A rare copy of the first comic book featuring Superman sold for $1 million (Rs 4.6 crore), smashing the previous record price for a comic book.
A 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1, widely considered the Holy Grail of comic books, was sold by a private seller to a private buyer, neither of whom released their names. The issue features Superman lifting a car on its cover and originally cost 10 cents. The transaction was conducted by the auction site ComicConnect.com. Stephen Fishler, co-owner of the site and its sister dealership, Metropolis Collectibles, orchestrated the sale.
Fishler said it transpired minutes after the issue was put on sale at around 10.30 am. He said that the seller was a “well-known individual” in New York with a pedigree collection and that the buyer was a known customer who previously bought an Action Comics No. 1 of lesser grade.
“It’s considered by most people as the most important book,” said John Dolmayan, a comic book enthusiast and dealer best known as the drummer for the rock band System of a Down. “It kind of ushered in the age of the superheroes.”
Dolmayan, who owns Torpedo Comics, last year paid $317,000 (Rs 1.45 cr) for an Action Comics No. 1 issue for a client. That purchase is considered the “official public record” for a comic book sale, said Mark Zaid, the marketing director for the Comic Book Collecting Association, which was launched on Monday. There have been other private sales in the $300,000 (Rs 1.38 cr) to $450,000 (Rs 2.07 cr) range, he said.
Monday’s copy fetched a much higher price because it’s in a good condition. It’s rated 8.0 grade, or very fine, on a scale that goes up to 10. Dolmayan said he didn’t buy this copy but he wishes he could have. “The fact is this book is completely unrestored and still has an 8.0 grade. It’s like a diamond or a precious stone,” he said.