Most of the time comic book collectors speculate on the first appearance of a character. But what about all the heroic apparatus, Cap’s shield, Thor’s hammer, the Infinity Gauntlet, and so on? Is there speculation dollars for investing in these items, when they first appear in the comics? There have been five physical shields over the years for Captain America. The original circular shield is made from Vibranium the most indestructible metal on Earth. It is able to absorb a blow from the hammer of the Mighty God of Thunder: Thor. Even the Hulk has tried his level best, with his raging gamma-steroid strength to break the shield, but to no avail. Typically only magic has been able to destroy the shield or oddball powers like freaky Molecule Man. Captain America endures as shields change and the times adapt to his patriotism. Can Cap’s shield be a profitable investment, a beacon of hope in the darkness of the speculation void?
The First Triangular Shield
The very first appearance of Captain America’s shield was in Captain America Comics #1 (1941). This was the original triangle-shaped shield. Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. This comic was the origin of Captain America and the first appearance of Cap and Bucky. It also debuts the “Captain America Sentinels of Liberty Club.” Captain America Comics #1 sold on ComicConnect five years ago, for over $300,000. The highest return for this comic is in grade (2.5), and it has returned a positive +588.9% as of 2014. The last sale being $39,000 for a 2.5 CGC graded book! The Golden Age just keeps getting more valuable by the day.
The First Disc Shaped Shield
The first circular shield was in Captain America Comics #2, also created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Interesting trivia, the shield design was changed at this time as a competitor had the exact same triangle shield and was starting to complain as it looked just like their superheroes shield. So Joe and Jack came up with a disc-shaped shield, which makes sense and actually works a whole lot better in the storyline. In addition, this book has a classic Hitler cover. This comic sold for $27,000 two months ago on Comic Connect. That particular grade of (7.5) sports a positive +$190.4% return. Again, the Golden Age oldies are money in the bank. With apparently no end in sight for even higher yields.
Second Triangular Shield
Captain America’s triangle shield was projected into the future and restored by Zemo. Captain America regained it in Thunderbolts #105. This comic was created by Tom Grummett and Fabian Nicieza. It sports the tie-in to the Civil War crossover storyline. For our purposes, it is the first appearance of the second triangular shield in the Marvel Universe. According to the numbers, there is not much value this far down the trough. Three years ago one copy sold for $20 (9.8). Skip owning the Thunderbolts unless you own for the read.
Expanded Origin Story: Disc Shield
Captain America #255 (1981) established that his circular shield was given to him by Franklin Roosevelt. Myron Maclain, a metallurgist, working for the government created an indestructible vibration-absorbing metal Vibranuium. The Vibranium would be used to develop the first circular Captain America shield. This is a great book to invest in for beginning to moderate level collectors. Captain America #255 (1981) was designed by Roger Stern (script) with Frank Miller and John Byrne on pencils. The most recent sale last month was for $159 in (9.8). That is huge money for this Bronze Age book. The low entry price, key book status, and circular shield origin story (expansion) make this a perfect collectible for returning collectors and newbie speculators. Furthermore, the return on investment for this book is positive +25.8%. With a good substantial amount of sales in the last five years. Bet on the old red, white and blue because the Stars ‘n’ Stripes will never let you down.
Shield Destruction Bonus Points
Cap’s shield is destroyed several times throughout the Marvel Universe. The Avengers #215 has the Molecule Man disintegrate the shield, though he later recreates it. The shield has been damaged many times over the years, but I believe this was the first Bronze Age destruction of Cap’s shield. Created by the team of Jim Shooter and Alan Weiss. This book sold in June 2018 for $69 and is not a bad purchase if you already own it, or can find a forgotten copy cheap. Current returns have been less than zealous with negative -7% decline in price. This decline does not exactly inspire a person to run out and buy Avengers #215. I guess shield destruction is not such a lucrative business after all. This is a continuity book for the avid collector, speculators should probably pass.
This shield has been used as a symbol throughout the Marvel Universe to tell a story. Over the years Cap’s shield has occasionally, ended up on some villain’s victory wall, e.g., Old Man Logan storyline: Caps Shield was hanging in Red Skull’s trophy room. But don’t worry, Wolverine gets revenge for the good guys by chopping Red Skull’s head off with the same shield. Boy, and I thought the 1980’s was bloodthirsty in comics. Jeez.
Captain America is the quintessential American superhero, espousing traditional values of patriotism and integrity. Perhaps he is the last of the genuinely great icons in Marvel. But as shields go, he has left five physical shields on the field of battle since his creation. Not to mention, several modern writers have played with energy type shields (which is just lame). Cap and his shield is magic storytelling at it’s best, the character reminds us of American greatness and it’s humility at the same time. Cap’s shield makes for an interesting speculation.