Captain America: Winter Soldier soldiers into theaters April 4, 2014. With a budget of $170 million, Winter Soldier is expected to be one of the biggest Marvel movies of all time.
Before the character became a box office bonanza, Captain America was a comic book icon. The patriotic creation of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Captain America fought the Axis powers of World War II on the pages of his own comic book series. Cap, and his alter ego Steve Rodgers, was one of the most popular comic book character of the 1940s wartime period.
Unfortunately after the war ended, Cap’s popularity declined, and the comic was discontinued in 1950.
Captain America was re-introduced by Marvel comic during the Silver Age of comics. Cap was written into Avengers #4 as an M.I.A soldier retrieved from an iceberg-induced slumber. Since his first appearance in Captain America Comics #1 in March 1941, Cap has sold over 210 million copies in over seventy-five countries.
Cap’s popularity continues to this day but fan boys with fat wallets are willing to pay for more than just original comics and trading cards. Here are some of the priciest items in the history of Captain America to celebrate the opening box office weekend of Winter Soldier.
The first item on the list of expensive Captain America items isn’t part of the history of the comic book character but it did play a huge role in cinematic history. This Captain America was the bike Peter Fonda rode in the 1969 classic Easy Rider.
Fonda’s character Wyatt rode across country on Captain America — one of two created for the movie. The choppers were purchased from a police auction for $500.00 each and were retired LAPD Harley-Davidson bikes. One would be transformed into the Captain America machine, a backup Captain America bike and the other two went on to become known as the “Billy Bike” ridden by co-star Dennis Hopper.
The two Captain America bikes met their metal maker in an oddly similar way. The first bike was destroyed by fire in the final scene of the movie. The other bike, gifted to actor Dan Haggerty (who had a small role in Easy Rider and was one of the men responsible for designing the classic ride) was destroyed in 2010 in a warehouse fire along with thirty other classic cars and bikes.
While the actual value of the price is unknown, it’s safe to assume that had the bike ever come up in an auction, any number of collectors would pay a handsome some of the iconic two-wheeled Captain America. To get an idea of an amount, replicas from the movie went up for auction by the Guggenheim in 2011 and fetched around $30,000.
Not long after the release of Captain America: The First Avenger, an auction was held, and most of the props from the movie were available for purchase to the general public. The very rich general public. The auction brought in almost a million dollars in sales, with the average item going for over $4,000.
One of the most buzzed-about items was Captain America’s trusty shield, the one buried along with him in that deep freeze for so many decades. The winning bidder took home Captain America’s best weapon for a mere $20,000.
A complete list of the auction items and the winning bids is here.
Another auction item that brought in serious bucks was the USO outfit Captain America wore in the first movie during his scenes selling bonds and kissing babies. The Captain America USO suit sold for $25,000 at auction.
Unfortunately, the suit did not come with the shield. That sold separately for $11,000.
Mentioned in the opening, this comic marks the return of Captain America into the Marvel Universe. Since comic books aren’t a particular area of expertise, we’ll get the complete synopsis of the issue from the Marvel Wiki.
After escaping the Avengers previously, the Sub-Mariner encounters Inuit worshiping a man in a block of ice in the north sea. Angrily he casts the frozen man into the ocean. The Avengers discover the body, which had been thawed by warmer waters. It turns out to be the hero of WWII, Captain America. His body had been frozen and preserved after a failed mission near the end of the war. The Avengers then attend a press conference where they are turned to stone by a creature with a mysterious ray.
Owing his life to the Avengers, Captain America tracks down the alien and makes it restore the Avengers back to normal. In return the Avengers try to free the alien’s craft from the water and the Sub-Mariner attacks. After fighting him off, they finish freeing the craft and the alien departs. Captain America is then recruited as an Avenger!
In 2011, an original Avengers #4 sold for $91,500. An almost perfect grading (9.6 out of a possible 10) was the reason for the books absurd selling price. According to source, there are only seven known prints of this comic with a 9.6 rating, and none with a higher rating in existence. Recently, a copy of the comic with a 9.4 grading popped up on eBay with a starting price of $39,999, if you’re interested.
Among the treasured Captain America wares in that auction mentioned earlier was the complete Captain America hero suit, the one Chris Evans wore into the final battle with Red Skull.
The complete suit, pictured above, sold for an astounding $228,000. Oddly enough, the Red Skulls outfit also sold for an absurd amount of money.
Right now, a huge Captain America fan is wearing the suit to get his mail.
The grandaddy of them all in the comic book world — the rare first issue in fantastic condition.
A copy of Captain America Comics #1 ( with a 9.2 rating) sold at auction in 2011 for a record $343,000 — the highest price ever paid for a copy of the comic. This particular copy of Captain America #1 is from a group of books that surfaced in the same year from the vaults of a collector in Atlantic City, NJ. Purchased from the original owner, the man bought the Captain America comic off the newsstand himself and kept it, and other comic, in amazing condition for decades.
The Captain America memorabilia story will continue to grow. With Winter Soldier hitting theaters soon, another movie auction sure to follow, and possibly more old collectors putting their Cap fan goods up for bid, there is no telling what prices people will pay to own a piece of American history. Even if it is fictional.