Another Way to Look at Comic Values

You’ve probably heard that Apple is the world’s most valuable company. But how do we know that, exactly? It’s actually a simple calculation: multiply the number of Apple’s shares outstanding by its current share price. Apple currently has approximately 940 million shares outstanding and its current share price is around $450. So that works out to 940,000,000 x $450 = $423 billion. This value is called a company’s market capitalization. Exxon Mobil is the world’s second largest company with a market capitalization of $400 billion.

Why is it worth comparing companies by their market capitalization and not just their share price? A good example is Microsoft and IBM. Microsoft’s share price trades for $35. IBM’s is much higher at $208 per share. However, Microsoft’s total value is $290 billion vs. IBM at $230 billion. The reason  is simple: Microsoft  has nearly 8 times as many shares outstanding.

When we talk about comic values we always think in per copy terms and never about an issue’s total value. Thanks to the CGC Census we can easily calculate an issue’s total value: just multiply the number of copies at each grade by the value of each grade.

This approach puts each title on a level playing field. X-Men #1 in the 7.5 grade has recently traded for around $7,000. A copy of Hulk #1 in the same grade trades for close to $19,000. One may be tempted to conclude that Hulk #1 is worth more than X-Men #1. But this conclusion misses the fact that there are 51 7.5 X-Men #1s in the CGC Census and only 14 copies of Hulk #1 in the 7.5 grade registered. In aggregate, X-Men #1 is worth 150% more than Hulk #1:





We can have some fun with this and tie each character or group’s value to the value of the issue in which they made their first appearance:


Clearly it’s  no contest! Spider-Man reigns supreme in the Marvel Universe!


R.J. Steinhoff
R.J. Steinhoff

RJ Steinhoff is a lifelong comic book fan and when he’s not working for a living he runs the website.

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10 years ago

TBH I would argue the complete opposite. Value in Comics cannot be defined on the basis of total Value in terms of Amount x individual value, as you are not investing in the whole “concept” of a comic. You are effectively investing in a single issue of the whole. As such scarcity will be the main contributing factor. Following this line of thought, a 9.8 Hulk, of which there currently is none, should be more valuable based solely on the possiblity of owning one.
If Hulk as a total “entity” were traded, then sure, a concolidated worth may be the way to look at it, but since this is not the case, I am not following this logic.
If by some fluke accident 1000 Amazing fantasies #15 were found in 9.8 condition, it might drive the overall value , according to your graph, up, but in reality would probably devalue the individual issue.
Your way of looking at value might be useful in terms of judging the value of a certain Character’s brand name though.

10 years ago

I do like this concept based on the value that X-Men #1 has more demand considering rarity. Meaning that even though its a more common book, averaging out the numbers of copies between 2 different books, shows that X-Men is performing financially very strong compared to Hulk when you consider the number of copies.