Last updated on July 6th, 2023 at 10:02 pm
You may already know that you can make good money selling old comic books in an auction or estate sale. However, not every old comic book is worth thousands, and it can be hard to guess which ones are valuable.
If you are an old comic book fan looking to sell, or an amateur who came into possession of vintage comics, we’ve got you covered. This article covers how to tell if your comic books are worth a lot of money.
First, let’s take a look at some of the most high-value comic books in the world. If you own one of these comics, you have a fortune on your hands.
A Few High-Dollar Old Comic Books
Action Comics #1
Released in 1938, this is the comic where Superman made his first introduction to the world. There were 200,000 copies in this printing, and it’s estimated that 100 are still around. In 2014, this comic, in near mint condition, sold for $3.2 million dollars.
Detective Comics #27
This 1939 comic had the first appearance of the caped crusader, better known as Batman. In 2010 a copy of this comic sold for $1,075,500.
All-Star Comics #8
Though not the first female superhero, Wonder Woman has certainly passed the test of time and has become one of the most prolific after being introduced in this comic series in 1941. In near mint condition, a copy sold for almost a million dollars in 2017.
How Do You Know If Your Old Comic Books Are Valuable?
There are several factors to consider when discerning the value of a comic book:
1. The cover price.
If the price on the cover is anywhere between 10 cents and 25 cents, the comic book is likely to be older and more valuable. If it is 30 cents or over, it is unlikely to have as much value as an older book would.
Older comics tend to be rarer, and thus worth more. Comics published in the 70s and later tend to have less value since many more copies were printed and remain intact compared to comic books from prior decades.
2. The condition.
A comic in mint or near-mint condition can fetch considerably more than one that isn’t. The more damage a comic has, the less valuable it becomes, no matter how rare or old it is.
The range of categories of condition (from best to worst) are: Near Mint (NM), Very Fine (VF), Fine (F), Very Good (VG), Good (G), Fair (F), and Poor (P).
3. Unique factors.
Other factors to consider are the artist, the first appearance of a popular character, and movie tie-ins. Superhero comics tend to be the most popular today, and thus the most valuable.
However, changing trends might make different comics more valuable in the future. While superhero comics are the most sought-after now, other genres such as horror, westerns, and other cartoon characters could become more popular if consumer trends change.
Comic Book Eras and Values
The Golden Age of Comics
The Golden Age of Comics spans the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. The comics in this era feature many superheroes, including some that are popular today and others that are less well known.
Other popular genres published during these decades include westerns, war comics, humor, sci-fi, and horror.
Many well-known superheroes made their debut in this era, such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and other DC heroes. Some Marvel heroes, such as Captain America, were also present, but did not become more prominent until later.
Some desirable comics from this era include Action Comics, Adventure Comics, and All Winners. Non-superhero books include Planet, Amazing Mystery Funnies, Tomb of Horror, Archie, and more.
Comics from this era originally cost 10 cents. These older comics are rarer, and are likely to be worth more, especially if they’re in mint condition. The range can go anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Silver Age Comics
The Silver Age of Comics spans the 1960s until mid-1969. This era is defined by superheroes published by both Marvel and DC. While some Marvel heroes were introduced in the Golden Age, the Silver age was when they really started to dominate the market.
Most comics in this era originally cost 10 to 12 cents. Comics published before 1965 are the most sought-after from this era.
Heroes such as Batman and Spiderman remained popular. Other notable comic book heroes from this era include The Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the Flash, and Justice League, just to name a few. Most comic books from this era have about the same collectible worth as Golden-era comics.
Bronze Age Comics
The Bronze Age of Comics spans the 1970s, with genres spanning superheroes, mystery, and horror. Comics from this era sport original prices ranging from 15-40 cents. Comics from the early 70s are the most popular among collectors. Since comics from the late 70s are less rare, they tend to be less valuable.
Notable heroes prevalent in this era include The Amazing Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, X-men, and the Ghost Rider. Many comic books from this era are worth a few thousand dollars today in good condition.
Copper Age to Present
The Copper Age of Comics started in 1980. Many comics from this era are considered too plentiful to be valuable, though that is not always the case. While they might not be worth as much as comics from previous eras, they could become more valuable over time.
Superheroes like Spiderman and Superman still reign supreme, in part because of blockbuster movies about them. Other valuable comics include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wolverine, The Walking Dead, and more. If you’re lucky, you can get a few hundred or a few thousand dollars for a valuable book from this era.
How to Sell Your Old Comic Books
There are a few ways to sell comics. If you are looking to get as much money as possible from the sale, go with an auction.
In an auction, bidders bid on the product for the maximum amount they’re willing to pay. This process allows you to sell the comic for as much as possible. Online auctions allow people from all over the world to bid on your item, which increases the likelihood that someone who really wants your product will be able to find it and bid on it.
Another way to sell comics is through consignment. In consignment, a third party will sell your goods for you, usually for a fee. You won’t have to sell the comic yourself.
Some old comics may be worth quite a lot of money. At Fruitcocktail, we can help you appraise and sell your old comics at fair prices through an online auction, estate sale, or consignment. If you are looking to sell vintage collectibles in the Seattle area, contact Fruitcocktail today.