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Rare 1938 Superman comic book found in U.S. wall fetches $175,000

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(Credit: Action Comics/DC Comics)

By Eric Kelsey, Reuters

(Reuters) - A rare 75-year-old comic book featuring the debut of Superman found in a Minnesota home's wall fetched $175,000 at auction, comic book seller said on Wednesday.

The identity of the buyer in the online auction, which ended Tuesday, was not disclosed. The comic book, Action Comics No. 1 from June 1938, was the first appearance of the all-American superhero by writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster.

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(Credit: Metropolis Collectibles/ComicConnect, Corp.)

It had been estimated to sell for about $100,000, CEO Stephen Fishler said, adding that there are about 100 remaining copies of the 250,000 original copies.

"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)."

The comic book was sold by building contractor David Gonzalez, who discovered it among newspapers used as insulation in a wall during a home renovation in Hoffman, Minnesota, about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Gonzalez bought the vacant 1938 home for $10,100, Fishler said.

The book's condition was graded 1.5 out of 10 because its back cover was accidentally ripped shortly after it was found.

"Conservatively, that's a $50,000 tear, but probably more," Fishler said.

A mint condition copy of Action Comics No. 1 would command about $3 million, Fishler said. A 9.5 graded copy of Action Comics No. 1 sold for $2.16 million in 2011.

Superman gets a big-screen reboot in the movie "Man of Steel," which opens in North America on Friday.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Cynthia Osterman)

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