The 50 Most Valuable Comic Books in the World (2022)
Updated: 6 days ago
We get asked this question many times. What's the most valuable comic book in the world? Many collectors and non-collectors are curious to see what books they need to watch out for when looking through their grandmother's barn (it's pretty unlikely that you'll find these books in there though). This list cuts down on the hassle and provides you with the 50 most valuable comic books ever printed. Here we will narrow the mountain of comic books that have been published and try to figure out the king of comics in regards to value.
Note that this list is in alphanumeric order. It has the highest sold prices listed. We have a few books on here that haven't sold in many years which could be deceiving based on current sales data. Some of those books haven't had sales data in 1-2 decades due to rarity (ex: Motion Pictures Funnies Weekly 1), but we feel that if those comics went up for sale in the current market, they would fetch exponentially higher prices.
Also, note that we mention the words "pedigree" or "collection" a good amount on this list. Both of those terms just refer to a comic that came from a prominent, well-known, collection. Those comics will get a special, gold label from CGC and can sometimes sell for more as the story behind the collection will bring in more buyers.
We will also use the terms Golden Age, Silver Age, and Bronze Age. Those refer to the periods in which these comics were published. The Golden Age of comics went from 1938 thru 1955 (starting at Action Comics 1 and ending with the Comics Code Authority stamp being added to comics). The Silver Age of comics went from 1955 thru 1970 (starting at the Comics Code Authority and ending with Jack Kirby leaving Marvel). The Bronze Age of comics went from 1970 thru 1983. Anything after is considered modern. Also, the starting/ending dates for each era can be debated.
There aren't any private sales listed here as those aren't always reliable (we only use public sales data). We also tried to keep Bronze and Modern Age, CGC graded 9.9, and 10 comic books off this list except for Incredible Hulk 181. We don't want someone with an ungraded copy of a modern key (ex: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars 8) to think they are sitting on comic worth 5 or 6 figures when it's barely worth a few hundred dollars.
If you feel like you have something on the list, then be sure to do your research (we have some extra advice that we offer if you keep reading beyond the list itself). This is important because many of the comics that are on this list are here because of grades (especially the Silver and Bronze Age books). Note that this article is based on our research and should not be your sole means of researching comic book values. Always remember to do thorough research before buying or selling comics or any collectibles. If you need any personal advice on your collection of comic books, be sure to give us a call, text, or email and we can provide an appraisal or tips completely free of charge. We also buy comic books and while we aren't expecting an Action Comics 1, we still buy comics new and old along with collections of all sizes.
That being said, let's get to the list of the 50 most valuable comic books in the world.
Action Comics 1
First Appearance of Superman and Lois Lane
Action Comics 1 is not only the first appearance of a major pop culture character but is the beginning of the modern superhero. There were superheroes before Superman (ex: Doc Savage, and Golden Bat), but the character made them into a genre of their own. Note that there are 2 CGC 9.0 copies on the census that have not been sold in a few years, so the price would most likely be much higher than the current record of 3.25 million dollars. The CGC 8.5 copy of Action Comics 1 sold in 2021 and is the 3rd highest price realized for a comic book (behind Superman 1 CGC 8.0 and Amazing Fantasy 15 CGC 9.6). The CGC 9.0 copies of Action Comics 1 may break all previous comic sales records if they were to come to market today, but it's hard to say for sure. The competition is fierce.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 8.5 $3,250,000
Action Comics 7
Second Superman Cover
Action Comics 7 features the 2nd cover for Superman. You might expect a character such as Superman to be featured on every issue of Action Comics, but that wouldn't be the case until Action Comics 19 about a year later. Note that the highest price realized for this book is for the Court Copy which is graded CGC 5.5, but there are a few copies that are graded higher, including 2 CGC 8.0s. However, those have not come up for sale in almost 15 years.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 5.5 Court Copy (See Picture) $204,000
Action Comics 10
Third Superman Cover
This book features the third cover appearance for Superman and rarely goes up for sale. When it does go up for sale, it can command some big money. The highest sale is a CGC 9.0, which was sold in 2011, making the price listed below pretty outdated. The book is probably worth more in the current market.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.0 $258,000
Action Comics 13
Fourth Superman Cover
