A few years ago, I had a discussion with then Managing-editor (now Editor in Chief) Brent Frankenhoff of Comics Buyer’s Guide. It went something like this.
Me: [Diamond Comics head] Steve Geppi says he’ll pay $1,000,000 to anyone who sells him a near mint copy of Action #1. I say we get on top of this now and set that as the going price in the guide.
Brent: But what’s Bob [Overstreet] got it at? Like 200,000? Can we really go with that big a jump?
Me: I think the question is this: If I walked into Steve’s office with a near mint Action Comics #1, do I walk out with a deal for a million? I, for one, take Steve at his word*. If so, that’s the market rate. Our job is to match the market, not just make our prices fit into some nice progression from our own last-best-guess. Let’s leave that to the other guides.
* Having once had a meeting with Steve during which he had to casually brush a mint-looking Superman #8 onto a box next to his desk in order to make way for me to put down my laptop, I had little doubt he could make the Action #1 deal happen.
So it was that in the next edition of ComicBase, Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman) went from $220,000 to a cool million. It was crazy. It was controversial. It…was the only comic in the database that required the use of scientific notation in order to label the y-axis.
And in the past week, it’s proved to be prescient. Indeed, it seems to have understated the value of the book somewhat, as an VF 8.0 copy just sold for a cool million, followed by a similar copy of Detective #27 (The first appearance of Batman) selling for even more: 1.075 million, making it officially the most expensive comic of all time.