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Auction Action: Heritage June Comic Auction

Auction Action: Heritage June Comic Auction
June 22, 2023
Keenan Flack
In this edition of Auction Action, preview the top lots set to sell in the June Comics Auction hosted by Heritage Auctions.

Lots to Watch

Lot #91039: Captain America Comics #1 (Timely, 1941) CGC NM- 9.2 Off-white to white pages

Captain America #1 has maybe the best cover in the history of the genre. The title character explodes onto the page while punching Hitler right in his mouth. Made even more exciting by the fact that the United States had yet to join the war effort; there were those in the country who saw this cover as politically polarizing.

This copy in particular is almost as rare and sought-after as they come. Only 3 copies of “Captain America Comics #1” are graded higher (one 9.8 and two 9.4). The auction record for these books came in at $3,120,000 in April of 2022—though the copy likely received a premium due to a stellar provenance.

The copy on the block in this Heritage sale found a healthy $810,000 final price, including fees. This is quite concrete evidence of how each grade at the top end differs greatly in value. The difference between a 9.2 and a 9.4 is millions of dollars, though, if this copy had the same pedigree as the record-setting copy it is possible the price would have been pushed up into the seven-figures.

Copies of this quality come around quite infrequently—93% of universal copies at CGC are graded lower, the majority of them being in the 5 to 7 range. This copy does have some light wear on the spine and some scuffing on the corners, but for a comic book that was released 82 years ago its condition is stunning.

Lots #91054: Superman #1 (DC, 1939) CGC GD/VG 3.0 Off-white pages

Maybe the most important book released during the Golden age of comics spanning 1938 to 1954, ‘Superman #1’ is a book that is in constant demand from collectors. Even copies at the lower end of the grading scale find six figure sums at auction.

Of the 72 unrestored copies in CGC’s population this 3.0 copy only has 22 graded higher. Meaning, 63.89% of graded universal copies are below a 3.0; the lowest grades, fair (1.0) and poor (0.5) both make up 11 copies each. The highest grade one could even find for Superman #1 is a VF+ 8.5, if it would ever come up for sale, that is.

In 2020, Comic Connect sold a CGC 3.0 for $310,111—this Heritage lot closed at $360,000 last night.

This book has definitely seen better days, but pristinely well maintained copies are diminishingly rare. Collectors always flock to intact Superman copies, even if a little beat up, there is no beating the classics.

Lot #91033: Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF 8.0 Off-white pages

Moving on to the Silver Age! ‘Amazing Fantasy #15’ is the first time audiences got to meet Spider-Man. Another copy of this book currently stands as the priciest auction sale of a comic book; coming in at $3,600,000 for a CGC 9.6 copy sold at Heritage in 2021.

This copy is a mere CGC 8.0, setting it above 95% of the graded unrestored population of the issue.; the population of 2477 universal graded copies has only 39 copies graded higher.

Heritage sold a like-graded copy for $180,000 just three years ago—this copy’s top bid reached $312,000 last night.

‘Amazing Fantasy #15’ is likely the most beloved book of the silver age, but another book from the era is likely to pique interest from Spider-Fans…

Lot #91034: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel, 1963) CGC NM 9.4 Off-white to white pages

Spider-Man’s first title issue came out just a year after fans loved him in Amazing Fantasy. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man #1’ may have been the second appearance of Peter Parker, but it did introduce a few regular characters in J. Jonah Jameson and Chameleon. Not to mention the first time the Fantastic Four did a crossover in another Marvel comic.

Out of the 3309 unrestored copies in the CGC pop report, only seven are graded higher than this one; it should be noted, however, that there are eleven like-graded CGC 9.4 copies. 96% of universal copies find themselves below a 9.4—the book is very well collected, every individual grade below 7.5 has a population greater than 100. The highest? There are 352 copies graded CGC G/VG 3.0.

The book is in excellent condition, the grade does not lie. The edges are sharp, the cover is still bright and dynamic. The Grader’s note mentions a slight stress line in the spine and lite wear on the back cover, aside from that the book is in pristine condition.

The lot ended up going for $264,000 with fees, just barely besting a like-graded copy Heritage sold in 2021 for $241,200. A heartening sign for a book that is in quite high supply compared to other beloved silver and golden age books.

All Images via Heritage Auctions

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