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Rare Superman comic book fetches $3.2M

Updated: 2014-08-27 07:21
By Associated Press in New York (China Daily)

Rare Superman comic book fetches $3.2M

A rare, nearly flawless copy of Superman's comic-book debut has sold for $3.2 million, a record-setting bid on the eBay auction for Action Comics No 1. The superhero first appeared in the 1938 book. AP

A rare, nearly flawless copy of Superman's comic-book debut has sold for a super-powered price: $3.2 million.

New York comics dealers Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo said on Monday they submitted Sunday's record-setting bid in the eBay auction for Action Comics No 1, the 1938 book in which the super-hero first appeared. It's believed to be the highest price ever paid for a comic-book, surpassing $2.1 million for a similarly high-quality copy of the same book in 2011.

"It's hard to believe that a kid's 10-cent comic could be worth that much money, but it is Superman. That's an iconic thing," Fishler says. "It's the first time anybody saw what a superhero was like."

EBay confirmed the price but said it couldn't yet disclose the buyer's name.

Created by Cleveland teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Action Comics No 1 introduces theMan of Steel's Kryptonian backstory, earthly role as reporter Clark Kent and identity as a champion of the oppressed. It's seen as the dawn of the comic-book superhero, paving the way for a roster of now-famous characters.

About 100 to 150 copies are believed to exist, only a handful of them in top condition. The book just soldgot a seldom-seen 9.0 on a 10-point scale used to measure vintage comic books' condition.

It was kept for decades in a cedar chest in the West Virginia mountains by a man who had bought it off a newsstand, seller Darren Adams recently told The Washington Post. Adams, a Federal Way, Washington-based collectibles dealer, didn't immediately return a call on Monday from The Associated Press.

After the original owner died, a collector bought it from his estate and built a similar cedar chest to store it, Adams told the Post.

Fishler and Zurzolo own Comic-Connect.com, which auctioned the 2011 record-setter and a slightly less well-preserved Action Comics No 1 for more than $1 million in 2010. The rising prices have been fueled by superhero movies and a growing interest in comic books as investments. "An alternative place to put money that has a cool factor to it," Fishler says.

Sunday's sale also marks a high point for California-based eBay, which Adams selected to sell an item often handled by specialty dealers and auction houses. Gene Cook, the online marketplace's general manager of emerging verticals, says the sale demonstrates "how eBay plays a role in popular culture by connecting shoppers to must-have merchandise".

Some of the proceeds will go to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, in recognition of the late Superman movie star.

Fishler says he and Zurzolo have no specific plans yet for their newly bought copy but couldn't resist it, despite the price. "It was just too good of an opportunity to pass up," he says.

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