(KTLA) — A near-perfect issue of the first Captain America comic sold for $3.1 million at auction on Thursday.
“Captain America Comics” debuted at newsstands in December 1940, in the midst of World War II. The issue’s cover, well known to die-hard comic-book fans, famously featured an image of Captain America punching Adolf Hitler in the face.
“What better way to introduce a hero clad in the American flag during World War II than by showing him decking Hitler?” writes Marvel of the issue, which was written by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
The comic was a hit. But original copies are harder and harder to come by — especially copies in near-mint condition.
One such copy (given a condition grade of 9.4) went up for auction Thursday as part of a Heritage Auctions’ Comics and Comic Art Signature Auction. Heritage Auctions had previously facilitated the sale of a different copy of the exact same comic book in 2019 — when it sold for just $915,000 — but bidding on this particular issue opened at $1,825,000 on Friday.
The issue eventually sold for $3,120,000, marking the fourth-highest price ever paid for a comic book at auction.
Other popular comics also set records at this week’s auction, including the issue that introduced the Fantastic Four and a “splash page” from 1964’s “Tales of Suspense” featuring Captain America.
“Every time I looked up during the comic art portion of the session, a new record was falling, and with the comic books, that trend continued,” said Barry Sandoval, the vice president of Heritage Auctions. “We knew this was a selection of truly exceptional material, and we’re thrilled bidders agreed with that.”