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September 7, 2010

$5,000,000 Comic for Sale?

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Written by: Eli
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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?

Resources

CGC CensusComic ConnectHeritage Auction GalleriesFlash Comics #1 Ashcan Edition

Eli Anthony
eli@comicattack.net

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12 Comments


  1. Billy

    I’ve actually got a couple copies of that at home, but wont part with them for sentimental reasons.


  2. Eli

    Yeah Billy… just like my aunt Petunia.



  3. So is this THE FLASH or some guy with the same name. Since he’s going up against a shark with his little sacrificial knife there I wasn’t sure.


  4. Eli

    @ Speech – No, this is the Flash. That cover is not the Flash. Ashcan’s were funny like that. It was basically just a race to get your character/title in print for ownership purposes.


  5. Aron

    The cover is really Aquaman. Look at that. Aquaman: Lame since 1939. Hahahaha!



  6. I read about this a week or so ago, and thought about writing about it on Speed Force, but something about it just didn’t seem to add up. I figured I’d wait until I had a chance to dig for more details, and then forgot about it.

    I’m certainly not surprised that the sale didn’t actually go through.


  7. Eli

    I should define the term ashcan. It 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.

    The article has been updated to include this info.

    @ Aron – Hah! Poor Aquaman.


  8. Eric Meier

    Who gets up in the morning and says, “Today would be a nice day to drop between $1,500,000 to $5,000,000 (if it sells) on a comic book.”

    I love comics as much as the next guy but come on! Who has money laying around?



  9. […] It Now price; the seller will consider the best offer. Eli at Comic Attack, who found this listing, did a bit of research and determined that the comic had already been up for sale once, with a winning bid of US […]


  10. jason

    Don’t forget $10 for shipping.


  11. Tony

    I just put in a 10,000 offer. I hope he accepts. Lol


  12. J Frank Parnell

    Is this the same comic that sold for $8300 in 2013? http://www.comicconnect.com/bookDetail.php?id=505381 Tidy profit.



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