How Much Are My Comics Worth?

How Much Are My Comics Worth?

By 0 Comments

This page contains affiliate links for eCommerce websites. How to Love Comics may recieve a small commission on purchases you make. Find out more in our affiliate disclaimer.

This page contains affiliate links for eCommerce websites. How to Love Comics may recieve a small commission on purchases you make. Find out more in our affiliate disclaimer.

I get a lot of emails through running this site. It makes sense since the site is about helping people make sense of comics. Often these are questions about what comics to read next or requesting help figuring out something confusing. However, there’s another segment of questions – the ones asking variations on how much a comic book is worth.

While I’m polite and answer these questions, How To Love Comics doesn’t focus on the collecting/speculative side of comics. We’re all about reading and enjoying comics. However, these questions come through a lot, so I thought it was time to put together a resource that allows you to find the answers quickly yourself.

This guide will answer your questions about what your comics are worth. It gives you the tools to find out without relying on someone else while delving into the factors that influence the value. There’s likely to be a few misconceptions shattered along the way too.

Table of contents

How is the price of a comic determined?

Before I give you the tools to discover the price of your comics, it’s good to know what influences their worth. Each comic is different, and a combination of factors can determine a comic’s worth. Read on to find out what these are.


The first factor to consider is supply. Essentially, how many copies of a comic are available in the market. Two things can dictate this:

  1. The print run of a comic – how many copies were made.
  2. How many copies of a comic are available for sale.

A low print run can drive up the price of a comic as fewer copies are available for sale. However, it’s worth noting that a small print run doesn’t automatically mean valuable. Sometimes a print run is small because there was no interest in that comic when it was released.

Inversely, a large print run can drive the price of a comic down. 1991’s X-Men #1 is a prime example of this. It had a massive 8.1 million copy print run, which was too many for the market to handle. Retailers ordered too many copies, with some still stuck with boxes of X-Men #1 today. While it’s a milestone comic, you can get all five covers for $10.


Demand is the other side of the supply equation. Are there readers or collectors who want that particular comic? The price will be driven upwards if the demand outstrips the supply.

Many factors can drive demand. These could include:

  • The number of people who want to read a specific comic.
  • Word of mouth about the quality of a comic.
  • A series, story, or character come back in vogue or has a wave of nostalgia.
  • A media adaptation of a series or character appearing on screen.
  • Collectors preference for first printings.
  • The comic is a key issue. This usually means a comic that includes an important event, a first appearance, death, or something of similar significance.
  • Speculative practices that amplify existing demand with the aim of profiting from it.

An example of the rise in demand in a comic is 1973’s The Invincible Iron Man #55 – the first appearance of Thanos. This comic was not in hot demand before the villain appeared in the MCU. You could buy it for a few bucks. Now, due to the character’s raised profile, the issue can go for hundreds and even thousands of dollars.


In a way, buying comics is a bit like buying antiques or a secondhand car. The condition becomes a vital factor that influences the price. A comic in pristine condition is always going to sell for more than a torn and beat-up copy.

A comic’s condition is determined by several factors. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Tears on pages and/or cover
  • The whiteness of the page
  • Damage on the spine
  • Folds on pages and/or cover
  • The presence of mold
  • Printing defects
  • The condition of the staples

All of these things (and more) are accounted for and assigned a number rating on a 10-point scale, with comics in better condition having a higher score. This score can also be represented as a grading standard, such as Near Mint or Poor, that aligns with the score. For instance, a comic is considered Very Fine if it is graded.

I’ll refer you to the Overstreet Guide if you want to know more about the grading of comics, how scores are assigned, and the factors that go into it. Founder Robert M. Overstreet formulated the grading definitions that are now industry standards.

Many collectors take the grading scores very seriously. As a result, it’s best to make sure you’re as accurate as possible if you’re going to assign one to a comic you’re selling. You’ll have unhappy buyers to deal with if you get it wrong.

You can leave it to the professionals if you don’t have the eye for grading comics. A handful of services allow you to send off your comic books to be graded. They’ll then send you back a professionally graded comic sealed in clear plastic (a method that collectors call “slabbing”) that will keep it in the graded condition.

Grading of this nature was introduced as a way to counter inaccurate grading. However, it also has its detractors. The comic is entombed in plastic, meaning it can no longer be read. It’s essentially a trading card.

Slabbed comics also have an inflated price compared to a non-slabbed equivalent of the same grade. Some of this is the preference of the collectors, where a slabbed comic is (meant to be) the most accurate grade. However, sellers often abuse this preference by asking for significantly more, driving up the price and setting a precedent for it in the process.

There are a few things to consider if you want to explore the professional grading route. The services that offer it, like Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) and Comic Book Certification Service (CBCS), charge a fee that starts from $25 (USD). That can eat into your profit margin or even create a loss on many comics that are not worth the time and money. However, that doesn’t seem to stop some who will get any comic book slabbed in the hope that it will increase the price in the future.

