Which Comics Are the Holy Grail in the Collecting World?
The most valuable comic ever sold was one of three displayed on the top shelf at Comic Con in New York. What made this one the most sought after in the entire world of comic collecting? It was a white sticker on the protective display plastic.
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The sticker had the number "9.0" and a tag indicating "White Pages." To the experienced collector this told them it was a comic in "Mint" condition. Grading comics is not a precise business, but there are expert services, such as CGC, that can be used when you want a exact grade for comics. Comics are graded on a scale of 1 - 10. As the numbers get higher the quality gets better. At the low end "Fair" is a comic that may have considerable damage. discoloration. The 9.0 rating given to the highest-priced comic ever sold actually equates with the "Very Fine+/Near Mint" category. The comics that make up the "Holy Grail" are classics that may have been published many years ago. You can research what each level represents, and there are even "sub-levels," so the record-breaking comic that could even have had a 9.2 or similar rating. You can search the internet or consult a collector or comic book shop to help. Comics are often referred to be from one of four "ages". This includes the Golden Age (1938 – 1956), Silver Age (1956 – 1970), Bronze Age (1970 – 1985), Modern Age (1985 – Present). Listed below are the prized comics that make up the Holy Grail of the collecting world. They they have nothing to do with the grading system, and are just incredible.
1 - Action Comics No. 1 -- June 1938
This is the comic that brought the most followed comic character of all - Superman. Created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, Superman is widely considered the first of many who would be called "superhero." At the time, National Allied Publications was producing the comics that would become DC Comics. Several copies have sold for more than $1 million each. In 2014, the all-time record price for a comic was reached when a copy rated 9.0, and considered to be in Mint condition, sold for $3,207,852. That seems beyond incredible when you look at the the cover price of 10 cents. However, most of us would be lucky to even see one of these, much less hold it in our hands.
2 - Amazing Fantasy No. 15 -- August 1962
The cover told all that was needed when it proclaimed "Introducing - Spider Man." The cover also refers to "Spider-Man" written with a hyphen and that is how it would always appear. Steve Ditko and Stan Lee came up with Peter Parker and his alter-ego Spider-Man. The Silver Age of comics had come into its own, but no one knew the lasting and still-growing following this great character would have. Because this was published more than 20 years later than many other on the list of Holy Grail candidates, some copies have appeared in near perfect condition. One brought over $1 million dollars in 2011. That was rated 9.6, a number rarely given to any collectible comic. With hard work and luck one might be able to find originals still in circulation.
3 - Detective Comics No. 27 -- May 1939
This is the comic that introduced Batman to the world. That alone makes it so cherished by collectors that one copy sold for $1,075,000 in 2010. No copy in a condition rated 8.5 or higher has appeared in years and it is generally assumed that a highly rated copy of Detective Comics No. 27 would be bring the most money ever paid for a comic.
4 - Batman No. 1 -- Spring 1940
The character of Batman, who first appeared in Detective Comics #27, was so popular that within a year DC Comics started a series featuring him. With probably less than 300 copies still in circulation this is one of the hardest comics to find. In this first issue under the title character's own name, we see both friend and foe introduced as Catwoman (originally called just "Cat") and the Joker. The artists Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson were credited with illustrating Batman No. 1.
5 - X-MEN No. 1 -- September 1963
One of the Silver Age comics most prized, this is one of many great creations by Stan Lee. Working with Jack Kirby, the two created many of Marvel Comics' cast that people wanted to read about. We have seen them developed beyond the pages of the comics to be seen in movies, television, and video games The idea behind the X-Men was unique; a group of mutants who had been schooled under Professor-X; they exemplified a desire for peace between mutants and others. In many ways, the X-Men represent a force against bigotry. One copy of this debut of X-Men was rated 9.8, about as high a rating as is given. It sold for nearly $500,000.
6 - All-American Comics No. 16 -- July 1940
The appearance of the Green Lantern makes this one of the entries in the Holy Grail of comics. Created and drawn by Martin Nodell, his character of Alan Scott (the Green Lantern) was inspired by a view of a subway worker in a New York tunnel whose swinging lantern impressed Nodell. The publisher eventually sold its titles to what would become DC Comics. There are few known copies to be found that have a Very Fine or Mint rating, so many high-end collectors keep an eye out in hopes that one will appear.
7 - Marvel Comics No. 1 -- November 1939
It may be a bit confusing that Marvel Comics was first the name of a series published by Timely Comics. This issue introduced the "Marvel" name and two of its lasting characters, one being the android know as the Human Torch and the unconventional Namor the Submariner. Because of its age, this comic is very rarely found with a very high grading.
8. Captain America No. 1 -- March 1941
From the "Golden Age" of comics this is historic not only for the first appearance of Captain America, but for the fact that hero is seen punching a foreign leader even before the U.S. was involved in World War II.
Over 20 years before creating the Incredible Hulk, Jack Kirby was at work for Timely Comics (which would become Marvel Comics) when he first drew and worked on the story of Captain America. Even though this was clearly a patriotic character, Kirby and partner, Joe Simon, got threats because they were the Jewish creators behind the hero who was seen fighting the Nazis.
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