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Silver Age Comics as Long-Term Investments

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An avid comic collector and fan for nearly 20 years, Vic started collecting comics around eight years old. Comic investing since the 2000s.

Marvel Silver Age Key Comics

Marvel Silver Age Key Comics

Many news headlines about Silver Age comic books selling for over six-figure digits have proved that Silver Age comic books are good for long-term investments. However, this also depends greatly on various factors.

Not everyone who plays the comic investing game is going to strike it rich, just like not everyone who plays the stock market is going to strike it rich. Nevertheless, you can make really wise choices when it comes to comic investments in the Silver Age era of comics.

This is going to be a long article. If you're really interested in investing in Silver Age comics, then that shouldn't be a problem. After all, you'll need to learn as much as you can about this market before you drop a dime in comic investing. This is especially true if you don't know much about comics, to begin with.

So let's start off with some proof of how certain comic books have appreciated throughout the years.

UPDATE: This article was originally written in 2012, but it has been updated to convey more current trends and values. I will continually update this, so be sure to bookmark this article. Comments are also welcome. Thanks for reading.

Comic Book Investments Prices Past and Present

Okay, let's start off with a bit of knowledge about the Silver Age of comics. The Silver Age of comics is those comic books that were published roughly around 1956 to circa 1970. Those dates are the most popular, and many in the comic community debate about these dates. We're not going to get into that. For simplicity, we'll just stick to the most adhered-to dates.

The information I'm about to present to you below is in the 2011–2012 41st edition of the Overstreet Price Guide. There's an amazing section that illustrates the 1970 prices vs. the prices of today concerning certain comic books. Now many of the comics listed in this section were created before 1970, but this goes to show you just how much comics have risen since then.

The Avengers #1 (1963) 1st Avengers Team

You could get this comic at NM for only $6 in 1970, which is seven years after the comic came out.

In 2011, the cost of this comic at a low NM price was $15,000. Not bad, right?

The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962) 1st appearance of The Hulk.

1970 price was only $14 for a NM copy of this comic book.

In 2011, a low NM cost you $75,000.

Brave and the Bold #28 (1960) 1st Justice League of America

In 1970, a NM copy of this comic was selling for $5.

In 2011, a low NM cost around $20,000 smackers.

Let's take a deeper dive and look at some other well-known major key Silver Age issues at various grades and what their values and sales have been throughout the years.

silver-age-comic-books-as-a-long-term-investment-more-about-comic-investing

Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962) Overstreet Price Guide Values

Value for grades according to Overstreet Price Guide over the years for Amazing Fantasy #15, 1st appearance and origin of Spider-Man.

YearGradeValue

1983

MINT

$1,000

1983

FN

$500

1983

GD

$170

1991

NM

$2,800

1991

FN

$1,120

1991

GD

$280

2002

NM

$48,000

2002

FN

$3,789

2002

GD

$1,263

2015

NM-

$200,000

2015

FN

$17,000

2015

GD

$4,000

2021

NM-

$450,000

2021

FN

$38,400

2021

GD

$9,600

Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962) CGC & CBCS 9.4

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2003

$86,250.00

CGC 9.4 NM

2007

$227,000

CGC 9.4 NM

2016

$454,100.00

CGC 9.4 NM

2020

$795,000.00

CGC 9.4 NM

Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962) CGC & CBCS 6.0 FN

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2004

$6,612.50

CGC 6.0 FN

2008

$15,535.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2012

$15,380.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2017

$47,875.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2019

$57,600.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2020

$56,866.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2021

$96,000.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2021

$84,000.00

CGC 6.0 FN

Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962) CGC & CBCS 2.0 GD

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2006

$1,971.75

CGC 2.0 GD

2013

$5,275.00

CGC 2.0 GD

2017

$13,440.00

CGC 2.0 GD

2019

$13,700.00

CGC 2.0 GD

2020

$15,995.00

CGC 2.0 GD

2021

$26,400.00

CGC 2.0 GD

Avengers #1 (1963) comic cover by Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers and Stan Goldberg

Avengers #1 (1963) comic cover by Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers and Stan Goldberg

Avengers #1 (1963) Overstreet Price Guide Values

Value s according to Overstreet Price Guide over the years for Avengers #1, 1st appearance and origin of Marvel's Avengers.