I’m personally not a fan of slabbing. I think it’s an anti-reader practice that too many people have taken advantage of. For me, the exception is for archival purposes, where it can be used to preserve rare and crucial comics.

Old doesn’t equal valuable

There’s a misconception that old comics are automatically valuable. That’s not true. Countless old comics are not worth anything, often because there is plenty of supply or no demand.

Plenty of people ask me about comics published in the 1990s. While these comics can be over 30 years old, many are not worth much. It was a decade of excessive print runs, unfounded speculation, and plenty of stinkers. There are plenty of 1990s comics in the market, so the supply outweighs the demand. You can easily dig through back-issue collections and find comics from this period, and even from the 1980s, for under a dollar.

How do I check what a comic book is worth?

Now that you know the factors that influence the price of a comic, it’s time to find out how to check the value.

Where should I check?

The number one place to check the value of a comic is on eBay. It’s, by far, the biggest marketplace, where millions of comics are sold every year. Due to the sheer volume, it’s a good indicator of demand and what a comic is worth.

How do I use eBay to check the value of a comic?

If you’re going to use eBay, then make sure you do it correctly. Many people check it incorrectly and, as a result, have wrongly set expectations. Don’t look at what people are listing a comic for. This is a fool’s errand, as many listings have inflated prices in the hope that someone is desperate enough to bite. What you should do instead is check what listings have sold for recently.

To do this, jump onto eBay and search for your desired comic. I’m going to use Action Comics #800 in this example.

A screenshot of eBay listings for Action Comics #800.
A screenshot of eBay listings for Action Comics #800.
A screenshot of eBay listings for Action Comics #800.

As you can see, there are copies for a range of prices. (The shipping prices are high because I’m looking at listings in the US but it’s calculating the cost to send to Australia.) Let’s see what happens when you view only the sold items. To do this, you’ll want to scroll towards the bottom of the sidebar on the left until you find these options.

A screenshot of the "Show only" option for eBay searches.

Click on “Sold Items” to show only the sold listings. If you’re using the eBay app, you’ll want to click on filter, scroll down on the menu until you find “Sold Items”, and select that.

A screenshot of the sold items on eBay for Action Comics #800.
A screenshot of a sold item on eBay for Action Comics #800.

Based on the images above, copies mostly sold for a few bucks. However, I did notice a few for just over $10 too, but they were the exception and not the rule. Filtering on “Completed Items” shows the listings that sold and didn’t sell. The pattern seems to be that most copies listed over $10 had no buyers or bidders. Although, there was a slabbed copy that sold for $15 and a handful of signed copies selling for roughly $40.

By looking at what has been sold and not just the asking price, you’ll get a realistic representation of what your comics are worth and how much buyers are willing to spend on average. This is the way to check if you intend to sell the comic or are just curious to see if you’re sitting on a potential goldmine.

The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide 52nd Edition - Winter Soldier cover by Butch Guide.
The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide 52nd Edition – Winter Soldier cover by Butch Guide.

Is the Overstreet Price Guide worth using?

At one time, the Overstreet Price Guide was the bible for comic book pricing. However, the annual nature of it meant that it couldn’t always take into account many of the factors that can determine a price, such as the ones listed above, in this digital age. As a result, many of the valuations could quickly go out of date. This was exacerbated as we got deeper into the 21st century, where prices can fluctuate like the stock market.

As a result, if you have access to an Overstreet Price Guide, I wouldn’t take the valuations as gospel – especially the older the edition is – and would cross check it with eBay too. (The same goes for the pricing guides in Wizard Magazine). They’re snapshots of a certain point in time that might not align with today.

While a print edition of the Overstreet Price Guide still exists, there’s the Overstreet Access online portal and app too. This subscription service is a digital version of the valuation guide which features several collection management features. The service might be worth checking out if you want to track the value of a large collection. Otherwise, eBay is the way to go.

What are the alternatives?

There are many alternative price guides available online. However, most draw from the same data points, such as and CGC. However, each has its own user interface and features, so you may prefer another method.

These sites include:

Final word

Hopefully, the above has given you the tools to discover how much your comics are worth and helped set your expectations. If it hasn’t, then this final word may.

While some websites and YouTubers will tell you that your comics will rise in value, that’s not always the case. In fact, most comics are not worth that much. Many will never go up in value. Most that do will only do so by a marginal amount.

You’re best off enjoying your comics and have it be a nice surprise if they happen to rise in value than to expect to be sitting on a gold mine. If you’re expecting to get rich then you’re into comics for all the wrong reasons.


Subscribe to the newsletter

Don’t miss out on our email newsletter full of comics recommendations, lists, reading orders, tips and more.


Sign-up to the newsletter

Don’t miss out on our email newsletter full of comics recommendations, lists, reading orders, tips and more.

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter too.