PORTLAND, Maine – A 1963 issue of X-Men #1 sold privately on February 19th for a record $350,000 through Comic Book Exchange, an online marketplace frequented by comic collectors, sellers and investors. ComicLink, which owns and operates Comic Book Exchange, reported the sale of the rare-condition title, which was graded 9.6 out of a possible 10 by the independent third-party Certified Guaranty Company, or CGC.
An X-Men #1 that was CGC-graded 9.8 sold at auction in 2012 for $492,900, but to date, no other
9.6 example has ever commanded a price to rival what was paid through Comic Book Exchange.
“X-Men #1 is a desirable comic book in any state, but the higher the condition, the fewer there are,” said Josh Nathanson, president of ComicLink.
CGC has certified that there are 3,285 known examples of X-Men #1 worldwide. Of that group, three are in 9.6 condition. Only two have been CGC-graded 9.8.
“With only five known examples in 9.6 condition or better, there’s no mystery about the issue’s scarcity. Everyone in the business knows how many are out there, and there’s far more demand than supply, so it’s reasonable that an investor would pay $350,000 to own one of the five best,” said Nathanson.
Although X-Men #1 had a healthy initial print run, its 1963 publication date puts it very early in the period when comic books were just beginning to be saved by collectors for posterity. Not many examples of the first X-Men issue were preserved with care, hence their scarcity today.
While rekindling childhood nostalgia may be the catalyst that drives many to collect comics, investment and the potential for appreciation are unquestionably why Silver Age comics like X-Men #1 are achieving mid-six-figure prices, and climbing, said Nathanson.
“When the stock market takes off, the prices on certain comics level off, but when the market is more volatile and turns down, money comes out of the market and needs someplace to go. People start looking for reliable alternative investments, like rare comics. It’s happened enough times, now, that we can identify the pattern,” Nathanson said.
Top-tier comic book investors aren’t generally “flippers,” however. High-grade Gold and Silver Age comic books are increasingly being added to investment portfolios and held, not unlike rare coins, classic cars or fine wines.
“My own opinion is that the best days for vintage comics are still ahead,” Nathanson said. “A comic book fan base can cross several generations and keep building, especially if there’s a movie franchise based on the characters. We expect to see another spike in demand for X-Men comics when the film ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ opens this Memorial Day weekend.”
Visit ComicLink online at http://www.ComicLink.com. Tel. 617-517-0062.