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Top 13 Most Expensive & Rare Comic Books Ever Sold at Auction as of 2024

top 10 most expensive and famous rare comic books ever sold at auction as of 2024


The global comic book resale market is thriving. It’s currently valued at around $25 billion, with experts predicting a CAGR of around 6%. Indeed, by 2032, the market is set to swell to a mammoth $50 billion. 

Comic books and graphic novels have always been a collector’s item. However, news that some of the most expensive comics can fetch millions of dollars has reached the mainstream. Indeed, spurred on by the booming Marvel and DC movie franchises, appreciation for the form has rarely been higher. 

It may come as no surprise, but the highest-value comic book is Superman #1 from 1939. It was sold in 2022 in a private sale for the scarcely believable price of $5.3 million. 

While Marvel and DC Comics dominate the list of the most expensive comics, there are other names that have fetched millions, including All Star Comics, Amazing Fantasy, and even TinTin. With the obvious expectation of TinTin, these other comics were notable for featuring the first appearances of Wonder Woman and Spider Man respectively. 


Factors that effect resale

auction house vs pawnbroking

The price of the highest valued comic book may have made your eyes bulge and rush to the attic to dust off your old comics in the hope of banking a quick seven figures. However, before you start spending that money in your head, you should know that there are a few things that the most expensive comics have in common. 


Here are the big factors that affect resale prices for the highest priced comics.


1. Early issues

Early issues of popular comic books are particularly valuable. For example, five of the top six highest value comic books of all time are issue number #1.


2. First appearances

The first appearances of iconic characters like Superman and Spiderman are much-prized comics.


3. Rarity

Comics and graphic novels with limited print runs or cover variations are treasured by collections.


4. Condition

Condition is an important factor in determining price. Independent services like CGC are considered the gold standard for apprising condition.


5. Historical significance

Comic books that were released around the time of significant cultural or historical events can fetch large sums on the secondary market.

In many ways, the most expensive comics have a lot in common with other collectibles and luxury goods. To a large extent, demand is driven by rarity and exclusivity. These are the primary factors that drive collectors to fork out incredible sums for graphic novels.


6. What is Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) grading?

Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) is an independent grading company that evaluates the condition of comic books and gives them a grade out of 10. This system protects buyers and sellers thanks to the trust and reputation that GCG has earned since it began grading comic books in 2000.


Top 13 Costliest & Valuable Comic Books Ever

Sold at Auction as of 2024


1. SUPERMAN NO. 1 (1939) – $5.3 MILLION

Coming in hot at number one as the highest value comic book of all time is Superman #1. Released in 1939, the comic features Superman’s original story and adoption by the Kent family. The comic was CGC graded as 8.0, meaning near mint condition. 

The previous record for a Superman #1 was $3.2 million. However, thanks to a private sale, this copy went for $5.3 million. Interestingly, this copy is named the ‘Edgar Church/Mile High copy’ after two of its previous owners. Church bought the comic for $100 in 1952 before selling it to Mile High Comics in Denver almost 60 years later.

The sale of Superman #1 demonstrated the cultural significance of the comic and showed just how much a pristine copy of this classic can fetch on the market.


2. Amazing Fantasy No. 15 CGC 9.6 – $3.6 million

Amazing Fantasy is the most expensive comic book ever sold at the time of writing. On September 9, 2021, Heritage Auctions sold a copy of the Amazing Fantasy #15 CGC 9.6 at auction for a record-breaking $3.6 million.

The Amazing Fantasy comic book series was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and published by Marvel Comics. Before becoming one of the world’s most valuable comic books, it ran from 1961 to 1962.

The story follows a young boy named Peter Parker who was bitten by a radioactive spider during a science experiment gone wrong, which gave him superpowers, including increased strength, agility, and speed, as well as the power to climb walls. He also developed artificial web shooters, which he used in battles with criminals.

The series was originally intended to be a fantasy anthology but ultimately became the launch pad for the character of Spider-Man. It was made into a movie in 2002, with Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Sam Raimi as the director. The movie was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $800 million at the box office.


3. Action Comics No. 1 (1938) CGC 6 – $3.55 million

The “Rocket Copy” of Action Comics No. 1, featuring Superman’s debut, sold for $3.4 million at an auction, making it the second most expensive and valuable comic book ever sold as of 2024.

In collaboration with Metropolis Comics, Goldin Auctions facilitated the deal, which was completed in September 2022. Heritage Auctions sold the same copy for $3.18 million in January 2022, when the comic was bought at private sale for $3.55 million.

Action Comics, first published in 1938, is seen as one of the most valuable comic books of all time. It was the first comic book to feature Superman, and it helped to launch the superhero genre. Superman quickly became one of the most popular characters in the world, and he has remained one of the most iconic superheroes for over 80 years.

