Friday 22nd May 2015,
Comic Booked

Incredible Hulk #181 Breaks Records

Comic Booked Guest Writer 03/20/2011 Features, Reviews

So soon after Amazing Fantasy #15 in a 9.6 sold for 1.1 Million Dollars, another milestone occurred with the selling of Incredible Hulk #181 for $150,000. This book was originally graded over ten years ago by CGC in a 9.9 and was kept in a private collection till its recent sale through Here is what they said about the illustrious issue:

“Hulk #181 is by far the most significant comic book printed in the last 40 years. Wolverine’s popularity over the last few decades is right up there with Spider-Man’s. The issue is one of the most highly collected of all vintage Marvel comic books and we believe that in CGC 9.9, this singular example is definitively the most significant single comic book graded by CGC published in the last 35 years.”

Incredible Hulk #181 Graded 9.9

What is causing these “Key” issues to sell at such inflated prices? Would they have sold at the reported prices if they were simply bagged and boarded with a Mylar bag and acid free backing board? Does having a 3rd party grading company really contribute to the value of the comic book, and not just any 3rd party, but CGC?

I purchased a book graded by PGX once before. It was a copy of New Mutants #5 in a 9.9. Since I am working on a full set by CGC in a 9.8 or higher I decided to hand over the encapsulated comic at Wizard World 2010. CGC graded it a 9.8. Apparently their standards are different.

Since I got swept up into the collecting aspect of 3rd party graded comic books it is the small nuances that bother me. There are a few 9.8 copies I own that I feel should be a 9.6 and vice versa. Don’t get me wrong, they are both beautiful copies but when the difference between a 9.6 and a 9.8 could be a minimal price differential of 100%, well that could add up to quite a bit.

I would love to see the copy of Incredible Hulk #181 in a 9.9 just to see how it rates to my New Mutants #1 in a 9.9, one book is 9 years older than the other so maybe I should compare a 9.8 copy and the 9.9 copy of the same book. Which begs to question, does the age of one book allow for more defects? Will the 8.0 copy of Action Comics #1, which sold for one million dollars look any different than the Daredevil #158 in the same grade that I own? Will they have the same amount of blemishes and defects? Is each crease calculated the same? Is every corner chip, every spine stress, and staple scrutinized the same way?

With Incredible Hulk #181 being the first comic book from the “Bronze” age to reach over a hundred thousand (all other books that achieved this goal were from the silver age or older) these hefty prices are becoming more regular, and every one of them has been graded by CGC. I wonder when the first “copper” age book will reach $100,000 and will it be graded a 9.8 or a 9.9?

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  1. Nick Furious 03/21/2011 at 7:26 am

    Valid question. I hate to say this but I just don't see comics holding the same value they used to. But really interesting to hear that comic sold for so much!!

  2. CGC Lee 03/21/2011 at 12:47 pm

    The value will be held but only on those rare occurrences. With this particular issue, the only reason it went so high is because it is the only one. A copy of New Mutants #98 sold for $12,250 in a 9.9 back in 2009. Another one sold, this time in a signature series for $6,601. As much as I love this series I feel that the prices for these are so far out of whack, but the fact that they sold shows they are worth it. Will they keep that value. No, but only because another 9.9 book will surface, and if/when a Gem Mint 10 comes out it will drop the value. I think I will get int pricing more with my next article, which is about the cost of a grade with Daredevil #168 which will validate your point…. on a common book. It kind of reminds me when my son was so up in awe about a Charzard card.

  3. Robb Orr 03/21/2011 at 4:25 pm

    I guess I can forget about owning this anytime in the near future. Good article, man.

  4. Andy Kirby 03/21/2011 at 6:07 pm

    Who says, comic sales are down?!?

  5. Skott of Fables 03/22/2011 at 3:46 pm

    Modern comics will never have the value of the classics. Especially WWII era comics, many of those fell victim to paper drives for the War Effort.

    Then taking into considering the vicious comic book burnings in the 1950's thanks to Wertham and his insanity…

    Modern comics are a victim of their own fans. Since we tend to keep the ones we love in the best condition possible it's difficult to ask for a higher price for them since it ISN'T difficult to find a good quality copy.

    What does this mean? Who care! Comics are great to read and collect. If you love what you collect then it has the best value it could ever have: PERSONAL value. Buy what you like, read and enjoy or, in CGC's cases: DISPLAY them.

    Oh, and I have to say this: Digital 'comics' will NEVER have value like this. HA HA!

  6. Simon cole 10/16/2011 at 12:16 pm

    I have a perfect condition copy of the incredible hulk 181 and vol1 issue1 wolverine where would I go to get good prices on these???

    • CGC Lee 10/17/2011 at 7:01 am

      What do you consider a perfect condition? CPA is a great way to find out what a CGC graded comic book is selling for. I would recommend taking it to someone you trust in the comic world, ask them what they think the condition it is, how much they would pay for it and then go to a con and hand it over to CGC. Let them grade it. You can also join but that would cost you a membership. Some comic book stores will do it for you. If you like I know someone I trust that I use for my signature series. I can get you the contact info. Simon, let me know what happens.

      CGC Lee

  7. Gabriele 06/25/2013 at 4:54 pm

    I have a perfect copy of Issue 181 as well. I wanted to bring it to CGC to have it graded but they would not let me drop it off at the facility in Florida since they have high security there. I am afraid to ship it to them via courier since insurance will not cover the value if it "disappears" into thin air. CGC also charges a percentage based on value. So if the valuation is over $ 100,000.00 I cannot afford to pay the fee. Not sure what I can do so it remains in a case in the dark until I do. Have kept it in this condition for over 20 years since I bought it when I was working a summer job and I paid around 700.00 for it. Does anyone have an idea how I can get this graded?

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