Does an Autograph Increase the Value of My Comic Book?

DMZ #1 Autographed by Brian Wood
Aaron Albert

One of the great aspects of collecting comic books is that they are created by very talented individuals with whom fans can interact at conventions and appearances. These people often make themselves available for autograph signings and can bring big crowds when they make an appearance. The collectible nature of comic books can make them very valuable down the road, especially if they are rare and sought after. What happens then, when you combine the artist’s product with the artist’s signature? Does the value of the item rocket in value or tank like a stone in the ocean? Is a comic with an autograph more valuable?

One of the problems is that if you reduce the original condition of the comic book, this can affect the value of it. A signature is something that changes the original condition of the comic book and could therefore be said to change the grade of it. For some, this might not matter, but for others, it could definitely change the value in their mind.

What Might Impact Comic Value

The simple answer is that it can increase the value of a comic book. We looked at all kinds of comic books that were sold on sites like eBay and Heritage Auctions, and compared similarly graded comic books that did and did not have an autograph. It seemed like the newer the comic book was, the more the value was impacted positively. It wasn’t a lot, but typically the increase could be as much as 30 percent. For older comic books, the research was split. There were instances where the comic sold for more and instances where the signed comic sold for less. It would seem that older comics are less impacted than newer ones.

When looking at the autograph business, certain principles are consistently reinforced when it comes to collecting autographs and assessing their value.

  • Make sure the signature is authenticated - There are a few ways to do this when it comes to comic books. If you have a comic already signed, then you can get it authenticated through a company like James Spence Authentication. This company will take your item and verify it for authenticity, then send it back with a signed letter of approval. If the comic isn’t signed, you can use CGC’s Signature Series service where they have a person watch the signature happen, grade the item, and then encapsulate it with an added special Signature Series Label.
  • The bigger the celebrity, the bigger the value - If you are going to get your comic signed, then it is important to have the biggest names associated with the comic to sign it. This will usually be the artist and writer of the comic book.
  • Placement is important – Have it signed in an easily identifiable place like the cover is going to be best. You may need one of those silver Sharpies for dark covers.
  • Make sure your item is associated with the signer – Getting Stan Lee to sign a Batman comic is like getting Tiger Woods to sign a baseball. Sure they might be worth something, but not nearly as much as if you have them sign the thing they are known for or have created.
  • Protect your investment – Once you have them signed, make sure you protect them in some way. A bag and board are the simplest, but you can try some other forms of protection to maximize your items safety.

In conclusion, autographs can definitely impact the value of your comic book. Newer comic books signed by the creator can get a decent boost to their value, especially if they are graded by a company like CGC. What really seems to be happening is that you are changing the market of your comic book from puritans that don’t want the original comic changed, to those that like to collect autographs as part of their hobby. In the end, be very careful when purchasing a signed comic book and only purchase one that is authenticated by a third party company like CGC or JSA. Anything less could put your investment in jeopardy.

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