DALLAS – A 1939 comic book in which Batman makes his debut sold at auction Thursday for more than $1 million, breaking a record set just three days earlier by a Superman comic, Heritage Auction Galleries said.
The Dallas-based auction house said the rare copy of Detective Comics No. 27 sold for a total of $1,075,500, which includes the buyer's premium, to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous. The consigner wanted to remain anonymous as well.
"It pretty much blew away all of our expectations and now it's the highest price ever raised for a comic book," said Barry Sandoval, director of operations of Heritage's comics division.
A copy of the first comic book featuring Superman, a 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1, sold Monday for $1 million in a sale between a private seller and a private buyer, with the transaction conducted by the New York City auction site ComicConnect.com.
"We can really say that Batman has nosed out Superman, at least for now," Sandoval said.
He said the consigner had bought the Batman comic in the late 1960s for $100. With a bright yellow background, the comic features Batman swinging on a rope above city rooftops.
"That cover is just one of the most famous of all comic book covers," Sandoval said.
J.C. Vaughn, associate publisher of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, said most people had predicted it would be the comics with the first appearance of Superman and Batman that broke the $1 million barrier. Both comics that sold this week were in great condition — scoring an 8.0 on a scale that goes up to 10, he said.
"I think that you can greenly ascribe this to a real comfort with the liquidity of rare, high grade vintage collectibles," Vaughn said.
George Pantela, owner of Melbourne, Australia-based GP Analysis, which tracks sales of certified comics from more than 20 auction houses and dealers, said the previous record was about $317,000 paid a year ago for a lesser grade Action Comics No. 1 than the one sold this week.
Vincent Zurzolo, chief operating officer of Comicconnect.com, took the breaking of their record in stride.
"It's an exciting week in comic books when you have two comics selling for $1 million," he said.