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August 25, 2014 at 8:34 AM

Up, up and away! – first Superman comic sells for $3.2 million

Screenshot of winning bid, with zero seconds to go.

Screenshot of winning bid, with zero seconds to go — $3,207,852.

Federal Way comic dealer Darren Adams now can boast – he really does own the world’s most valuable comic book. For a short time, anyway, until payment arrives and his pristine copy of Action Comics No. 1 goes to a new owner.

In a much-watched auction on eBay Sunday night, Adams’ copy of the most desirable comic book in existence sold for a record-breaking $3.2 million. That’s a little over $1 million more than the previous record, $2.16 million, for a slightly-more-yellowed copy of the same comic book. What’s special about it is that the June 1938 comic book is the first appearance of Superman – fewer than 100 are thought to survive – and Adams has the best copy known. Not a tear, crease or wrinkle.

So ends a story told by the Times Aug. 1. Adams said he purchased the comic quietly for a seven-figure amount a number of years ago – he promised not to disclose details — and somehow he managed to keep the secret until the sale was announced a month ago. In a statement released by eBay, Adams said, “I’m proud to have owned the most valuable comic book in the world. Working with eBay on this auction allowed me to share this rare treasure with their global community and ensure the next owner is just as passionate about its place in history.”

There may not have been many people with the wherewithal to place a bid, but at least the watching was free. Bidding started Aug. 14 at 99 cents and within 3 minutes hit $1 million. The biggest players waited for the clock to run out at 6 p.m. Sunday. With 90 seconds to go, the price stood at $2.4 million. Then $2.6 million. Then $2.7 million. Within the last couple of seconds came a bid of $3.2 million – and right on top of that, another that topped it by $100. The final gavel came down. Sold for $3,207,852, to someone with the monicker “S***p.”

An eBay spokesperson says name of the purchaser cannot be confirmed until the transaction is complete. By the way, Superman’s creators, cartoonists Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster, sold the rights to their character in 1938 for $130. Now a single copy of that first Superman story has sold for 24,675 times that amount. As Clark Kent’s editor was fond of exclaiming — great Caesar’s ghost!

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