The 10 Most Expensive Comic Books Ever Sold

The most valuable and rarest comic books are worth a lot of money.

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Much like trading cards and sneakers, comics are indelible collectibles in American pop culture, but what are the most expensive comic books ever sold? With their immense popularity during the 20th century, comic books have emerged as a viable alternative asset, much like fine art and rare wristwatches.

Comics also serve as the inspiration for the massive superhero film industry we see today. Countless box office hits and television shows have kept these heroes relevant across generations. As time has passed, the generation that grew up reading these comics now looks to purchase them for their rarity and nostalgia factor. In turn, some of these have gone from newsstands to auction houses, with many claiming a seven-figure price tag.

Today, instead of focusing on trading cards of our favorite characters, we will be counting down the 10 most expensive comic books ever sold. You'll notice that all of these comics were graded by CGC, the top grading service for comic books. To keep the list fresh, we are only allowing each individual comic to appear once. Let’s jump right in and highlight some familiar pop culture faces.

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10. 1939 Marvel Comics #1 “The Human Torch” CGC 9.4 – $1,260,000

1939 Marvel Comics 1 The Human Torch CGC 94
Heritage Auctions

Date Sold: 11/21/19 via Heritage Auctions

To begin this list, we have a comic whose title has now grown synonymous with the superhero industry as a whole. This is Marvel Comics #1, which is graced by The Human Torch on the cover. While the branding looks a little different in 2024, there is no shortage of movies and series that come to mind when a name like Marvel pops up. Though this isn’t the same Marvel that Stan Lee would revitalize in the 1960s, this is still an immensely valuable comic. In 2019, it sold for $1.26 million through Heritage Auctions.

9. 1963 Marvel “The Amazing Spider-Man” #1 CGC 9.8 – $1,380,000

1963 Marvel The Amazing Spider Man 1 CGC 98
Heritage Auctions

Date Sold: 1/11/24 via Heritage Auctions

While this isn’t Peter Parker’s first comic-book appearance, it is the first issue of a series dedicated entirely to Spider-Man. Interestingly enough, several members of the Fantastic Four can be seen on the cover, which showcases an early crossover. Less than 40 years later, Spidey would get his own feature film in 2002, sparking the start of Marvel’s 21st-century dominance. This is the highest-graded copy on the entire list, notching a remarkable CGC 9.8 grade. It recently sold in January 2024 for just shy of $1.4 million.

8. 1961 Marvel Fantastic Four #1 CGC 9.2 – $1,500,000

1961 Marvel Fantastic Four 1 CGC 92
Heritage Auctions

Date Sold: 4/7/22 via Heritage Auctions

With the recent casting announcement of the next installment of the Fantastic Four, some serious hype is building for the classic franchise. Even still, the franchise has been a mainstay in superhero lore since its first printing in 1961. With some subtle trailer drops, it will be interesting to see if the newest reboot adapts the classic logo and colors you see here. Regardless, this is a grail for any longtime comic collector, and it boasts an all-time high sale price of $1.5 million.

7. 1942 DC All-Star Comics #8 CGC 9.4 – $1,620,000

1942 DC All Star Comics 8 CGC 94
Heritage Auctions

Date Sold: 6/16/22 via Heritage Auctions

Many of the faces on this cover aren’t entirely recognizable today. But this All-Star cast actually features the first appearance of Wonder Woman in one of its pages, as well as glimpses into other beloved characters in the DC universe. When you think about how often these were flipped through and torn apart, a CGC 9.4 truly is an incredible grade. In 2022, this copy sold for over $1.6 million, nearly doubling the previous sale in 2017.

6. 1939 Detective Comics #27 “Batman” CGC 6.5 – $1,740,000

1939 DC Detective Comics 27 First Appearance of Batman CGC 65
Golden Auctions

Date Sold: 5/21/22 via Goldin Auctions

While a later entry on the list will show Batman’s solo comic, Detective Comics #27 gives us our first glimpse at the Caped Crusader. As is the case with most pre-war memorabilia and collectibles, condition is instrumental to an item’s value. This comic dates all the way back to 1939, but its vibrant coloring is partly why it’s such a valuable piece today. This is the most valuable comic to sell through Goldin Auctions, finishing at $1.74 million.

5. 1940 DC Batman #1 CGC 9.4 – $2,220,000

Batman 1 CGC 94
Heritage Auctions

Date Sold: 1/14/21 via Heritage Auctions

For our money, this is the most aesthetically pleasing comic book ever created. Batman #1 sports the first appearance of The Joker and Catwoman, two DC characters with a massive modern fanbase. Additionally, this comic launched the Caped Crusader into immense popularity that has sustained all the way up to the present day. With a new Batman film slated for next year, it’s incredible to see Bruce Wayne’s 84-year run. This copy, graded a CGC 9.4 closed at well over $2 million in 2021.

4. 1941 Captain America Comics #1 CGC 9.4 – $3,120,000

Captain America Comics 1 San Francisco Pedigree CGC 94
Heritage Auctions

Date Sold: 4/7/22 via Heritage Auctions

Captain America's creation coincided with the rise of fascism in Europe. It’s only fitting that we see Steve Rogers literally fighting Nazis in the first issue. Much like a Rosie the Riveter or Uncle Sam character, Captain America evoked a sense of patriotism during a perilous time. Over 80 years later, he’s an iconic character in the MCU, and his first issue is worth over $3 million. 

3. 1938 Action Comics #1 “Superman” CGC 8.5 – $3,250,000

Action Comics 1 CGC 85

Date Sold: 4/6/21 via ComicConnect

Superman’s first comic book appearance dates back all the way to 1938’s Action Comics #1. The copy features Clark Kent heroically lifting up an old green Ford, and it gave young fans an early look at a beloved character. There has only been one copy graded higher, as a CGC 9.0 sold way back in 2011. With that one likely stowed away in a pristine collection, this 8.5 was the most recent chance for investors to own a piece of history like this. This one sold for an all-time high of $3.25 million in 2021.

2. 1962 Marvel Amazing Fantasy #15 “Spider-Man” CGC 9.6 – $3,600,000

Marvel Amazing Fantasy 15 Spider Man CGC 96
Heritage Auctions

Date Sold: 9/9/21 via Heritage Auctions

Here we have the first appearance of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. With an extensive lineage of comics, movies, video games, trading cards and more, Peter Parker is one of the most collectible and marketable names in all of popular culture. While it is still somewhat possible to find this Amazing Fantasy #15 out in the wild, it’s highly unlikely that we will see one in better condition. Graded a CGC 9.6, this one popped for $3.6 million during a 2021 Heritage auction.

1. 1939 DC Superman #1 CGC 8.0 – $5,300,000

Superman 1 CGC 8
CGC Comics

Date Sold: 2022 via Private Sale

At our top spot, we have the first solo appearance of Superman. This is actually the first comic solely dedicated to one character, and it’s fitting that the Man of Steel gets this honor. While the Krypton native may have taken a backseat to the limelight in the last decade, he is still a key fixture in Americana. This crisp copy of Superman #1 still has vibrant reds and blues nearly a century later, and it sold privately for over $5 million in 2022.

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