Are my old comic books worth anything?

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Are my old comic books worth anything?

Imagine rooting around your basement and finding $454,000. That's one way to brighten your day, er, your entire existence!

That's what happened in February 2016 when an anonymous collector sold Spider-Man comic book Amazing Fantasy #15 for $454,813 in Dallas, the most ever paid for a Spider-Man comic at public auction.

Let's be honest, we're not all that lucky. But you might be wondering if your comics gathering dust can fetch you big cash. That's where this blog post comes in: We'll break down what you need to know about valuable comic books, and also include a handy guide on grading the condition of your prized panels.

Rarity Matters

As with all collectibles and antiques, the rarer the comic book the more valuable it will be. The smaller the print runs, the more cash you'll get for that Incredible Hulk classic. Speaking of, the first appearance of Hulk in a mint condition book sold for $326,000 in 2014. 

Try to determine if your book features a superhero's first appearance before he/she got their own imprint. 

The first of any hero's own run is also valuable. Look at how the first Captain America, which sold a million copies, is now worth $731,000. 

It's well known that the golden age of comics, between 1930 and 1950, introduced to the world many superheroes such as Batman and Superman and Green Lantern. More often than not, any comic in decent condition from that era could be worth quite a lot of greenbacks.

It's not just between the covers that matter. The back cover of a 1939 first-edition Superman was the first cut-out pin-up, which many copies are now missing, and is estimated to be worth $753,000.

Big Moments

When a major issue looks at a critical moment in a superhero's storyline, that comic can be incredibly valuable. When Doctor Death first battled Batman, in an issue published in 1938, the comics world took notice, long after that seminal fight. Now that comic is worth $220,000.

That big moment can be the death of a character, the first work of a popular creator, a critically acclaimed comic, or a crossover comic, where superheroes from one issue cross into another world.

How's It Look?

As with many other collectibles, the condition of the item is integral to determining its value. Grades are given by the Comic Book Certification Service, also known as the CBCS, and as you can guess a comic book that is torn, well read, or bent is worth far less than a comic book that is in pristine condition. 

The following table lists terms used to describe the condition of a comic, its corresponding CGC grade range, and a description of a book that would fall into each category.

 

Condition

Description

Mint (MT) 10-9.8

A mint comic is one that is essentially in perfect condition. It has no bends, tears, marks, or discolorations. Very few comics are considered to be mint.

Near Mint (NM) 9.8-9.0

Near-mint comics are in exceptional condition, with no obvious bends or rolling along the spine. Colors may be faded and cover printing may be slightly off-center. Tears are acceptable in this category if they are no more than 1/16th of an inch.

Very Fine (VF) 9.0-7.0

Very fine comics may show wear to the cover, and images can be slightly faded. These comics can have light creases, and one or two lines present along the spine from bending.

Fine (FN) 7.0-5.0

A comic book in fine condition may have noticeable creases and bends to the spine and corners, as well as discoloration or minor stains.

Very Good (VG) 5.0-3.0

Very good comics may have significant wear, creases, fading, and discoloration. Price stickers may be present, and if the comic is otherwise in good condition, a portion of the cover may be missing or repaired with tape.

Good (GD) 3.0-1.5

Comics in good condition may have a cover that is badly torn. Staples may be rusted or missing. Coupons and ads may be cut from the book, and heavy wear and damage may also be present.

Fair (FR) 1.5-1.0

A fair book must still be readable, though stains and heavy discoloration may be present and the cover may be gone. Staples can be rusted or missing, and the book may be heavily creased and bent.

Poor (PR) <1.0

Many sellers do not even list comics that are in poor condition, as they rarely have any value. These comics are stained, ripped, worn, and bent, and may have pages missing.

 

We hope this succinct summary of investigating the value of your comic books can help you make a lucrative sale. If you have any questions about this post, or wish you to contact our appraisers to determine the rarity of your comics, contact us anytime.

 


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