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.

superman_comic_auction.03.jpg
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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,067.56 -30.89 -0.18%
Nasdaq 4,598.19 17.92 0.39%
S&P 500 2,002.28 -1.09 -0.05%
Treasuries 2.42 0.08 3.24%
Data as of 4:09pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.28 0.18 1.15%
Apple Inc 103.26 0.75 0.74%
Staples Inc 12.62 0.94 8.05%
Facebook Inc 76.66 1.85 2.47%
Intel Corp 34.58 -0.34 -0.99%
Data as of 3:54pm ET

Sections

Nike flexes its huge dollar advantage by signing Durant to a $300 million endorsement deal that trumps $285 million offer from Under Armour More

If approved by Los Angeles city council, the plan could raise wages for 567,000 workers by 2017. More

The latest celebrity photo hack shows your digital life doesn't end at your phone. If your stuff lives on "the cloud," you don't control the data. More

If approved by Los Angeles city council, the plan could raise wages for 567,000 workers by 2017. More

A scam where fraudsters impersonate IRS agents has now stolen $5 million from taxpayers, and this woman - who lost her entire life savings -- is just one of its victims. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.