Signed Comic Book Values – What are They Worth?

Is that signed comic book worth a small fortune? Can an artist or writer signature increase the selling price? What does a comic book price guide say about signed copies?

In this article you’ll discover the, well, hazy truth about signed comic books.

I have to admit, I get a fair share of questions about how much a signed copy of a specific comic book issue is worth. Most people are familiar with signed books, sports memorabilia and pop culture items, so they logically assume comic books would be the same. Unfortunately, for the reasons we’ll discuss here, the trend does not continue in this hobby.

Before we get into the “why” and details of the situation I am going to be blunt, the chances of a signed comic book being worth more than an unsigned issue are very slim, and in many cases the signature may actually hurt the value. There is no price guide or established value increase for signatures, so every example ends up being unique. The only place you can start is with the standard comic book value steps, and then see what your particular comic will sell for in the marketplace. Be warned, it could be less than an unsigned issue (but it could be more, who knows)! That’s the simple truth.

But why is this?

The comic book hobby has its own subtleties, and this is one of them. First, for the most part we have no way of knowing whether the signature is genuine. Most collectors don’t want to take the time to have it authenticated and if it is a forgery guess what? You now have a comic book that is ruined because is has been written on by what may as well have been a 7 year old kid in crayon (more on this in a second)! An unauthentic signature is considered a condition flaw.

One way to help ensure the authenticity of a signature is to take a picture of yourself with the writer or artist as they sign the book. The second option is to attend one of the CGC Signature Series events, usually held a major convention. You can also buy these books on the secondary market and they are signified by their yellow “Signature Series” tag (see the picture below). You could also get lucky and find an expert to authenticate your comic signature.

CGC Signature Series Comic Book Label

CGC Signature Series Comic Book Label

If you have assured the authenticity of your signed comic book through one of the above methods you then have to find a buyer who not only wants the specific comic book you are selling, they also want it signed. This is why the value or selling price is an unknown quantity. When you attempt to make sale in any collectible market you are selling to a limited group – a subset of the population that collects your item, wants the specific item you have, want it in that condition, and have the money to purchase it. The signature limits that market a little more. Does someone out there meet all the criteria to purchase your signed book? You can see why this is an unknown, it is just such a small subset of the hobby. The only way to truly find the current value of the book is to attempt and sell it and see how it goes, there are no established guidelines.

Now let’s talk about one more strange part of the comic book collecting hobby. Remember earlier in this article I joked about a 7 year old kid writing his name on a comic book? Well, it just so happens that in some cases a specific kid writing his name on an old comic book can make it worth several times the price of similar comics – they are called pedigrees! The most famous example is probably the Larson collection, but that is a tale for another day.

To wrap this up, if you have a signed comic book, take a look at the value for an unsigned example as a starting point and hope for the best with your issue!

7 Responses to “Signed Comic Book Values – What are They Worth?”

  1. Good article Sean. I have been asked about this very concept before and didn’t know how to respond. This is some excellent advice. Thanks.

  2. David Harmon says:

    First of all comic rating by any company that charges the rates CGC does is nothing more than a RIP OFF. They are wanting to establish a way to make millions for NOTHING. I cannot beleive collectors cannot see for theirselves the condiction of the book they want to buy. I have been collecting 30 years and NEVER got a BAD BOOK unless I want too. I have comics I bought orinally already placed in a acid free spine nd cover and have NEVER opened them,. The books are untouched yet accorrding to CGC thats a 9.8 or 9.5…BULLSH*T! Once you pat some idiot 35-40 to look at your books they you either have to “Eat” the cost or add it to the value of the cost of the book at the time of the market. This rating crap simply DRIVES UP the cost of BOOKS. With acess such as EBAY, etc, you can get a great buy on a 9.8, 9.5 book easily. Its not brain surgery, if a guy will not you view the book your looking to purchase, completely then walk away unless it’s simply to good a deal. What makes you a exspert comic book inspector? AGE, EYE SIGHT, WHAT? A few good ways. Look at ink colors, page color for yellowing, no damage on corners or anywhere, verifiy the volume and issue# and print date, make sure spine of book is tight and non splintered, reserch book so you know when, where and who did the book and released the book. and how many reprints, and variations of the book such as gold foil #1 or double chrome covers, Differant artists for same cover, or differant shades of chrome or colors. etc….Thats it….

  3. Dylan Lohman says:

    what about certificated copies? I got a complete four parter of Spiderman one more day and their all signed by romita jr. all copies 71/150. I imagine that’s the exception. and yeah I totally agree with Mr Harmon here, CGC are total rip off merchants!! I had a copy of x factor graded that was still vacuum packed and they gave it a 7.2!! how. how can their work be ‘authentic’ and supported by the industry when they are nothing more than profiteers preying on the ignorance of mutual comic lovers..reminds me of the film ‘comicbook villains’ haha!!

  4. William Q says:

    I just want to thank the posts for the CGC being a rip off. I am looking to have 12 Herb Trimpe comics that are signed to get authenticated. I was almost looking to use the cgc system, but what I am seeing is that I d just be throwing money away with them. Are there any trustworthy ways to get this done properly??? Thank you

    • admin says:

      Unfortunately there aren’t any services that will authenticate and grade signed comics unless they actually witness the signature live. Comics have fallen victim to the autograph fraud market. If you have any supporting documents or pictures it will help you sell them, but CGC still won’t give them a “Signature Series” designation.

  5. jason says:

    Cgc is not a rip off it is a choice. I personally own 1 cgc and several pgx books that I have gotten graded. I prefer pgx for the time and price. Cgc has been around longer but that is about it. If you want to get your books graded then that is your choice most people do it for the protective hard Case and for resale value. Any true signature from someone important to the comic will only increase the value while limiting your market. I collect deadpool stuff all signed from who I can get and the value has increased from signatures but generally not enough to warrant sending ti cgc or pgx. The only reason I have is for the signature series and protective case because I have my comics framed and displayed

  6. robin says:

    Looks like I’m a little late to the conversation, but for posterity sake and for future readers, I’ll post. Thank you, guys, for your posts. I just finished one of the best “scavenger hunts” (as I call my run to get signatures on my favorite comic books and graphic novels) at Boston Comic Con. The guy from CGC was very nice, but I declined his witnessing/grading services. I want to be able to do what you’re supposed to do with a good comic book–reread it; especially as the story continues and references things that happened in earlier issues.

    I have also seen, on ebay, books go for exorbitant prices that were in rougher conditions than ones that went for reasonable prices within in hours of each other. It’s all a matter of timing and placement.

    Where do you stand on the little sticker Stan Lee’s company gives you? It was included in the price to get his signature at this convention. I had it put on because it looks pretty, but could it “ruin” the book? The sticker stays regardless of “worth” (because to me it adds to the visual), but I’m wondering.

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