YearGradeValue

1983

MINT

$340

1983

FN

$150

1983

GD

$55

1991

NM

$725

1991

FN

$315

1991

GD

$105

2002

NM

$4,200

2002

FN

$681

2002

GD

$227

2015

NM-

$32,000

2015

FN

$2,600

2015

GD

$650

2021

NM-

$46,000

2021

FN

$3,680

2021

GD

$920

Avengers #1 (1963) CGC & CBCS 9.4

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2002

$17,250.00

CGC 9.4 NM

2013

$89,625.00

CGC 9.4 NM

2017

$65,725.00

CBCS 9.4 NM

2018

$79,000.00

CGC 9.4 NM

2019

$45,000.00

CBCS 9.4 NM

It should be noted that data can sometimes be incomplete or misleading. Some comics and at certain high grades may not make it to market that often or as frequently as grades lower than it. The most recent CGC 9.4 Avengers #1 sales information that could be found was in 2019, and that may be true or not. However, a CGC 9.6 o Avengers #1 sold at Goldin Auctions for a record-breaking $369,000.00 in September 2021. This may have an effect on grades lower than it, such as graded 9.4 NM copies, and it may not. I will get into factors of why this may or may not matter in a later section soon to come.

Avengers #1 (1963) CGC & CBCS 6.0 FN

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSalesGrade

2006

836.50

CGC 6.0 FN

2011

$3,346.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2014

$3,187.80

CBCS 6.0 FN

2019

$4,666 .00

CBCS 6.0 FN

2019

$5,999.95

CGC 6.0 FN

2021

$8,400.00

CGC 6.0 FN

Avengers #1 (1963) CGC & CBCS 2.0 GD

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2011

$404

CGC 2.0 GD

2015

$1,000.00

CGC 2.0 GD

2016

$800

CBCS 2.0 GD

2017

$1,229.99

CBCS 2.0 GD

2018

$1,226.00

CBCS 2.0

2019

$1,191.66

CGC 2.0 GD

2021

$2,100.00

CGC 2.0 GD

silver-age-comic-books-as-a-long-term-investment-more-about-comic-investing

X-Men #1 (1963) Overstreet Price Guide Values

Value s according to Overstreet Price Guide over the years for X-Men #1, 1st appearance and origin of Marvel's X-Men.

YearGradeValue

1983

MINT

$225

1983

FN

$110

1983

GD

$40

1991

NM

$990

1991

FN

$415

1991

GD

$110

2002

NM

$11,000

2002

FN

$1,737

2002

GD

$579

2015

NM-

$42,000

2015

FN

$3,000

2015

GD

$1,000

2021

NM-

$70,000

2021

FN

$7,600

2021

GD

$1,900

X-Men #1 (1963) CGC & CBCS 9.4 NM

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2012

$89,625.00

CGC 9.4 NM

2013

$83,650.00

CGC 9.4 NM

2018

$153,134.00

CGC 9.4 NM

X-Men #1 (1963) CGC & CBCS 6.0 FN

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2001

$1,955.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2007

$2,390.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2013

$3,687.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2016

$5,500.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2019

$9,088.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2020

$13,200.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2021

$25,000.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2021

$40,000

CGC 6.0 FN

X-Men #1 (1963) CGC & CBCS 2.0 GD

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2003

$563.50

CGC 6.0 FN

2009

$567.62

CGC 6.0 FN

2013

$1,375.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2016

$1,328.68

CBCS 6.0 FN

2017

$1,800.00

CBCS 6.0 FN

2019

$3,000.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2021

$5,900.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2021

$10,995.00

CGC 6.0 FN

silver-age-comic-books-as-a-long-term-investment-more-about-comic-investing

Tales of Suspense #52 (1964) Overstreet Price Guide Values

Values according to Overstreet Price Guide over the years for X-Men #1, 1st appearance and origin of Marvel's X-Men.

YearGradeValue

1983

MINT

$12

1983

FN

$6

1983

GD

$2

1991

NM

$45

1991

FN

$19.50

1991

GD

$6.50

2002

NM

$225

2002

FN

$51

2002

GD

$17

2015

NM-

$1,700

2015

FN

$183

2015

GD

$61

2021

NM-

$9,600

2021

FN

$579

2021

GD

$193

Tales of Suspense #52 (1964) CGC & CBCS 9.4 NM

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2011

$2,270.50

CGC 9.4 NM

2016

$9,573.15

CGC 9.4 NM

2019

$15,801.00

CGC 9.4 NM

Tales of Suspense #52 (1964) CGC & CBCS 6.0 FN

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2011

$94.41

CGC 6.0 FN

2016

$617.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2019

$1,190.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2020

$1,165.00

CGC 6.0 FN

2021

$2,666.66

CGC 6.0 FN

Tales of Suspense #52 (1964) CGC & CBCS 2.0 GD

Sales data above is for CGC or CBCS graded comics from eBay, Heritage, or ComicLink. This encompasses CGC and CBCS Universal graded sales data and not Overstreet values. This is just a snap shot of some sales. I did not use all sales in a given year.

