Top comic books get disappointing results in Heritage auctions

Comic with first Batman appearance sees big drop-off at $675k

Cover Image for Top comic books get disappointing results in Heritage auctions
Detective Comics #27, featuring Batman's debut, saw a sharp decline, but Whiz Comics #2 set a record for any title not released by DC or Marvel. (Credit: Heritage Auctions)

Some of the most important comic books in the hobby were auctioned at Heritage on Thursday, though mixed results could be sign for concern for high-roller comic collectors.

Led by a Detective Comics #27 (first appearance of Batman), which sold for $675,000 at CGC 4.5 grade, the book is one of just 36 copies in the CGC universal census. The result for the book, which has seen only eight sales in any grade since 2018, represents a massive drop-off from its last comparable sale, which achieved $1.14 million in January 2022. Last year, a CGC 6.0 copy sold for $1.74 million, the current record price for the comic.

Heritage also sold a high grade copy of Whiz Comics #2 (CGC 7.0) for $288,000. With only two examples graded higher by CGC and an extremely sparse history of public sales — the last comp occurring in March 2011 for $61,000 — this key title is known for the first appearance of Captain Marvel and represents the most valuable comic not released by DC or Marvel.

A CGC 4.5 copy of Marvel Comics #1 sold for $288,000, marking the eighth sale of the comic in any grade since November 2019. One of the auction’s big ticket items, it also disppointed by failing to come close to its last comparable sale of $360,000 in January 2022 — a typical plunge from the pandemic highs achieved by many of these titles.

Fantastic Four #1, the first comic published under the Marvel name and the origin of the Fantastic Four, sold for $144,000 in CGC 8.5 grade. This represents an improvement from a year ago, when a comparable example sold for $117,000, however, it still lags behind three sales in 2022. CGC has graded 2,046 copies of the book, and a mere 20 copies are graded higher.

A bright spot came in the form of a CGC 6.0 All-Star Comics #8, featuring the origin and first appearance of Wonder Woman, which sold for $90,000. The sale represents a new record for the grade and a big jump since its last comparable sale in December 2022 of $66,000.

Other lots from the auction included a CGC 4.0 Batman #1, which sold for $288,000. The book, which marks the first installment in the series as well as the first appearance of The Joker and Catwoman, is down significantly since its last comp in May 2022, when it sold for $336,000.

Iron Man’s first appearance, Tales of Suspense #39 (CGC 9.2), sold for $106,266, about flat from its most recent comp of $108,000 in April.

Bidders drove the price of a Captain America Comics #1 (CGC 5.0) to $180,000, flat from its last comp in 2022 of $180,000.

A first printing of the beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, one of just 3,000 produced in 1984 and the home of the first appearance and origins of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the issue spawned the franchise we know and love today. This CGC 9.8 example, one of 36 at the grade, sold for $87,000. Earlier this year a near-comparable example (same grade but superior pages) realized $126,000.

Cinderella Love #25, an esteemed example of illustrator Matt Baker’s artistic acumen displayed on its cover, sold for $60,000. CGC has only graded 28 copies, with just a sole example higher than this comic. The price smashed the previous record sale for the title, which was held by a CGC 4.5 example, which sold for $17,400 in 2022.

Will Stern is a reporter and editor for cllct.