This book features the fourth cover appearance of Superman (showing that he's more powerful than a locomotive). It also has an ad for Superman 1, as well as the first appearance of Ultra-Humanite (see our next entry for more on him), which makes it even more desirable among collectors. The listed price was a sale made in 2011.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.2 $182,000
Action Comics 23
First Appearance of Lex Luthor
Action Comics 23 has the first appearance of the Superman villain that we all know and love, Lex Luthor. The character would start with red hair, but due to a mix-up with another early Superman villain (Ultra-Humanite), would end up bald. As valuable as this book is, it still seems to be undervalued when compared to some other Golden Age keys. There are 3 CGC 8.5 copies on the census (highest graded) and one recently sold for 72k in 2020, which seems low when compared to even Silver Age Marvel keys.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 8.5 $72,000
Adventure Comics 40
First Conceived Sandman Story
Adventure Comics 40 was published after New York World's Fair Comics 1939 (making that issue the technical first appearance of the Sandman character). That doesn't stop collectors from going after this comic as many believe it to be the first true story of the Sandman (Wesley Dodds). The Billy Wright Pedigree CGC 8.0 copy (single highest graded) sold for only 48k in 2012. In today's market, that book would be exponentially higher.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 7.5 $81,000
All-American Comics 16
First Appearance of Green Lantern (Alan Scott)
All-American Comics 16 features the first appearance of the Green Lantern of the Golden Age (Alan Scott). Note that this character isn't the same as Hal Jordan who would be introduced almost 20 years later. Like many comics on this list, this book rarely ever goes up for sale. The highest sale was in 2018, but there are higher-graded copies such as the Billy Wright Pedigree CGC 8.0, which sold in 2013 for 203k. There is also a CGC 9.4 on the census, which would most likely sell for 7 figures in today's market.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 6.5 $215,100
All-Star Comics 3
First Justice Society of America
All-Star Comics 3 hasn't climbed in price like many others on the list, but it has always been a valuable book as it features the first appearance of the first-ever superhero team known as the JSA. This can also be considered to be an early comic book crossover. The CGC 9.4 listed below sold in 2021, however, there is a Mile High Pedigree CGC 9.6 copy that hasn't come on the market in almost 20 years (sold for $126k in 2002).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.4 $358,800
All-Star Comics 8
First Appearance of Wonder Woman
While the cover doesn't make it seem like it, All-Star Comics 8 is extremely important as it features the first appearance of Wonder Woman. She isn't quite the first female superhero (In fact, Hawkgirl was introduced a few issues earlier in All-Star Comics 5), but to many, she is the most known. The CGC 9.4 listed below (the single highest graded) was sold in 2017, so there's a chance that the value is even higher in today's market.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.4 $936,233
Amazing Fantasy 15
First Appearance of Spider-Man
Amazing Fantasy 15 graded CGC 9.6 holds the record for the 2nd highest-selling comic book of all time (recently beaten by Superman 1 CGC 8.0 at 5.3 million dollars). Spider-Man has always been a popular superhero (arguably the most popular), and the prices as of late reflect his popularity. The book just keeps going up in price and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. The 3.6 million dollar price tag is for a comic that sold in 2021, even though there are 3 more tied copies on the CGC census.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $3,600,000
Amazing Spider-Man 1
First Spider-Man Title
Amazing Spider-Man 1 is a bit odd to us as it has the second appearance of Spider-Man and the first ongoing title for the character (to us, that doesn't make it a major key). Despite that, it remains a very valuable book in high grades that can rival even some major Golden Age comics. The Curator Pedigree copy (price listed below) was sold in 2016, but there is a single CGC 9.8 copy that would most likely shatter the highest sold price if it ever came to market.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $262,900
Amazing Spider-Man 14
First Appearance of Green Goblin
This is a comic that we debated putting on this list as it is relatively common. It features the first appearance of the Green Goblin character. The reason that this book made the list is that recently a CGC 9.8 copy (single highest graded) sold for a record-shattering price (which seems to be the trend with Spider-Man comics).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.8 $210,000
Archie Comics 1
First Archie Title
While Archie 1 doesn't feature the first appearance of the character (see Pep Comics 22 for the first appearance of Archie), it would be the first ongoing title for Archie. The book can be tough to find in good shape. The single highest-graded copy (price listed below) sold in 2011, so it will most likely be worth much more today.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 8.5 $167,300
First Appearance of the Avengers
