The original check of $412 which bought the rights to Superman from its creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938 and launched a longtime copyright battle was auctioned off for $160,000 Tuesday.
The original paycheck, which went to an unknown buyer, was saved by a former DC Comics staffer in the 1970s and likely brought up past issues for the families of the creators, who both died penniless.
DC Comics has made millions off of the creation of Superman, but continuously failed to compensate either Siegel or Shuster for their creation. The $412 check which was paid to both creators in 1938 is the equivalent to receiving a $6,450 check today.
The movies based off of the Superman character have grossed over $500 million alone. With successful sales of comics, action figurines, and collector's cards- amongst the many other things that have been created after Superman- it would appear as those the creators of the iconic figure had been scammed.
For years both Siegel and Shuster fought to recover rights to their comic creation for years but were continuously denied. National Comics Publications paid each creator $75,000 a year in 1940, a small amount in comparison to the profits that the company was grossing from Superman.
When the pair attempted to sue the company for intellectual rights, the company fired both creators and removed their name from the comics.
After two failed attempts to secure the original copyrights, both creators were left broke while DC Comics continued to make millions off of Superman.
The infamous check was auctioned off at the starting price of $1. Stephen Fishler, chief executive of ComicConnect.com, said the high-priced bid was a last minute occurance.
"Two people were battling it out over the check," Fishler said.
Vincent Zurzolo, who co-owns ComicConnect with Fishler, suggested that it was no surprise that the check had been valued so highly.
"It's one of the most important pieces of pop culture history," Zurzolo stated.