YearSaleGrade

2015

$160

CGC GD 2.0

2017

$235

CGC GD 2.0

2019

$340

CGC GD 2.0

2020

$405.50

CGC GD 2.0

2021

$492

CGC GD 2.0

Black Widow is one of the oldest Marvel female superheroes that debuted during the superhero revival of the Silver Age. While the character was not super-powered in her early appearances, she debuted as a seemingly normal spy and began as a villain for Iron Man.

This comic is another good example of how demand affects value. CGC Census for 9.6 copies of Tales of Suspense #52 is at 4. There are zero copies graded at CBCS from 10 to 9.2s. CGC Census has only ten 9.4s so far.

I have stated that this comic has been highly undervalued for a while now, and sometimes first appearances of female comic heroes are not in as demand as their male counterparts. I find it strange.

The Wasp is one of the earlier Marvel female heroes during the Silver Age that had a debut separate from a team like Black Widow. Sue Storm debuted with the Fantastic Four, and Jean Grey debuted with the X-Men in 1963. Actually, the Wasp debuted a few months before Jean Grey, and her debut in Tales to Astonish #44 at CGC 9.4 is less valuable ($7,577.00) than Tales of Suspense #52 at the same grade.

Factors of Comic Book Values

Okay, there are some examples of how comics during the Silver Age have risen in value from 1970 prices to the whopping prices they are today. It must be noted that there are certain factors why these comics have risen in value and why these are in-demand comics to invest in. If you notice closely, the comics I did list have similar characteristics.

1. Key Issue

Yes, those comics listed above are highly sought key issues. They are not common issues. Not to say that common issues can't be valuable. Some are. Most are not. Most key issues from the Silver Age are going to be a bit costly.

2. The Grade

Early Silver Age comics in NM or higher grades are pretty RARE to find. Most are CGC graded to authenticate their grade. Even a low NM is a hard catch for some high-demand Silver Age keys and will cost you a lot because of that fact. More common are lower grade books and many Silver Age comics that are in the later '60s, but even those are getting up there in price as well.

Since I used Amazing Fantasy #15 (first appearance of Spider-Man), I'll use it again for this example. A lower grade comic is GD (Good) and VG (Very Good), with the very good being higher than a Good grade.

Amazing Fantasy #15 at a VG grade costs around $7,000 at guide value! However, this is at guide value, and sometimes comics go well above guide prices as I'll explain in the next factor.

3. Demand

Without demand, nothing would be worth any value. Demand or lack of pushes a comics demand up or down. Now, just because the guide says $7,000 for a VG copy of the first appearance of Spider-Man doesn't mean that reflects the current market.

Here's the thing. The Amazing Spider-Man movie reboot has pushed the demand for this comic past the guide value. That means people are paying higher prices for this issue . . . probably for all the grades.

There's also a backlash with this as well. While hot key issues are going for guide or over guide, many common Silver Age comics for many characters and titles are having a hard time selling for 50% of their guided price in today's economy.

Demand plays a huge factor, but rarity often goes hand in hand.

4. Rarity

Yes, I put rarity below demand. Rarity plays an important factor in the desirability of certain comics only when there is a desire for a certain issue. Once again, a comic can be rare but not desired or in-demand, and thus values won't be greatly affected. Rarity can be of two ilk. One is a comic that is truly rare. It does not have many copies of it in existence at all.

The second is that demand can make a comic rarer in certain high grades in the secondary market. This is why grades are emphasized a lot when it comes to comic investing and even simply collecting.

While an Avengers #1 as a comic book isn't exactly super rare nor overly plentiful in total copies, high-grade copies of the Silver Age key are pretty few and far between, however. They aren't traded in the secondary market as much as a 9.8 New Mutants #98, 1st Deadpool.

However, if demand is super high for a New Mutants #98 at a graded 9.8, it can make it seem more scarce in the market than what it really is even at that high of a grade (regular U.S. copies are far from rare for that comic). However, if most collectors or investors are keen on holding on to them instead of dumping them in the market, values can surge whether or not a certain grade is rare or not.