This book is another Silver Age comic that we debated putting on this list. The reason it made the list is that it has sold for very strong prices when in high grades, even though it is relatively common. There are currently 3 CGC 9.6 copies on the census (highest graded).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $369,000
First Silver Age Appearance of Captain America
Avengers 4 is another common Silver Age comic that has sold for very strong prices in the highest grades. There are currently 5 CGC 9.8 copies on the census (highest graded). The record sale was in 2017, but there's a 9.8 copy for sale on the Comiclink exchange for $475k. We're not sure if it will sell, but it's worth noting.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.8 $143,400
First Joker and Catwoman
Batman 1 is nothing short of iconic as it features the first appearance of two of the most popular Batman characters, Joker and Catwoman. It was always worth good money, but lately, it's gotten a major price boost. The CGC 9.4 copy is the single highest-graded copy on the CGC census and recently broke all records (sold in 2021). It's pretty shocking to see that Batman 1 (2.2 million dollars) has sold for more than Detective Comics 27 (1.5 million dollars), but note that this is only because the highest-graded copy of Batman 1 went up for sale in a very seller-friendly market. If the highest-graded copy of Detective Comics 27 went up for sale today, it would easily beat Batman 1.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.4 $2,200,000
Captain America Comics 1
First Captain America, Bucky, and Red Skull
Captain America Comics 1 features the first appearance of Captain America. The character isn't the first patriotic superhero, but he's the most known. Unrestored copies of this comic don't go up for sale often, but when they do, they'll turn heads. There are 2 CGC 9.4 copies on the census, but there exists a single 9.8 that hasn't come to market. It will most likely shatter the current record price. We can't believe that Captain America Comics 1 has broken the 3 million dollar mark with a recent Heritage Auctions sale. That makes it the fourth-most valuable comic book, barely losing the third-place spot to Action Comics 1 (which sold for 3.25 million dollars).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.4 $3,120,000
Captain America Comics 2
Second Captain America, First Round Shield
This issue has Captain America get the iconic round shield that we all know. This was because the original shield design resembled another patriotic superhero at the time, Shield Wizard. This book also features a classic cover. The Billy Wright Pedigree copy (listed below) sold in 2012, so there's a good chance that the comic is worth even more today.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.4 $113,500
Captain America Comics 3
First Stan Lee Comic Work
Captain America Comics 3 features the first comic book work from the great Stan Lee. Note that his work in this is text-only. His first comic book story would come 2 issues later in Captain America Comics 5. This book also features a great Red Skull cover (a personal favorite). A CGC 9.2 copy was sold in 2013 for only 43k, and there exists a single 9.6 on the census that hasn't come to market. The listed 7.5 sold in 2018.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 7.5 $80,000
Captain America Comics 36
There are many Golden Age Captain America books that we can add to this ranking, but only a few can make the list. This issue has an iconic cover and a recent sale from the Promise Collection (Pedigree), shattered all previous sales records.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.4 $204,000
Captain America Comics 46
This is a rare Golden Age comic book that features a WWII holocaust cover, making it very desirable among not only comic fans, but history collectors. The Promise Collection CGC 9.2 sold for the record price (price listed below), but there is a higher 9.4 that hasn't gone up for sale in almost 20 years.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.2 $162,000
Captain America Comics 74
Captain America Comics 74 always turns heads as it has a great horror-themed cover which was the last issue featuring Captain America as the title would attempt to transition to a horror title (there would be a few more issues in the mid-50s as they tried to bring back Captain America and a few superheroes at the time). The Promise Collection copy of this book (price listed below) once again shattered previous records.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.2 $204,000
Crime Does Not Pay 24
There are many classic covers from the Golden Age that we'd like to add to this list, but only a few have broken 6 figures. This is because a recent Promise Collection copy of Crime Does Not Pay 24 shattered all previous records.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.4 $102,000
First Appearance of Daredevil
This comic is probably the most common book on this list (except for Hulk 181), but we added it because it can sell for big bucks in the highest grades. We're also big Daredevil fans. There are currently 2 CGC 9.8 copies on the census.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.8 $250,000
Detective Comics 1
First Slam Bradley and Classic Cover
