Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2021 Issue

New Record Price for a Comic Book - $3.6 Million

The first appearance of Spider Man (Heritage Auctions image).

Here we go again. Another record price in the sort-of books, paper ephemera category. Once more, a comic book has achieved a new record price - $3.6 million. If there is anything surprising here it is that the new record goes to Peter Parker, not Clark Kent nor even Bruce Wayne. Superman usually holds the number one spot, with Batman runner-up, Spider-Man number three. I would not be surprised if the next record price returns the Man of Steel to his regular lofty post, but for now, the web-spinner holds down the top position.

 

The comic book in question is Amazing Fantasy #15 from Marvel, published in 1962. Back then it cost 12 cents. That is a 3 billion percent increase in value. Have your investments done that well? Too bad your mother threw out your copy of this “junk” 60 years ago. She didn't love you.

 

This comic is remarkable for two things. One is that it was the first appearance of Spider-Man. Hard to believe, but he is not yet even old enough to collect social security. Spider-Man was instantly a hit, so much so that he immediately was given his own dedicated comic book. He next appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #1, meaning that Spider-Man #1 is actually #2.

 

The other remarkable thing about this copy is its condition. It is almost like new. It is graded at 9.6, out of 10, one of only four copies achieving that level. None has ever been certified higher. You cannot find a better copy.

 

In this story, we are introduced to Peter Parker's amazing transition to Spider-Man. He is bitten by a radioactive spider which gives him his great strength and the ability to climb walls. He fails to use those abilities to stop a thief, who in turn kills his Uncle Ben (or should we now call him “Ben's Original?”). Peter now realizes he must become a crime fighter. As the comic intones at the end, “With great power there must also come—great responsibility!” Spider-Man has been fighting crime ever since, though in just six more years he will be eligible to retire.

 

This new record price beat the old record by 10%. The previous highest price was $3.25 million paid for a copy of Action Comics #1. That is the one that introduced Superman to the world. The highest price poor Batman has ever reached is $2.2 million.

 

The record price was achieved at Heritage Auctions Comics and Comic Art Signature Sale on September 10.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: KUPKA, Frantisek (1871-1957) - Quatre histoires de blanc et noir. Paris: Marcel Baque, 1926. €5.000-€8.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: VASI, Giuseppe Agostino (1710-1782) - Raccolta delle più belle vedute antiche, e moderne di Roma disegnate ed incise secondo lo stato presente. Rome: A. Vasi, 1786. €4.000-€6.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: SALAMANCA, Antonio (1478-1562) - [First map depicting the bay of Naples]. [Rome: 1538]. €3.000-€5.000
  • Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JAMES MADISON THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JAMES MONROE PRESIDENTIAL SERVICE SOUP BOWL. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A FRANKLIN PIERCE BRUSHED SILK TOP HAT. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: LINCOLN ENDORSEMENT: "I AM ALWAYS FOR THE MAN WHO WISHES TO WORK." $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A RUTHERFORD B. HAYES CIVIL WAR-ERA TRAVEL DESK. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT'S FINAL PRESIDENTIAL AUTOMOBILE FLAG. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: GARFIELD LS AS PRESIDENT ALLUDING TO THE "STAR-ROUTE" SCANDAL: "REGRETTING THE EMBARRASSMENTS WHICH THE EVENT HAS CAUSED US BOTH." $25,000 - $35,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: AN 18K GOLD AND ENAMEL WILLIAM MCKINLEY INAGURATION POCKETWATCH. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADE FLAG. $80,000 - $120,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: PRESIDENT KENNEDY'S LAST DAY: OFFICIAL SCHEDULE ANNOTATED BY SPECIAL ASSISTANT DAVE POWERS WITH A MINUTE-BY-MINUTE DETAIL OF THE DAY'S ACTIONS. $40,000 - $60,000

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