Featured Columns

September 7, 2010

$5,000,000 Comic for Sale?

More articles by »
Written by: Eli
Tags: , ,

A few months ago we reported on the $1,500,000 sale of Action Comics #1. That was the most anyone has ever paid for a comic book, it is the record holder. However, Action #1’s spot at the top of the comic book sales world could be in jeopardy. There are a few comics listed on everyone’s favorite online auction site that, if they sell, will smash that record to pieces. We’re talking beating it by several million dollars. Wait, that can’t be right, can it?

The other day I was curious about comic sales on eBay, and I took a look at the “Completed Listings” section, just to see what has been selling. To my surprise, the first result was a CGC 9.6 copy of FLASH COMICS #1 ASHCAN EDITION from 1939, that had sold for $4,950,990.00. What! Yes, you read that correctly, almost five million dollars. That’s more than three times the current record holding sale. Well, as it turns out, the sale didn’t go through. The comic is listed for sale once again, only this time it’s for an even $5,000,000. That extra $49,010 should help to keep the riffraff away.

By the way, the term ashcan refers to a comic that was produced for legal (such as trademarking) purposes only, and not intended for distribution. As such, ashcan editions of certain comics from the dawn of the Golden Age are some of the scarcest on the planet.

How do I know that it’s the same book being listed again? Well, the Comics Guarantee Corporation (CGC) publishes the result for every book they grade. This information can be found in the CGC Census, though access is restricted to members who have completed a free registration. The census only lists one copy of this book at a grade of 9.6, the highest for this book. Also, I asked the seller about the book being relisted, and apparently his buyer had some difficulty coming up with the nearly $5 million sale price.

Now, you might be wondering about the validity of this multi-million dollar auction. Why might you be feeling that way? Well, it could be that the top three comic sales of all time were sold by comic dealers Comic Connect and Heritage Auction Galleries, and not on eBay. In fact, many of the high dollar sales of comics that take place today are not handled by eBay. This of course isn’t conclusive, but it is odd that such a rare item would be sold on the internet’s most popular auction site. A quick internet search for the most expensive comic books would turn up the current record holders, along with info on where they were sold. This might make one wonder why in the world this book is on eBay? Well, I have no clue, but you should definitely take a look at the listing for yourself.

So, looking at all of this, one question that I thought of was…where is the best place to buy comics? Will I get the best deal online, or from my local comic shop? Is it safe to trust online sellers? We’re going to be discussing these questions and more in an upcoming series of articles about the best spots to buy comics.

Top 5 sales of all time

As a reminder, here are the top five most expensive comic book sales.

  1. Action Comics #1 (Grade 8.5) — $1,500,000
  2. Detective Comics #27 (8.0) — $1,075,000
  3. Action Comics #1 (8.0) — $1,000,000
  4. Marvel Comics #1 (9.0)– $350,000
  5. Flash Comics #1 (9.6)– $350,000

So, what do you think of the potential record-smashing $5,000,000 sale of Flash Comics #1 Ashcan Edition?


CGC CensusComic ConnectHeritage Auction GalleriesFlash Comics #1 Ashcan Edition

Eli Anthony