Back to the Avengers #1, 9.6 and 9.4s don't make it to market as much. CGC Census only has five 9.6s registered there (one is a restored copy) and twelve at a 9.4 grade. CGC Census isn't approximate in determining exact copies in existence at certain grades. Sometimes, collectors do get copies regraded at other companies like CBCS. Sometimes, some copies are left raw or ungraded and haven't been discovered yet.

High-grade major Silver Age keys that are already graded by a company are less likely to be cracked open and regraded by another company. It's pretty risky as you might damage the book while removing the book from encapsulation, and there is always the chance it just might regrade lower at another company.

As of 9/28/2021, there are 0 9.6 copies of Avengers #1 (1963) recorded in CBCS Comics Population Report, but there are two 9.4s registered there.

Why Are Silver Age Comics So Hot Right Now?

Once again, I first wrote and published this article in January of 2012, so I've seen quite an interesting trajectory over the years for many of these major Silver Age key comics. However, I'll keep the below content in its original form except for the last paragraph. Here we go!

One factor that has spiked demand for many Silver Age comics is because many of the golden age key issues were becoming way too expensive. Golden Age superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Captain America are well over thousands of dollars for a GD (good) copy of their #1 issues.

Batman #1 being $25,000 for a GD copy!

So the demand started going towards Silver Age comics. Also, the silver age of comics was when the "superhero" genre really started to boom. That's when the comic industry really started shifting its focus on superhero comics.

Also, Marvel Comics came out during the Silver Age and revolutionized the industry with their characters being more "human" with real problems that kids and teens could relate to. DC heroes were too one-dimensional during this era.

With Marvel's presence and its growing popularity during the Silver Age, many key issues and 1st appearances of their most popular characters and villains came out during this era. For instance, the Green Goblin is a Silver Age villain, as is The Sandman, The Lizard, Doc Ock, etc.

However, even though the Silver Age comic demand is still going very strong, how long will it last? I mean, many Silver Age key issues are above $100 for VG grades, and many at NM grades are getting close or are already over a thousand dollars. These are key issues I'm talking about.

There are many common Silver Age issues are still around $14–$25 bucks, but will those be in demand 30 years from now? Maybe! I know that they will be rarer 30 years from now. Comic books are degradable, remember.

This era is a wiser choice in comics to invest in, as opposed to modern-age comic books.

My Conclusion About Silver Age Comics as a Long-Term Investment

My conclusion is that right now, I mainly invest in silver age key issue comics. They'll only get older, more rare, and more expensive to get as time goes on. With all these comic book movies coming out and pushing the demand for these comics at a quicker pace, silver age key issue comic investments are a wise choice.

Know the market...find out which comic book movies are coming out and which characters that movie will include. For example, Iron Man 2 introduced the Black Widow to the silver screen, and now she will appear in The Avengers movie, possible the sequels as well. Her first appearance in Tales of Suspense #52 is still quite affordable and under $100 for lower grades.

However, even though I mainly seek out affordable silver age keys, I don't shirk key issues from the bronze age of comics either. Wolverine is a character that came out of the bronze age, and his first appearances in The Incredible Hulk 180 & 181 are really in demand and getting up there in price. Also the Punisher is a bronze age comic character and his 1st appearance in Amazing Spider-Man 129 is in high demand as well.

There are still great comic investments in the silver, bronze, and copper age of comic books. You just need to do a little research, hunt them down, take care of them, and let time and demand appreciate the value of them.

UPDATED: As stated in the first paragraph. I will continually update this article with more information, so be sure to bookmark and visit often. See ya soon.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Vic

Comments

Vic (author) on September 07, 2018:

Thanks, glad you fellas found this lil piece about comic book investing informative. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sam Papers from New York & UK on April 03, 2018:

Great information thanks

Robert Pummer from Kentucky, USA on March 10, 2015:

rabbit75, great job with this article. I learned quite a bit from it.

Vic (author) on May 11, 2012:

DS Duby, they are mine as well!

DS Duby from United States, Illinois on May 04, 2012:

I agree completely, comics are my favorite investment.

Vic (author) on May 04, 2012:

Hey DS Duby, thanks for stopping by. I love comic book collecting and investing...and it's a great conversation...most people don't believe it's really profitable, but it's just really about knowing about the market as well as having the right connections.

Thanks for commenting, and I'll be sure to look out for more of your hubs.

DS Duby from United States, Illinois on May 04, 2012:

There was some really great advice in your hub, aside from coins I do believe comics to be one of the best collection investments, not to mention the most conversation worthy. Thanks for the great advice.