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Not even Stan Lee could have imagined that a copy of the first Spider-Man comic would one day sell for $3.6 million, but the late, legendary Marvel creator predicted back in the 1970s that collecting his books would be a smart investment.
Lee, who was born this day in 1922, said in a 1974 interview that he was aware some of his comics were beginning to go for some surprisingly big bucks, and he recommended comic collecting as a viable hobby for more than just entertainment.
“It is absolutely incredible,” Lee said then of the market movement. “I would say that if someone were knowledgeable in this area, it is a much more lucrative hobby to collect comics than stamps and in some cases than to buy stocks.”
As an example, Lee noted that the Howard the Duck comic, which launched a year before, was selling for far more than the 25 cent cover price after the premiere issue was snapped up by collectors who targeted the book over the new (and unusual even by Marvel standards) character.
And even in 1974, a copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15, which marked the first appearance of Spider-Man, was already making waves on the collector’s market after only 12 years since it appeared on comic racks. “It’s selling in the hundreds of dollars,” Lee noted.
Of course, that specific example is charming, to say the least, with a copy of that comic fetching a record $3.6 million this September. That auction sale beat out the previous record of an Action Comics No. 1 — published in 1938 — which featured the first appearance of Superman. An issue of that comic sold privately for $3.25 million earlier this year.
Lee died in November 2018 at the age of 95. He was mourned by fans around the globe.
Watch the retro interview below.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek