A comic book just sold for $2.6 million in auction via the online auction company ComicConnect, to an anonymous buyer.
Superman #1 isn’t just any comic book. The 1939 issue is one of the Holy Grails of comic book collecting, with original survivors being incredibly rare, and those in decent condition even more so. Considering that comic books have only recently begun being printed with archival considerations in mind, finding any copies in such fine condition is a stroke of luck. Comics in the 1930s and into the 1990s were printed on pulp, high-acid paper made cheaply and quick to become friable and crumble. There is no accounting how much comic art has been lost to time.
Originally sold for only 10 cents, the 64-page issue is the original origin story of perhaps the father of all contemporary superhero stories. Written and illustrated by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, it introduced Clark Kent, his parents the Kents, Lois Lane, and Krypton. This copy has changed hands only twice. It was purchased in ’39, then kept safe for over 40 years. Then it was purchased by Mark Michaelson, who had a sense of its potential value. He kept it in a climate-controlled safe for another forty years, until this recent sale.
“This is by far the nicest copy of Superman #1 I’ve ever brought to market and is the second highest-graded copy on the census. The cover inks are rich and the interior pages supple. What a thrill that there are still undiscovered comics like this lying dormant,” said ComicConnect founder and COO Vincent Zurzolo in the auction listing.
Curiously, this comic is not the issue which introduced Superman himself. He first appeared a year earlier, without any secret identity, in Action Comics #1. ComicConnect sold a copy of that release earlier this year for over $3.2 million.
Thirty people bid in the online auction, which opened with a starting bid of $728,000. The buyer opted to remain anonymous, which is not unusual for the buyers of extremely rare and high-value collectibles like this.