Top 15 Most Valuable Superman Comics of All-Time

Cover of Action Comics #1 (1939)
Action Comics #1 (1939). DC Comics

Which is the most expensive Superman comic of all time? Comic books can be huge collector's items. This list is sorted from least valuable (relatively) to most valuable.

Here are the 15 most valuable comic books ever.

01
of 15

Action Comics #1 "Ashcan" (1937)

Cover of Action Comics #1 Ashcan (1937)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $56,600

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? There’s no story in “Ashcan comics”

Why Is It Valuable? It's hard to believe but the first comic in the list doesn't even have Superman on the cover. 

An “Ashcan edition” is a comic printed only to secure the copyright of a title with the U.S. copyright and trademark office. While Superman doesn’t appear in the comic he would appear in the first issue.

Very few ashcans were created and an even smaller fraction remain around. Only three copies of the Action Comics ashcan are known to exist. One is in the permanent archives of DC comics, and the others are in the hands of long-time ashcan collectors. It’s not as valuable as other Superman comics but would cost as much as President Obama’s vacation to Hawai'i.

02
of 15

Superman Comics "Ashcan" (1939)

Cover of Superman Comics Ashcan (1939)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $58,500

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? There’s no story in “Ashcan comics”

Why Is It Valuable? The Superman comics series would run for hundreds of issues, but only two or three ashcan copies of ​Superman Comics exist. Since ashcan comic books were hand-drawn, unfinished versions of early comic books for legal purposes they were supposed to be thrown out in the “ashcan”.

“Near Mint” comics are comics that have no creases or fading. So finding one of these in that condition is pretty rare. The next comic is even rarer.

03
of 15

3. Superman #2 (1939)

Cover of Superman #2 (1939)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $61,900

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? Several short stories about Superman are printed in this issue including him stopping a man from committing suicide to negotiating a peace treaty in a civil war.

Why Is It Valuable? After the success of the anthology comic Action Comics, National Periodical Publications (which later became DC Comics) figured out Superman was popular. So, the next year, he was finally featured in his own comic. This Superman comic isn’t as rare as some of the others, but it’s still rare. According to the ​CGC (Certified Guaranty Company) certification board, only 158 are known to exist with only two in “Near Mint” condition.

So buy this comic or spend a night in the luxury suite at the Raj Palace Hotel in India 

04
of 15

4. Action Comics #6 (1938)

Cover of Action Comics #6 (1938)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $64,900    

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? A guy shows up at The Daily Planet building claiming to be Superman’s manager and Clark Kent has to expose him.

Why Is It Valuable? Action Comics is the comic book series that started it all. It’s the first comic to have Superman, but it’s an anthology comic. That means there were a bunch of stories in it. Most of the early issues didn’t have Superman on the cover, so this comic isn’t worth as much as others.

On the other hand, there are only 35 copies that still exist. Of that small number, only one is certified as "Very Fine/Near Mint". Considering this comic is over 70 years old it’s amazing there’s any copy in that condition.

05
of 15

5. Action Comics #4 (1938)

Cover of Action Comics #6 (1938)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $66,100

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? In the short story "Superman, Gridiron Hero" Superman joins a high school football team to stop a mafia gambling ring.

Why Is It Valuable? The story from this issue was later used in Superman #1. It’s rare since there are only 31 known ​copies of this Superman comic and only one is rated as “Near Mint”. That’s why you’ll pay more for this than a Cadillac CTS-V

06
of 15

6. Action Comics #5 (1938)

Cover of Action Comics #5 (1938)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $71,000

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? In the short story "Superman and The Dam" the hero stops a dam from flooding and saves Lois Lane in the process.

Why Is It Valuable? This is the fifth appearance of Superman ever. He’s not on the cover, but it’s still a big piece of history. The Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books lists this book as "rare" and only 36 copies are known to exist.

07
of 15

7. Action Comics #9 (1938)

Cover of Action Comics #9 (1939)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $73,800

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? After Superman destroys slum tenements the chief of police puts a $5,000 bounty on Superman.

Why Is It Valuable? This is the first Action Comics cover that doesn't have Superman but promises he's inside. It shows that he's becoming more important. To get this bad boy you’re going to pay more than a 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 

08
of 15

8. Action Comics #13 (1938)

Cover of Action Comics #13 (1938)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $81,400

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? Superman fights to stop a corrupt cab company from bullying smaller ones and meets a new villain who has powerful mental abilities known as the Ultra-Humanite.

Why Is It Valuable? While the Ultra-Humanite is considered a low-level threat now he’s Superman’s first supervillain. That’s why a comic like this is worth more than a Porche 911. 

