Comic Chartbusters Analysis – August

by Douglas Ohlandt

090823E-1024x536 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - AugustTurtles ruled in August, leading the way in a list dominated by sales in ComicConnect’s big auction. Let’s dive deep to determine what these sales tell us about the market for the comics every collector wishes they could own.

August ComicConnect Auction

ComicConnectLogo-300x177 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - AugustComicConnect’s auction ending August 26 was huge, with a few six-figure sales and many in the high to mid-five-figures. Comics from the Golden Age to the Copper Age sold in the auction. Some were familiar to anyone who’s tracked our Chartbusters list while others made their mark with sales at levels we haven’t seen in a while.

TMNT1-202x300 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August

First on our August list is a 9.8 graded copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. The top grade for this issue sold for $155,250 in the ComiConnect auction. That’s roughly flat when compared to a November 2022 Heritage Auction sale for $156,000. It’s down considerably, though, from a peak $264,000 sale in the February 2022 Goldin auction.

If you’re a holder of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, you have to be pleased that the bleeding has stopped and the rapid decline in value has finally leveled out. Even if it settles at this price, it’s still far above the pre-boom peak of $90,000 set in 2019.

Superman1-214x300 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August

You’re not imagining things. Yet another copy of Superman #1 sold in a 2023 auction. This time, it was a 1.5 graded copy selling in the Comic Connect auction for $132,250. That’s down 33% from the previous sale in the grade: $198,660 in June 2022. Depending on the grade – and all sales of Superman #1 in 2023 have been in the mid to low grades – values are down anywhere from 6 to 33 percent.

Despite what may appear to be a generally decent present market for Golden Age comics, even keys like this are not immune to downward trends, particularly when we see a relative flooding of the market as we have with low to mid-grade copies of Superman #1.

With only 74 Universal graded copies, even the five sales we’ve seen this year – and add in the three restored copy sales – can represent a decent percentage for a purchasing base that is very small for the cream of the crop books.

The Curious Case of a Hot Silver Age Key

FF48-200x300 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August

The number one comic on our Hottest Silver Age comics list is Fantastic Four #48, so it’s no surprise that a copy made it to number three on our August Chartbusters list, especially when it’s a 9.8 graded signature series copy signed by Stan Lee. This copy sold in the ComicConnect auction for $105,800. What is surprising, however, is that this is not a record. In fact, this sale didn’t even beat out the Universal unsigned record holder, a 9.8 selling in a June 2021 Heritage auction for $108,000.

But that’s not even the most significant aspect of this sale. You see, this exact same copy sold in a September 2021 Heritage auction for $144,000, so someone lost $38,000 by selling it in this market. There are a myriad of reasons why this person may have needed to sell this copy when they did, and if you need a quick $100K you certainly don’t need my advice. However, if you’re able to be patient, I would definitely consider holding on to cornerstone copies like this during this down market.

Interesting Variety of Golden Age Sales

PepComics22-222x300 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August

The ComicConnect auction included a fair amount of Golden Age offerings across a number of genres. Coming in as the number five August Chartbuster is Pep Comics #22. Featuring the first appearances of Archie, Jughead, and Betty, a 3.0 graded copy sold for $69,575.

It’s the first sale of a 3.0 graded CGC copy and the first Universal graded CGC copy to sell since 2018. A CBCS-graded 3.0 sold in a June 2021 Heritage auction for $66,000. Considering the discount for CBCS-graded comics, you have to consider this most recent sale to be flat or even slightly down in value.

Batman1-216x300 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August

Like Superman #1, Batman #1 has been showing up in quite a few auctions of late. A Restored 2.5 graded copy sold in the ComicConnect auction for $69,000. Obviously, with the purple label you’re going to see a steep discount.

Such was the case here, although it’s noteworthy that it sold for nearly $45,000 more than the previous sale in December 2017. If it’s a mega-key like Batman #1, even restored copies will show a return on investment over time.

MaskComics1-207x300 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August

Featuring a fantastic L.B. Cole cover, Mask Comics #1 was one of the stars of the August ComicConnect auction. A 7.5 graded copy sold for $54,625. With only two Universal copies grading higher, it easily surpassed expectations, going for the third highest price ever paid, bested only by two previous sales of the lone 8.5 graded Promise Collection copy for first $102,000 in 2021 and then $144,000 in April of this year.

While it’s more plentiful in the lower grades, it isn’t hard to imagine these monster sales will soon have an effect in at least the mid-grades.

Dynamic8-219x300 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August

Other Golden Age sales of note in the ComicConnect auction include a 4.5 grade Dynamic Comics #8 selling for $45,139 – a record-setting price for this hard to find Gus Ricca cover, an 8.0 grade Black Knight #1 selling for $33,350, and a 7.5 grade Journey Into Mystery #1 with a double cover selling for $28,750.

Silver Age First Appearances

Batman181-200x300 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August

Lest you think that ComicConnect had the only big sales of the month, a 9.8 graded copy of Batman #181 sold in the August 10 Heritage auction for $96,000.

While it’s up from the previous sale for $90,000 in the November 2020 Heritage auction, it’s down in terms of present dollar value, making for a slightly disappointing sale of the first appearance of Poison Ivy.

SgtFury1-200x300 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August

Making a monster move, however, was another Silver Age first appearance, that being Nick Fury in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #1. A 9.0 graded copy sold in the ComicConnect auction for $53,155, placing number 10 in our Chartbusters list.

That’s up 240% over the previous sale in 2019 for $15,600 and is the second-highest price ever paid for a graded copy. The record holder is a 9.2 selling for $80,500 just last year.

A Cautionary Tale

HeroforHire1-199x300 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August

The lone Bronze Age comic to crack the top 10 of our August Chartbusters list was Hero for Hire #1. A 9.8 graded copy sold in the ComicConnect auction for $64,401. That places it as our number seven Chartbuster for the month. That marks a 37% drop from the previous sale for $102,000 in a September 2022 Heritage auction.

That sale is looking more like an outlier. A steadier curve would land it right about at the price it went for in the ComicConnect auction, providing a cautionary note for those reading too much into one sale.

Do you track big comic sales? What do you think the August numbers reveal about the state of the hobby? Let us know below.

AAAA-Footer-PRO-CP-1 Comic Chartbusters Analysis - August*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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