CGC-certified Action Comics #1 Realizes $3.18 Million in Heritage Sale

Posted on 1/19/2022

The hero of Metropolis once again shows his superhuman appeal to collectors.

An Action Comics #1 graded by Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®) realized $3.18 million in a recent Heritage Auctions sale, rocketing to a level rarely reached by any comic book. The auction, held January 16, 2022, also featured another CGC-certified comic book that achieved a seven-figure price.

Man of steel

Action Comics #1 — the 1938 publication that included the premiere of Superman and launched the Golden Age of comics — is a highly sought rarity. The archetypal hero brought to life by writer Jerry Siegal and artist Joe Shuster was an immediate hit, and the franchise rapidly expanded with merchandise, radio programming and movies.

Action Comics #1 graded CGC 6.0
Realized: $3.18 million
Click images to enlarge.

This example, known as the Rocket Copy for a red rocket stamp its young collector put on its cover, is graded CGC 6.0 (lot 91030). It joins an elite group of comic books to pass the $3 million mark. They include an Action Comics #1 graded CGC 9.0 that sold on eBay for $3.2 million in 2014 and held the record as the most-expensive comic book for nearly seven years.

In April 2021, ComicConnect announced that an Action Comics #1 graded CGC 8.5 had sold for $3.25 million, eclipsing the previous record. That book’s reign as champion was cut short a few months later by the current record-holder: an Amazing Fantasy #15 graded CGC 9.6 that sold for $3.6 million in September 2021.

The CGC Census contains only 43 examples of Action Comics #1 in the highly desirable CGC Universal grade. The CGC 8.5 example is tied for the third-highest Universal grade, while the CGC 6.0 is tied for the ninth-highest Universal grade. The fact that it sold for nearly as much as the CGC 8.5 did a few months earlier demonstrates that the intense interest in comic books in 2021 shows no sign of abating in 2022.

The Caped Crusader

Meanwhile, a Detective Comics #27 graded CGC 4.5 (lot 91038) realized $1.14 million. Known for the first appearance of Batman, the 1939 book launched the franchise of the “Caped Crusader.” Currently, there are 74 examples of Detective Comics #27 recorded in the CGC Census, with only 36 issues qualifying for the Universal label.

Detective Comics #27 graded CGC 4.5
Realized: $1.14 million
Click images to enlarge.

Another Detective Comics #27, one with a grade of CGC 5.0, realized $1.12 million at a Heritage Auctions sale in June 2021. It was one of eight CGC-graded comic books that realized prices over $1 million in 2021. To learn more and see the others, click here.

Other CGC-certified highlights in the January 2022 sale included:

  • a Marvel Comics #1 graded CGC 4.5 (lot 91041) that realized $360,000
  • an Amazing Fantasy #15 graded CGC 7.0 (lot 91032) that realized $252,000
  • a More Fun Comics #73 graded CGC 6.5 (lot 91045) that realized $192,000
  • an Amazing Fantasy #15 graded CGC 5.5 (lot 95113) that realized $132,000
  • a Crime Does Not Pay #24 graded CGC 9.4 (lot 92009) that realized $102,000
  • a Superman #1 graded CGC 0.5 (lot 91046) that realized $96,000
  • a Marvel Family #1 graded CGC 9.0 (lot 91042) that realized $90,000

All prices realized include buyer’s premium.

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