Comic Book Brain
The Tashen Marvel Comics Book Library

Comic Book Money

Page updated August 9, 2023

A lot of things goes into the valuation of a comic book or comic book related item, but the primary bedrock of value is determined by a combination of two main factors, rarity and demand.

For example:

Action Comics #1 – fewer than 100 are known to exist of the original 1938 printing, with auction house Heritage saying they have certified only 75 copies. The highest price (so far) was a 2022 auction of this copy with a CGC rating of 6.0 that went for $3.18 million. For comparison, this copy sold in 2014 with a CGC rating of 8.0 sold for  $167,300.00, which means the 2022 sale showed an increase of 2,650% in valuation, but there is a caveat in this comparison: the 2014 sale item was a "restored" copy and the 2022 is a "unrestored" copy. "Unrestored" are considered much more desirable and though a "restored" version is also of value, one type is called 'virgin' and the other, without it being said directly, is considered "tampered with."

Some Comic Book Auction Houses:

Heritage Auctions

Comic Connect

Comic Link


Media Stories on Comic Book Sales

Frank Frazetta cover to Dark Crusade by Karl Edward Wagner sells for $6 million, the high point (thus far) for a Frazetta painting. The painting is listed as Dark Kingdom when using Frazetta's own title for the image.

Story about the sale at Fine Books Magazine - June 27, 2023

"Frazetta's painting graced the covers of Karl Edward Wagner's 1976 novel Dark Crusade and Molly Hatchet's 1979 Flirtin' With Disaster and was one of the late artist's most treasured works. Additionally, the preliminary watercolor sketch that eventually grew into the iconic At the Earth's Core, which appeared on the 1974 cover of the Edgar Rice Burroughs paperback, realized $52,800."

Step by step Frazetta paintings are climbing in value and there's probably no limit to where they are headed, something forseen by many since Frazetta's death in 2010. Frazetta's images are so heavily embedded into the general pop culture, often through imitation, that he is simply unavoidable.

$2.075 billion in comic book sales in 2021Business Insider

Auction of Tintin in America cover art by Herge expected to break auction recordUK Times and at Art Newspaper (scroll to bottom) - Auction in Paris on Feb 10

Update Feb 17, 2023: Observer "Tintin Illustration Sells for $2.3 Million as Comic Art Prices Soar. A 1942 cover of "Tintin in America" sold for millions amid increased demand for comic collectibles."

Artcurial Auction site - The World of Hergé, Tintin’s Creator

Artcurial Auction site - Comic Strip art auction

Other artwork being offered in the Comic Strip section:

Rare Liefeld Deadpool original art to test the comic art marketForbes

The New Mutants #98 Story Page 14 Deadpool's First Appearance Preliminary Original Art

Update: Sold on Nov 17, 2022 for: $36,000.00

Since the start of the pandemic, prices for original comic book art sold at auction have gone through the roof, but as the economy has cooled, will the demand continue? Heritage Auctions is about to find out with unique offering of historically-significant items by a highly-collected artist making their debut at the company’s November comic and comic art event.

The items in question are the preliminary designs that artist Rob Liefeld drew for the pages introducing Deadpool in 1990’s New Mutants #98. Deadpool was an instant breakout hit for Marvel and Liefeld, and has since become the title character in a film franchise whose first two installments grossed $1.6 billion worldwide.

The Heritage Auction page for the Deadpool original art

Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns #1 cover auctions at $2.4 million

June 16, 2022: See the image and info at Heritage Auctions

The cover art was a collaboration between Miller and his then-wife Lynn Varley, featuring Batman silhouetted against a sky split open by a lightning bolt. "It is easily one of the most famous comic-book covers from any era, and it defined the superhero genre from the 1980s to this very moment," says Todd Hignite, vice president at Heritage, which is based in Texas. The consignor acquired the original art directly from Varley “at some point,” Hignite says. Appearing at auction for the first time at Heritage’s four-day sale of comics and comic art from Thursday through Sunday, it attracted 90 bidders, on site or over the phone.

Numerous items sold for better-than-expected prices on the first day of the sale..."

