SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • ON TV
  • ON TOUR
  • WATCH ONLINE
  • WEB EXCLUSIVES
  • RESOURCES
  • SHOP
  • The Roadshow Archive

    "Superman 7" & "Action 31" Comic Books

    Appraised Value:

    $7,500 - $12,500 (2012)

    Appraised on: June 9, 2012

    Appraised in: Boston, Massachusetts

    Appraised by: Philip Weiss

    Category: Collectibles

    Episode Info: Boston (#1704)

    Originally Aired: January 28, 2013

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 3 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Comic Book
    Material: Paper
    Period / Style: 20th Century
    Value Range: $7,500 - $12,500 (2012)

    Related Links:

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW

    Comment

    Appraisal Video: (3:27)

    appraiser

    Appraised By:

    Philip Weiss
    Collectibles, Sports Memorabilia, Toys & Games

    Philip Weiss Auctions

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: Ten years ago, my aunt gave them to me, my Aunt Julie. And she in turn got them from my "Uncle Clem." They were partners in life. They weren't married. Unfortunately, ten years ago he passed away. My Aunt Julie and my sister Mary went to his boyhood bedroom, opened the door, and it was as if he closed the door and it was a snapshot of his life at the age of 18. So these comic books were sitting in his bookcase, so my aunt gave these to me. She knows I like to collect junk.

    APPRAISER: And that's every comic collector's dream is to find a bedroom like that where the comic books are still sitting there and preserved. And what we're looking at here, these are two classic examples of what are known as Golden Age comic books, Golden Age of comics being 1930s into the 1940s. Additionally, you have two of the best titles that you could have: Superman and Action Comics. Superman made his first appearance in Action Comics, Action Number One. And then later, Superman started in his own book, with also issue number one. Books from this time period, they're not all uncommon. We do see a lot of them. What's really terrific about these particular books that you have is the overall condition. And what people look for is page quality, and on this book, I'm just going to open this up a little bit and show you that the pages are almost bone white. These look like they were brand new. That increases the value of a comic book dramatically. The other thing that increases the value in the comic is the crispness of the cover. In this case, you do have some small condition issues. You have a tiny little spine split there and a little tiny spine split down there. But that's not unusual. They're thickly bound books, and you do have that kind of chipping. If you notice this little line down here, that's a dust shadow, which indicates that another comic book at one time was sitting on top of that a little bit crookedly and made that line. What's really important to know about comic books, they're fairly easy to appraise to a point. There is a price guide that's issued every year. What's not so easy is for people to understand that when you look up a book in a price guide, it's not necessarily the actual price that it's going to sell for. Case in point, the Action 31. Very recently, a copy of this book in near mint condition sold for two times what the price guide really is. The price guide I believe in that grade is around $4,000. That book sold for $8,000.

    GUEST: Wow.

    APPRAISER: So now that you have an idea on what these books can potentially do based on grade, it's important now to try to figure out what the grade on these are. And there are professional grading companies that you can send the books to. I would estimate both of these books roughly at about very fine condition, if not near mint minus. At auction I would estimate the Superman Number Seven conservatively at $2,500 to $4,500.

    GUEST: Wow, oh my God.

    APPRAISER: And the Action 31, based on that auction record of it selling for over $8,000 in a near mint condition, I'd be conservative and maybe put this at $5,000 to $8,000. So you're looking at roughly about $7,500 to $12,000 for an auction estimate.

    GUEST: My aunt's still alive, and she's going to be so surprised when she hears this.

    APPRAISER: That's great.

    GUEST: I mean, to think he had these in his bedroom, and he paid ten cents for them.

    APPRAISER: But I'm glad you brought them with you today.

    GUEST: Wow, that's pretty cool, thank you so much. That's awesome, thank you.

    APPRAISER: I'm glad you liked it.



    WGBH This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
    ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
    WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
    PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube