1939 Batman Detective Comics No. 27 sells for record $1 million at auction

The comic sold on Thursday.
The comic sold on Thursday. (Associated Press)
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By Michael Cavna
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 26, 2010

Well, that record didn't last long.

Just three days after a Superman book became the first comic to sell for $1 million, a Batman comic book sold Thursday at auction for about $75,000 more.

Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas reports that a rare copy of Detective Comics No. 27 from 1939 -- in which "The Batman" made his debut -- sold for a record-setting $1,075,500.

The consignor and the buyer -- who purchased the comic online via a "click bid" -- chose to shield their identities (how apropos). And holy deja vu, Batman: Like the Superman comic that sold Monday in New York, the Caped Crusader comic is graded to be in "8.0" condition on the industry's 10-point scale.

"It really has an amazing appearance," says Lon Allen, sales director for Heritage's comic books division. "The bright yellows with Batman swooping in -- you can really tell it was stored properly from the beginning."

There are only between 100 and 200 copies of Detective Comics No. 27 in existence, Allen says, and perhaps none in such "very fine" condition. In 1939, the comic sold for 10 cents; the consignor bought the book in the '60s for $100.

Before Monday, the record for a comic book sale was $317,000 (in 2009, for another copy of the 1938 Superman-debut issue).

"I think this is ushering in a whole new ballgame" in sale prices, Allen says. "This is going to give a boost to the . . . highest-grade of all comics."

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