We have a new world record for the highest price ever paid for a single comic book. Now, the question becomes just how high it will go. With 24 hours left in the auction, the infamous Nicolas Cage copy of Action Comics #1, graded 9.0 and the best condition copy graded by CGC, has hit a record $1,552,000. The previous record of $1,500,000 was set in March 2010 by an Action Comics #1 8.5.
Bleeding Cool was the first to tell you that the best-cgc-graded copy of the world's most sought-after comic was about to come to auction when we laid out the back story of what has probably become the world's most famous individual copy of any comic:
The vintage comics scene has been buzzing for the past several days about word that a very high grade copy of Action Comic #1 — stolen from Nicolas Cage's home in 2000 and recovered by Los Angeles police this April from a San Fernando Valley storage locker — would soon come up for auction from well-known high-end vintage comics venue Comic Connect. [Update: See CGC scan and auction listing below]
Questions remained: Who now owns the book? And exactly what condition is it in after being missing for a decade and found in a storage locker?
As news broke of the recovery in April, Cage told ABC News that he would seek to have the comic returned to him. But there are likely insurance claim issues involved as well, and Comic Connect has thus far declined to comment on the identity of the current owner — though that is not unusual in these situations.
However, the question of condition may have just been resolved. An Action Comics #1 CGC 9.0 has just appeared on Certified Guaranty Company's Comic Book census — which is a publicly-accessible database of every comic the company has graded. Given the circumstances, it is very likely that this CGC 9.0 copy is the Cage copy recovered by LA police (a comparison with the updated scan below appears to confirm that the 9.0 is the recovered Cage copy). And it is the best copy ever graded by CGC.
There has long been quite a mystique built up around high grade copies of Action Comics #1 — and for reasons beyond the simple fact that they are among the most valuable comics on the planet. This Cage copy has been missing for a decade. The infamous Edgar Church copy, part of a treasure trove of high grade comics purchased in 1977 by Mile High Comics owner Chuck Rozanski, has been sitting ungraded and virtually unseen in the hands of a private collector for decades. No decent scan or photo of the Church copy — widely considered the most valuable comic in existence — has ever been made public on the internet, though the few knowledgeable individuals who have seen it claim it is undoubtedly the best copy known to exist.
Of note, though the identity of the current owner of the comic has been the subject of much speculation in vintage collecting circles, the Hollywood Reporter subsequently ran a story which stated "Comicconnect is selling it for the current owner, which is still believed to be Cage." When I questioned Hollywood Reporter writer Andy Lewis on this point, he stood by his story.
With the world record eclipsed and nearly a day left in the auction, there's only one question left to answer: how much will someone pay for what is about to become — at least for now — the world's most expensive comic?