“Action Comics #1” with Rocket Stamp Sells for Over $3 Million

Action #1

Heritage Auctions has auctioned off a rare, but interestingly blemished, copy of “Action Comics #1” for a whopping $3,180,000.

Action Comics #1 Rocket Copy (DC, 1938) CGC FN 6.0 White pages. It’s aptly named “The Rocket Copy” because the front cover bears the stamped imprint of a rocket ship that was applied by the 13-year old who bought this copy of Action Comics #1 off the stands in 1938. It’s the first original-owner copy of the issue offered since the Billy Wright copy in 2012, and it’s the highest-graded copy ever presented.

Unquestionably it’s the most important comic book ever issued. The Superhero genre essentially was born with this issue, as was the Golden Age of Comics. Superman’s creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had been submitting ideas to newspapers for several years – from the time they were still teenagers – and had begun getting work in the new genre of comic books by 1935, along the way honing their ideas for a Superman character. Their early ideas for the character were rejected, but by 1938, the publisher Detective Comics (DC) decided to introduce Superman in the premiere issue of a new anthology comic book titled Action Comics, and the rest is history.

Ernst Gerber’s 1989 The Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books assigned Action Comics #1 a scarcity index rating of “7” or “scarce”, estimating that no more than 50 copies were still in existence. It turns out that was a conservative estimate, since CGC has to date certified 75 copies (just 43 unrestored) of the issue. But it is exceedingly difficult to find an unrestored copy in the grade as offered here. It’s the finest copy we’ve ever offered in our 20 years of auctioning comics, from the FN 6.0 grade to the astonishingly vivid colors and the unbelievable matchless white pages! And the actual stamp that produced the rocket ship imprint is included!

Besides the first appearance of Superman, herein are the first appearances of Lois Lane and Zatara. Joe Shuster created the iconic cover, with Fred Guardineer and Bernard Baily contributing story art in this issue. Overstreet 2021 FN 6.0 value = $920,500. CGC census 1/22: 2 in 6.0, 8 higher.

The auction concluded on Wednesday, January 12 at Comics.HA.com.