News article about the auction online at Barrons Magazine

A Pokemon Pikachu Card sold for $840,000 at auctionYahoo

June 14, 2022

Issue #1 of Fantastic Four sold for $1.5 million on Thursday

April 9, 2022: Story at Forbes

See the item at Heritage Auctions

Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel, 1961) CGC NM- 9.2 White pages. This is the most stunning copy of the premiere Marvel Age issue we've seen since we offered the White Mountain copy over eight years ago in the same grade and page quality. No other copy we've offered in our 20+ year comic auctioning history comes close to this beauty! Frankly, it looks nicer than 9.2! But even at 9.2, it has few peers in CGC's census.

Copy of Captain America #1 goes for $3,120,000.00

April 7, 2022: Story at MSN News

A near mint comic featuring the very first appearance of Captain America sold Thursday for just over $3.1 million. The sale marks a record for the comic, Captain America Comics No. 1, and is now one of the top five most expensive comics ever sold. The final price was $3,120,000, which included the buyer’s premium. It sold as part of Heritage Auctions’ comics and comic art events that runs through Sunday.

Page at Heritage Auctions on the Captain America #1 NM 9.4 CGC

More about the sale at WSPA Spartanburg

A copy of 1939's Marvel Comics #1 sells for $2.4 millionUproxx

The comic, which features the first appearances of classic characters like the original Human Torch and Sub-Mariner, is a particularly unique find not just because of its age and collectibility, but for the extra notes handwritten in the issue. The "extremely passionate" mystery buyer, whose identity has yet to be revealed, clearly knew his Marvel history and had the millions to pay for it.

March 18, 2022: More coverage on the sale at AP News

Known as the Marvel Comics #1 "pay copy," it’s "arguably one of the top three comic books in the world of comics collecting," said Vincent Zurzolo, chief operating officer of ComicConnect. The New York-based auctioneer sold the book Thursday night for a bit under $2,427,800.

The Tashen Marvel Comics Book Library

Mike Zeck's page 25 from 1984's Secret Wars No. 8, featuring black-suited Spider-Man sells for $3.36 million

January 15, 2022

Auction page at Heritage Auctions and their press release

Story at MSN News


Another page from the same comic was sold for $288,000. Together, the two pages of Spider-Man history sold for $3,648,000, Heritage Auctions said. "Today's results prove what we've long been saying: Comic book art is as beloved and valuable as anything put on canvas," said Joe Mannarino, who heads Heritage Auctions' department of comics and comic art in New York, in a statement.

Copy of Action Comics #1 goes for $3.18 millionCheatsheet

January 14, 2022

The CGC graded the issue a jaw-dropping FN 6.0, making the copy sold one of the finest still existing today.

Copy of Hulk #1 auctions for $590,000 – UPI Press

January 4, 2022


"Highly-graded copies of Hulk #1 are notoriously hard to find, due to the cheap paper used and the smudging of the gray color on the front cover," Chief Operating Officer Vincent Zurzolo said in the company's announcement. Zurzolo said there are only seven copies of the same issue known to exist with higher ratings, and it is extremely rare to find one offered for sale.

Comic Connect press release on the sale

Superman #1 goes for $2,604,750

Comics Connect auction

Overstreet Guide 2021 F/VF (7.0) value = $728,000

Story at My San Antonio and Miami Herald

Amazon Rush Comic Book

Near mint Amazing Fantasy #15 goes for $3.6 million

"Spider-Man beats Superman in record $3.6m comic sale"UK Guardian

September 10, 2021: Story at MSN News

the hot auction item is one of only four certified near-mint copies of the publication.

More at Castanet

Amazing Fantasy #15 at Heritage Auction

X-Men #1 goes for $800K+

July 5, 2021: Story about this at Benzinga

And Comic Connect (where the X-Men #1 went for $807,000) has more auction results.

The super-hot market got even hotter as a beautifully restored copy of Action Comics #1 CGC 9.0 sold for $452,000 and a high-grade copy of X-Men #1 CGC 9.6 broke $807,000 in last week’s Event Auction #46... Bronze and Modern: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 CGC 9.4 $58,555, Star Wars #1 CBCS 9.4 Harrison Ford Signature 35 Cent Variant $40,500, and TMNT #1 CGC 7.5 $16,100.

Collectible UK Beano and Dandy comics rising rapidly in value

Story at UK Sun

Shock SuspenStories No. 6 cover art by Wally Wood goes for $840,000, setting new record for original comic book art

Shock Suspenstories 6 Wally Wood Cover sets Auction record

June 17, 2021

See more items mentioned with a lot more data at Heritage Auctions June 17 results page

Some highlights:

$1,125,000 – Detective Comics #27, 1939, copy graded at CGC 5.0

$528,000 – Action Comics #1, 1938, CGC 5.5

$264,000 – a CGC 9.8 copy of Marvel Spotlight No. 5, 1972 featuring Ghost Rider.

