There are only approximately 100 known copies of the 1938 Action Comics No. 1 in the world, so every single one of them is considered very rare and extremely precious. After all, they represent the beginning of an important American pop icon, the beloved Superman.
Those in near mint condition always fetch fabulous sums, ($1.5 million for a grade 8, and even $2.161 million for a grade 9), but sellers cannot expect much from a wrinkled and torn copy rated only 1.5 grade on a scale from 1 to 10. However, this particular example somehow managed to get 51 bidders to fight over it, with the winner paying a quite impressive $175,000.
The reason for its success at auction was the interesting story behind it. Apparently this non-pristine Action Comics No.1 was found in the walls of a 1938 (the year of its release) home in Minnesota. The house was an abandoned one and it was purchased by David Gonzales, a contractor with vast experience in renovating old houses. The man did what he knew best and started tearing down old walls to transform the residence.
He discovered that the builders had used newspapers for insulation, and among the many pieces of old paper he found this very rare example of Superman’s comic book debut. The piece even suffered a tear during an argument between Gonzales’ wife and her aunt, but that didn’t stop passionate collectors from bidding hard for it. The interesting story behind the lot was actually its sales pitch.