Auction Results

World’s most valuable comic: $6 million for Superman’s debut


A detail of the cover of Action Comics Number 1 shows Superman lifting a car.
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

A copy of Action Comics Number 1, the first Superman publication, has realised $6 million at auction: a new record for a comic book.

Superman landed on news vendors’ shelves in June 1938. His adventure was just one story in a collection of 11. Action Number 1 had a print run of 200,000.

It quickly sold out and, as sales continued to rocket, publishers National Allied Publications realised it was the Man of Steel, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, that was the true hit in the title.

Siegel and Shuster saw their creation become a huge hit. Image courtesy Ohio History Connection.

The edition effectively created the modern superhero. Siegel and Shuster were both Jews whose families had fled antisemitism in Europe. Nazi Germany was about to cause a World War when they created a defender of the oppressed, who would go on to confront Hitler in his adventures.

There are 78 known copies of Action Number 1 in existence. Grading company CGC estimate undiscovered copies may take the number up to around 100.

Many are in poor condition.

The copy sold by Heritage Auctions of Dallas on April 4 was a true rarity.

It’s from the Kansas City Pedigree, a collection of rare comics discovered in the late 1960s.

It’s been graded as Very Fine+, with an 8.5 rating on a 10-point scale.

The $6 million selling price makes this the most valuable comic sale. In 2022, a Superman No. 1 realised $5.3 million. Spider-Man’s debut in Amazing Fantasy No. 15 (a near mint copy) sold at auction for $3.6 million in 2021.

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