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It's a bird, it's a plane ... it's a $1 million comic book

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Since he started selling comic books at age 16, Vincent Zurzolo had only dreamt of selling a million-dollar comic book.

Monday was his lucky day. That was the day that Superman hit the jackpot.

The $1 million comic book

"It is the single most important event in comic book history," said Zurzolo, who co-owns auction site ComicConnect.com with founder Stephen Fishler.

Zurzolo and Fishler posted a rare copy of Action Comics #1 on their site Monday morning. It was the issue where the Man of Steel made his debut in 1938. They were selling it on behalf of an unnamed collector. Within one minute, Zurzolo said, another unnamed collector bought it for $1 million.

That price is more than three times the previous record, set last year by a lesser-quality version of Action Comics #1, which ComicConnect sold for $317,200. Monday's $1 million sale was for a very rare edition, because it was in much better condition. Only about 100 copies of Action Comics #1 are known to exist, and of those, only two are in such good shape, Zurzolo said.

For comic book lovers who have struggled to elevate their trade to the level of fine antiques, paintings and even collectible coins, record-breaking sales make for a big victory. In the last year, Zurzolo said he's seen more non-comic fans than ever purchasing rare copies as investment vehicles during the recession.

"When you look at what happened to real estate, the stock market and in banking, people are terrified. They're making no money in the banks, they're not sure about real estate, and the stock market is like playing roulette," Zurzolo said. "With comic books, they feel a lot more confident."

"Now we've hit a point where you can lump us in with fine art," he added.

About 15 years ago, the copy of Action Comics #1 sold Monday went for $150,000. In its original state in 1938, it would have sold for about ten cents. To top of page

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