$408,000 – Outlaw World original art by Frank Frazetta, 1969.

$456,000 – Phantom Lady #17, 1948, CGC 9.6

$264,000 – Conan the Barbarian No. 2 original cover art by Barry Smith,1970.

$180,000 – page 21 original art from The Avengers No. 1,1963, by Jack Kirby.

$168,000 – illustration made for Esquire, September 1966 with Spider-Man, Captain America and other Marvel heroes, original art by Jack Kirby.

$144,000 – Page 17 originla art from Amazing Spider-Man No. 34, 1963 by Steve Ditko

$114,000 – Entire 5-page story art featuring Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch, from Archie Madhouse No. 22, 1962, by Dan DeCarlo and Rudy Lapick.

$111,111 – Startling Comics #49, 1948, CGC 9.6 copy with cover by Alex Schomburg

$90,000 – Two-Fisted Tales #18, 1950, Harvey Kurtzman original cover art

$10,500 – Batman #129, 1960, copy rated CGC 9.4

$10,200 – Frank Frazetta original "White Indian" art page from Charles Starrett as the Durango Kid #2, 1949

$5,520 – Don Rosa original art page from Uncle Scrooge #297, 1996

$4,080 – Batman Adventures #33, 1993, CGC copy rated 9.8

$3,840 – Original art story page by John Buscema and Tony DeZuñiga for The Savage Sword of Conan #32, 1978

$3,840 – Frank Cho original art of Supergirl, 2014

$2,280 – Jughead's Fantasy #1, 1960, copry rated 9.2 CGC

$840.00 – DC Showcase #77 featuring Angel and the Ape, 1968. Copy rated CGC 9.8

“I am especially pleased that Wally Wood’s cover to Shock SuspenStories No. 6 is now a world-record-holder, as it deserves its place in not only comic-book history but American history,” says Heritage Auctions Co-Chairman Jim Halperin. “It’s a powerful work and a reminder of how far ahead of its time EC Comics was.” Story at Fine Books Magazine

Copy of Batman #1 goes for #1.2 million

April 20, 2021

In 2006, this particular book was purchased by the current seller for $80,000 — and in 2019, a nearly-identical 8.0 sold for $498,000. Now, it’s fetched $1,207,500 at auction, a record for an 8.0 and more than three times its Overstreet value ($398,000).

Story at Benzinga

Rare "ashcan Action Comics #1" sells for $204,000

APRIL 2021

Haritage Auctions page here

Parody on this page Auction Comics

Tintin original art being auctioned

January 2021

Update: Art sells for 3.2 million - MSN

Comic book lovers and tourists alike can catch a socially distanced glimpse of a Tintin drawing by Herge in Paris before it goes under the hammer Thursday, estimated to sell between 2 and 3 million euros and possibly break the record for the most expensive comic book art in history. The 1936 work in Chinese ink, gouache and watercolor, was destined as a cover for The Blue Lotus, the fifth volume of the Belgian journalist’s adventures.

Story at Saint Louis Post-Dispatch

"After years in a drawer, Tintin painting tipped to fetch over 2 million euros" - Reuters

DC Cover on Marvel Comic Book

APRIL 2020

eBay auction featuring bizarre misprint book

Quarter million dollar estimate for Berni Wrightson Frankenstein art at Heritage "Platinum Session" auction

Featuring "Front Endpapers Illustration"

Update: Sold for $240K

Sales page at Heritage Auctions [requires sign in]

Frazetta Egyptian Queen sells for $5.4 million

MAY 2019

More about this on the Frazetta page.

Frazetta Thongor sells for $155K

FEB 2017

Frank Frazetta - cover to "Thongor in the City of the Magicians" novel by Lin Carter, 1968. From the Feb 23-25, 2917 Auction at Heritage Auctions

Sold for $155,350.00

Bill Sienkiewicz

FEB 2017

Elektra: Assassin #8 Splash Page - this piece sold at auction at Heritage for $14,340.00 on Feb 24, 2017. More at Heritage

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Last Update June 20, 2022 | Last update August 9, 2023