This title would eventually see the first appearance of Batman (see our next entry), however, the first issue can still sell for a good amount. It features a pretty iconic cover to boot. This comic is a very rare Platinum Age (pre-superhero) comic book and there aren't many recorded sales. There are only 16 unrestored copies on the CGC census with 3 copies tieing for the highest grade (6.5). The listed highest sold copy sold in 2022. The price is deceiving because the 5.0 (listed below) that sold for 108k had slightly brittle pages, which is always a big negative for any comic book. If a better copy went up for sale today, then it would sell for well over 200k. There just aren't many of these out there, and even when a low-grade or restored copy goes up for sale it will sell for a good amount.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 5.0 $108,000
Detective Comics 27
First Appearance of Batman and Commissioner Gordon
Detective Comics 27 needs no introduction as it features the first appearance of one of the most popular superheroes. This comic (along with Action Comics 1) is also very rare, so finding an unrestored (or even restored) copy can be nearly impossible outside of auctions. You usually need to wait for high-end auctions to see one up for sale. Detective Comics 27 and Action Comics 1 have always been the most valuable comic books, however, Amazing Fantasy 15 and Superman 1 have caught up in high grades (currently, Superman 1 holds the record). There is a single 9.2 of Detective Comics 27 on the CGC census that would be a contender for the highest price a comic book has ever sold for if it went up for sale today. Don't let the current 1.74 million dollar record fool you. That was for a CGC 6.5 copy that was sold in 2022 (a CGC 7.0 sold for 1.5 million dollars in 2020). We're waiting on the edge of our seats to see which comic will reign supreme a few years from now.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 6.5 $1,740,000
Detective Comics 29
Second Batman Cover
We didn't add Detective Comics 28 to this list (although the highest sale for that was 66k for a CGC 6.0), but we did list the second Batman cover as it can sell for more. There are many copies higher than the CGC 5.0 we have listed (sold in 2019), but only a higher 5.5 has sold since (102k in 2020).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 5.0 $107,000
Detective Comics 31
This is arguably the 3rd most iconic Batman cover (only behind Detective Comics 27 and Batman 1). This gothic-style cover by Bob Kane has always been valuable and just keeps climbing in price. There are several higher-graded copies on the CGC census. The listed CGC 6.0 copy was sold in 2017.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 6.0 $175,000
Detective Comics 33
Origin of Batman
Detective Comics 33 features the first time we would see an origin story for Batman. Generally speaking, many pre-Robin Batman comics can sell for big bucks as collectors like the darker stories that were being told at the time. The CGC 9.2 copy we have listed is the single highest graded comic on the census and was sold in 2018.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.2 $341,000
Detective Comics 35
Classic Cover and Splash Page
Detective Comics 35 has a classic hypodermic needle cover as well as an amazing splash that has Batman holding a smoking gun (which we all know goes against his modern no-guns policy). This book can sell for reasonable amounts if restored, but higher-grade unrestored copies can sell for big money. There are 2 higher grade copies than the book listed below (CGC 8.5 and 9.4) that would likely sell for multiple times the amount listed.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 7.5 $119,500
Detective Comics 38
First Appearance of Robin
Detective Comics 38 features the first appearance of Robin and the beginning of the sidekick character. This was a good way for the kids reading to relate to the stories being told. Things would change in the 1960s with the introduction of characters like Spider-Man (making average teenagers the main characters in books). This is another comic that hasn't had a major sale in years. The highest-graded copy (listed below) was sold in 2005, meaning that if the same copy went up for sale today, then it would likely get multiples of that price.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.4 $126,500
Detective Comics 140
First Appearance of the Riddler
This comic features the first appearance of the iconic Batman villain known as The Riddler. You might be wondering why we only added the first appearance of the Riddler and not other first appearances (ex: Detective Comics 40, 58, 66, 69, 168). This is mostly because of the recent Promise Collection sale of this book that once again broke all sales records by a mile. Note that the other Golden Age Batman villain first appearances also have good value.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $456,000
Fantastic Four 1
First Appearance of the Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four 1 marks the beginning of the Marvel age of comics. With the introduction of this team, we would see Stan Lee (along with greats like Jack Kirby) go on to create many popular characters we all know and love today. The highest sale was for a CGC 9.2 copy in 2022 (absolutely shattering previous records), but there are 2 CGC 9.6 copies on the census that would likely fetch over 2 million dollars if they went up for sale today. This book just keeps going up in price as of late.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.2 $1,500,000
Fantastic Four 5
