Bring on the lazy, obligatory “Holy (fill in the blank), Batman!” headlines.
A near mint copy of Batman #1 sold recently through Heritage Auctions in a private transaction for $850,000. According to this story on CNN.com, this same copy was purchased by a collector three years ago for a mere $315,000. Not a bad return. It was sold to an “investment group” who I am sure are all avid comic book fans.
These types of stories have become commonplace lately, as the price of rare and historically-significant (at least historically in the world of pop culture and comic books) comics have skyrocketed in the last three years. A copy of Action Comics #1 broke the mythic $1,000,000 barrier a little over two years ago, followed days later by a copy of Detective Comics #27 selling for $1,075,500.
In celebration of the sale, I read my copy of Batman #1 today. I read it sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast with a nice glass of orange juice. Of course, my copy is a reprint that cost me about $1 . . . however I believe the actual art and story is exactly the same as the $850,000 copy, and I did not have to be in a hermetically sealed room wearing a full antiseptic, independently-oxygenated suit and use sterilized metal tongs to turn the pages.