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Comic book depicting Superman's debut fetches over $3M in eBay auction

It might seem a bit odd to compare a comic book to the likes of the Mona Lisa or the Holy Grail, but this particular issue is pretty significant in the comic book universe and one collector is shelling out a pretty penny for it. Millions of pennies, to be more precise, as the comic book featuring the first-ever appearance of Superman sold for a whopping $3.2 million in an eBay auction Sunday.

The lucky winner has scored a copy of “Action Comics No. 1,” which first introduced readers to the iconic superhero way back in 1938. This particular issue is said to be in pristine condition and is believed to be in a group of as few as 50 unrestored and original copies still around. Even better, it’s one of only two deemed to to have “perfect white pages.” Independent rating service Certified Guaranty Company gave the item a 9.0 out of 10, making it one of only seven unrestored copies of the comic to have been scored above a 6.0.

Darren Adams, owner of Washington State-based Pristine Comics, started the bidding on Aug. 14 at $1 million. Within just a couple of hours, bids reportedly topped $1.6 million and continued to grow.

Adams calls it “the Mona Lisa of comics,” adding that it “stands alone as the most valuable comic book ever printed.”

He’s right about it being the most valuable comic book, at least. The top bid of $3,207,852 sets a new record for the most expensive comic book in the world. That number easily bests the $2,161,100 paid in 2011 for another well-conditioned copy of “Action Comics No. 1” believed to have been previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage, an avid collector himself. Cage’s copy was stolen in 2000 and after being recovered at a California storage locker in early 2011, auction website ComicConnect.com verified it to be the same copy.

Some of the money made from the sale will be allocated for a charitable effort. The Washington Post noted that 1 percent of the proceeds will go to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which was founded in 1982 to help find a cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury. Christopher Reeve, best known for his role as Superman in four movies between 1978 and 1987, was paralyzed after a horse riding accident in 1995 and actively lobbied for people with spinal cord injuries until his death in 2004.