The Most Expensive Ten Cent Comic Ever!?!

By | Thursday, February 11, 2010 4 comments
What you are looking at is a copy of Detective Comics #27 -- featuring the first appearance of Batman -- with a CGC grade of 8. It's currently being auctioned over Heritage Auction Galleries with bidding running for about another two weeks.

As of this writing, the high bid is $350,000 -- over $30,000 higher than last year's record-setting sale of Action Comics #1. And this auction has two weeks left!

You might also see Heritage touting a $418,250 number. That's the high bid price plus a "buyer's premium" they charge on high-end auctions like this. That means that, even if no one else at all bids, the winner will have to pay over $400,000 for a single comic. During a recession.

So my first question is: who they hell has that kind of money and is willing to part with it for a single comic book? Second question: what kind of balls do you have to have to do that during a recession with overall unemployment floating around 10% and closer to 20% for those at lower socio-economic levels? I can appreciate the 'take care of you and your own first' mindset where someone might spend what seems like excessive amounts of money on luxuries like, say, going out to fancy restaurants, but even as a huge, life-long comic book fan, I can't see how someone could justify to themselves that kind of spending. Even if you really did not give a rat's ass about what happened in Haiti or anyone who's lost their job in the past year or whomever, I'd think you'd have at least a PR person tell you that, you know, maybe this might not look to good for your public image. Maybe it might be okay to pass on this one comic just at the moment. Because even if the buyer is using someone as a proxy -- which I would have to believe is the case here, because people with that kind of money tend not to bother themselves with trifles like actually bidding at an auction themselves -- this is the 21st century! This won't not get found out!

You know, when I first read that this auction is already at a record high, I was mostly just surprised. "Wow. $350,00. That's a lot of money." Then, it dawned on me just how much money that is. Especially in light of the current economy situation.

To whoever lands the winning bid on this auction: Since you clearly don't mind the extra dough on the "buyer's premium" can you send me an extra $68,000 as well? And to whoever gets the second-highest bid, can you send me whatever that amount is? You were just going to throw it away anyway.
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Matt K said...

Dang, dude; and I thought I was embittered.

I dunno. I'm mad about a lot of things right now, but I really don't see how some (I'm guessing) multi-millionaire deciding to pass on Detective #27 makes the world better, or even feel like it.

Huge bonuses paid out in the industry which helped screw things over in the first place, by companies which are still in business only thanks to bailouts paid for with your and my tax dollars... yeah, I think this would be a good time to put a hold on that.

In general, though, I don't see why the people who do have money should just sit on it. Won't that simply exacerbate our problems?

Granted that the purchase of one copy of Detective #27 isn't likely to create many jobs (unless the seller uses the proceeds to start or expand a business, perhaps), but where does one draw the line at spending which is just profligate and "unnecessary," vs. spending that's permissible? And wouldn't it be better in any event for those with cash to not worry about such questions, given that whatever they're spending on will at best do some good and at worst do little harm?

Some things are just really expensive, like a Picasso. Or like this comic book. Whether their prices seem justified or not, that's what they cost; I just can't see why those who happen to have them should, for the duration of a recession, be required to either keep them off the market or to accept far-below-market prices for them.

The impending sale itself doesn't piss off me so much; it's the overall conditions of our society that allow the vast gap between the extremely wealthy and everybody else. I'm not mad so much that rich people are out there; it's that the rich people out there are so much insanely richer than everyone else. 99% of American households net $200,000 or less annually. The remaining 1% net somewhere north of $1,000,000 annually.

It's possible that someone in one of the lower tiers of income is bidding on this comic, but -- as you pointed out -- it's more likely a millionaire in that 1% range. This sale just serves to highlight the problem to me, and that's why I find it upsetting.

Matt K said...

Well, as regards income inequality, by all means. THERE's something I'll heartily endorse being PO'd about. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, brutal. Who cares what you think about the sale of the book? Seriously? What donate the money to some 3rd world country instead and let their corrupt Govt' steal it from them? That's what investors do right? That's what preserves history as well right? Who do you work for Cheney?

Man that was a lousy article. Try writing for the bubblegum jokes next time. This one was funny enough.