Rare Unrestored Action Comics #1 Goes on the Block

Action Comics #1. An unrestored copy of Action #1 went up for sale on Feb. 27, and experts expect it to draw bids up to $400,000.

Action Comics #1. An unrestored copy of Action #1 went up for sale on Feb. 27, and experts expect it to draw bids up to $400,000.

The first appearance of Superman in the pages of Action Comics #1, which originally went on sale in June of 1938, has long been considered the birth of the Superhero comics in America. Whether or not Superman was the first superhero is a discussion in and of it’s self, but one thing that is for certain: Action Comics #1 is one of, if not the, most expensive and rare comics in existence. Currently there are 100-150 known copies of Action #1 in varied conditions, and about 80 percent of those have been restored in some way.

It’s been a while since an unrestored copy of Action #1 went up for sale, but today on Comiclink.com, collectors can place their bid on one of the highest graded, unrestored copies of the comic in recent memory.

Graded in Fine condition (6.0 out of 10) by CGC, a professional comic grading service, this copy of Action #1 had not been part of the collectible comic market previously and made it’s public debut at the Comiclink.com booth at the 2009 New York Comic-Con. The owner’s identity is being withheld, but according to Comiclink.com owner Stephen Fishler, the comic was purchased for .35 cents in 1949-1950 in a used book store. The comic was then stored in the owner’s mother’s basement until 1966. Since then the comic’s owner has been waiting for its value to increase. Which it has.

Even though Action comics #1 guides for around $130,000 in Fine condition, experts are predicting this copy to sell for $400,000, due to the low number of unrestored copies in circulation. Another CGC graded, unrestored copy of Action Comics #1 in Good condition (2.0) sold for $85,000 in March of 2007, more than twice the $42,000 it guides for, on a similar comic book auction site. More recently, in May of 2008, a restored copy of Action #1 CGC graded at Very Fine + (8.5) sold for $116,512.50 on the Heritage.com vintage comics auction site. In 2003, Stephen Geppi, CEO of Diamond Comics Distributions, offered a $1-million-dollar reward for an unrestored copy of Action Comics #1 that would grade out in Very Good condition as graded by CGC.

Bidding for the comic started on Feb. 27 at $1 at 12 noon Eastern Standard time and as of 6 p.m. was already up to $200,200 with 36 bids. The auction closes on Friday, March 13 and collectors everywhere will be watching to see how high the winning bid will be. Click here to watch the bidding.

Matt Baum is a Worthologist who specializes in comic books.

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