The Top Five Ways to Tell If Your Comic Is Valuable

People come into possession of comic books all the time and most don't know what to do with them. With so many comic books being printed over the years it can be hard to separate the everyday stuff from that which is truly valuable. How can you tell that the comic you have in your hands is worth anything? Check out this list of items to give you an idea if your comic book might be worth anything.

The key phrase here is might. Even if every indicator below is met, the comic book still might not be worth much of anything. The market is a fickle beast and sometimes comic books shoot up in value for a time and then come crashing down. This is more often the case with newer comic books, but can also be true for older ones.


Vintage comic book

Aaron Albert

One of the first things you should look for to determine the value of a comic book is its age. Ideally, you are looking for comic books that are from the '70s or earlier as these have the biggest chance of being valuable.

Low Issue Number

At the 2014 New York Comic Con, Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Collectibles displays the CGC 9.0 copy of Action Comics #1

Gary Dunaier / WikiCommons

Usually when it comes to a valuable comic book, the lower the issue number the better. Number ones are typically worth more than most. This isn't always true, as Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, sold for over one million dollars. Still, having a comic book with a low issue number is another good indicator that it is worth something. Be careful though as in recent years publishers will relaunch a comic to get new interest such as in The New 52 where DC Comics completely rebooted their franchise. The Action Comics from that launch is worth quite a bit less than the Action Comics #1 from 1938.


Vintage Comic Book - Amazing Spider-man #68

Dave / Flickr

The grade of a comic book is how good or bad its condition is. Grades are given by the Comic Book Certification Service, also known as the CBCS. A comic book that is torn up, well read, or bent is worth far less than a comic book that is in pristine condition. This can still be very relative because a very low graded copy of Action Comics #1 is still worth in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Popular Characters

'World's Finest Comics,' with Superman, Batman and Robin selling US War Bonds to sink the 'Japanazis' in World War II,

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, The Hulk - these are the characters that are typically worth the big time. The difference in price between Detective Comics #26 and Detective Comics #27 is a little more than one million dollars. Having those popular characters in your comic book will make it worth much more.

First Appearances

The first appearance of Spider-Man
Copyright Marvel

The first appearance of a character can make that comic book skyrocket. It could be either a popular hero character or even a terrible villain. Either case, if there is the first appearance or an origin story of a character in the comic, that can really make it worth a lot more.