All these seven-figure comic sales have me thinking; if you had $1 million to invest in one comic, which would it be?
Go ahead and sing the BareNaked Ladies song. “If I had a million dollars (if I had a million dollars)/I’d buy…” an Action Comics #1? Detective Comics #27? A Captain America #1 would look nice in the collection.
Once upon a time, it was unheard of for a comic to reach the seven-figure platform. The first time that happened was in 2010 when an 8.0 Action Comics #1 sold for exactly $1 million. Although it’s still reserved for the holiest of holy grails, those million-dollar transactions are becoming more common.
Last year alone, eight comics crossed that threshold. They were all dwarfed earlier this year when an 8.0 Superman #1 went for $5.3 million in a private sale, and 9.4 Captain America #1 scored $3.1 million on April 11.
Of course, if a Superman #1 can earn that much, it is only a matter of time before his first appearance in Action Comics #1 reaches the $6 million mark. Remember that there are two graded 9.0s floating around. If an 8.0 Superman #1 can break the $5 million mark, a 9.0 AC #1 should fetch an even bigger price.
The higher these prices go, the further out of reach they get for us regular folks. Still, it’s fun to dream. Let’s pretend you inherited $1 million, but the stipulation is that you have to buy one single comic without going over (or at least not by much). What would you get for your money? Here are a few options.
When we think of million-dollar comics, Action Comics #1 is generally the first to come to mind.
No other comic has sold for seven figures as often as Superman’s debut issue.
Of course, when there are only 75 total copies on record, let alone this being the 1938 premiere of the world’s single most famous costumed superhero, it makes sense.
Even at seven figures, you aren’t likely to lose money by investing in Action Comics #1.
This would be my first choice, but considering that a 3.0 is worth $1.6 million, we’d be lucky to get a 2.0 at today’s market prices.
There was a time when Spider-Man’s first appearance was the record holder. A year ago, a pristine 9.6 AF #15 sold for $3.6 million. It was a rare sale for the high grade.
The only other sale on record (and quite possibly the same copy) brought $1.1 million in 2011.
That is the only seven-figure sale in AF #15’s history, but the day is coming when another hits that mark.
While this comic may never reach the heights of AC #1, our $1 million can at least secure a higher grade.
With all the fanfare surrounding AC #1, January’s $5.3 million Superman #1 took many collectors by surprise.
We usually think of those million-dollar sales as reserved for the first appearance, at least when it comes to Superman lore. Yet, here we are discussing the Man of Steel’s first self-titled issue.
Last year, a 7.0 brought $2.6 million, so maybe it shouldn’t have been such a shock.
With that rate of inflation, I would think we could get at least a mid-grade copy for our million.
How can we talk about investing a million dollars without at least considering Batman’s first appearance?
Next to Superman, this is the most famous face in all of comic books. In fact, an argument could be made that he is more popular than Supes, at least as far as modern audiences are concerned.
This past January, a 4.5 sold for $1.14 million, so we should be able to nab about a 4.0 and stick close to budget.
SO MANY MORE
It is a testament to the stock market that is comic investing when there are so many multi-million dollar sales that they won’t all fit into one post. In the next decade, that list is going to continue to grow. We will see more Silver Age Marvel grails reach that holy ground.
Which ones have the best chance of reaching that holy ground? That’s a topic for another day.