The finest known copy of Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold late this afternoon on eBay for a record $3.2 million. It’s the first comic to fetch more than $3 million at auction.
The previous record price of $2.16 million was paid in 2011 for a copy of the same comic once owned by actor Nicolas Cage. While both are rated 9.0 by the Certified Guaranty Company, the Cage issue had “cream to off-white pages”; this one is considered to be in pristine condition. They’re the only two copies of Action Comics #1 to receive that high of a rating.
This copy was acquired several years ago in a private sale by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, and stored a temperature-controlled vault. He said the original owner bought the comic from a newsstand in 1938, and then kept in a cedar box for about four decades until a local dealer in West Virginia purchased it in an estate sale. The issue then passed to a third person, who held onto it for 30 years.
Adams, the comic’s fourth owner, said he recently turned down an offer of $3 million, opting instead to sell it on eBay. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury.
An opening bid of $1 million was submitted Aug. 14 within four minutes of the auction’s opening; by the midway point of the 10-day sale, the price had risen to $1.95 million. Bidding reached the $2 million mark on Aug. 18, after which activity slowed for a few days.
There are thought to be only about 30 unrestored copies of Action Comics #1 in existence. The issue, which also included the first appearance of Zatara (overshadowed by the introduction of the Man of Steel by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster), sold on newsstands in 1938 for 10 cents.