A piece of comic book history could be yours -- for a cool $2 million. Action Comics No. 1, regarded as the "holy grail of comic books" by collectors, is up for auction on eBay (EBAY) until Sunday, Aug. 24 at 9pm PT (the current bidding was over $2.05 million as of Friday morning).
Action Comics No. 1, for non-comic book geeks, is the first-ever appearance of Superman, the iconic superhero created by Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster.
Only about 150 copies of Action Comics No. 1 still exist today, says Stephen Fishler, co-founder and CEO of Metropolis Collectibles, a New York-based vintage comic book dealer and auction house. About 100,000 copies were produced in 1938 and each one cost a dime. The edition up for sale on eBay has a grade of "9" by CGC, an independent third-party comic book grading service. The highest grade is a "10."
Fishler and his partner Vincent Zurzolo have been wheeling and dealing in comic books for years (Fishler since the age of 5) and the duo have become famous in the comic book industry. They were the first to sell a copy of Action Comics No.1 for $1 million in 2010. A year later a buyer snatched up Nicolas Cage's copy for $2.161 million, the current world record. Fishler had sold the comic book to Cage in 2006 for $150,000. The final price tag shocked the entire comic book community, including Fishler. Now, the latest auction is threatening to set a new precedent.
"It's very possible the 2011 record will be broken," says Fishler in the video above. "There's a lot of people who want to own [Action Comics No. 1]. Limited supply and incredible demand creates a very valuable book."
Not all comic books are as prized and costly as Action Comics No. 1. Comic books printed in the "golden" years - from the late 1930s to the 1950s - and the "silver" years - from 1956 to 1970 - attract investors and fans with especially deep pockets. It was during these years that many household comic book characters were first introduced -- characters such as Superman (1938), Batman (1939), Spider-Man (1962), Wonder Woman (1941) and Thor (1962). Fishler says he sold a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 -- the debut of Spider-Man -- for $1.1 million, the highest sum paid for a "silver" comic.
Fishler believes the market for comic books has hit astronomical levels because many people are hesitant to invest in real estate and stocks after the financial crisis. Investors want a “hard asset that they can hold in their hand and has historical significance," he notes.
Individuals of all ages and income levels can invest in comic books. Fishler gives a few tips to get started on his company's site. His #1 rule: "Buy comics that feature characters, creators or stories you enjoy."
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