A pristine copy of Action Comics No. 1, the first appearance of Superman in 1938, sold for a record $3,207,852 Sunday in an auction on eBay. This Holly Grail of Comic-Book received an “actual bid” of nearly $2.2 million on Friday evening, with two days left before the virtual gavel fell, according to eBay’s auction site. But, fortunately the last offer on Sunday’s night brought a winning bid of more than $3.2 million. This issue by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster is now the world’s most expensive comic, surpassing an Action Comics No. 1 owned by actor Nicolas Cage that was sold for $2.16 million in 2011 on the auction website ComicConnect.com.
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. With a print run of approximately 200,000 in 1938, less than 100 are thought to be in existence, and CGC has only graded seven unrestored copies of Action Comics No. 1 over a 6.0.
This copy was acquired several years ago in a private sale by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington (who is the comic’s fourth owner), 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.
The lucky winner is also giving back — 1% of the proceeds from the same will benefit the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping individuals with spinal-cord injuries and paralysis that was started by the Superman movie star.