May 23, 2013 at 6:26 PM ET
In these energy-efficient times, most of us understand the value of properly insulating our homes. But one remodeler in Minnesota is learning that even old-school forms of insulation can be worth a mint.
As he was gutting a house in Elbow Lake, Minn., David Gonzalez, 34, made a startling discovery: In among the old newspapers insulating a wall was an original Action Comics No. 1 book from June 1938. On the cover, a brand new character wore a flowing red cape and lifted a car over his head: Superman.
“I knew it was worth money,” Gonzalez told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But I had no idea how much.”
It turns out that the comic book is worth much, much more than the entire house. An online auction on the site ComicConnect.com has reached $127,000 with 34 bids — and the auction still has 19 more days to go.
By way of comparison, Gonzalez told the Star Tribune that he paid $10,100 for the damaged Elbow Lake home so he could gut it and fix it up.
The quality of the comic book Gonzalez found isn’t high — 1.5 on a 10-point scale — but it’s still considered special because it’s an original. The ComicConnect site describes the edition as “the most important comic book in the history of comic books” and “the introduction of the archetype of all other heroes to come.”
In 2011, a pristine copy of the same comic book with a grade of 9.0 made headlines around the world when it sold for the record price of $2.16 million.
ComicConnect co-owner Vincent Zurzolo told the Star Tribune that most known copies of the Action Comics No. 1 book have been documented and resold multiple times over the years — yet another detail that makes Gonzalez’s find so unusual.
“It’s so hard for anyone to fathom that, in this day and age, you could still discover a comic book that nobody has known about because this book was in a wall of a house for more than 70 years,” Zurzolo said. “It’s pretty miraculous that it even survived and it’s only had one owner.”
When first published back in 1938, the comic book sold for 10 cents.