09
of 15

9. Action Comics #23 (1940)

Cover of Action Comics #23 (1940)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $102,000    

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? Clark and Lois are covering the peace negotiations of two fictional European nations when they discover a conspiracy to drive the world to war by a mysterious mad genius known as Luthor.

Why Is It Valuable? This comic is the first appearance of Superman’s greatest foe: Lex Luthor. While it’s not an impressive introduction since he’s more of a red-headed mad scientist it is significantly rare. There are only 47 unrestored copies of this Superman comic book graded. There are another 19 restored ones so expect to pay more than the cost of a Porsche 911. 

10
of 15

10. Action Comics #10 (1939)

Cover of Action Comics #10 (1939)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $106,000

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? Superman hears about a corrupt prison where the convicts are beaten with whips, starved, forced into sweat boxes, and terribly cramped living conditions. Clark Kent gets himself thrown in prison so he can get photographic evidence of the abuse.

Why Is It Valuable? This is the 10th issue of Action Comics, but only Superman’s third cover. Not only does it feature a WWII cover, but it’s a shot of a man punching a plane! Beat that.

This one is actually harder to find than Action Comics #1. It’s so rare there are only 13 unrestored and 11 restored copies graded, so it's well worth more than the GDP of Ecuador. 

11
of 15

11. Action Comics #3 (1938)

Cover of Action Comics #3 (1938)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $109,000

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? Superman saves a group of miners from a collapsed mine and forces the owner to accept that the mine is not safe.

Why Is It Valuable? Almost any copy of Action Comics in good condition from 1 to 100 is valuable. Originally it cost 10 cents, now a "Near Mint" copy is worth almost as much as the Gross Domestic Product of Morocco.

12
of 15

12. Action Comics #2 (1938)

Cover of Action Comics #2 (1938)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $169,000

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? There are multiple stories and characters in this issue. Superman travels to the fictional South American country of San Monte and stops a civil war by bringing the two sides together.

Why Is It Valuable? It’s the second appearance of Superman. But Superman isn’t on the cover since the publisher doesn’t realize Superman’s draw. But it’s still Superman’s second appearance and that’s why Action Comics #2 is worth more than Princess Diana's wedding ring.

13
of 15

13. Action Comics #7 (1938)

Cover of Action Comics #7 (1939)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $420,000

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? Clark Kent finds out that a circus is being harassed by a loan shark. So Superman convinces the owner to make him an attraction to save the show. Superman’s costume is based on circus strongmen so it’s no surprise that an early story puts him there.

Why Is It Valuable? While Superman had been in Action Comics for a while this is only the second time he shows up on the cover. National Periodical Publications realized that having Superman on the cover sells. This comic is Superman’s second cover appearance and that’s why it’s worth more than the current GDP of Thailand

14
of 15

14. Superman #1 (1939)

Cover of Superman #1 (1939)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $852,000

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? The comic retells Superman’s origin but adds some new details. It's the first time his home planet Krypton is named. The kindly couple Jonathan and Martha Kent are first shown. Superman saves a condemned murderess, stops a wife-beater and goes on his first date with Lois Lane and saves her from a bully they met at the club. Finally, Superman stops a corrupt senator.

Why Is It Valuable? This comic is worth more than the GDP of Turkey. After the success of the anthology comic, National Periodical Publications figured out that it was Superman that was so popular. So the next year he was finally featured in his own comic. Besides the first issue of Superman, it also set a new record. According to DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle it’s the first time a comic book character was featured in their own title.

15
of 15

15. Action Comics #1 (1938)

Cover of Action Comics #1 (1938)
DC Comics

Near Mint Current Value: $4,280,000

Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster

What Is It About? Superman's origin is first told along with the first appearance of several comic book characters like Pep' Morgan and Zatara, but it's best known for the first appearance of Superman.

Why Is It Valuable? Action Comics #1 (1938) is the first issue of the original run of the comic book series Action Comics and is considered the beginning of superhero comics and the most valuable comic book of all time.

Probably less than 100 exist and most are in terrible shape. Back in 2014, a copy of Action Comics #1 sold on eBay for over $3,2 million. That’s higher than the GDP of Germany. 

To date it's the highest anyone has ever paid for a single original copy of a comic book. Of all the comics in the list, this one is the king.

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Mitchell, Maurice. "Top 15 Most Valuable Superman Comics of All-Time." ThoughtCo, May. 10, 2018, thoughtco.com/most-valuable-superman-comics-4014841. Mitchell, Maurice. (2018, May 10). Top 15 Most Valuable Superman Comics of All-Time. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/most-valuable-superman-comics-4014841 Mitchell, Maurice. "Top 15 Most Valuable Superman Comics of All-Time." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/most-valuable-superman-comics-4014841 (accessed May 21, 2018).