As Heritage closed its Signature Vintage Comics & Comics Art Auction for $4,270,483 (with an eye-popping 99.6% sell-through rate), just over a week ago, one figure stood alone. A hero. A comic book role model for young people everywhere to look up to.
Well sort of - the hero in question was not the Caped Crusader, the Man of Steel or even the Cobweb-causing Nuisance, but instead Archie Andrews, America's favourite red-head.
There aren't a great many copies of Archie #1 around which aren't badly damaged. This one, an unrestored copy graded at 8.5, brought a world record price of $167,300.
"Archie may have a ways to go to catch the likes of Superman and Batman, his Golden Age counterparts," said Lon Allen, Managing Director of Comics at Heritage, "but you can bet that collectors sat up and took notice when this comic brought that price.
"This amount exceeds the priciest of Spidey and Hulk comic books we've sold, which brought in excess of $125,000 each."
Not only is the copy the highest graded example, it stands some way ahead of its nearest competitor. There is one restored copy known to exist at 7.5, but the next unrestored copy down is one graded 7.0. This makes it a strong investment.
The 8.5 copy's new owner has chosen not to give his name, but did make his feelings known:
"I've been collecting Archies for 40 years, and over the years I've become much more selective as far as condition. I've been looking for a high-grade Archie #1 for some time, and this is the first I've come across that I'd feel good about owning.
"It's not going to leave my possession until I die."
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