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Action Comics No. 1, which sold for $5 million ($6 million with buyer's premium) at Heritage.

Heritage realizes new world record for Action Comics No. 1 with $6m sale

DALLAS — Priced at 10 cents when it appeared in 1938, a copy of Action Comics No. 1, which introduced the world to Superman, has become the world’s most valuable comic book. It sold for a hammer price of $5 million as part of the April 4-7 Comics & Comic Art auction at Heritage Auctions.

The price was $6 million including buyer’s premium. According to (grading service) CGC’s list of the most expensive comic books ever reported sold, a copy of Superman No. 1 was bought privately for $5.3 million in 2022.

The previous auction record was held by the CGC Near Mint+ 9.6 copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15, featuring the debut of Spider-Man, which sold for a premium-inclusive $3.6 million at Heritage in September 2021.

Graded CGC Very Fine+ 8.5, the Heritage Action Comics No. 1 came from the Kansas City Pedigree — the earliest so-called ‘pedigreed’ collection ever discovered, which turned up in Kansas City in the late 1960s and featured a large group of nearly 250 high-grade No. 1 issues that ran from 1937 to the 1940s.

It was “one of the world’s finest copies,” said the auction house. “Only two other unrestored issues featuring Superman’s first flight — or, at least, his first leap over a tall building — have ever graded higher.”

There are just 78 copies of Action Comics No. 1 in CGC’s population report, with the grading service estimating there are a scant 100 survivors of the comic book that launched superheroes into popular culture. Around 200,000 copies were originally printed by DC Comics’ predecessor National Allied Publications.

Action Comics No. 1 is hailed as “the most important comic ever published,” said Heritage, and the Superman who first appeared in the spring of 1938 remains “remarkably like the version still filling comic-shop shelves every week or awaiting yet another big-screen turn in writer-director James Gunn’s retelling of the tale”.