A picture is worth a thousand words. But make it a strip of pictures—with words—and it might be worth a thousand dollars. But just what comic books are worth money?
Comics can be worth considerable cash. Take, for instance, the first issue of Batman’s standalone series. It sold for a whopping 527K in 2013. And back in 1962, Spiderman swung onto the scene via issue 15 of the Amazing Fantasy series. Fast-forward to 2011, where that comic sold for over $1.1 million at auction.
Holy collectibles, Batman! What do you do now?
Though it’s unlikely you own a comic that could catapult you into early retirement, here’s how to tell what comic books are worth money:
Do some basic browsing and see where Google takes you. If your search comes up short on information, check a pricing site like www.comicspriceguide.com. You can also browse an auction site like eBay. Search your title, character and filter by quality (like new, used, etc.).
Comics are like cars. As wear increases, value depreciates. Comic books are graded from 1-10, using a CGC scale. The categories include Mint, Fine, Good, Fair and Poor—each with varying sub-levels. The more pristine, the pricier the piece. For the best price estimate, outsource the task to a dealer. Obvious things you can look for now include torn pages, missing pages, faded colors and/or stains.
We’ve heard of the Stone Age and the Renaissance, but who knew comics had their own category of Ages? Milestones and industry trends defined each Age. Classic characters emerged in each of the eras, so your starring superhero(es) can clue you into your comic’s value. Here are the various periods:
Though rarity is important, demand is everything. For example, there are more than 10,000 copies of New Mutants #98—an issue featuring Deadpool’s first appearance—floating around the market. Copies of this issue continually sell for upwards of $1000, even though it’s not hard to come by. Do your research to find out if any of your issues are in high demand.
The more you know about your comic or collection, the easier it will be to appraise. If it turns out your comic is worth something, make sure to get it sealed in a slab. A slab is the plastic sleeve that protects a comic’s value. If the slab is opened, the grade is invalid, so remember to keep it sealed tight!
If you enjoy accumulating antiques, find out how to determine the value of beer steins.