of this comic auctioned out $567,625.00! That’s over half a million buckaroo bonzais!!
- 09). ACTION COMICS #1
At number 9, you’ll see the same comic that made slot numbers 7, 5, 2 & 1; however, what separates this copy from all the others and what separates the others from each other is the CGC Rating it received… That said, number 9’s Action Comics #1 is a CGC-Rated 6.5 (Fine +), which auctioned out at $575,000.00
- 08). DETECTIVE COMICS #27
This brings us all to number 8, which like Action Comics #1, you’ll find in this list an equal number of times, but what separates the value is the rating it received from CGC… That said, Detective Comics #27, much like Action Comics #1 Detective Comics #27 is that big white beautiful elephant you wanna bag, because it’s the first appearance of Batman. In 2010, Number 8 with a CGC rating of 6.0 (Fine) auctioned off at $575,000.00.
- 07). ACTION COMICS #1
Number 07, Action Comics #1 with a CGC rating of 6.5 (Fine +) auctioned out at $625,000.00! If you noticed earlier, Number 09, which also had a 6.5 CGC grade, auctioned out $50k less. Why? Well… For one, Number 07 (this particular copy) sold a year earlier for more, which could mean it was the only copy the CGC rated at 6.5 at the time. The CGC is not here to know how many copies there are. There here to simply grade the copy you submit and keep record of it.
- 06). DETECTIVE COMICS #27
Number 06 on our list is (You Guessed It…) Detective Comics #27 and based on its CGC rating of 7.5 (Very Fine -), you know it’s going to be a bit more than Number 08 on our list… That said, in 2010, this copy of Detective Comics #27 auctioned out at a total of $657,250.00!
Now here we’re going to take a brief intermission as we’re about to start the second half of our list, which will include CGC-Graded comic books that have been sold at auctions from $1 million up, and heeere we go…
05). ACTION COMICS #1
Number 05 on our list is a CGC-Graded 8.0 (Very Fine) copy of Actions Comics #1, which auctioned out in 2010 at a cool $1 million! I want to repeat that once more… $1 Million!!!
04). DETECTIVE COMICS #27
Number 04 on our list of most expensive comic books is a CGC-Graded 8.0 (Very Fine) copy of Detective Comics, which was auctioned out in 2010 for $1,075,000.00… Now before we move on to Number 03 on our list, let’s for a second discuss why Batman’s Detective Comics #1 beat out Superman’s Action Comics #1, seeing this time they had the same grade of 8.0 (Very Fine). As per the information I found on the sale, although both copies had equal amounts of marks and creases, there were less marks on the Detective Comics’ spine than there were on the Action Comics’ 8.0 copy.
03). AMAZING FANTASY #15
The only other one of two comic books on this list that isn’t Action Comics #1 or Detective Comics #1, Amazing Fantasy #15 includes the first appearance of Spiderman, and this CGC-Graded 9.6 (Near Mint +) copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 auctioned out in 2011 for $1.1 million.
02). ACTION COMICS #1
As for the second to the first most expensive comic book ever sold in the world, Action Comics #1 CGC-Graded 8.5 (Very Fine +) was auctioned off in 2010 for $1.5 million!!
01). ACTION COMICS #1
Drum Roll Please… By far, the rarest of all Action Comics #1 comic books… Yes! The same comic book Nicholas Cage owned before selling it at auction for a ridiculous $2,161,000.00 due mostly to the 9.0 (Very Fine/Near Mint) grade it received from the CGC!!
So, what have we learned about comic books? Collecting them can be like striking oil if you’re lucky? Maybe… However, knowing what to look for and being able to negotiate like Chris Voss can more often than not yield you more coin than waiting to find that one big find in a garage sale. So, always keep a current copy of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide handy (Amazon and Barnes & Noble) and bookmark Ebay and sites like Sell My Comic Books so you can get acquainted with what’s out there so you’re not taken advantage of.
Thanks for reading my post on the Top 10 Most Expensive Comic Books in the World and hope you like it. As always, please like, share and comment on our so we can continue the conversation!