Auction Highlights #52 – Spider-Man Comic Gets Record Price

A CGC graded 9.6 copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (published in August 1962 and featuring the first appearance of the Amazing Spiderman) has just sold for $1.1 million dollars in a private deal.

This sale now has the distinction of being the second highest price ever paid for a comic book. ComicConnect.com sold a CGC graded 8.5 copy of Action Comics #1 (1st appearance of Superman) for a record $1.5 million dollars back in March of 2010.

This is actually the 4th comic book to crack the $1 million dollar mark. Last year saw a CGC graded 8.0 copy of Detective Comics #27 (1st appearance of Batman) fetched $1,075,000 and a CGC graded 8.0 copy of Action Comics #1 fetch a cool $1 million dollars.

Stephen Fishler Chief Executive of ComicConnect.com told AP that the transaction happened on Monday March 7th between a private seller and a private buyer. From reading the news stories it appears ComicConnect was used as the agent and I assume took a cut.

This is the single highest graded copy that exists and has been deemed a ‘holy grail’ by many collectors because of its grade and the importance of the issue itself. “Over the last decade it has become a rather legendary copy because it was in the hands of a collector and no one thought he would sell,” Fishler said. “The owner came up with a figure that he didn’t think anyone would pay, and it was paid.”

There are 6 CGC graded 9.4 copies showing on the census, the last recorded sale of a CGC graded 9.4 fetched $227,000 back in 2007.

I’ve talked to a couple of purists over the last couple of days that scoff at the fact that this comic could even approach the level of an Action Comics #1. It’s important to note that the Action #1 that fetched $1.5 mill and this Amazing Fantasy #15 are respectively the single highest graded copies that exist. The astronomical prices reached are due to their exclusivity. Spider-Man is just as popular if not even more popular than Superman, why wouldn’t it be worth as much as the Action #1, who cares if there are 900 lower grade copies of Amazing Fantasy #15 and only 50 of Action #1, at the highest grade both are equally rare.

Last week I reported on the CGC graded 9.9 copy of Incredible Hulk #181 (1st appearance of Wolverine) selling for $150,000. That sale belongs in the same category as the two mentioned above.

Let us transport ourselves 50 years into a future (young collectors can plan for this) where if current trends continue the Amazing Spider-Man and Wolverine enjoy popularity levels well above that of Superman. Let’s assume these copies remain the highest grades achieved by these comics (an assumption that the current owners are banking on/praying for). All will be very old, 123, 99, and 87 years old. Their individual grades will not matter; the only thing that will matter is that these are the single best copies. Will the Wolverine be selling for close to the Superman levels?

I need to find me a CGC 10.0 copy if a recently introduced character that will grow in popularity over the coming years, oh yeah, and I need to live to 130.

Walter Durajlija Written by:

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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  1. Charlie
    March 10, 2011

    It’s a sharp book… a geeks wet dream (as I sit here drooling). But where Act#1 is truly rare, this book is only rare in this particular grade. And some would argue that the difference between a 9.4 and 9.6 is highly subjective which puts the value of this book strictly in the hands of a few senior graders at CGC.
     
    Is a 0.2 grade truly worth 3/4 of mil over the 9.4? As long as there is someone willing to pay… it would appear so.
     
    As much as I love Spidey and this book for it’s historical significance, for that kind of moolah, I’d prefer to bank of Act#1 or Det#27. Another AF#15 9.6 is unlikely to turn up anytime soon but 3/4 mil is a lot to pay for bragging rights.
     
    It’s an interesting choice that some people make… Help feed the hungry or become the King of Geeks.

  2. March 10, 2011

    It looks like the market is treating each book the same. There are only one of each. The pop culture power of Spider-Man is speaking here (must be the Broadway musical). I do agree with you though Charlie about the rarity of the Action #1, though the best AF #15 can compete with the best Action and Detective have to offer (again exclusivity or as you say bragging rights) Spidey falls right off when it comes to second best. The second best copy of Action #1 still got $1,000,000 while the second best AF #15 got a quarter of that (though it was 4 years ago and though I’m sure a 9.4 would beat $227,000 now I still can’t see it getting even $400,000).
    Notice that old label though? If another 9.6 comes on market maybe this guy can “press” his into a 9.8!

  3. March 10, 2011

    Isn’t it just that a wealthy (and possibly crazy) individual so desperately wants the best possible copy of this book that he is willing to pay anything for it? If only a handful of people could actually afford to purchase something in that price range can we really say that it has an affect on the whole market?

  4. March 10, 2011

    Good question. I think this may be felt way down to the lowly CGC 1.8 copy.

  5. March 10, 2011

    Whew. Because I am still only in the 1.0 range.

  6. March 10, 2011

    A collectible only holds value if someone is willing to pay for it.

  7. Charlie
    March 10, 2011

    There’s actually a lot of people that can afford this book but how many are willing to pay top dollar for it since part of the game is to try and pick up books under value. But I think Anthony brings up an interesting point… if it’s only a handful of individuals playing at this sky high level, does it constitute a market? This is one of the flaws with GPA… if only 1 or 2 books are sold within 5 years, it’s difficult to gage trend.

    But since the market is based on perception, it will affect other similar books… think 80’s when ads like “THIS COMIC COULD BE WORTH $100k!” was slapped across the cover or the 90’s tech boom which swelled on promise and not actual earnings.

    I think Walter has it right when he was doing his Charlie Sheen impression, it’s about “…playing the game and WINNING.” If you can afford to pick up this book, you can afford to lose it as well so it’s less about investing and more about status.

    Walter, I wouldn’t press this book without some serious coordination with the people at CGC and the pressman. One little nick and their goes your 9.6 status and $500k with it.

Make It Good.