Quite often, I get asked to have a look at some old comics. As I tell folks, coffee mug stains, missing pages and staples that have been replaced with sticky tape don’t usually make for a good grade. And the thing is, what’s valuable today, could be worthless tomorrow. That’s why you can pick up Spawn #1 for a cheap price these days. But classic, proper vintage comics. They’re still worth something. And they could make you millions.
Especially if it’s Action Comics #1. Hitting the auction block faster than a speeding bullet, the first comic to ever feature Superman, or indeed one of the very first superhero comics ever, made it’s owner $3.207,852. The 1938 comic book was snapped up by Metropolis/ComicConnect.
This makes for the first ever comic book to reach over $3 million, with Nicolas Cage’s own copy of that same comic, making over $2 million in 2011. So what made this particular version of Action Comics 31 so special? Well for starters, it may just be the most pristine condition version of that comic still in existence. It has an official CGC grade of 9.0. That means the pages are perfect, the colours are still vibrant and the pages themselves boast a beautiful white hue.
The Action Comics #1 that was put on auction, was purchased from the family of the original owner in the late-70s by longtime vintage comics and collectibles dealer Joe Mannarino. As Mannarino explained:
I decided to take the leap of faith and fly down to West Virginia where the books were located. I should also state that the owners had a full knowledge of the value of comic books because they were looking for thousands of dollars. I now believe what had prompted their call may have been the announcement or rumor of a Superman movie in 1976 or 1977.
I rented a car and drove seemingly straight up to a small town at the top of what was probably the Blue Ridge Mountain range. After the normal amenities, I was shown a hope chest, which is a cedar lined chest that normally sits at the foot of a bed and contains linens and such. When I had the opportunity to see the books, I was surprised that there were so few, only about thirty five and that they were very eclectic. A Planet 2, Action 2, Disneys, Fox books, Dells, Westerns, War, no real rhyme or reason. The books were not in plastic bags just stacked but sure enough, there was the Action 1.
I was immediately struck by how flat the book was. It seemed smaller that any golden age book I had seen from that period. I thought that it was perhaps a modern reprint that I was unfamiliar with as compared to the Famous First Editions or the 1976 non-glossy reprint. I opened the book to count the pages and was immediately struck by how white the pages were. As I probed a bit more, I learned that the book had been in the same chest for as long as anyone in the family could remember and that it had belonged to their father who had since passed. I compared it in size to the other books and everything checked. Just a remarkably conserved book.
Darren Adams of Pristine Comics then purchased the comic, before selling it in the ebay auction. I’m downright jealous. The most vaulable comic in my own personal collection, is 2000AD #2, the very first appearance of Judge Dredd. But the value of that vintage comic pales in comparison to what Action Comics #1 is and will be worth in the future.
But if anyone is interested, I have a copy of Detective Comics #27 for sale. That’s the very first appearance of Batman. Give me a million, and I’d be happy.
Last Updated: August 25, 2014