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Rare Superman Comic Torn, Still Sold for $175,000

'That's a $50,000 Tear, But Probably More,' Says Comic Expert

A rare Superman comic was sold for a whopping $175,000 at an auction Monday night despite being torn and tattered. The Action Comics No. 1, released in 1938, was the very first appearance of the modern Superman, which then birthed the Golden Age of Comics and various other superheroes.

The rare Superman comic was sold in an online auction by by an unnamed buyer. The "hardcore, golden age comic book collector" had been searching for months for an unrestored, lower-grade copy of the Action Comic No. 1- a mint condition version could cost well above $1 million, site CEO Stephen Fishler told the Associated Press Tuesday.

The comic was sold by David Gonzalez, a building contractor who bought an empty 1938 home in Hoffman, Minn. for only $10,000. While looking in the house's insulation, he found the rare comic among newspapers, accidently tearing it while throwing it an argument a few days later. That tear probably cost Gonzalez a lot of money, according to Fishler.

"Conservatively, that's a $50,000 tear, but probably more," he told Reuters.

Out of a 10-point scale, the torn rare comic was given a 1.5. However, that happened to be just what the buyer was looking for, and he or she pitched the winning bid out of 51 others.

In contrast, a nearly mint condition Action Comics No. 1, graded 9.5 out of 10, was sold for $2.16 million in November of 2011- it was the most expensive comic ever sold. A 10-rated version would go for around $3 million, Fishler said.

Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, was originally a bald villain who used telepathy to cause trouble. However, the comic book artists soon re-commissioned the Man of Steel as a hero, giving him tights, and over time, flight, x-ray vision and other superpowers.

The "Man of Steel," who has a movie being released Friday, became the blueprint for many other superheroes, including Batman, Wonder Woman, and others.

"It's so noteworthy because it was a historic milestone," Fishler told Reuters. "There was no such thing as a superhero or a man in costume (in 1938)."

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