"Superman 7" & "Action 31" Comic Books

Value (2012) | $7,500 Auction$12,500 Auction

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.

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.


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.

Wow, oh my God.

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.

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

That's great.

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

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

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

I'm glad you liked it.

Appraisal Details

Philip Weiss Auctions
Lynbrook, NY
Appraised value (2012)
$7,500 Auction$12,500 Auction
Boston, MA (June 09, 2012)

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.