Every once in a while one of the ultra-rare copies of the Holy Grail of comic books, Action Comics No. 1, surfaces somewhere and scores massive amounts of money when auctioned off. Nic Cage had one in almost perfect condition that was returned to him 11 years after being stolen last year, which went on to bring in $2.1 million.
But what happens when you blow over 50 years of dust off of that old box in the attic and not only is there a copy of Action Comics No. 1, which introduced some dude named Superman to the world, but a whole collection of old comics that also includes Detective Comics No. 27, the comic that introduced another dude named Batman? Coins rain from the skies, ladies and gentlemen.
Michael Rorer was the man to discover the comic treasure chest in the attic (as always) of his recently deceased aunt. She stored them there after the death of her brother in 1994, who had obtained all of the 1930s and ’40s comics when he was in the 9 to 14-year-old age range.
The issue of Action Comics No. 1—one of only about 100 estimated to still exist from the 130,000 printed—was only in good condition, rated a 3.0 by Certified Guaranty Company (Cage’s copy is the best-quality copy currently on record, rated 9.0), and so it fetched $298,750 at the auction. It was Batman who won this round, with his debut in Detective Comics No. 27 bringing in $522,000.
Joining those two was All-American Comics No. 16, which went for $203,150; Marvel Comics No. 1, which introduced the Human Torch, sold for $113,525; and a 9.4-rated Captain America No. 2 that also sold for $113,525.
From the 222 comics that sold, a grand total of $3,433,342 was paid for them at the auction. Another 100 lesser-known comics will next be auctioned off online, expected to bring in another $100,000.