A near mint issue of Batman #1 has just sold for just over $2.2 million, setting a record for the most expensive Batman comic sold.
The comic, published in 1940, sold as part of Heritage Auction’s comics and comic art events that kicked to Thursday and runs through Sunday. The final price was $2,220,000, which included the buyer’s premium fee.
While not the first appearance of the Dark Knight — that would be Detective Comics #27, which came out a year earlier — it does feature the first appearance of iconic villain The Joker and part-time villainess Catwoman.
Driving the price is the comic’s 9.4 CGC designation; finding a key issue from the Golden Age era of comics — a time when publications used cheap paper, were read disposably on a massive scale — is extremely rare. This issue survived that and kept its pages white, to boot.
The sale bests the previous watermark of $1.5 million for a Detective Comics #27 that sold in November.
The comic had been in the hands of one collector, Billy T. Gates, for more than 40 years. Gates bought the comic in 1979 from comic shop in Houston, Texas for $3,000, a rather large sum for a comic at a time when serious collecting was still in it nascent stages. ($3,000 equates to around $11,000 if adjusted for inflation.) Gates died in 2019, bequeathing his collection to his son.
The comic now joins the ultra elite $2 million club. The famed Nicolas Cage-owned Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, was the first comic to be sold publicly for over $2 million when it gaveled in 2011. Another Action Comics #1 sold for $2,052,000 in 2018. (The issue also holds the record for most expensive comic ever sold for when a copy sold in 2014 for $3.2 million.)