Understanding the value of comics requires learning a bit about the era, significance and condition of the books. In this article, we will walk you through the key questions involved in helping to evaluate the value of your comic collection, whether you have a large collection or a more limited selection. As always, we provide free comic collection appraisals for those considering selling their collections, and hope this guide can help you start on the right track. To request a free valuation on your collection please submit the form below.
Comic Book Eras
Comic book values are partially a function of the era in which they originate. Vintage comics, dating from the 1930s to the 1950s are considered golden age comics (you can generally tell those have 10 cents the cover) contain some of the most collectable comics in the hobby. In order to better understand the potential value of golden age comics, it’s helpful to walk through the types/genres which are most collectable including Superhero, Precode Horror and Science Fiction comics.
Golden age Superhero comics introduced many of the most well-known characters today including Batman, Flash, Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman from D.C. Comics as well as Captain America, Human Torch and Sub-Mariner from Timely / Marvel Comics as well as Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics. These comics are among the most important in the hobby and have values according to their importance in history. Earlier issues (single-digit numbers) as well as key issues (those with first appearances of characters) are generally the most valuable.
Golden age pre-code Horror comics also have solid values especially from key publishers including E.C. Comics (Haunt of Fear, Vault of Horror, Crime Suspenstories, Shock Suspenstories), Key Publications (Weird Mysteries, Weird Chills, Weird Tales of the Future), Farrell (Voodoo) and many others. These comics featured suspenseful stories and graphical covers that catch the attention of collectors over 70 years after publication.
Silver Age comics from the mid 1950s to the 1960s (they generally have 12 cent covers), saw the introduction of many of today’s greatest heroes including Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and many others. The most collectable Silver age comics are those from Marvel comics in the early to mid 1960s.
The Bronze Age of comics (15 to 20 cent covers) in the 1970s saw the introduction of many key characters including Wolverine (Incredible Hulk 181), Punisher (Spider-Man 129) and many others.
Comic Book Significance
The values of comics within a given era largely depends on their significance as key issues where a historical event occurred such as introduction of a new character, a major storyline or a first issue. These issues are worth much more than common (run) issues which can still have some value depending on rarity and the cover art. In fact, some comics are considered keys based on the quality of the cover art from a famous artist such as Frank Frazetta, Alex Schomburg, L.B. Cole or others
Comic Book Condition
One of the most important factors in determining comic value is the condition / grade of the comic. Comics in higher grades command much higher values than lower-grade copies. The grading scale range from Poor (0.5) to Fair (1 to 1.5) to Good (2 to 2.5), Very Good (3 to 4.5), Fine (5 to 6.5), Very Fine (7 to 8.5) to Near Mint (9 and above). Understanding the factors that contribute to higher grades (a clean spine, clear presentation, well-attached staples, etc.) can help to better establish values.
Thanks for reading our guidance and remember we provide free comic book appraisals if you are considering selling a collections. You are welcome to reach out to us with questions.