Up, Up and Away! CGC-certified Action Comics #1 Sells for a Record $3.25 Million

Posted on 07/04/2021

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a new world record! A high-grade example of Superman's debut lifts comic book collecting to new heights.

A superb example of Action Comics #1 that was certified by Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®) has just sold for a record $3.25 million in a private sale. Graded CGC 8.5, it is one of the few surviving examples of the comic book that is beloved for introducing Superman to the world. The sale was announced on April 6 by ComicConnect, which brokered the sale.

Action Comics #1 graded CGC 8.5: Sold for $3.25 million (Image courtesy of ComicConnect)
Click image to enlarge

The seller of this incredible book purchased it for just over $2 million in June 2018, demonstrating the strength of the market for CGC-certified collectibles and the most desirable comic rarities. Another example of Action Comics #1, graded CGC 9.0, is the previous record holder for most expensive comic book. It sold for $3.2 million on eBay in 2014.

"A line from Action Comics #1 says, ‘Superman is destined to reshape the destiny of a world!’ Once again, Superman has reshaped the destiny of the comic book world," commented Matt Nelson, CGC's primary grader. "This exciting sale affirms the value that CGC brings to the collectibles community with its authentication and grading services."

Action Comics #1 is the undisputed king of "grails" — the comic books most valued by collectors. The anthology with a cover date of June 1938 is best known for its first 13 pages, which include the first appearance of Superman and Lois Lane. Action Comics #1 is generally regarded as the beginning of the Golden Age of Comic Books, which stretched for two decades.

“With collectible values trending upwards and cryptocurrencies minting new millionaires daily, I fully expect comic prices to continue to rise,” said Vincent Zurzolo, COO, and co-founder of ComicConnect. “I believe that comics remain the most compelling investment with values that are immature in comparison to other categories.”

According to ComicConnect, the comic book that just realized $3.25 million was tucked away in a stack of old 1930s movie magazines for more than 50 years, helping to reduce the ravages of time. The CGC Census shows only 41 examples of Actions Comics #1 in the Universal grade, with a mere two copies graded CGC 9.0 and a single copy graded CGC 8.5. Another 30 have a Restored grade while one has a Qualified grade.

Other recent sales have also shown the strength of the marketplace, including one for an iconic comic book showcasing Superman's main superhero rival. A copy of Batman #1 graded CGC 9.4 (the highest in the CGC Census) realized $2.22 million at a Heritage Auctions sale in January 2021. The amount set a record for any comic book outside of Action Comics #1.

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