For serious collectors with seriously deep pockets, this is a momentous day: It's the beginning of the 10-day eBay auction of the holy grail of comic books -- the finest known copy of Action Comics #1.
“I’ve been in business 28 years and you chase a lot of leads hoping to find something like this,” retailer Darren Adams, who owns the CGC-graded 9.0 copy, tells Seattle's KCPQ TV. “This is the needle in the haystack, because most books are not preserved with such quality.”
The owner of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, Adams acquired the comic several years ago in a private sale, and stored it in a temperature-controlled vault. He tells the Federal Way Mirror the original owner bought the comic (for 10 cents) from a newsstand in 1938, and then stored it 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, says 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.
There are thought to be only about 30 unrestored copies of Action Comics #1 in existence. Just one other copy of Action Comics #1, the one previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage, has received a 9.0 rating from the Certified Guaranty Company, but it had “cream to off-white pages,” while Adams' comic is considered to be in pristine edition. The Cage issue sold at auction in 2011 for a record $2.16 million.
“It’s been humbling to own this book, and I can check this off of my bucket list when I sell it," Adams tells KCPQ. "I can always say I owned the most valuable comic in the world.”