Golden Age photo covers are some of my favorite pieces of comic history, and can be hard to come by! These photo covers could be found on a myriad of different comics, including hero comics and romance comics. Photo cover comics are also fairly reasonably priced, making them accessible to all kinds of collectors! But where should you begin? We have that covered for you!
When it comes to Golden Age photo covers, Miss America Magazine #2 is always the first book to pop into my head. Currently, the highest-graded copy of this book is a CGC 9.4, with fewer than 25 total copies being graded of this book. This specific issue is a Marvel Comics key, as it is the first appearance of Patsy Walker, who eventually becomes Hellcat.
This book isn’t the least expensive option, but compared to some other older keys it’s definitely in the reasonable range. Sales of the 9.4 are all over the place, with the three most recent sales landing at $9,600 (Heritage, 6/19/21), $16,800 (Heritage, 11/21/19), and $1,912 through Heritage all the way back in 2009.
If you do see this come up at auction, grab it! But you will be on the hunt for this book — they don’t come up for sale too often!
Howdy Doody is one of the most important children’s television icons to come out in the last 100 years. From 1947 until 1960, this red-headed marionette entertained children of all ages. It was one of the first television shows to be aired in color. In 1950 the character was given the comic book treatment, with an appropriate photo cover! While this Dell book isn’t exactly rare, it is on the pricier side.
In February of 2019, a CGC blue label 9.6 sold for $9,000 through Heritage Auctions. In June 2020, a CGC blue label 4.0 sold for $214, a modest jump from the $130 sale on a similar book a year prior. Interest in Howdy Doody has peaked again, so now is the time to invest.
This book might surprise many of you, so hear me out. The Lone Ranger made a huge impact on pop culture and is still talked about today. This Dell photo cover features three shots of the titular character and also includes Tonto and Silver.
While photo covers were fairly common at the time, having a cover with three photos was not. This particular book isn’t rare, nor does it command a great deal of money — raw copies can be found for under $10. However, this is still a part of pop culture history, and this book deserves a place in your collection. Especially given how affordable it is.
Only 28 copies are registered on the CGC census, and there isn’t a ton of sales data on these slabbed books. A 9.4 sold on eBay all the way back in 2014 for $516 and a 7.0 sold on eBay that same year for $65. While this might not be the investment gem of your life, it’s still a lovely cover with a great look.
So what are your favorite Golden Age photo covers? Let us know in the comments below!