Auctions | March 10, 2023

Historic Comic Books Leap to Auction

Heritage Auctions

Archie Comics 1

Heritage's latest Comics & Comic Art auction will see one of the most significant groups of key Golden Age books available in a single auction go under the hammer.

Highlights at the March 30-April 2 sale include Detective Comics No. 27, Superman No. 1, Marvel Comics No. 1 and a Batman No. 1 never before seen at auction. 

"Before Heritage, it was a rarity for most collectors to see even one of these books," says Vice President Barry Sandoval. "You could go to conventions for a year and never see a copy of Detective 27 and Marvel Comics No. 1. But to have them all in place, side by side, is breathtaking. It's why we all got into comics collecting in the place — our love for these characters, their legacies, their influence, what they meant to us as kids, what they said to culture. And perhaps above all else, they're just beautiful books."

In this auction collectors will find Batman's May 1939 debut in Detective Comics No. 27, a book so rare there are just 75 copies known to exist in any condition and only 14 graded higher than the CGC Fine 6.0 offered in this auction. This copy could rank among the most coveted since Batman's co-creator Bob Kane left a message, written in ink, on its first page to his friend and collector Robert Crestohl.

It's also one half of a dynamic duo that includes a fascinating copy of Batman No. 1 from the spring of 1940. Graded CGC Very Fine 8.0, it has an origin story involving a father's secret collection of 300,000 books.  "It's the finest copy I've ever held in my hands," says Comic & Comic Art Consignment Director Matthew McGee.

One of comicdom's most important first issues missing a "No. 1" on its front was the book that eventually turned pulp publisher Timely into the comics goliath called Marvel. This October 1939's debut of Marvel Comics is among the finest examples ever to come to auction. "From a fan's perspective, Marvel Comics No. 1 is essential not only for introducing these characters but also for its influence on the superhero genre," says Comics Consignment Director Rick Akers. "The comic set the tone for the Marvel universe with its mix of action, drama and humor and helped establish the idea of a shared universe in which characters could interact and cross over. The success of established Marvel Comics as one of the most important publishers in the comic book industry."

Also featured is Captain Marvel's first flight in Whiz Comics No. 1, alongside Doctor Fate's debut in the highest-graded copy of More Fun Comics No. 55, a gem bearing the Mile High Pedigree.

Away from the superheroes is one of the highest-graded copies of Archie Comics No. 1 (CGC Fine 6.5), and the first all-horror book Eerie No. 1 from 1947 (CGC Near Mint- 9.2), the highest graded copy in existence.