1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Action Comics #1
Action Comics #1 1938
Action Comics No. 1, featuring the debut of Superman, originally cost 10 cents in 1938. One of the about 100 copies known to still exist sold for $1 million.
updated 2/22/2010 4:28:52 PM ET 2010-02-22T21:28:52

A rare copy of the first comic book featuring Superman has sold for $1 million, smashing a record set just last year.

The issue sold Monday morning is a 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1, widely considered the Holy Grail of comic books. It features Superman lifting a car on its cover and originally cost 10 cents.

The transaction was conducted by the auction site ComicConnect.com. Stephen Fishler, co-owner of the site and its sister dealership, Metropolis Collectibles, orchestrated the sale.

Fishler said it transpired minutes after the issue was put on sale at around 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. He said that the seller was a "well known individual" in New York with a pedigree collection, and that the buyer was a known customer who previously bought an Action Comics No. 1 of lesser grade.

"It's considered by most people as the most important book," said John Dolmayan, a comic book enthusiast and dealer best known as the drummer for System of a Down. "It kind of ushered in the age of the superheroes."

Dolmayan, who owns Torpedo Comics, last year paid $317,000 for an Action Comics No. 1 issue for a client. Others have sold for more than $400,000, he said, but this copy fetched a much higher price because it's in better condition. It's rated an "8.0 grade," or "very fine."

Dolmayan said he didn't buy this copy but he wishes he could have.

"The fact that this book is completely un-restored and still has an 8.0 grade, it's kind of like a diamond or a precious stone. It's very rare," he said.

There are only about 100 copies of Action Comics No. 1 believed to be in existence, and only a handful have been rated so highly. It's rarer still for those copies to be made available for sale.

"The opportunity to buy an un-restored, high-grade Action One comes along once every two decades," Fishler said. "It's certainly a milestone."

The sticker shock was astounding to Fishler, nevertheless.

"It is still a little stunning to see 'a comic book' and '$1 million' in the same sentence," Fishler said. "There's only one time a collectible hits the $1 million threshold."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Joan Lunden: 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed with breast cancer

    From the moment you hear the words ‘You have breast cancer,’ it’s almost like you’re shot out of a cannon. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed.

    10/1/2014 10:52:45 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:52:45
  2. Want to help? A guide to breast cancer charities

    In the United States an estimated 296,000 women and 2,240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and almost 40,000 women and 410 men will die of the disease. That's one death every 14 minutes, according to the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

    10/1/2014 10:45:11 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:45:11
  3. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
  1. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

    Secret Service director resigns amid scandal

    10/1/2014 7:30:52 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T19:30:52
  1. Texas Ebola patient had contact with kids

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a press conference on Wednesday that “some school-age children” had been identified as having contact with the man diagnosed with the first case of Ebola in the United States. 

    10/1/2014 5:37:52 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T17:37:52
  1. Carrie Vitt

    5 things we learned from '100 Days of Real Food' blogger Lisa Leake

    10/1/2014 6:30:19 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T18:30:19
  1. Getty Images file

    Brad Pitt loves 'being a father,' raves about kids, Angelina Jolie

    10/1/2014 6:16:00 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T18:16:00