First Appearance of Doctor Doom
Fantastic Four 5 has the first appearance of one of the most popular supervillains in Marvel, Doctor Doom. This book has recently seen major price jumps as many expect big things from the character in future movies. There are 3 CGC 9.6 copies on the census (no sales data). There is also a CGC 9.4 that sold in 2021 for 138k but was already beaten by a CGC 9.2 that sold in 2022.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.2 $160,000
Flash Comics 1
First Appearance of the Flash (Jay Garrick)
This issue has the first appearance of the original Flash from the Golden Age. The comic also features the first appearance of Hawkman. This book is among the Golden Age mega keys. It always catches the attention of the collecting community whenever it goes up for sale. The listed Mile High copy is the single highest graded copy on the CGC census.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $450,000
Flash Comics 86
First Appearance of Black Canary
Flash Comics 86 features the first appearance of the original Black Canary character from the Golden Age. While the character would have a few years of publication until a hiatus, she would return in the Silver Age and today is one of the more well-known characters in DC. The highest sold copy was from the recent Promise Collection. We initially thought this comic was worth more but decided to leave it on the list (let's call it an honorable mention).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.2 $48,000
Incredible Hulk 1
First Appearance of the Hulk
This comic book features the first appearance of the Incredible Hulk by Stan Lee. The character would be grey in his first appearance but would change to green in the next issue. This book has been trending upwards like many Marvel comics from this period. There is a single 9.4 on the CGC census, which might get 7 figures in today's comic market. A CGC 9.2 sold recently for 375k, but that was beaten by a CGC 9.0 that sold in 2022.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.0 $490,000
Incredible Hulk 181
First Appearance of Wolverine
We didn't want to add any Bronze Age comics to this list, but there is a 9.9 for Incredible Hulk 181 on the CGC census, and if that copy goes up for sale, then it will most likely sell for a solid 7 figures in this current market.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.8 $96,000
Journey Into Mystery 83
First Appearance of Marvel's Thor
Journey into Mystery 83 features the first appearance of Thor from Marvel. Another Silver Age Marvel mega key that can sell for big money in high grades. The listed highest price sold for this book was for a recent CGC 9.4 copy (sold in 2022). There is a single 9.6 on the CGC census, but it has no sales. A CBCS 9.6 sold in 2015 for 215k (as you can see the more recent CGC 9.4 copy completely shattered that sale).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.4 $432,000
Marvel Comics 1
First Marvel Comic, Human Torch, and Ka-Zar
Marvel Comics 1 is the first-ever Marvel comic book (originally named Timely Comics) that was published in 1939. The comic features the first appearance of the Human Torch and has a very iconic cover (a personal favorite of ours) by Bill Everett. This is another Golden Age mega key that rarely goes up for sale. The recent sale for this book (price listed below) was the "pay copy", which had the pay for the artists and staff written on it. The pay copy of Marvel Comics 1 makes it into the top 5 most valuable comics of all time. There is a higher copy on the CGC census that is CGC graded 9.4 (Windy City Pedigree), which sold in 2011 for $1,200,000. There's a good chance that the Windy City copy of Marvel Comics 1 could top Captain America Comics 1 (CGC 9.2 @ 3.1 million dollars) and break into the top 4 highest-selling comics of all time if it went up for sale today. Marvel Comics 1 currently sits at number 5 among the highest-selling comics of all time.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.2 (Pay Copy) $2,427,000
Marvel Family 1
First Black Adam
Marvel Family 1 features the first appearance of the villain Black Adam. While he's a very well-known character in the DC Universe, note that he only appeared once in the Golden Age in this Fawcett comic. When DC purchased the rights to Captain Marvel (who was renamed Shazam), they decided to bring back Black Adam and the rest is history. Marvel Family 1 makes the list because the Promise Collection copy (CGC graded 9.4) sold for a record $186k in 2021.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.4 $186,000
Marvel Mystery Comics 4
There are so many Marvel Mystery Comics that are worth good money, but issue 4 just recently sold for a staggering amount in 2022. The highest graded copy is the Billy Wright Pedigree book that is CGC 9.2, but that hasn't gone up for sale since 2012 (50k). It would likely sell for much more if put up for sale today.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 7.5 $160,000
More Fun Comics 52
First Appearance of the Spectre
More Fun Comics 52 has the first appearance of the Spectre character. It has been said that this issue is even tougher to find than Action Comics 1. We haven't seen many copies of this comic for sale in the past few years, so sales data isn't completely accurate. The Larsen Pedigree copy (price listed below) was sold in 2006. Note that a CGC 3.0 just sold for $95k in 2022, meaning the CGC 9.2 we have listed is probably well into 7 figures today.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.2 $119,500
