Top 5 Comics Worth the Most Money

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Got some old comics in your attic or basement? Check them before you throw them out--if they are the right issues and in good condition, they could be worth a not-so-small fortune. Prices available at auction differ from the perceived market value, which is based on rarity and difficulty of replacement as well as the issue and the condition. For example, a copy of the top listed comic is valued at $397.5 million, but only fetched a fraction of that on sale in 2010.

5 Batman #1

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Spring, 1940: Batman, who by then had been around for almost a year, became the second superhero to get his own comic. For the first time, readers were introduced to Robin, his intrepid sidekick. Valued at $359,000 in 2010, a near-mint condition copy sold in early 2012 for $850,000 at auction. This gives it the honor of being the highest sale price ever realized for a comic book in history. As with other valuable comics, the actual sales price depends on the demand for the book as much as the condition.

4 Marvel Comics #1

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Fourth on the list according to Nostomania’s top 100 most valuable comics is Marvel Comics’ first issue. It was published in 1939 and was also prompted by the success of the other superhero comics. The issue introduced three Marvel characters who would become legends – the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner of Atlantis, and Ka-Zar the Great. Values range from $330,000 to around $491,000, with a 2010 copy fetching $367,000 at auction.

3 Superman #1

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Superman was the first character to get his very own comic book. In the summer of 1939, Superman #1 hit the newsstands with an illustration of the superhero in his iconic costume with the triangle on his chest and the recognizable logo. Also selling for 10 cents, the estimated value in 2006 was $210,000. In 2013, however, the value ranged from $25,500 for a copy in good condition to $68 million for a copy in mint condition, according to Nostomania, an online pricing guide based on actual sales that reflects current market conditions.

2 Detective Comics #27

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Published in May 1939, the 27th issue of Detective Comics was the first to feature Batman in “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate.” Originally known as The Bat-man, the character was created in response to the success of Superman the year before. Reported value for a near-mint condition copy of the comic ranges from $375,000 to $1.2 million, according to the Comics Price Guide, although no records exist of actual sale prices paid after 2006.

1 Action Comics #1

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Summer, 1938: Superman, last survivor of the planet Krypton, is born on paper. Devoting his life to those in need, he appeared on the cover of Action Comics #1. The publication sold for 10 cents and carried a drawing of the super hero smashing a car against a rock. As of August 2010 approximately 100 copies of the comic were known to be in existence, according to an ABC News story about a family who discovered a copy in their basement that saved their home from foreclosure. Copies are valued at between $250,000 and $1.5 million, depending on the demand and condition. Actor Nicholas Cage sold a copy in 2011 for $2.1 million.

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