Published May 22, 2013
A home remodeler reportedly made the discovery of a lifetime while gutting a property in Minnesota: A 1938 comic book worth more than $100,000.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that David Gonzalez, 34, made the startling find amid old newspapers used to insulate a wall of a residence he was renovating in Elbow Lake, Minn. The Action Comics No. 1 issue, which features a new character named Superman hoisting a car above his head on its cover, has already attracted 31 bids in an online auction that runs through June 11, including one for $107,333.
“I knew it was worth money,” the father of four told the newspaper. “But I had no idea how much.”
The rare comic could have been worth even more if a heated argument with one of Gonzalez’s relatives never occurred. He grabbed it back from his wife’s aunt amid the excitement of the discovery, ripping its back cover. Experts later downgraded the comic book’s condition to a 1.5 on a 10-point scale. For comparison, a 9.0-grade Action 1 recently fetched more than $2 million.
“That was a $75,000 tear,” Stephen Fishler, co-owner of ComicConnect, a New York City online auction house that is selling Gonzalez’s treasure, told the newspaper.
Fishler said the comic book would have been graded a 3.0 without the rip.
Vincent Zurzolo, a co-owner of ComicConnect, an online comic marketplace, said it was “pretty miraculous” that the comic book survived nearly eight decades.
“It’s so hard for anyone to fathom that, in this day and age, you could still discover a comic book that nobody has known about because this book was in a wall of a house for more than 70 years,” Zurzolo said.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, said he had no hard feelings regarding the damage to his valuable find.
“I am a humble working guy, so I didn’t get too excited when I found it with old newspapers stuffed in the walls,” he said. “Money won’t buy you happiness.”