DALLAS – Batman keeps besting himself.
Hot on the heels of a world record in November when an issue of Detective Comics No. 27 from 1939 sold for $1.5 million, the finest-known copy of 1940's Batman No. 1 recently shattered that record when it sold on Jan. 14 at Heritage Auctions for $2.22 million - far and away the highest price ever realized for a comic book starring Bruce Wayne and his caped-and-cowled alter ego.
The issue, the sole copy ever to receive a 9.4 grade from the Certified Guaranty Company, was already a record-setter before the start of Heritage Auctions' comics and comics art event. A week before the Jan. 14-17 auction even began, Batman No. 1 crossed the $1.53 million mark, besting Detective Comics No. 27.
The book shattered estimates and expectations long before it was sold during the first session of the four-day event. It had seen more than two dozen bids since Christmas and accrued tens of thousands of page views worldwide; more than 700 Heritage clients also kept close tabs on its progress as it made its way toward the auction block, where heated bidding raised it to its final record-breaking price.
This issue of Batman No. 1, featuring the debuts of the Joker and Catwoman, is now the most expensive comic book ever sold by Heritage Auctions.
“We knew when the book came in that it was beyond special, that it was a once-in-a-lifetime offering – from appearance, its blindingly bright cover to its white pages, to provenance,” says Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Ed Jaster of this newly discovered copy. “As I like to say, this is just a breathtaking book in so many ways. So we are not at all surprised that this has become a record-setting issue. But we are extraordinarily proud and honored to have brought it to market, to have done justice to its owner and to have found it a new home.”
The previous highest price Heritage had ever realized for a Batman No. 1 was in 2013, when the Dallas-based auction house sold a CGC NM- 9.2 copy for $567,625.
Accordingly, Batman No. 1 was not the sole Dark Knight title to set a record. During the same kick-off session, one of the finest known copies of Detective Comics No. 359, from 1967, realized $132,000. That’s the most ever paid for a Batman title published from the mid-1950s until 1970, during DC Comics’ Silver Age. That price should not surprise: The book marks the debut of Batgirl, is graded CGC NM/MT 9.8 and bears the coveted Boston pedigree.
And, it comes from the Alfred Pennyworth Collection assembled by Randy Lawrence, whose celebrated collection of best-ever Batman comics was famously stolen in January 2019. Lawrence spent the next year tracking down his multi-million-dollar collection, then brought them to Heritage Auctions. Lawrence’s Golden Age Batman titles realized more than $1 million during November’s Comics & Comic Art event.
More information and auction results can be found here.