3/9/11

Atmostpheric - Amazing Fantasy #15 sells for $1.1 million

ComicConnect.com sold a copy of the first appearance of Spider-Man, Amazing Fantasy #15, for $1.1 million.  According to Time Magazine that beats an auction of "Detective Comics #27, Batman's first appearance from 1939, to become the second most expensive comic ever sold (Suitably, Superman's first appearance in 1938's Action Comics #1 remains in first place; a copy sold last year for $1.5 million)."

Comics A.M. quotes the CEO of ComicConnect.com on the sale. “The fact that a 1962 comic has sold for $1.1 million is a bit of a record-shattering event," says Stephen Fishler, "That something that recent can sell for that much and be that valuable is awe-inspiring.”

Last weekend at the Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle a vendor had 5 of these in sealed CGC protectors. I was drooling over them, but didn't bother to ask the price.  My son, however, was more interested in the Scott Pilgrim T-shirt he'd just bought.  I can't help but wonder where to draw the line between fine art, nostalgia, madness and imagination.  In this case are we seeing people who grew up with Spider-Man amassing enough money to purchase back their childhood?  
 
I'm reminded of one time I was at my local comic book store Excalibur Comics in Portland. They had a copy of Amazing Fantasy for sale in the neighborhood of $500. A patron, who was a mechanic for the import garage from down the street, was calculating how many cars he'd have to fix to cover the cost of the comic (answer: 3).

Condition is everything when it comes to these types of prices, and it comes down to an ephemerality which borders on something closer to religious faith, or homeopathy.  In contrast to the $1.1 million version of the comic, you can buy a Very Fine copy of Amazing Fantasy today from the same place that had the auction for only $160,000.  These buyers, however, are pushing into the Wall Street investment area. Personally, I prefer to read my comics.

Incidentally, the one in the picture from the Time Magazine article (which I've shown above) is probably not the one that sold for $1.1 million. There's too much "Marvel chipping" on the picture.
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