Comic book values rise as Tintin flies over Superman, Batman and Spiderman
A spike in TinTin comic prices over the past two years has seen prices for the original comic overtake even the legendary “Action Comics #1” (Superman’s first appearance) as the most valuable related items. at the comic book auction. Until just two years ago, the first Superman comic book (published in June 1938) was invincible at auction, but five separate sales of Belgian artist Herge’s TinTin comic book art have topped the charts. whole genre of superheroes outdoors. , suggesting that the movement is afoot in the narrative art market.
Until just two years ago, the first Superman comic from June 1938 was invincible at auction with first, second and third place in the most valuable comic books ever sold (respectively US$3,207,852, US$2,161 $000 and $1,500,000), plus 6th and 10th, with Batman (twice), Spiderman (twice) and the Incredible Hulk making up the top ten and giving the superhero genre a sweep.
A decade ago, the comic book auction market saw fewer than 20 comic book sales exceed $100,000, with the record being held by a copy of Detective Comics #27 (Batman’s first appearance) at 278 $190. The market has grown by leaps and bounds since then, however, and our database now lists 257 comics that have sold for over $100,000 at auction, and the last two years in particular have seen massive price growth.
In particular, a series of high-priced sales of artwork from Hergé’s TinTin series saw five separate sales break into the top 10, including taking the top spot from Superman with a sale of $3,618,839. and give the non-superhero more top 20 entries than any comic book character.
While American superhero culture may have kickstarted the popularity of comics, creating a new genre of print media in America in the late 1930s, Europe also had its own popular comics during the same period, with characters such as Tintin from the Belgian. the artist Georges Remi (who used the pen name Hergé) and Asterix and Obelix by Albert Uderzo the best known.
Indeed, narrative art has accompanied us for thousands of years. Some claim it dates back 20,000 years to the Paleolithic period (citing the cave paintings of Lascaux in France), although more complete and detailed examples can be seen 2,500 years ago (the Sanskrit Panchatantra fables of India), 2000 years ago. (Trajan’s Column) and 1000 years ago (Bayeux Tapestry), the concept of narration with a series of images is therefore far from new.
Regardless of when it all started, the European tradition of storytelling with art culminated with the first comic strip in Glasgow in 1825, and a rich tradition accelerated by the work of Swiss artist Rodolphe Töpffer from 1827 (published in English in the United States from 1842).
The rise in the auction price of Hergé’s art beyond the values of Superman, Batman et al is even more surprising when one considers the strength of the American superhero cult and the strength of the American collector market. . America has by far the largest number of high-net-worth individuals, and its auctions consistently attract higher prices for similar items than in Europe, regardless of the genre of collectibles, but infinitely more for objects embodying American culture. A prime example of this is sports memorabilia, where more than 75% of the 100 most valuable sports memorabilia items ever sold come from a single sport: baseball.
America invented, adopted, and still adores the superhero, as can be seen by looking at a list of the highest-grossing movies or the most-watched TV shows of any year. There are now more viable American superhero franchises than there are major religions. Superman, Batman, Spider-man, Ant Man, X-men, Flash, Green Lantern, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Mighty Thor, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, Iron Man, Justice Society of America and the Human Torch have all been the main subject of comic books that sold for over $100,000 at auction.
Check out our image library where we have images of the most expensive “first editions” of each of these comics up for auction.
The comic book market
The rise of Tin Tin and his contemporaries in the world of comics is directly correlated with the rise of the Parisian auction house Artcurial. The company is the fastest growing international auction house and has entered the automotive collectibles market with similar success, recently setting a world record for a Ferrari 335S Spider Scaglietti which sold for 35.7 million dollars in February 2016.
Artcurial created a division dedicated to comics in 2005, building an internal pool of expertise capable of identifying, authenticating and managing this marketplace and since then it has sold six of the 12 best works of art comics in the world, and holds a solid world number one spot for comics.
Storytelling art has long been the most visible art to the public, and this dramatic increase in value of original art that was a part of so many collectors’ childhood is now moving into the realms of the market of traditional art, with prices to match.