More Fun Comics 73
First Appearances of Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Speedy
More Fun Comics 73 features the first appearances of not only one iconic character but three. Aquaman wouldn't get much recognization in the Golden Age as he was too similar to the Sub Mariner, but he would later go on to become one of the more iconic DC characters. The last sale was a 6.5 in 2022, but there are a few higher grade copies including the Mile High copy that is a CGC 9.4, which is likely worth well into 7 figures today.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 6.5 $192,000
Motion Picture Funnies Weekly 1
First appearance of Sub Mariner
This sales data for Motion Pictures Funnies 1 is a bit deceiving. This is because there are only about 8 copies of this book in existence and those copies haven't gone up for sale in many years (the last copy was sold in 2009). This comic was meant to be distributed to theaters but didn't catch on. It also wasn't widely distributed or sold on newsstands. An interesting fact is that this comic features the first appearance of the Sub Mariner before Marvel Comics even started (the story would however be reused in Marvel Comics 1 with 4 new pages added). If this book goes up for sale in the current market, then we are sure it will sell for well over 100k (more likely close to 7 figures).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.0 (Pay Copy) $43,000
Pep Comics 22
First Appearance of Archie Andrews
Pep Comics 22 doesn't have Archie on the cover, but still features the first appearance of the character. It is one of those books that has a very dedicated fanbase. High-grade copies don't go up for sale very often. A CGC 8.0 copy listed below was sold in 2017, but there is a single higher copy on the CGC census (8.5).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 8.0 $252,100
Phantom Lady 17
Phantom Lady 17 is one of the most iconic "good girl" covers from the Golden Age. The book features art from the great Matt Baker and was featured in Seduction of the Innocent (an important book that blasted the comic industry for leading kids in the wrong direction and led to the Comics Code Authority being implemented, effectively ending the Golden Age of comics). This comic is a must-have for any Baker fans who can afford it. The Promise Collection CGC 9.6 copy (listed below) broke all records with this book as it is the single highest-graded copy.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $456,000
Sensation Comics 1
Second Appearance of Wonder Woman (1st Cover)
Many fans think that Sensation Comics 1 should have been the first appearance of Wonder Woman as it features a great cover, and we can't disagree. The comic just looks like the perfect start to the character (created by William Marston). The single highest-graded copy (listed below) was sold in 2017.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $399,000
First Appearance of Barry Allen (the Flash)
Showcase 4 is essentially the beginning of the Silver Age of superheroes and brings back the superhero trend (before this only Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman had regular titles still being published). This book is very significant and tough to find in high grades. There is only 1 sale for a CGC 9.6 copy (single highest graded) from 2009, so keep that in mind, since that seems to be a running theme with this list.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $179,250
Startling Comics 49
This classic cover from Alex Schomburg is considered by many to be one of his better "good girl" covers. This airbrushed cover features a robot (resembling Bender from Futurama) carrying a girl in peril. There are currently 6 CGC 9.6 copies on the census (highest graded). The last one sold in 2021 (Promise Collection).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $132,000
Strange Tales 110
First Appearance of Doctor Strange
While the cover is considered by many to be one of the worst of the Silver Age mega keys (due to Doctor Strange being absent from it), this comic still sells for a good amount in high grades and keeps trending up. Note that there are currently 6 CGC 9.6 copies on the census, but the last one sold in 2014, so today's price is most likely much higher.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $66,000
1st Solo Superhero Title
Superman 1 from 1939) currently holds the number 1 spot for the highest-selling comic book of all time with a recent private sale (confirmed by CGC). This comic is the first time we ever saw a title dedicated to a superhero. It also features an iconic cover by Joe Shuster. The book is one of those Golden Age mega keys that has everyone talking whenever it goes up for sale. The CGC 8.0 (Mile High pedigree) that currently holds the record is tied for the 2nd highest-graded copy on the CGC census (there is 1 CGC 8.5). Note that this comic is very hard to find in higher grades (only 4 copies graded above 6.0). The price for this one is somewhat surprising as we feel like Action Comics 1 and Detective Comics 27 should have higher sales, due to their significance. It's hard to say, but we're fairly confident that they would break all records (especially in the current market).
