Spider-Man leaps over Superman, claims world auction record

The finest-known copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15, featuring Spider-Man’s debut, sold for $3.6 million and a world auction record for any comic book September 9 at Heritage Auctions.

The finest-known copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15, featuring Spider-Man’s debut, sold for $3.6 million and a world auction record for any comic book September 9 at Heritage Auctions.

DALLAS – Spider-Man’s debut appearance is now the most world’s most valuable comic book.

The finest-known copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 sold for $3.6 million September 9 at Heritage Auctions during the third session of the Sept. 8-12 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction. Graded CGC Near Mint+ 9.6, the 1962 Marvel comic is one of only four copies ever to receive such a high grade, and there is not a single known copy in better condition.

“What better book to break the record than the debut of Marvel’s most beloved character, Spider-Man?” says Heritage Auctions Vice President Lon Allen. “Amazing Fantasy No. 15 is the Action Comics No. 1 or Detective Comics No. 27 of the next generation. I’m honored to have been a part of the most important comic book sale to date. In my 20 years at Heritage, to bring the most expensive book to market has been the pinnacle of my career.”

Spider-Man leaps over the world record previously held by Superman. A copy of Action Comics No. 1, featuring the first appearance of the Man of Steel, sold privately for $3.25 million earlier this year.

Until September 9, the most expensive copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 was the CGC Near Mint 9.4-graded copy Heritage sold in March 2020. The issue sold for $795,000.

Spidey’s record-shattering debut, by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, is among the 161 books offered in this auction from The #1 Amazing Spider-Man Registry Set Collection, which, according to the Certified Guaranty Company Comics Registry, features one of the most amazing Amazing Spider-Man comics in existence. That includes a CGC NM 9.4-graded copy of 1963’s The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1, which sold on September 9 for $264,000.

That sale bests the previous world record for that book set in November 2016, when a CGC Near Mint+ 9.6 copy sold at Heritage Auctions for $262,900.

Heritage’s previous comic-book record was set just last January, when the only known Batman No. 1 graded CGC Near Mint 9.4 sold for $2.22 million. That book shattered the previous $1.5-million world record set for a Batman title in November 2020, when Heritage sold a copy of 1939’s Detective Comics 27 for $1.5 million. At the time, that was the highest price ever realized for any Batman comic book.

Previously, the title of most expensive comic book sold at Heritage belonged to the CGC 9.4 copy of Marvel Comics No. 1 that sold in November 2019 for $1.26 million.

That Amazing Fantasy No. 15 is now the world’s most expensive comic book should not surprise.

Spider-Man is certainly at the center of the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe; the recently released trailer for the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home is the most-viewed video on YouTube during a 24-hour span. But he was beloved and significant long before he ever took a swing across the big screen. As his longtime artist John Romita wrote in Fantastic Firsts, Amazing Fantasy No. 15 “was obviously different in every way, and comics have never been the same since.” In Lee and Ditko’s story, the embittered, selfish wallflower is bitten by that radioactive spider, climbs on walls and into the wrestling ring, then bears the responsibility when his beloved Uncle Ben is killed as a result of his willful inaction.

Here, for the first time, are the words that would become a catchphrase that turned into a mantra: “With great power there must also come great responsibility!”

This auction is a landmark event for Spider-Man fans, as not only does it include this history-making collection, but several signature pieces of original Ditko art, including Page 12 from Amazing Spider-Man No. 18, featuring Spidey and Sandman. That page sold Wednesday morning for $156,000.

Also featured are more than two dozen Amazing Spider-Man books from Ditko’s private collection, offering an extraordinary chance to own books once owned by the man who made them.

Heritage is also offering in this Sept. 8-12 event something almost as amazing as his record-shattering comic book: some 150 pages of letters Ditko wrote to artist Russ Maheras during a written conversation that spanned nearly 45 years, from 1973 to 2017. Ditko, by then already known for better or worse as the J.D. Salinger of the comics world, wrote about everything from politics to comics and the superhero business to Sean Penn and Gene Simmons – and, of course, Spider-Man, his beloved creation … and, now, the most valuable superhero in the world.

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