Avid comic collector & fan for nearly twenty years, Vic started collecting comics around eight years old. Comic investing since the 2000s.
It's a new craze of comic investing. The Hollywood blitz of superhero movies has, no doubt, pushed the demand for certain comic book issues and comic titles in the past few years. While the economy struggled with a shaky stock market and 401k plans being completely obliterated for quite a few folks, comic sales were quite strong and many golden and silver age comics saw record breaking sales well into the five and six figure, as well as past the million dollar mark.
However, even though, many average comic collector's can't afford these high pedigree comic books that are breaking sales records, many of us can make smart choices in which comics to drop our hard earned cash when it comes to comic investing.
But, with so many comics to choose from, which are the best comic investments to make for us average collectors who are on a budget? Here's my top comic investments of 2012 and why you should get them.
However, in reality, the best comics to invest in aren't really regulated to any specific year. Of course, it's best to get in on them as soon as possible, but from what I've seen in terms of comic investing, many have gone up in value throughout the decades.
Sure they may fluctuate from year to year, but as long term investments, they have been goldmines for quite a few who were smart enough to invest in comic books.
Tales of Suspense #39 1st Appearance of Iron Man
This silver age key issue comic book is already going above guide, and is getting pretty expensive in the lower grades as well. Actually, all the grades of this 1st appearance of Iron Man is going above guide prices. So why is this a good investment comics choice?
This May we will see the extremely and highly anticipated comic book movie of all time - The Avengers hit the screen. However, does the demand let up even after the movie hype dies down? No, in 2013 the following year, Marvel will release Iron Man 3.
That's not all. Marvel is already talking about an Avengers 2 and I highly doubt that a third sequel wont be made. So, this first appearance of the Iron one will get a huge amount of push in demand for the next few years. You can consider a good comic book investment you'll see grow fast in value before the decade is up.
Iron Man #1 Vol 1
This issue is also going above guide in all grades but the lower grades are not anywhere near the thousand dollar mark just yet according to guide values. A mid grade fine of this silver age key comic is guided at $114, but don't expect to find it for this price now.
Expect to pay near $200 for a fine copy of this book, and even more as you get to the higher grades. Still, investing in a mid to lower grade copy is still a wise comic investment choice, as collectors are scrambling to find a copy of Iron Man #1.
I already got mine at VG, and just waiting to see the value of this silver age key explode in the next three years, which I have no doubt that it will.
Tales of Supensce #57 Vol 1 1st Appearance of Hawkeye
Yes, this is one of the silver age keys that got a great push from the Thor movie, and this push is still going strong as the character will also be a major character in the upcoming Avengers movie this year.
However, it doesn't end with Hawkeye, and there's been talks of a spin-off movie, as well as an Avenger's sequel. This book will be hot for the next couple of years, and I have no doubt that it will continue to rise in value quite quick. This issue is already going just a tad bit above guide for lower grade issues like GD and VG.
As the Avengers movie nears, the price increase will only get worse. This issue is still affordable at lower to mid grades, but how long that will last is uncertain.
Captain America #100 (1968 Series)
This is the very first issue to kick off Captain America in his very own title during the silver age. This comic is continued from the Tales of Suspense series.
Remember, Cap is a golden age comic character and first appeared in Captain America Comics (March 1941). If you can track down the 1st appearance of Captain America, any grade of that golden age key is more than a brilliant comic book investment choice. However, it's also expensive as well. A GD runs at guide for $10,000, but I'm highly sure it's going for a lot more on the current market.
However, back to Captain America #100. This is a silver age key issue that's still affordable. I just got a VG copy of this issue, and Overstreet is behind on the value of this issue. I paid $30 above guide, but I'm not worried about that. The Avengers movie and talks of a Captain America sequel will continue to push the value up for this comic for quite a few years to come.