Highest Sold Price - CGC 8.0 $5,300,000
Suspense Comics 3
Suspense 3 recently shattered records with a recent sale that defied expectations. The comic features a great Alex Schomburg cover, and possibly one of the best from the WWII era. There are 3 copies graded higher on the CGC census.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 6.0 $280,000
Tales of Suspense 39
First Appearance of Iron Man (Tony Stark)
This comic book features the first appearance of the now household name character; Iron Man. Keep your eyes peeled as this comic is slowly climbing in price and might be worth even more in a few years. The Pacific Coast copy listed below sold in 2012, so the price is probably a fraction of what the book is worth today. There is a single CGC 9.8 copy as well that would most likely sell for 7 figures today.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $375,000
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1
First Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1st Print)
The only modern age book on this list, this book features the first appearance of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The initial first print of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 had a low run, which led the comic to be worth a good amount. Higher-grade copies are continuing to climb in price in today's market. There are currently 31 CGC 9.8 copies on the census.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.8 $250,000
Whiz Comics 2 (1)
First Captain Marvel (Shazam)
Whiz Comics 1 is labeled as issue 2 but is the first issue. The comic features the first appearance of Captain Marvel, who would be a character that was similar to Superman (but got his powers from magic). DC thought that character was too similar and sued Fawcett. They would win and the Captain Marvel character would fall into limbo for many years until DC itself purchased the rights and brought him back. Note that there are no recent sales for anything in a higher grade for this book. There are currently 5 higher-graded copies on the CGC census than the book we have listed below (1 CGC 9.0, 1 CGC 8.5, 1 CGC 7.0, and 2 CGC 6.5 copies). The 9.0 (sold for 281k in 2012) and 8.5 copies would most likely approach 7 figures in today's market.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 6.0 $385,500
Wonder Woman 1
First Solo Wonder Woman Title
This comic isn't worth as much as Sensation Comics 1 or All-Star Comics 8, but it features an iconic cover and is a must for any fan of Wonder Woman. The CGC 9.0 price we have listed below is from 2011, so the price is going to be much higher in today's market. There is also 1 CGC 9.4 on the census, but it has not gone up for sale publically.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.0 $291,100
First Appearance of the X-Men and Magneto
X-Men 1 can't seem to stop going up lately. For many years it was within reach of most collectors, but lately, it seems to have climbed to the point of being one of the most valuable Silver Age comics, especially in high grades. This is because many expect the X-Men to make future movie appearances. It also doesn't hurt that this book features the first appearance of one of the most popular Marvel villains, Magneto. There are currently 4 CGC 9.6 copies on the census (the last one sold in 2021) and 2 CGC 9.8 copies. The last CGC 9.8 sold in 2012 for 492k, so the price is outdated. It would likely get well into 7 figures in today's market.
Highest Sold Price - CGC 9.6 $807,300
If you feel like you've found something on the most valuable comics list, then you need to take things slow. First, make sure you have the original and not a reprint. We can't emphasize this enough. There are MANY reprints of these comics, and most of them have little to no value. An example would be Action Comics 1. There are reprints from the 70s thru today. One of the more common reprints of this book that we come across is the Famous First Edition from the 70s. This is a larger reprint issue with an extra cover. Many people remove the outer cover from the comic and attempt to sell it as the authentic edition. The problem is that this reprint is much bigger than the original, so it can be easy to spot, especially if you're looking at it in person (it can be tougher online, depending on the pictures).
If you've checked and done your research and feel like you have the real deal, then you've just hit the jackpot. You're most likely sitting on something very expensive. Next, you need to check the grade, which is very important. The prices we list here in many cases for the highest graded copies. The difference between a high-grade and low-grade copy can be exponential. An example of this would be Incredible Hulk 181. On average CGC 4.5 condition books will sell for between $3-4k. In higher grades such as CGC 8.0, copies can sell for around 8-9k. In the highest grade of CGC 9.8, it can sell for around 84-96k. There is one 9.9 copy that is most likely worth 7 figures. As you can see the price difference is massive.
