CGC Comics has announced that a private sale of “Superman #1” has set new record, with the 1939 comic book selling for US$5.3 million!
In a year of constant record-breaking prices for comic books, the ante has been upped yet again. The Edgar Church/Mile High copy of Superman #1, graded 8.0 Universal by Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®), privately traded hands in January 2022 for $5.3 million, far outpacing the previous record of $3.6 million paid for a CGC 9.6 Amazing Fantasy #15 at auction in September 2021. This sale was brokered by Tony Arnold of TonyeTrade Enterprises, one of the renowned sources for vintage collectibles, and Roy Delic of Vintage Comics, a well-respected dealer in Canada. Both the seller and buyer prefer to remain anonymous.
Among the most iconic superheroes, Superman is responsible for launching an industry when he first appeared in Action Comics #1 in 1938, ushering in a new type of protagonist that harkened back to ancient mythology, and inspiring the creation of countless heroes that dominated the newsstands throughout World War II.
After Superman’s debut, sales of Action Comics surged with each issue. DC then decided to give Superman his own title, another first for the burgeoning comic industry. Superman #1 hit the stands in the summer of 1939 and instantly sold out, proving the star power of the superhero. Superman #1‘s success invoked a new trend that culminated in a myriad of classic key issues coveted by collectors today: Batman #1, Wonder Woman #1, Captain America Comics #1, Green Lantern #1, Captain Marvel Adventures #1 and Archie Comics #1, among many others.
At 8.0, this copy of Superman #1 is tied for the highest grade certified by CGC. Unlike most other key issues from the same time period, Superman #1 is very difficult to find in even average condition. A mere four copies are graded higher than 6.0 with the coveted Universal label in the CGC Census. To add to its cachet, this copy hails from the famous Edgar Church/Mile High pedigree collection, the greatest accumulation of high-grade comic books ever discovered, and the benchmark against which all other collections are compared.
The comic market has been experiencing record growth of late, evidenced by other multi-million-dollar sales that include two copies of Action Comics #1 (CGC 8.5 for $3.25 million and CGC 6.0 for $3.18 million), Captain America Comics #1 (CGC 9.4 for $3.12 million), Marvel Comics #1 (CGC 9.2 for $2.4 million) and Batman #1 (CGC 9.4 for $2.22 million). Collectibles in general have seen a surge in value, with comic books particularly buoyed by their dominance in movies and television. Superman’s historical significance is singular among them, continually leading the way in record-setting sales.