While we all dream of the great attic, garage sale, or flea market finds, that rarely happens for any of us. Instead, here are some quality comics to target if you’re looking to start a Golden Age collection without spending more than you budgeted.

A Change

Golden Age collecting on a budget is replacing Undervalued & Overlooked Golden Age Comics. After a year of writing on Undervalued Golden Age, I found that the pieces weren’t really doing Golden Age comics the justice they deserved. The format still works well for Silver, Bronze, and Copper Age comics. So, never fear – those pieces will be continuing.

In working on a three-parter on Golden Age Collecting on a Budget (Part 1 here), I found the format challenging in a fun way as a writer and illuminating for anyone interested in collecting Golden Age comics but limited by a finite budget. Please let me know below what you think of the new format. I am always open to suggestions.

The Rules of the Game

Our budget for the month of May is $1,000. Here’s a reminder of the rules for our Golden Age comics collecting game: 1. We have a $1,000 budget and we have to stay within 5% of that budget. 2. We must select 5 Golden Age comics. 3. We must select comics across different genres – no loading up on funny animal, western, or romance. 4. No copies graded below 4.0 – we want some decent-looking comics. 5. There must have been a sale within the past few years – hard to gauge the prices if there haven’t been any sales; and, to make things more challenging, if the sale is more than a year old, we’re going to add 8% to the last known price for each year. So, if it sold prior to May 2022, we’ll add 8%; prior to May 2021, we’ll add another 8%, etc.

Those are the rules. Now, let’s play Golden Age Collecting on a Budget!

First – A Classic Pick

Our first pick will be a Classic Comic, literally. Classic Comics, later to be known as Classics Illustrated, began publication in 1941. Often reprinted, Classic Comics collecting became a niche within the wider hobby due to the slightly confusing HRN system. However, contemporary collectors, who are used to reprints and variant covers, should have no problems understanding the order in which Classic Comics were printed. The good thing is that the early issues in the series don’t have any HRNs to worry about, so it's easy to identify the original.

We’re going with Classic Comics #5, the comic book retelling of MOBY DICK, for our first pick. A 5.0 graded copy sold in a December 2022 Heritage auction for $288. There are 35 graded copies, so it’ll be a little hard to find. It’s a nice if somewhat pricy pickup for our first pick, but these early issues are different enough from other Golden Age comics that they’ll make for a nice addition to our collection.

Total spent: $288

Second – A War Pick

One of the earliest war comics was Wings Comics, a series about flying aces during World War II. Published by Fiction House, the series would last from 1940 to nearly the end of the Golden Age. The early issues can be tough to find but are worth the hunt. The black covers, in particular, are some very nice-looking comics.

Take a gander at Wings Comics #10 with two planes colliding in front of a black background. The collision is catastrophic enough to jettison one pilot from his plane. Gruesome stuff – something you can only find in the Golden Age. A 6.0 graded copy sold in an August 2020 fixed-price sale for $175. We’ll have to add our 8% for each year, which brings us to $220 for this one.

With only 14 graded copies, it’ll take some digging to find a copy, but the search will definitely be worth it.

Total spent: $508

Third – A Western Pick

We’ve selected two comics and we’re already halfway through our budget. Time to look for some bargains. And we have a great one here: Roy Rogers Comics #1. One of the most popular Western screen heroes of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, Roy Rogers starred in many Dell comics.

The first issue of his first self-titled series makes for an intriguing addition to our collection. There are 84 graded copies, so it shouldn’t be a difficult find, and the pricing in the mid-grades is definitely within our budget. A 5.5 copy sold in a December 2022 Heritage auction for $174, making this a nice first issue find at a low price.

Total spent: $682

Fourth – A Funny Animal Pick

OK, he’s not necessarily a funny animal, but he’s in the same vein. Casper the Friendly Ghost #5, published by St. John Publishing in 1951, is the last issue in the series before it migrated to Harvey Publications. The cover is absolutely adorable and will look great in our collection.

While the census is lacking for this issue, making the hunt a little harder, we do know that a 4.5-graded copy sold in an August 2020 Heritage auction for $132. Following our 8% rule, we’re up to $154, a nice price for a beautiful and underrated book.

Total spent: $836

Fifth – A Superhero Pick

There are a ton of obscure Golden Age superheroes, yet even the least known ones have first appearances that are worth quite a bit. But we found one that works within our budget. Headline Comics #16 featured the first appearance of Atomic Man. While his exploits only lasted six issues, he is often credited with being the first atomic-powered superhero.

There are only 12 graded copies of Headline Comics #16, so this will be our hardest hunt of the month. But at the price available, we have to try. A 6.5 graded copy sold in a Heritage auction for $132 back in September 2020. Following the 8% rule brings us to $166, which keeps us in budget. We get a nice mid-grade of the first appearance of a superhero lost to the mists of time.

What’s not to love here?

Total spent: $1,002


Only $2 over budget makes this an excellent month. Our lowest grade was the 4.5 copy of Casper the Friendly Ghost #5, but it’s so incredibly cute. We got a first superhero appearance in a 6.5 grade for a great price.

We managed to pick up a first issue featuring one of the all-time western greats in a nice-looking 5.5 grade. The 6.0 grade for an issue of Wings Comics in the first ten issues is a nice find, as is our Classic Comics #5 in a 5.0 grade.

Overall, we added some unique conversation pieces to our Golden Age collection in May.

Which five Golden Age comics would you select with a $1,000 budget? Let us know below.

*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.