If you feel like your comic looks good, then you need to check next for restoration. This is also very important. We will use Detective Comics 27 as an example here. If a book is all original and unrestored, then a 7.0 copy will sell for around 1.5 million dollars. However, a copy in the same grade that has moderate restoration will sell for about 300k. It's still worth a good amount of money, but a fraction of what the unrestored copy sells for. There is a major stigma against restored comics in the collecting community, so even if your book only has a small amount of color touch, then the value will be greatly affected.
You should also check for page quality. This usually isn't a big issue as long as the book wasn't stored in a very hot place. If your comic has anything other than slightly brittle or brittle pages, then you're going to be in good shape. This is because collectors tend to stay away from brittle books as they are starting to deteriorate.
Now you've done your research and graded your very expensive comic book. How do you go about selling it without getting scammed? This one is easy. If you have a very expensive comic book that is already graded, then we recommend sending it to a reliable auction house. We recommend using Heritage Auctions as they have multiple offices (which accept drop-offs) and usually get the best prices. They will usually take between 10 and 30% off the sale. If you have something rare like Action Comics 1, you can easily negotiate with them and get them to charge you the minimum fee. If you have something like an X-Men 1 (which is more common) in an average CGC 4.0 grade, then you'll most likely be paying the higher end of the spectrum.
Why Are These Comics So Expensive?
Now you might be thinking: why is an Action Comics 1 worth so much and why isn't my Valiant Turok 1 worth big money? The answer has a few parts. To be considered one of the most expensive comic books, a book needs to be significant (key), rare, and have a major demand from collectors. If you're missing any one of these three, then the value is greatly affected. Most comic books can't check off even one of these, making them worthless on the aftermarket.
Let's use Detective Comics 27 as an example. This comic features the first appearance of a pop culture icon, that almost everyone in the world has at least heard of (Batman). This makes the comic extremely important/significant. Batman being a household name also makes the demand for this book skyrocket. Add that to the fact that this comic was published in the 1930s (almost no one saved their comics from this period), and you have an extremely rare comic book. There are only 36 unrestored copies graded by CGC on the census of this particular book, making it extremely rare. We should note that the CGC census (as well as the CBCS population report) isn't always a good indicator of the rarity when it comes to modern comics. However, the CGC census can be a rarity gauge for Golden Age comics as most books have already been found and graded, especially if they are significant.
The next question we get asked all the time is: will modern comic books ever be as valuable as Golden Age comics? The answer is slightly complicated, but for the most part, comic books from the 80s and 90s will never be the most valuable comics in the world UNLESS they are major keys that are graded 9.9 or 10 as those can be pretty tough to come by. This is mostly because a modern-age comic book is not rare, even if it is in demand and significant. Many collectors who purchased modern-age comic books off the rack kept them in hopes that they would go up in value, making them very common today.
A good example of this would be New Mutants 98. There are over 3600 CGC 9.8 copies on the census (plus another 250 on the CBCS census). Those have no chance of being the most valuable comics in the world since there are so many of them. There are also plenty more potential 9.8s out there that haven't been graded. However, there are only 12 CGC 9.9 copies on the census. There is also 1 CGC 10 copy on the census. Those 13 copies that are higher than 9.8 have a chance of being worth a good amount in the future, but it's tough to say if they will ever be as valuable as most Golden and Silver Age mega keys.
Although some of the Silver Age comics on this list aren't as rare as many Golden Age comics listed, we feel like this list is fair. Marvel Comics from the 1960s have major demand and can be tough to find in the highest grades. DC Comics (along with some Marvel) from the Golden Age can be tough in any grade. Many of these books likely continue to climb in price in the coming decades, but only time will tell.
Please note that this list is based on our research and if you have anything from here, then you should always do more research. We should not be your sole means of researching comic books and this article should not be used to price your collection. If you need any personal advice, be sure to give us a call or email and we can do our best to help. We can offer any opinions or tips to anyone who might need help with their comic book collection. If you want to sell any comics (valuable or not), be sure to give us a call, text, or email. We are a longtime comic book buyer and purchase collections of all sizes, ages, and values.