Avengers #1 Vol 1
The demand for this book is enormous right now, and there's no way you'll find a copy of this at any grade for guide price. It's also pretty expensive. Guide has this comic at VG at $ 1,066.00.
However, this comic is one of the holy grail Marvel key issues to own for any collector or comic book investor. Personally, a little too expensive for my taste. Is it well worth the investment? Sure, if you have the money. The Avengers is one of the most popular superhero teams ever in the world of comics, and the very first appearance of the Avengers team will do nothing but go up.
Journey Into Mystery #83
The very first appearance of Thor is becoming increasingly harder and harder to find, and the price keeps going up and up on this book. The Thor movie and all the Avengers buzz helped skyrocket this key issue even further, and it's now been confirmed that a Thor sequel will be happening.
The title of the Thor sequel is Thor: The Dark World. So lets see. Thor will appear in a sequel and then again for Avengers 2 and probably a 3rd Thor movie. Will he appear in an Avengers 3? Who knows, but that's a lot appearances in movies to keep the demand up for the next several years for his first appearance key issue in Journey Into Mystery.
Even Natalie Portman will be in this sequel. However, Journey Into Mystery #83 isn't a cheap buy at all. A VG copy is guided at $2,070.00, which means that current demand for this book is well over guide. Don't expect to get this for guide price. It will be quite a few dollars more, and you'll probably see the price change in the next Overstreet Guide that comes out during this summer.
Those who got in early on this particular key issue comic weren't just lucky. They were smart, especially if they could find a high grade copy and CGC graded! They'll be reaping in major returns until the end of the decade. Don't believe me?
Last year value: $30,000 for a low NM 9.2 copy.
This years guide value: $40,000 for a low NM 9.2 copy
A ten thousand dollar return in one year! And they say comic books are kid's stuff!
A Very Fine grade last year was $10,350
This year, a Very Fine grade is now worth $12,000
A return of $1,650 in one year!
If each comic book was equal to one share of stock, rare key issue comic books out-perform as investments hands down!
Avengers #4 Vol 1
Reintroducing Captain America into the silver age of comics is an important key issue in comic history, and this issue does just that. This is the silver age key that revives Caps career, and of course, it's the Avengers that find good ole Cap and thaws him out of suspended animation.
This book was hot in 2010 and 2011 with the Captain America: The First Avenger movie. Actually, demand for this comic was picking up during the first Iron Man movie. If didn't grab it during that time, you could've got it a lot cheaper than now.
However, will demand for this book end after the Avengers movie? No, not at all. Captain America will have a sequel, and since the Avengers movie was a huge box office success, there's talks of the Avengers having a sequel as well.
Okay, more than just talks. The Avengers 2 sequel has been confirmed for a 2015 release!
The upcoming movies and sequels will keep demand for this book long after the first Avengers movie has deflated from the theaters. It's not too late to make a great comic investment choice with this one. However, it's not a cheap nor easy book to find, but if you find one at any grade (of course the higher the better and more expensive it will be) and have big enough pockets, get it before it's way out of reach.
And, believe me, it will be way too expensive in the next coming years.
More Comic Investment Related Hubs To Enjoy!
- More of the Best Comics to Invest in - Silver Age Comic Investing!
More picks of my best comic book investments to make soon before demand skyrocket's their values. Also discover Marvel Studios new comic book film that's slated to hit theaters before the Avengers 2 sequel in 2015! I have long written rumors about it
- Comic Investing 101! My Top Picks of Key Bronze Age Marvel Investment Comics to Get in 2012 Part 1!
Comic investing 101! Are bronze age comics starting to become more in demand since high grade silver age comics are becoming way to expensive for the average collector? Read this hub to learn the truth, and see my top picks of bronze age Marvel inves
- More Top Bronze Age Comics To Invest In For 2012 Part 2!
Part two of my top bronze age comics to invest in for 2012. If you're wondering what the best comic investments to make or need a little help choosing investment comics, this hub details exactly why these certain comics will only grow in value.
