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Superman Soars At Auction

April 11, 2024
action comic #1 featuring Superman holding up a green car from 1938

Action Comic #1
Courtesy: Heritage Auctions

In the realm of comic book collecting, the rivalry among superheroes extends beyond the pages of their adventures to the auction houses where their iconic issues command staggering prices. The dynamic between Superman and Spider-Man, two titans of the genre, has witnessed shifts in the hierarchy of comic book values over the years.

Action Comics #1, a monumental milestone marking Superman’s historic debut, has long held a position of unparalleled significance in the world of comic book collecting. Its role as the cornerstone of the superhero genre and the embodiment of hope and justice has elevated it to the status of a global treasure.

For years, examples of Action Comics #1 set auction records; however, in 2021, the emergence of Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man’s inaugural appearance, marked a significant turning point. Graded at an impressive CGC 9.6, it fetched a staggering $3M ($3.6M w/p) at auction, toppling Superman from his perch and crowning the web-slinger as the new king of comics.

Yet, in a testament to his resilience and enduring popularity, Superman staged a triumphant comeback in 2022. A Superman #1, graded CGC 8.0, soared to new heights, commanding a remarkable $5.3 M in a private sale. Once again, the Man of Steel asserted his dominance, reaffirming his enduring legacy and cultural significance.

Recently, a pristine copy of Action Comics #1 (1938) from the esteemed Kansas City Pedigree collection—a treasure trove of nearly 250 pristine #1 issues spanning from 1937 through the ’40s—graded Very Fine+ 8.5 by CGC (Certified Guaranty Company, also known as CGC is a comic book grading service), fetched an astonishing $5 million ($6M w/p). There are just 78 copies of Action Comics No. 1 in CGC’s population report, with the grading service estimating a scant 100 survivors of the comic book. It is believed that DC Comics printed 200,000 copies.

This historic sale not only reaffirms Superman’s unrivaled status but also underscores the enduring power of his symbol—a beacon of hope that transcends generations and continues to inspire millions around the world.