A rare, first-edition Spider-Man comic book has swung into town and comes with a $500,000 price tag.
Amazing Fantasy #15, printed in 1962, is said to be the third-most valuable comic book in the world. One copy of this edition is currently on consignment in downtown Victoria. The comic is so valuable and fragile, the Victoria-based owner has to keep it in a safe deposit box while Legends Comics and Books helps her find a buyer.
Legends co-owner Gareth Gaudin knew what he was looking at when the owner of the relic brought it in to determine its approximate value. Gaudin said it was easily the most valuable comic he’s ever held in his hands, and like the line in the Spider-Man comic goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
“It’s a little nerve-wracking, because you could destroy it just by the twist of your wrist,” he said.
“Fifty-five, 60-year-old pulp paper doesn’t really hold up too well.”
Even so, it’s in great condition. If it gets professionally graded, Gaudin said it will easily sell for $1 million.
The Victoria woman isn’t an avid collector either: this is the only comic she has, purchased as an investment some 30 years ago for $450. She has brought it to Gaudin a few times over the years to check on its value.
Inside the book is the first appearance of Spider-Man in the Marvel Universe.
The story will be familiar to even the most casual Spider-Man fan: young Peter Parker goes to a science exhibit and is bitten by a radioactive spider, becomes a masked wrestler, and his uncle Ben gets killed because of him.
“Everyone knows the story: it’s the origin,” Gaudin said. “Everything that would become Spider-Man is in those first 10 pages.”
As for buyers, he doubts anyone local will pick it up and expects collectors around the world will be interested.
“I guarantee no one in Canada will buy it,” he said.
“A lot of corporations have been buying rare comic books and framing them and putting them in their lobbies ‘cause it’s a cool thing to do.”