- Comic Investing 101! My Top Picks of Bronze Age Marvel Investment Comics To Get In 2012 Part 1!
Comic investing 101! Are bronze age comics starting to become more in demand since high grade silver age comics are becoming way to expensive for the average collector? Read this hub to learn the truth, and see my top picks of bronze age comics.
More Comic Info or Comic Book Investing Advice For Ya!
- A Bit About The Stepford Cuckoos or Frost Sisters in Comics!
Like the Frost Sisters on The Gifted TV show? I am a fan of the characters that Skyler Samuels plays, as well as Stepford Cuckoos in the comics. Here's a bit about the characters in the actual comics. Learn about their 1st appearance in comics and wh
- 2 Undervalued Hellboy Key Comics Every Comic Fan Should Have!
Hellboy fan? Key Comic hunter? Here are 2 Hellboy key comics that aren't that well-known currently but they are quickly gaining steam. You don't want to miss this if you love Hellboy comics.
- Is It Worth Getting Comic Books Graded At CGC or PGX?
To CGC grade or not to? Wondering if your comics are worth getting graded for maximum investment potential? Read this article to find out if you should grade your comic books at CGC or PGX.
- Silver Age Comic Books As A Long Term Investment! More About Comic Investing!
Silver age comic as a long term investment! Are silver age comics a good investment choice? read this article to find out the real answer as well as the various factors about silver age comic books as long term investments.
© 2012 Vic
Vic (author) on July 19, 2013:
@ Jhoang, I'm hoping it does, and I think it should as it is Wolverine's first solo comic title. The new Wolverine movie, however, has not really pushed the value for this comic book up as I hoped it would.
@ OpiePride. Man, that's gotta hurt, but as long you sold it for a lot more than what you bought it for and made a nice profit don't feel too bad. Life happens and we all have to sell off a book we later regret.
Thanks for reading and commenting guys!
Michael Pridemore from Lexington, Ky on July 08, 2013:
Last year I sold my TOS 57, still regretting it but at the time I needed the money more, Good Hub
Jhoang on May 19, 2013:
Wolverine mini series #1 is also a great buy, especially with the movie coming out. It's the first issue where he goes to japan. It's not worth a lot yet, but i'm sure the price will rise substantially in the future.
Vic (author) on April 12, 2013:
Your welcome RealityTalk. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Be sure to let me know how it goes as well.
RealityTalk from Planet Earth on April 10, 2013:
Thanks again for the great advice!
My comic collection are all comics I bought myself right off the retail rack; most of them in the early 1970s, so I merely paid the original retail price for each comic.
I will look into those places you mentioned and consignment. That sounds like good advice.
Vic (author) on April 10, 2013:
Hello again RealityTalk:
Well if we are talking about aging, when did you acquire the collection? Was in the 70s, 80s, 90s, recently? If it's recently and you paid top dollar for them, you may want them to age a bit more.
However, if you kept them around since the 80s or earlier, you will get a pretty nice return on investment for them right now...if you really could care less about parting with them, that is.
Once again, grade plays a huge factor in how much it will sell for and it's value. Also, the market is a huge factor. Your Avengers #1 is in pretty high demand now due to the movies. The lower the grade, the less in demand it is and will sell for less.
I do not know the auction house you spoke of earlier, but they will only sell your collection as a collection, not individual pieces which will get you more money. For example, your entire collection sells for auction around a hundred dollars per book, but half of your comics at the grade they are in are worth close to $500 a comic. Half of your collection is worth $250,000, but you only got $100,000 for your entire collection at auction. You lost major money.
Also, most auction houses sell everything. They are not specific to just comics. Heritage auctions is one auction house that has a lot of pull auctioning off comics and collections, but they sell most everything also. If you auction your entire collection on ebay, you'll get even less for it.
