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ACTION #1: The $1 Million Comic Book

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As you probably saw splashed all over the news yesterday, a collectible comic has broken the $1 million barrier, as a 8.0 graded copy of ACTION #1, the first appearance of Superman, as sold by an unknown owner to an unknown buyer. As told here, the sale was brokered by Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo of Comicconnect.com. The copy of ACTION #1 is one of only two in this condition known to exist, and this particular copy last sold 15 years ago for $150,000 — the previous record for a comics sales was another copy of ACTION #1 which went for $317,200 last year. On the Comic-Connect website, there’s more of the story:

This particular copy has been in a private collection for more than 15 years, and it’s likely to disappear again once it’s been turned over to its new owner. However, ComicConnect.com will allow the media to view it briefly in its New York City showroom (873 Broadway, Suite 201, 212-895-3999). The showroom is also home to ComicConnect.com’s affiliate, Metropolis Collectibles (metropoliscomics.com), the largest vintage comic book dealer in the world.
 
“It’s the Holy Grail of comic books,” says founder Stephen Fishler, one of the leading experts on collectible comics.


Only 100 copies of ACTION #1 are known to exist out of perhaps 200,000 printed, as estimated by John Jackson Miller, who has further musings on the story:

How long has a million-dollar offer been around? At least since the summer of 2001, when Richard Evans, owner of Houston’s Bedrock City Comics, mentioned it at a forum on the aftermarket that I organized at Comic Con International: San Diego. “At some point,” Evans said, “certain comics are going to reach a price ceiling where it they are going to become museum quality items. If the guy who owned the nicest Action #1 put it on the table, well, there’s already an offer of $1 million. I don’t think it would be any stretch of the imagination to believe that that guy’s offer is low.” (The forum in its entirety appeared in Comics Buyer’s Guide #1451.) Now, there’s no telling whether the ComicConnect buyer is the same potential buyer mentioned back then, or someone else — but it’s clearly not the first time Action’s been picked as the first book to hit the $1 million mark.

  1. The Holy Grail of comic books?

    Big Numbers #3?
    The signed and numbered Graphitti edition of Watchmen?
    2000 AD #488 grade 10 (first Neil Gaiman comic)
    Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #1 and #2 (35 copies of each exist)

    !! Marvel Super Special issue #7 !!
    (Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band movie adaptation, pulled from distribution in the United States. George Perez pencils. Beatles tie-in. Numerous celebrity appearances.)

  2. Yawn.
    Somebody paid a million bucks for a comic they can’t read because it’s slabbed, solely as an investment.
    Yup, this will do wonders for comics being taken seriously, all right.
    Balderdash. All this does is reinforce existing biases about comics.
    My Holy Grail of comics is the great book I haven’t read yet.

  3. Wow, I almost can’t believe that there is actually a typical (stereotypical?) bitter, cynical, negative comment accompanying this story. Hey Diana, would it make you feel better if this historical artifact was ripped open, read, folded up and put in an 8 year old’s back pocket? First of all, the person that sold this for one million dollars paid $150,000 for it 15 years ago, so if it was purchased now solely as an investment it’s hard to blame the guy for doing so – it certainly paid off for the current seller. My 401K hasn’t come close to that kind of return the past 15 years.

    Secondly, we are not talking about a speculator paying a ridiculous sum for the latest slabbed issue of Captain America (I have one if anyone’s interested!), but the sale of an extremely important piece of American pop culture history. I fail to see how anyone has an issue with this. Would you buy an original Picasso, take it out of its frame and stick it on your wall with two sided tape?

  4. I just realized that nothing on that cover identifies those guys as “criminals” (domino masks, guns, bags of cash, etc.). For all we know, they could be three insurance salesmen driving home from an awards function.

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