Fans of the superhero ‘Spider-Man’ are likely to flock to an auction in Dallas this week, attracted by the thought of owning their own copy of a piece of comic book history. The 1962 issue of the anthology comic book Amazing Fantasy No. 15 featured the debut of the Peter Parker alter-ego character. Heritage Auctions are preparing themselves for bids as high as $400,000 (£276,000) for the privilege of purchasing the highly desirable publication.

Mint condition increases value

Although the comic is not as rare as some might imagine it would be to generate such interest in the specialist industry, it is the rarity of its almost mint condition that seems to be making collectors sit up and notice.

A previous copy of the same issue in prime condition fetched the staggering sum of $1.1 million in the United States.

The managing director of the auction house’s comic department, Lon Allen told the press that there may still be as many as 5,000 copies of the much-coveted issue in circulation. However, the current owner, Walter Yacoboski from New York, seems to have maintained his copy in a highly-valued pristine state.

Calculated gamble by owner

As investments go, Yacoboski took a calculated gamble back in 1980 when he paid out the not insignificant figure of $1,200 for a publication that would have originally cost just 12 cents back in the early 1960s. Utilising his savings from working as a short-order cook at the time, it was to mark the beginning of his limited foray into the rare superhero comic book market.

Additional rarities for sale

Besides the Amazing Fantasy comic book, the 60-year-old invested in similar additional rarities. He also intends to sell a Spider-Man from 1963, a Justice League of America and a couple of early editions of Fantastic Four which could net him a further $75,000.

Purchasing farm with proceeds

Not that the former baker intends to merely add to his savings with the proceeds from the sales.

His intention is to utilise the extra finances to fund the purchase of his late father’s 17-acre vegetable farm on eastern Long Island.

Origins in ‘Silver Age’

The popularity of ‘Spider-Man’ since its early origins in Marvel Comics remains high in the modern-day world. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko during the so-called ‘Silver Age of Comic Books (from 1956 to 1970), it ticked all of the boxes during a period of commercial success and interest in illustrated stories in the superhero genre.

Based on the concept of Peter Parker being bitten by a radioactive spider, which enabled him to develop amazing powers as a consequence, Spider-Man’s adventures have subsequently been immortalised through a number of feature films.