At general auction houses, the people bidding are mostly localized and they aren't comic book specific. That means their customer base aren't mainly comic collectors. You want a specific breed of comic collectors, those who know the value of certain comics, the potential investment, and willing to shell out money for what the comic is worth.
Here's the thing most don't say and it's the hardcore truth. It's not a comic dealer or auctioneer's job to give you the most money back for your comics. A comic dealers job is to find and sell comics, and an auctioneers job is get a nice percentage.
It's a comic collectors job to get the most money out of his investment and to know how valuable it is. Even just knowing a rough estimate of fair grade is good and widens your options. There are way too many sharks in the business, and the more you don't know the more you'll get taken for a ride.
I learned all this the hard way. So what do I think? I think you have two options.
1. Consign your comics to those popular comic book sites that I mentioned like ComicLink, Comic Connect, or mycomicshop. They will grade your books for you and sell them, but if you're consigning with them, they won't rip you off.
It's in their best interest to grade and price your books fairly accurate. The higher the grade the more valuable. The more valuable the more out of that 10 or 13% they get out of it. While on the other hand, they also grade more fairly because they do not want to get a bad reputation of over-grading by customers who buy comics from them.
2. Let your comics age, but learn more about them and what you got. That means getting some knowledge in grading, etc, comic investing, and the market - the best places to sell them that cater specifically to comic collectors and investors.
As for Golden Age comics being more valuable than Silver Age, that really depends on the comic title and issue. There are quite a bit of golden age comics that aren't as valuable as silver age Amazing Spider-Man.
Hope this helps.
RealityTalk from Planet Earth on April 09, 2013:
Thanks for the advice. It sounds like you visited my web site.
I have not had my comics graded by anyone who knows how to grade them. My unprofessional opinion is that most of them are in great shape; I know that is not grade terminology, but I don't want to use the grade terminology since I haven't a clue how to grade them. I am sure a professional would find flaws I would not think as flaws and grade many less favorably than I.
Have you heard of an auction house in NYC by the name of Philip Weiss? He is the auctioneer I spoke of in my original post. I spoke with him by telephone a month ago. He said, if I am ever in NYC to look him up and he would look at my collection. I don't know if he would grade them without my agreeing to include them in one of his auctions; I don't recall what he said about that. He did suggest however, I might be better off letting them age a little longer; that the Golden Age comics were the more valuable than the Silver or Bronze Age comics at this time.
What do you think?
Vic (author) on April 09, 2013:
Heya, RealityTalk. There are a few factors for your situation.
What are the grades of the comics, and did you have them long enough to sell them for a decent amount of profit?
You have some great key issues in your collection, but it would help more if you could estimate grades. Before I tell you what I would do, I'll tell you what I wouldn't do.
1. I wouldn't sell them as an entire collection at any auction, and that means ebay also. Not unless you really want to sell them far below their worth.
2. I would NOT sell the entire collection to any comic dealer and that's with a huge PERIOD! Those guys are only looking to get a steal. They will only pay 30% of guide value and then turn around and sell it for guide value.
Now for what I would do:
1. There are many comic sellers on the net that will let you consign your comics, which means they use their market place to sell it for you. Of course they take a percentage out. Some are just 10%.
You can ship it to them, and they will grade it and post each comic to their site. Once it sells, they collect the money and ship it out for you as well. They have a minimum value, like a comic has to be worth $50.
You will have to register or create an account on their site. Some of the big ones are:
Those options are for when you really don't know what you have, but I always recommend doing research and knowing what you have before attempting to sell them.
Like I said, you have some really great key issues in there. If they are high grade, they would be even more valuable.
RealityTalk from Planet Earth on April 08, 2013:
Hi. This Hub is a very interesting read for me. I have a Marvel comic book collection of approximately 1000 comics that are mostly silver/bronze age (i.e. the early 70s) with a few preceding and following those dates. I have a copy of two of the comic books you mentioned in this Hub; Captain America #100 and The Avengers #1 from 1963.
