Marvel have been a pop culture behemoth for decades at this point, with generations of fans discovering their superheroes in comics, TV shows and movies for more than 60 years.
The origins of the Marvel shared comic book universe originates in comics published by ‘Timely Comics’ in the 1940s, with heroes such as the Human Torch and Captain America leading the charge.
The company became publishing comics under the Marvel moniker in the 1960s, with Fantastic Four #1 (featuring a different Human Torch!) being recognised as one of the key milestones for the shared universe concept.
Though hugely popular over the following decades, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) films – kicking off with Iron Man in 2008 – made the comic book company’s appeal more widespread and mainstream than ever before.
With such a rich and storied history – and several decades of lore to draw from – Marvel’s comic book characters have appeared in countless trading card sets, in partnership with numerous companies.
Though some have sold for ridiculously high prices in the past, it does seem that values have dropped quite a bit, judging by what we’ve uncovered of recent sales of Marvel cards via eBay.
So the question is: what are the most valuable Marvel trading cards?
Let’s find out!
1. Black Cat – Marvel Metal Universe Spider-Man, Sketch Card ($3,000)
As mentioned in the introduction above, the value of Marvel trading cards don’t command anywhere near the prices they once did. Years ago, you may have seen cards sold for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars!
However, that’s not to say that high value cards aren’t still out there – and, given that most cards will be discovered in packs that cost just a few dollars, a value of $3,000 for a single card certainly isn’t bad!
This card features Black Cat, aka Felicia Hardy; often a supporting character in Spider-Man stories, Black Cat veers between ally and enemy quite fluidly.
Much like a certain female DC character, who also assumes a feline disguise!
So what makes this card so special?
Well, it’s a hand-drawn sketch card – and, seeing as it’s 1 of 1, it’s the only one of its kind in the world!
Despite being ungraded, this is the highest value card we found to have sold on eBay at current market prices, though it was listed for $3,000, a best offer price was accepted.
We have no way of knowing the final selling price, unfortunately – but, given this card’s unique nature, we can assume that it didn’t sell for much less than its original owner was seeking!
2. Carnage – Marvel Metal Universe Spider-Man, Sketch Card ($3,000)
OK, so the top two spots of this list are very similar; they’re both green cards from the Marvel Metal Universe Spider-Man set, they’re both hand-drawn sketch cards, and they’re also both 1/1 too!
Yet the characters featured couldn’t be any more different!
Carnage is a symbiote, an alien organism which was the offspring of another symbiote: Venom. Venom himself was originally the black suit that Spider-Man wore for a time in the 80s (and, briefly, in the 00s too) – and maybe, just maybe all of this comic book history for the characters makes more sense (and sounds less silly!) in the comics themselves.
Or maybe not. It’s certainly an awful lot more drawn out and needlessly complex, as I can personally attest to, having been an avid reader of Spider-Man comics since the early 80s myself!
Of course, Carnage and Venom have both had the big screen treatment in recent years – played by no less than Woody Harrelson and Tom Hardy, respectively, so their daft and convoluted history clearly hasn’t impacted on their popularity.
So this 1/1 sketch card being listed for $3,000, then selling for what we can only assume is slightly less (without knowing the final value – again, thanks to that being private when a best offer is accepted), is perhaps not surprising – it’s a unique collector’s item for a fan of the murderous red symbiote!
3. Spider-Man – 2015 Marvel Masterpieces, What If #90 ($2,800)
The first two cards on this list are from a more recent set, the 2022 Marvel Metal Universe Spider-Man series.
However, in third place we have a slightly older card: this re-imagining of Amazing Fantasy #15’s cover from the 2015 Marvel Masterpieces set.
If you’re a comic book fan – and know your Marvel history – you’ll be well aware that Amazing Fantasy #15, cover-dated August 1962, marked the very first appearance of Spider-Man.
Amazing Fantasy #15 was the last issue of that series, as it was cancelled, and Spidey got his very own comic book, with Amazing Spider-Man #1 launching in early 1963.
The blurb on the back of the card describes a more recent status quo for Spider-Man, very different to the original 1960s storyline that was found in the pages of Amazing Fantasy (and, indeed, the early Amazing Spider-Man comics too!).
Being one of just 50 of these cards, naturally it’s pretty highly sought after – and in this case, it did sell for its listed price of $2,800!
4. Thor – Marvel Allure Card, Chris Hemsworth Autograph #98 ($2,700)
People tend to forget that when the MCU films originally began, they were a huge gamble.
The rights to the most popular characters, Spider-Man and the X-Men, including Wolverine, to name the biggest examples, were tied up at other studios, leaving Marvel to try and make use of their lower tier characters in setting up their shared cinematic universe.
It’s easy to assume that characters such as Iron Man were always a big deal, but that’s definitely not the case. If you look back to video games such as Marvel Ultimate Alliance, among countless other examples, Iron Man doesn’t even make an appearance until well into the duration of the game.
