CGC 9.0 Action Comics #1 Tops $3.2 Million
by Jeff Vaughn from The Scoop - scoop.diamondgalleries.com
The price for a copy of the first appearance of Superman keeps going up, up and away. With two days to go, the CGC-certified 9.0 copy of Action Comics #1 listed on eBay, was already the all-time record for the most valuable comic book ever sold. And it wasn’t nearly done.
A bid at 4:50 PM PDT on Friday, August 22, brought the comic to $2,100,000, a mere $60,000 short of record set by ComicConnect with their CGC-certified 9.0 copy of Action Comics #1 ($2.16 million). Then at 5:35 PM PDT, the comic hit $2,193,819.38.
The last two minutes of the auction began with the price sitting at $2.6 million, but by the time the bidding ended on Sunday at 6 PM PDT, the newly established record was $3,207,852.
This copy of Action Comics #1 was distinguished from the only other 9.0 copy certified to date by the whiteness of its pages. The Nicholas Cage copy, the other 9.0, was listed with “cream to off-white pages.” Allowing that not all copies have been certified thus far – including the Mile High pedigree copy – this has been touted as the finest copy known.
This issue is the sixth comic book to sell for $1 million or more, following three other copies of Action Comics#1, a single copy of Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman) and a single copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man.
It was purchased by Metropolis Collectibles/ComicConnect, the previous record holders as sellers.
“Considering the level of commitment required of the potential purchasers for this issue, we can definitely say the bidding was spirited. There were 48 bids, ending in a new world record. The $3 million has arrived,” said Robert M. Overstreet, author and publisher ofThe Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.
“We have been selling numerous six-figure comics for more than a decade, and while the group is still small, the idea of seven-figure comic books is no longer anything new. The market has recognized with Action Comics #1 that there just aren’t that many copies in any condition of the first appearance of one of the most recognized characters in the world,” he said.
After three successive record prices as sellers of Action Comics #1, including the first $1 million comic ever sold, what made Metropolis partners Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo buyers for this issue at this price?
“We feel very fortunate to be in a position to have had the opportunity to buy this comic. I started off selling comic books on the streets of Manhattan and every day I count my blessings and feel like the luckiest kid in the world to be able to do something I love for which I have such passion,” Vincent Zurzolo, Chief Operating Officer of Metropolis Collectibles and ComicConnect.com, said.
“Why did we buy it? Action #1 is the most important comic in the history of comic books. Our company has become synonymous with Action #1 over the years. We have bought and sold more copies of Action #1 and get the highest prices bar none for Action #1. We thought this book was a great opportunity and we decided we would buy it. We believe that the book still has a long way to go price-wise. And by the way, we are still buying,” he said.
There were originally 200,000 copies of the comic printed at the time of its release. Of those, reportedly 130,000 were sold (in a nation of 130 million at the time) and 70,000 were returned and destroyed (that is a strong sell-through for a newsstand comic book). Normal wear and tear of time, the ever-present moms of America, and wartime paper drives took care of most of them. At the time, comics were never considered as anything but disposable entertainment.
Zurzolo said he believes that there are about 100 copies of Action Comics #1 left in existence.
“But who knows? We had a couple from the south find one in their basement a few years back that helped save their home from foreclosure and a man in the midwest found one in the wall of his home. We sold both of those copies for what are record prices in their respective grades. So there could be more copies out there that are waiting to come into the market. It is a very exciting prospect indeed,” he said.
Even if the number was wrong by half and there are 200 copies, given Superman’s world wide recognition, wouldn’t it still be significantly rare enough to still command these prices?
“Absolutely. The comic collecting community could absorb 200 copies over a reasonable period of time without the market suffering at all. The market is robust and diverse. There are collectors and investors from all walks of life, at varying income levels buying and selling comics every day. People know that comics are a great investment…. and fun as well,” he said.
When their first $1 million sale took place, it was after a well established market for comics in the six-figure range. Although it shocked some people and grabbed a lot of headlines, he finds the progression to this $3.2 million sale to be reasonable.
“I think many people know that this was a good price to buy this book at and again there is potential for growth,” he said.
He sees the market for Action Comics #1 continuing to climb and he shares similar expectations of the market as a whole.
“I feel the market is extremely robust. The Modern comic market is very active and strong. The vintage market is doing great as well. Bronze and Copper Age comics are being traded at a frenetic pace with so many first appearances and events tied into TV shows and movies. The Silver Age is doing very well for the same reasons along with popularity of the characters. Characters like Flash, Hulk, Groot and Spider-Man are on fire right now. The Golden Age comics are very rare and in high demand. Another aspect for their popularity beyond rarity and investment potential is that the Golden Age harkens back to simpler times when the world was more black and white. People long for the nostalgia of an era long gone,” he said.
“My feeling, having been involved in this business as a dealer for almost 30 years is that we have just reached the teen years of comic collecting and investing. The market was in its infancy for quite a long time. When we sold the first million dollar comics we reached our adolescence and after purchasing this copy for $3.2 million we have hit the teen years. We still have a very long way to go and the market continues to develop and grow. Comic movies, TV shows, people’s fascination with pop culture, the increased popularity of comic conventions and cosplay all over the world all feed into this growth in the market place,” Zurzolo said. “I am looking forward to the day we sell a comic for $10 million dollars. I can’t wait.”
Zurzolo discussed the previous three Action Comics #1 sales and the media attention they received for them in an interview in Overstreet's Comic Book Marketplace Yearbook, due out September 17, 2014.
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