It's one of the most common questions on the ComicsPriceGuide.com message boards. So common in fact, that this article has been specifically written to help answer the question of "I have a signed comic, how much is it worth?"
So, your comic is signed...
Is the issue worth anything to begin with? The first step in understanding the value of signed copies is to determine what the issue you have is worth, unsigned. Identify your issue, grade it,
then find out what the guide value is. Using our example comic, we search the CPG for Generic Super Hero Comic #1 and find that this particular issue is worth $5.00 in near mint condition. That's our starting point.
Who signed it?
Who does matter: pencilers/cover artists, creators, writers. Who doesn't matter: inkers, letterers, colors. There are exceptions to this rule. For one, Stan Lee. Stan the man Lee could sign a box of Pop-Tarts and it would be on eBay tomorrow. For another, having a comic signed by an inker or letterer isn't that bad, as long as one of the "does matters" signed it as well. Let's go to our Generic Super Hero Comic #1, signed by Buddy Artist, who drew the cover. We see our value inching up just a bit. But it's also signed by Jimmy Inker! Not a problem! As we had mentioned before, it's signed by one of the "does matters", so Jimmy Inker's sig is a welcome addition (this rule is out the window if the inking is done by a big name guest).
Ah, we're starting to see a little cash! Buddy Artist signed our book, guide value is $5.00, lookin' good...what do you mean can I prove that's Buddy Artist's signature?
Is it certified?
Scenario #1: Big Name Cover Artist signed your book at the 1985 Big Ass Comic Convention. Great. You saw him do it. Even better. You at least have your word to go hand in hand with your signed comic. Scenario #2: You bought a bunch of old comics from your cousin (the one trying to move out of his parent's basement), and one of them was signed by Big Name Penciler. Good. You can do a little research, compare some old signatures of Big Name Penciler you found on eBay, make the call that it is indeed a true signature. Then you can get a sheet of paper and your pen and try to copy the signature. You do it over and over until you realize...it can be done. And has been done many times. Not saying that yours is not a steadfast and true signature, just saying that it's a tough call on anybody's part. Scenario #3: Our copy of Generic Super Hero Comic #1 is distributed by Dynamic Forces, signed by Buddy Artist with a certificate of authenticity saying so. Cha-ching! The values of these babies are pretty easy to find, plus given the reputation of the DF Editions, it's money in the bank. But Dynamic Forces and Wizard haven't been around forever. That's why you have to make the best call you can on whether or not the signature you have is the genuine article. Odds are it is, but without the solid evidence from
a reputable company, finding buyers is gonna be tough. If I sell a comic with a non-certified signature, I do not raise the price. I consider it a possible perk, but do not change the price from what I would normally sell it for.
Okay, where are we...Buddy Artist, as attested by Dynamic Forces, signed our comic that is worth a guide value of $5.00...
How much is it worth?
The old adage holds true: "it's only worth what someone is willing to pay for it." If you're trying to sell your signed comic, consider all the factors mentioned above and determine the estimated worth of your possession. You might also want to check the completed auctions on eBay and Yahoo to see if other items like yours have sold, and if so, for how much. When selling a signed comic, make sure the buyer understands that this is a signed comic.
The buyers who are looking for such issues, or the one's who think this would be a great item to add to their collection are willing to pay more than guide value. Sometimes much more. But the ones who aren't may not be so happy to find that their new comic has been written on! If you're looking to keep it, just appreciate that you have a comic that's signed by one of the guys that make life fun. Value doesn't matter in this case.
Does a signature affect the grade of a comic?
It may, depending on the grading company and the condition of the book before it was signed. For example, a 10.0 book pre-signature could not be a 10.0 after someone signed it because.... well.... someone put ink all over it! Use the standard grading guides to grade your comic, and then note that it is signed. If you're getting your comic graded by CGC Comics or CBCS, they'll more than likely give it a qualified status; meaning that the comic is, for example, a 9.6, you'll get a Qualified 9.6 and the signature would be mentioned.
Above all, have fun with it.
Oh, I sold our Generic Super Hero Comic #1 for $10 to a guy who loves Buddy Artist.