The same is true of Thor, who despite being, like Iron Man, a founding member of The Avengers in the 60s, was hardly ever among the top tier of Marvel’s comic book lineup.
Yet the MCU changed that forever, mostly thanks to inspired casting and smart choices when it came to the style and tone of their cinematic adaptations.
Chris Hemsworth – who plays Thor – proved very popular beyond just the expected audience for comic book movies (I can’t possibly think why!) and truly made the role his own.
So, naturally, a card with Chris Hemsworth’s authentic, certified autograph is bound to be pretty valuable!
That’s what we have here; a photo of Chris Hemsworth in character, from the third movie in the series – Thor: Ragnarok – with his autograph on a signature strip on the front of the card.
It’s graded too; though it’s ‘only’ an 8 on the PSA 1-10 grading scale, that still secures its condition, status and value.
It sold for an impressive $2,700 – and, given its nature, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this card rise in value over the coming years either!
5. Black Cat – Marvel Universe SketchaFEX, Sketch Card ($2,400)
So, Felicia Hardy – we meet again!
That’s right: another Black Cat card has made it into the most valuable Marvel trading cards list, and it’s another sketch card too!
This time, it’s also an autographed card – bearing the signature of the artist, Charles Hall.
It’s also uncut, so it’s a slightly larger card than normal, in order to accommodate the full illustration.
It’s no wonder that this card sold for so much despite not being graded; it’s a gorgeous and unique work of art in its own right.
Though a best offer was accepted, its listing price of $2,400 is a good ballpark figure for what it is likely to have sold for.
6. Wolverine – 2015 Marvel Masterpieces, What If #89 ($1,748)
Another classic comic cover reimagined as part of the 2015 Marvel Masterpieces set, this card prominently features one of Marvel’s most enduringly popular characters: Wolverine.
So, if you’re not overly familiar with Marvel history, you may not understand why this card features Wolverine so prominently, yet is actually a reimagining of issue #181 of The Incredible Hulk.
To fill you in on that: Incredible Hulk #181 marked the first full appearance of Wolverine – who was described on the cover as Canada’s first and greatest superhero!
In the issue, Wolverine is tasked by the Canadian Government to take down the rampaging green monster – and combat does of course ensue!
One of only 50 of these cards in the world, it sold for $1,748!
7. Spider-Man – 2021 Marvel Premier, Sketch Card ($1,626)
Everyone’s favourite, friendly neighbourhood wall-crawler appears again on this great sketch card.
Adorned with a fantastic illustration of a very classic-looking, almost minimalist Spider-Man by artist David Palumbo, who has also signed the back of the card – this card hails from Upper Deck’s 2021 Marvel Premier trading card set.
Given the fact that this is a one-of-a-kind art card, it’s no wonder that it ended up selling at auction for $1,626.
8. Spider-Man/Venom – 2019 Marvel Premier, Sketch Card ($1,525)
Though some fans or collectors may feel that this illustration is a little busy for a trading card, it’s actually one of my favourite card images from this list.
It manages to fit in a great shot of Spider-Man taking on Venom – grabbing him by the tongue, no less – with numerous villains dotted around just outside the centre of the action!
So aside from Spidey and Venom, we have the Green Goblin flying around in the sky, the Lizard getting ready to pounce on the left, Doctor Octopus making his approach from on high at the right of the image and Carnage looking threateningly close to the wall crawler at the front of the picture.
It’s beautifully done by artist Chris Meeks, who has also signed the back of the card.
Another one-of-a-kind, one of one card, it sold for $1,525 at auction via eBay!
9. Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat – 2023 Marvel Masterpieces, Sketch Card ($1,440)
Kitty Pryde – or, using her superhero alias, Shadowcat – appears on this sad card; cradling her companion, the dragon Lockheed.
Or at least, Lockheed’s skeleton, which makes this even more of a tragic scene; especially as it seems to be taking place in a graveyard of some sort!
Despite this rather gothic piece of art, Lockheed is alive and well in the comics – despite a few very close brushes with death over the years.
This card is yet another 1:1 sketch card, illustrated and signed (on the back) by artist Yuriko Shirou.
It’s a great example of the scope of the Marvel universe too; we’ve gone from single character portraits, to bombastic, action-packed fights featuring multiple characters to this beautifully designed,somewhat intimate and tragic scene.
10. Black Widow – 2021 Marvel Premier, Sketch Card ($1,320)
Finally, we have another sketch card by artist Yuriko Shirou, this time featuring secret agent/Avenger Black Widow.
This card is a lot brighter in tone than the melancholy Kitty Pryde card, featuring what is clearly the aftermath of a mission, with Black Widow posing, with her gun raised, in front of an exploded truck.
Another 1 of 1 card – signed by Shirou on the back – it had a listed price of $1,320, but sold for an unknown best offer value.
So, despite the fact that Marvel cards have gone down in value in recent years, it’s clear that there’s still quite a bit of interest in them, with every single card on this list being above $1,000!
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