This specific version is called the ‘Rocket Copy’ because the front cover bears the stamped imprint of a rocket ship, which was applied 80 years ago by the 13-year-old boy who first purchased it at a newsstand. Given its age and pristine condition, this CGC FN 6.0 copy is remarkably good.


4. Captain America Comics No. 1 1941 – $3.1 million

Captain America Comics No. 1 (1941) sold for $3.1 million in April 2022 at Heritage Auctions. The cover of this comic book features the patriotic superhero punching Hitler’s face, which is fitting considering that the United States was still in the middle of World War II at the time.

One of the most valuable comic books ever sold on this 2024 list, it was originally purchased for $915,000 at auction in August 2019, then a record price. Despite that, the owner took advantage of the opportunity created by the public’s demand for collectables, including rare comic books, during the coronavirus pandemic. The gamble paid off. It went on to become the third most expensive comic book ever sold at the time of this writing (2024).

Captain America Comics No. 1 was the first appearance of Captain America. The story begins with Steve Rogers as a young man who dreams of becoming an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps. When he’s rejected because he doesn’t meet their height requirements, he lands a job at an aeroplane factory instead – a job that will eventually lead him to become Captain America.


5. Superman No. 1 (1939) – $2.6 million

The original issue of Superman No. 1 (1939) is one of the most rare and valuable comic books ever sold as of 2024. In December 2021, Superman No. 1, the first standalone comic featuring the Man of Steel, sold for $2.6 million at Comic Connect.

Superman can be seen in the air above buildings at the forefront of the comic book.

Mark Michaelson acquired the book in 1979, 40 years after it was originally purchased for 10 cents in 1939. Since buying it from the original owner, Michaelson has carefully maintained the comic in a temperature-controlled safe. As reported by MarketWatch, Michaelson paid between $1,000 and $2,000 for the book.

As one of the most valuable comic books as of 2024, this book is significant not only because it’s the first appearance of Superman but also because it’s one of only a handful of copies in existence.

Comic Connect co-founder Stephen Fisler estimates that only two copies of this edition are left, which currently holds an 8.0 grade, while most are much worse.


6. Marvel Comics No. 1 (1939) – $2.42 million

One of the most valuable, expensive and rare comic books ever sold at the time of this writing in 2024, Marvel Comics No. 1 (1939) was auctioned at Comic Connect for $2.4 million in March 2022.

While ComicConnect refused to disclose the purchaser’s name, it revealed that the buyer lived outside of the U.S. and had been collecting comic books for about 40 years.

Among the characters featured in Marvel Comics No. 1 are The Human Torch, The Angel, Masked Raider and Namor the Submariner. The Human Torch is a super-powered android that can control fire; The Angel is a mutant who can fly; Masked Raider is a masked strategist, gunfighter, horseman and brawler; and Namor the Submariner is a superhero who can breathe underwater.

As a “pay copy,” the comic book also contains handwritten notes from the publisher to the artists detailing what they’re owed. Publisher Lloyd Jacquet used a pencil to note artists’ royalties, such as those due to Frank Paul, who contributed the artwork for the cover. Adding these notations to the comic adds a unique historical element.


7. Batman No. 1 (1940) – $2.2 million

Heritage Auctions sold Batman No. 1 for $2.2 million in January 2021. This lone comic book was certified 9.4 by Certified Guaranty Company, so it had already set records before Heritage Auctions took it on the auction block.

A comic book fanatic, Billy Gates possessed the copy for over 4 decades after buying it for only $3,000 in 1979 from a Houston comic book store. After his death in 2019, his son decided to sell it.


8. Detective Comics No. 27 (1939) – $1.74 million

The most valuable and expensive comic book ever sold for the issue, Detective Comics 27 from 1939, which featured Batman’s debut, sold for a record $1.74 million at auction.

The comic, which is in near-mint condition, was purchased by an anonymous buyer.

National Press published Detective Comics 27 in 1939 to emulate Action Comics’ Superman. The issue featured the first appearance of Batman, who quickly became one of the most popular superheroes in the world. Thanks to Batman’s popularity, Detective Comics became one of the best-selling and one of most valuable comic books of all time in 2024.

The copy, which is one of the most valuable and rare comic books sold by Goldin, is rated at 6.5. There are only six other copies rated this high, and the others that are rated higher are only eight total.

There are only 36 known original copies of this issue, according to the auction house. An auction at Heritage Auctions in 2020 sold a CGC-graded 7.0 copy of the comic for $1.5 million.


9. All Star Comics No. 8 (1942) – $1.62 Million

Heritage Auctions sold Wonder Woman Heritage Auctions’ debut comic book for $1.62 million in June 2022. Heritage Auctions reports that the CGC Universal Grade rating of the book is 9.4 despite being over 7 decades old.

Wonder Woman is a fictional superheroine. The character is a founding member of the Justice League, a goddess, and an Ambassador-at-Large of the Amazon people. She has been a major character in the D.C. Universe for over 75 years. Her origin story has been revised several times, but in most versions, she is born as Diana, Princess of the Amazons, on the island of Themyscira.

