Unless you have a couple million dollars lying around, an original Action Comics #1 is an unattainable dream. The next best thing is the reprints, and some are proving to be sound investments.
There was a time when collectors snubbed the reprints and additional printings. They were reserved either for those who didn’t get a first-print sell-out issue or just a hardcore fan of one particular comic. They were tossed aside and ignored. In today’s collecting world, those forgotten comics have gained new life.
These days, collectors pay top dollar for low-print variant covers and hard-to-find additional printings, like the third print of Incredible Hulk #377. In recent years, Marvel has released their True Believer and facsimile editions to give a new spin on reprints, and some have proven to be solid investments.
The reprints that tend to hold the most value are those for the “holy grails.” Today, let’s look closer at a few reprints of the holiest of grails, Action Comics #1.
The Bronze and Modern Ages had several promotional reprints that have collected dust for years. During the mid-1970s, there were two 16-page reprints published for a Safeguard and sleeping bag promotions.
If you have the sleeping bag promotional Action Comics #1, it holds a respectable price tag. From a 9.8 down to a 6.5, these are worth a minimum of $95. The last one that sold, a graded 9.6, sold for $235 in January.
The Safeguard promotional Action Comics #1 isn’t quite as valuable as the sleeping bag promo, but it has a decent value of its own. Over the last 12 months, it has sold for as little as $56 for a 6.0 up to $450 for a 9.8.
In the 1980s, Superman ventured into the peanut butter business, spawning the Action Comics #1 Superman Peanut Butter reprint.
At a 9.8, this edition fetched $1,500 last May, although that appears to be an outlier considering that normal high sales are in the $400-$500 range.
Last year, a 9.4 sold for an impressive $169 while a 9.6 brought $200 that February.
Three years after the Superman Peanut Butter campaign, Nestle sponsored another promotional Action Comics #1 reprint. In May of 2019, a 9.8 sold for $270. Last July, a 9.6 sold for a year-high $196. However, a 9.4 surpassed that mark when it brought $204 this past February.
To commemorate five decades of the Man of Steel, DC reprinted his 1938 debut issue. These were printed for the direct market with the Superman logo and the newsstand with a UPC bar code. At a 9.8, the direct edition has a fair market value of $90. Earlier this month, one brought in $200. On the other hand, the newsstand edition has traded hands four times this year, all graded at 9.8s. In January, one sold for $149.
THE 1990S REPRINTS
When it comes to comics, excess is a hallmark of the business in the 1990s. From 1991-1998, there were five different reprints on the market.
Between 1991-1993, there were three reprint variants available, all with differing price tags: 10 cents, 50 cents, and $1. The 10-cent variant has proven to be the most valuable. Last year, the graded 9.8 sold for as much as $143.99.
DC issued another reprint in 1993. This edition was included in the “Reign of the Supermen” pack, and it is earning decent values. Four and five years ago, a 9.8 consistently sold around $200. However, last month saw one trade hands for just $41. Time will tell if that is an outlier.
By the late 1990s, even the United States Postal Service was commemorating the Man of Steel with his very own stamp. The comic is basically a facsimile edition as it reprints the 1938 issue complete with the original advertisements. Generally, these carry an FMV around $100 for the higher grades.
After almost 30 years, Action Comics #1 was again reprinted in 2017. First, there is the loot crate edition. The 9.8 and 9.6 average close to $40 if you are in the market for a graded copy.
Finally, there are the Action Comics #1 reprint variants from the Toronto ComiCon. You can choose from the Acetate edition or the FanExpo edition. The Acetate is the more popular of the two, and the 9.8 has sold five times since last year for as much as $165.