Spider-man collectors have a chance to acquire a rare piece of the comic book hero's history when a copy of 1963's The Amazing Spider-Man #1 - the web crawler's first-ever top billed comic book adventure, CGC-graded in 8.5 condition - appears for sale in Pennsylvania, next week.
The Amazing Spider-Man #1 is estimated at $25,000-$30,000 and is set to become part of an ongoing trend in which the world's rarest and highest-graded comic books are selling for ever-greater sums. An 8.5 graded Action Comics #1 starring Superman auctioned for $1.5m last year.
Meanwhile, less-wealthy collectors are increasingly on the lookout for unrestored lower-grade copies of the world's most important comics. We've already reported on the upcoming sale of a Superman Action Comics #1 graded 3.0 - one of just four extant with this grading.
Action Comics #1 is often described by collectors as being one of the 'most comic books important ever published'. So is the first-ever comic book appearance of Batman, Detective Comics #27, which is also the third most-valuable comic in the hobby.
An 8.0 graded Detective Comics #27 was, for a time, the highest selling comic ever offered at public auction when it brought $1,075,500 in 2010. This was soon overtaken by a 9.0 graded copy of Action Comics #1 which sold for a World Record $2.16m, and later by Amazing Fantasy #15 which brought $1.1m in March 2011.
Now - in same sale which is offering Action Comics #1, graded 3.0 - you can acquire a copy of Detective Comics #27 at a lower 6.5 grading.
To put this in perspective, no Detective Comics #27 copy has received a grade higher than 8.0 from CGC (Comics Guaranty Company) to date.
The '6.5' comic's condition report mentions "off-white to white" pages which the auctioneer describes as "the best page quality certification we've seen for this issue" (aside from restored copies). This comic also has no writing or marking on it from news dealers or previous owners.
That is, except for an almost-entirely visible autograph by Bob Kane himself, Batman's creator.
The auctioneer hasn't given Detective Comics #27 graded 6.5 a definitive presale estimate. However, fine value '6.0' versions of the comic are typically valued at $240,000. Bids on this '6.5' version currently stand at $180,000 with 18 bidding days left.
When Detective Comics #27 was first released, in May 1939, Superman was the only other superhero on the stands - making this a chance for collectors to acquire a very important piece of comic book history.