(ELBOW LAKE, Minn.) — A home renovator in Minnesota was knocking down walls in the run down house he had just purchased when he found a copy of one of the rarest and most valuable comic books in the world.
The comic, Action Comics #1, is the first appearance of DC Comics’ Superman. The comic, along with lots of old newspaper and other magazines, was stuffed in the walls of the house, originally built in 1938 to serve as insulation.
The renovator, David Gonzalez, bought the old house for $10,000, and was curious when he saw Superman on the cover of the comic he had just unearthed from the walls. He did some research and took it to the comics auction house ComicConnection to sell.
“[It’s] probably the most unusual copy of this comic we’ve ever offered,” ComicConnection says in its online offering.
ComicConnection notes that it’s rare to find a “brand new” Action Comics #1, because most of the ones that still exist have been bouncing around auction houses for years.
Copies of Action Comics #1 that were in near-mint condition have sold for over $2 million dollars. Gonzalez’s copy showed obvious signs of damage from the 70 years it spent in the walls of the house, so it was worth significantly less, though it was still a valuable find.
The comic would have been worth more had an overeager in-law not gotten her hands on it. When Gonzalez showed it to his wife’s aunt she refused to give it back and the back cover ripped off.
“That was a $75,000 tear,” said Stephen Fishler, co-owner of ComicConnect. Bidding for the comic is at nearly $113,000 as of Thursday morning.
Still, Gonzalez is happy with his find. He will only be getting half of the money the comic sells for, the rest goes to ComicConnect, but it’s still a great return on the $10,000 investment he made when he bought the old house.
According to ComicConnect’s website, Gonzalez plans to repair the home, but swears never to sell what they’re calling “the house that superman built.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Seth Fiegerman, CNN