A rare copy of Detective Comics #27 from 1939 featuring the debut of Batman has sold for a record $1.74 million, becoming the most expensive comic book starring the superhero.
The comic was sold at Goldin Auctions on May 21 as part of the Super Elite Sport and Comic sale.
The copy Goldin sold has a grade of 6.5 from Certified Guaranty Co. Goldin noted that only six other copies of this issue share that grade, and only eight others are graded higher. According to the auction house, only 36 original copies of this issue are known to exist.
The previous record for the comic was $1.5 million for a CGC-graded 7.0 copy that sold at Heritage Auctions in 2020.
Featuring the artwork of Bob Kane, the comic book showcases one of the more distinctive and memorable covers of the Caped Crusader of the entire Golden Age. Kane’s art and the story by Bill Finger, “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” launched arguably the most popular and prolific superhero career in comic book history. Not bad for a comic that initially cost 10 cents.
“Six pages. That’s all it took for Batman to become the most dominant superhero and a cultural touchstone whose impact has endured well into the 21st century and beyond,” Goldin said of the comic. “Seventeen years removed from his centennial, Batman and this issue of Detective Comics #27 are considered dramatic and stirring contributions to American literature and are now spoken in hushed, reverential tones.”
Goldin said that considering that comics were printed on cheap paper during the Golden Age and that this example is 83 years old, it has held up remarkably well. “The Bob Kane cover still dazzles with delight and pops with color, rendering its terrified subjects who are about to be besieged by the Batman in full detail and cover that both delight and awe,” the auction house said.
Why is Detective Comics #27 a Holy Grail and so valuable? Ken Goldin, Goldin Auctions executive chairman and founder, explains:
Other comics highlighted in the auction include a 1962 Marvel Amazing Fantasy #15 featuring the debut of Spider-Man, CGC 8.0, that sold for $450,000; a 1940 Batman #1, CGC 4.0, that fetched $336,000; a 1939 Superman #1, CGC 2.0, that sold for $264,000; and a 1963 X-Men #1, CGC 8.5, that sold for $121,200.
For complete auction results, visit Goldin.