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1st Superman comic book sells for $317,200

John Dolmayan, drummer of the rock band System of a Down and a dealer of rare comics, purchases a copy of 'the Holy Grail of comic books' for a client.

March 15, 2009|Associated Press

NEW YORK — A rare copy of the first comic book featuring Superman has sold for $317,200 in an Internet auction. The previous owner had bought it secondhand for less than a buck.

It is one of the highest prices ever paid for a comic book, probably a testament to the volume's rarity and excellent condition, said Stephen Fishler, co-owner of the auction site ComicConnect.com and its sister dealership, Metropolis Collectibles.

The winning bid for the 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1, whose cover features Superman lifting a car, was submitted Friday evening by John Dolmayan, drummer for the rock band System of a Down, according to managers at ComicConnect.com.

Dolmayan, who is also a dealer of rare comic books, said he acquired the Superman comic on behalf of a client. He declined to identify the client.

"This is one of the premier books you could collect," he said in a telephone interview. "It's considered the Holy Grail of comic books. I talked to my client, and we made the move."

Dolmayan said the client has "a small collection, but everything he has is incredible."

Only about 100 copies of Action Comics No. 1 are known to exist, and they seldom come up for sale.

Fishler said, "Maybe in a booming economy, it would have done a hundred grand more, but in this economy, I think the price is great."

The previous owner had purchased it in a secondhand store in the early 1950s when he was 9 years old.

He paid 35 cents.

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