CGC Graded Copy Of Superman #1 Sells For Over $5 Million

A CGC-graded copy of Superman #1 from 1939 sold for $5.3 million earlier this year, making it the most expensive comic book on record. Certified Guaranty Company announced this week that the comic, sold by famed comics retailer Mile High Comics, privately traded hands back in January, with both the buyer and the seller hoping to remain anonymous. The sale breaks the pervious record by more than $1 million. In September 2021, a graded copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 sold for a then-record $3.6 million. The Superman #1 is an 8.0 rating, significantly lower than the 9.6 on Amazing Fantasy, but remember that it's also almost 25 years older, and from a time before the Comics Code scare of the 1950s, which saw comics recycled or burned in large numbers, significantly impacting the number of remaining copies.

The Superman 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.

Superman debuted in 1938 in the anthology title Action Comics, which quickly became the industry's biggest seller, leading DC to add Superman to its roster.  The character would continue to appear regularly in both comics, and spurred a flood of imitators, leading to the birth of the superhero comic as we know it today. 

At 8.0, this copy of Superman #1 is tied for the highest grade certified by CGC. 

Per the sales announcement, CGC says, "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, which in hindsight feels like an absolute bargain), 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). 

Per CGC, "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."