Psychologist William Moulton Marston created Wonder Woman to counteract what he believed to be an overly masculine D.C. Universe. He felt that superhero comics at the time were too focused on male power and needed a strong female character to provide a different perspective.

Wonder Woman quickly became one of the most popular characters in the D.C. Universe, and her impact can still be felt today.


10. Fantastic Four No. 1 (1961) – $1.5 million

At a Heritage Auction in April of 2022, a copy of one of the highly valuable and rare comic books “Fantastic Four No. 1 (1961),” sold for $1.5 million.

Certified Guaranty Company rated the comic 9.2 out of 10. As per their 2022 census, there were only five other copies of the comic with a higher rating. The Fantastic Four No. 1 was published in 1961 and was the first issue of the Fantastic Four series.

The Fantastic Four comic was originally published under the sole authorship of Stan Lee and was illustrated by Jack Kirby. As one of the most valuable comic books (as of 2024), it introduced readers to the team of Mr. Fantastic: the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and the Thing.

The foursome gained their superpowers after being exposed to cosmic rays during a space mission, and they use their powers to protect the world from human and alien threats.

The Fantastic Four comics’ success led the company to develop other well-known comic series, like X-Men, Incredible Hulk, and Spider-Man.


11. BATMAN NO. 1 (FANTAST) (1963) – $1.1 MILLION

While not the highest value comic book featuring Batman on our list, this copy has a remarkable backstory that makes it stand out. When the copy went to auction in May 2023, it contained a “custom-made provenance collection label: Fantast Collection Custom.” This sticker referred to the previous owner’s secret collection of 300,000 books that remained hidden for years and is the subject of an upcoming documentary called Selling Superman.


A CGC 8.0 copy of Batman #1 went for $1.1 million in a deal brokered by Heritage Comics. The back story and potential success of the documentary could push it even higher if it comes back on the market.


12. X-Men No. 1 (1963) – $807,300

The last most valuable and expensive comic book ever sold is the X-Men No. 1 (1963).

Comic Connect auctioned the copy for $807,300 in June 2021. Nine years ago, the same comic book – rated 9.6 on GCC’s 10-point scale – sold for less than $250,000.

This comic was published during the Silver Age, which includes comics from 1956 to 1970. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-Men, a team of super-powered mutants who fought for peace and justice. The X-Men were led by Professor Charles Xavier, a powerful telepath who used his powers to help his team defeat their enemies.

Marvel Comics sold the film rights to the X-Men to 20th Century Fox in 1994.

In 2019, The Walt Disney Company acquired Fox, thus acquiring the X-Men film rights. With Disney now in control of the franchise, fans can expect to see some big things from the X-Men in the years to come.


 13. THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD NO. 28 (1960) – $750,000

The Brave and the Bold was published by DC Comics in 1960. Episode 28 of the comic features Batman and the Green Lantern teaming up, which was a momentous event for comic book enthusiasts. What’s more, it was written by Gardner Fox, widely considered one of the most innovative writers by those in comic book circles.

In 2020, a CGC 9.6 grade version of The Brave and the Bold went for three-quarters of a million dollars, making it the highest value comic book released by DC during what is known as the Silver Age of comics (1956 to 1970).



Comic books and graphic novel trends

for 2024 and beyond


Here are some of the trends that will shape the global comic book resale market in 2024 and beyond.


1. Increasing scope

The rise of internet marketplaces and the globalization of culture mean the comic book market is becoming increasingly international. More demand will translate to higher prices.


2. Distribution models

In the last decade, there has been an increase in direct to consumer publishing. Many artists are cutting out intermediaries and printing their own comics. Some of these limited editions may be the highest priced comics of the future. However, they will struggle to oust Superman #1 from the top spot as the world’s highest value comic book.


3. Known quantities will continue to rise

While the overall market is buoyant, experts suggest that familiar faces like Superman and Spiderman will continue to dominate any highest valued comic book list for the foreseeable future. Comics that have been made into movies will also perform well.


To summarize, some of the most famous and expensive comic books in the world as of 2024 include:


As the world of comic books continues to grow in popularity, so too do the prices of the rarest, most valuable and most expensive editions of comic books.

While the most expensive comic book ever sold as of 2024 may seem like a lot of money to some, to others, it’s simply the most valuable comic book or piece of art in the world. Whether a casual collector or a serious investor, these comic books are sure to impress and amaze.



New Bond Street Pawnbrokers is a discreet, luxury pawnbroking service in London including borrowing against fine art and a variety of artists like Andy Warhol, Bernard Buffet, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Marc Chagall, Raoul Duffy, Sean Scully, Tom Wesselmann, Tracey Emin, Banksy, and Roy Lichtenstein to name just a few.


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