Watching shows like Pawn Stars, American Pickers and/or Storage Wars, you get a good glimpse into business of haggling vintage items. Perhaps the most important lesson is that, while you don’t want to be featured on Hoarders, it’s a good idea to hang on to some of those old items collecting dust in the house/storage locker. On these shows, time and time again, we see rare pieces that people came up on/threw away/thought was worth nothing end up being worth big money. The nostalgia industry is always proving to be a lucrative place. People are willing to pay their hard earned money for items from the past that aren’t in circulation anymore. There are many valuable brands out there that can always get money (i.e. Peanuts, Mickey Mouse). One genre folks clamor for is superhero comic books. Arguably the biggest comic book star of all is Superman. Created in 1933 by Cleveland high school students Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster and sold to Detective Comics, Inc. (now DC Comics) in 1938, Superman has gone from comic books to radio to the big screen. The Superman comics that sold for cents in the 1930s are now worth millions to adoring fans. Clark Kent’s debut in Action Comics No. 1 (1938) just sold for $3.2 million on eBay, breaking the previous record for auctioned comic books.
Action Comics No. 1 (1938), was the first time Superman was ever featured in a comic. There are only 50 original copies of the comic book. Washington company, Pristine Comics in Federal Way had one of them and owner, Darren Adams consigned it on eBay. 48 bidders competed for the comic book, the winner being Metropolis Comics and Collectibles, a New York company, with a whopping bid of $3,207,852.
The previous record holder for priciest comic at auction was another copy of the same comic (owned by actor Nicholas Cage) which sold for $2.16 million in 2011. It fetched less due to wear and tear on it much like another copy which sold in 2010 for $1.5 million.
Though a force to be reckoned with on the comic book circuit, Superman still has another hill to climb to become the most coveted comic. While it set the record for the most expensive complete, auctioned comic book, the record for most expensive piece of comic art is a two page spread of Tintin by Hergé which fetched €2,519,000 ($3,434,908) this past May.