A near-flawless edition of the first comic featuring Superman from June 1938 has fetched $US3.2 million ($3.5m) at auction on eBay, surging past the previous record for a single comic book.
After the 10-day online auction concluded on Sunday, the hammer came down for Action Comics No.1 with a price of $US3,207,852 ($3,456,662), according to the online commerce site.
The vintage work’s seller Darren Adams, a collector in Washington state, described it as possibly the “best copy in existence,” the “holy grail” of comic books that deserves its status as the most valuable in the world.
The cover features the red-caped man of steel hoisting an automobile over his head.
The character is widely credited with starting the multi-billion-dollar worldwide comic book superhero phenomenon.
Only 50 to 100 copies of the comic book are believed to still exist, most of them in considerably poorer condition than that owned by Mr Adams.
It received a 9.0 out of 10 grade, according to independent comic book grader Certified Guaranty Company.
In 2011, another 9.0-grade copy of the comic owned by actor Nicolas Cage – with faded white pages instead of the pristine white pages of the latest sale – sold for a then-record $US2.1 million ($2.26m).
The Action Comics debut was purchased by marketplace firm ComicConnect, whose director Stephen Fishler has not ruled out putting it back up for sale.
But while Superman may well be the world’s most famous superhero, he is not the subject of the world’s most expensive cartoon art.
In May, a 1937 two-page spread by Belgian artist Herge depicting his character Tintin on various adventures with his faithful dog Snowy sold for 2.65 million euros ($3.77 million), a record for cartoon art in a market where some prices have skyrocketed tenfold in the past dozen years.