I really don't know what to do with my collection. Keep it and let it age more, or sell it now. Each comic is individually wrapped in plastic, and kept in boxes for safe keeping. I did speak on the telephone to a comic auctioneer in NYC about the collection; he suggested to show him the collection when I am in NYC or let them age a little longer. I have not taken my comics anywhere to be graded.
I would be interested in what you think of some of the comics in my collection. I have my entire collection posted online in tabular form on a site I created. The link to the site is www.gplombproductions.info.
Thanks again for your interesting Hub.
Vic (author) on March 19, 2013:
Thanks bagsunlimited, and I love writing about comic books and how they can be very valuable investments.
@Comic Fox, I'm not too sure about modern comics as investments. I don't trust them at all, and unlike golden, silver, bronze - there's really no way of telling whether a book will be in demand 30 years from now. I know there are an extreme amount of high grade modern age comics floating around, and that's not a good thing.
Marion from 7 Canal St. Rochester, NY 14608 on March 19, 2013:
It's always great to read about this topic. Great topic!
Comic Fox on January 03, 2013:
I pretty much gotta agree with ya rabbit. It makes me wonder where the value of the variant issue of Thief of Thieves #1 is going to be 30 years from now. Are people only investing in that hyper inflated book because there will be a tv show? Probably. It might not be the greatest long term investment, but I bet that book will at least double its value when the show starts, making it a great short term investment. It also makes me wonder if Robert Kirkman is going to be up there with Stan Lee (probably not, no one can touch Stan "the man" Lee ) in 30 years from now, but if that's the case, then all of Kirkmans #1 issues might be something to keep an eye on.
Vic (author) on December 13, 2012:
Walking Dead is an extremely rare case, and you're right it has something to do with the print run. However, a low print run isn't just everything.
The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 was an extremely low print run as well, but a high grade copy is nowhere near $10,000. The TV series for The Walking Dead had a lot to do with demand for that book, and that TV series is extremely hot.
Also, CGC has changed the comic collecting market forever, and every comic that has broke record prices have been CGC graded.
However, the question really is how will that comic book fair twenty or thirty years from now when the TV show is cancelled or the Zombie craze has died down? Low print or not, demand is key when it comes to comic book investing as well as rarity.
I highly doubt that all these low print variant covers and gimmicks that the major comic publishers are pushing will be in high demand in the future. Most will still be gunning for the rare, high grade key issues and 1st appearances.
bc on December 13, 2012:
Investing in modern books is less about the grade and more about the print run. That's why something like Walking Dead #1 can sell for over $10,000.
Vic (author) on April 10, 2012:
William, I've written a lot of hubs and articles on Modern comics and investing in them. I generally think modern comics are a risky investment, and some of my reasoning has to do with what Civil War Bob just commented about.
Back in the day, most people didn't think comics would ever be valuable so many handled them poorly...read them till the covers fell off...threw them away...folded them..and everything else imaginable.
Nowadays it's a different story...Almost everyone knows now that comics can be valuable, so they're keeping newer books in great condition. The only problem is that too many people are doing this, so what you'll have is a bunch of modern comics at high grades.
The reason golden age, and silver age and bronze age comics are valuable is because of their rarity...the demand is more than the supply.
Modern comics is the opposite...too many high grade issues and the demand is lower than the supply...which means the value doesn't rise or rises extremely slowly.
I stay away from investing in modern age comics, but that's just me, but I do have solid reasoning for why I don't invest in them.
Vic (author) on April 10, 2012:
Thanks for dropping by Civil War Bob, and, man, that's a total bummer. Those comics and cards are probably worth some money now.
Civil War Bob from Glenside, Pennsylvania on April 10, 2012:
Good hub, rabbit75...voted up, interesting, useful. I can still hear myself TELLING my Mom to throw away my comics and baseball cards from the 60s in 1975! ;p
William on March 31, 2012:
Advice on modern comics to invest in