Article by Chris Foti
If you had an extra $2 million dollars, what would you spend it on? A new house? New car? How about a comic? A near mint condition issue of Batman #1 sold for $2.2 million recently at auction, making it the most expensive Batman comic ever sold.
The mint comic, originally published in 1940, was sold as a part of the Heritage Auction’s comics and comic art event that began Thursday and goes until January 17th. The final price for Batman #1, which included the buyer’s premium fee, was $2,220,000.
The comic was owned by collector Billy T. Gates, who had bought the comic for $3,000 in 1979 from a Houston comic shop. Although this is a great return of investment, Gates passed away in 2019. The collection was passed down to his son.
During the Golden Age of comic books, 1938-1956, issues were published on cheap, disposable paper. The fact that this Batman #1 issue was able to stay in tact, all while keeping its pages white, is rare. Hence, the large asking price.
While Batman #1 is now the most expensive Batman comic sold, it was not the first appearance of Batman, nor his sidekick Robin (Dick Grayson). Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Robin was first introduced in Detective Comics #38 in 1940. The pair became so popular, it spawned Batman’s own self-titled book.
Despite being the birth of our dear Dark Knight, Detective Comics #27 hasn’t made it to the $2 million club yet. Its highest price sold so far is $1.5 million, which just happened in November 2020.
Classic Villains Are Born
However, Batman #1 did spawn two extremely popular characters that are still around to this day. Batman’s greatest nemesis, the Joker, made his first reign of terror known in Gotham. In the same issue, Catwoman (then known as “The Cat”), also made her presence known. Both are still two of the most popular Batman characters to this day.
Batman #1 is now in a prestigious club of comics that sold for at least $2 million. Action Comics #1, which is the first appearance of Superman and thus the birth of superheroes, has reached that mark twice. Once in 2011, when actor Nicholas Cage, who at one time was actually set to play the Man of Steel in a Tim Burton film that was never made, bought it for over $2 million. And again in 2018, where it sold for $2,052,000. An issue of Action Comics #1 even sold for over $3 million in 2018.
$2.2 million is a lot of money, is spending it on a comic-book you would do, if you had the money? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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