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Posted at 6:20 PM ET, 03/29/2010

Ka-ching! SUPERMAN breaks record again with $1.5M comic book

By Michael Cavna


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You know Batman couldn't knock down Superman without soon getting clocked himself with a haymaker. At least where the comic-book collectibles industry is concerned.

A copy of the 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1 -- in which Superman made his debut -- sold Monday afternoon in New York for a record-setting $1.5-million through the auction/consignment site ComicConnect.com, the site told Comic Riffs.

The same issue sold last month through ComicConnect for $1-million -- the first comic book to crack that threshold. Just days later, the 1939 comic book that featured Batman's debut (Detective Comics No. 27) sold for $1,075,000 via a Dallas house's online auction.

In Monday's record sale, both the seller and the buyer chose (however fittingly) to shield their identities, ComicConnect.com co-owner Vincent Zurzolo tells Comic Riffs.

ComicConnect.com said the record copy of Superman went undiscovered for roughly a half-century, tucked away hidden in an old movie magazine.

So why pay a cool half-mill more for this Superman? Well, last month's copy of Action Comics No. 1 -- considered the "holy grail of comic books" by many collectors -- was graded as being in "8.0" condition on the industry's 10-point scale (which was created by Stephen Fishler, founder of ComicConnect.com and its affiliate, Metropolis Collectibles). The new record copy is in "8.5" condition.

Of the anonymous seller, Zurzolo says: "He's a prominent East Coast collector and we've done deals with him over some 20 years."

"Once this [copy] was in play, we had people lined up ready to pay," Zurzolo continues. "We bought it from the customer recently for more" than the Batman record total.

As for the anonymous buyer, Zurzolo says: "He's an avid comic-book collector -- he's got an amazing collection, one of the finest in the world -- and [he's] a big Superman fan."

For a million-and-a-half clams, we certainly hope so.

By Michael Cavna  | March 29, 2010; 6:20 PM ET
Categories:  General, The Comic Book  | Tags:  Action Comics #1 Superman debut, Batman Detective Comics #27, ComicConnect.com  
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Comments

The circumstances of these sales make them sound highly suspicious, to say the least. Could it be that the same books are being sold back and forth between the same (anonymous) people, by the same agent, at an increase each time simply to drive up the price for when they actually do put the books up for sale on the open market? If I were Batman, "the world's greatest detective", I would surely be inclined to investigate the possibility.

Posted by: seismic-2 | March 29, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't think there's anything all that suspicious about the sales - there are different books with different grades being sold in each instance. And if I had the money I'd be buying them.

Posted by: BlogintoMystery | March 30, 2010 2:11 AM | Report abuse

Sure, they are different books, but in each case, the "auction" price ends up at a nice even figure, easy to quote in the headlines. This does not happen at Christies (or Ebay). Since the buyers and sellers always choose to remain anonymous, there simply is no paper trail to trace, making it smell of shameless self-promotion on the part of the auction website.

Posted by: kilby | March 30, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"Batman knocked me to the floor. I got up and knocked him to the floor."

Who knew Wesley Willis was channeling Superman when he wrote those epic words?

Posted by: RKaufman13 | March 30, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

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