Posts Tagged ‘Action Comics No. 1’

Don’t Fall for the Hype

March 15, 2012

Recently, a comic book collection was sold at auction by Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Tx for $3.5 million. The collection was discovered by Michael Rorrer of Virginia. He was cleaning out his great aunt’s home when he found a collection of comic books from the 1930’s and 1940’s in a basement closet. Those comic books included:

  • Action Comics No. 1 from 1938, which features the debut of Superman. It sold for $299,000.  (Yes, the Holy Grail of comic books. Many experts feel that there are only 100 Action Comics No. 1 still in existence out of the 200,000 that were printed.)
  • Detective Comics No. 27 from 1939, which features the debut of Batman. It sold for $523,000.
  • Captain America No. 2 from 1941, which features a frightened Hitler on the cover. It sold for $114,000.

Before you start volunteering to clean out the homes of older relatives, it is important to note how lucky Rorrer is. Comic books from that era were throwaway items. They were printed on newsprint, so they were subject to wear and tear. They were also shared among friends, thrown out by Moms and collected as a part of wartime paper drives. Yet, the comic books in this collection survived all these years in good condition—good enough to get the prices in the hundreds of thousands range.

In addition, there are many comic books that aren’t that valuable. Yes, this collection featured Action Comics No. 1 and Detective Comics No. 27 two of the most valuable comic books out there.  What if the comic book collection contained Richie Rich or Casper The Friendly Ghost comics? One website sells Richie Rich comic books from the 1960’s for between $1.25 to $20.00. As for Casper, another website states that issue #60 from September 1952 sells for between $150.00 and $200.00. You can’t make enough money to quit your job by selling old Richie Rich or Casper comic books.

Which leads to this, it is great that Rorrer found the old comic books in his great aunt’s home, most of us won’t be that fortunate. Not every old item has value. Also, there are a lot reproductions out there. Taking Superman as an example, in 1974 DC Comics published an oversized exact reproduction of Action Comics No. 1. As you can guess, that comic book isn’t as worth as much as the original.

So, be happy for Rorrer that he found the comic books and made as much money as he did from them. Yet, don’t start seeing dollar signs when an old relative asks for your help clearing out stuff when he or she decides to move to a smaller home.