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LONDON (Reuters) - A copy of the first issue of Action Comics, in which Superman was unveiled to the world, has sold in an online auction for a record $2.16 million. It cost 10 cents when it was published in 1938.
The comic, featuring a picture of the "Man of Steel" lifting a car above his head as people around him flee, had been valued at just over $1 million by auction site ComicConnect.com.
U.S.-based ComicConnect described it as "the most important comic book in the history of comics," and said its unusually good condition added to its value.
The copy of Action Comics No. 1 was stolen from a collector in 2000 but resurfaced after an entrepreneur bought the contents of a storage unit near Los Angeles.
"What makes this copy so special ... is it's the highest graded copy known to exist -- it's a 9.0 on a scale of one to 10," said Vincent Zurzolo of ComicConnect.
Several reports in the United States said the owner of the comic at the time of the theft was Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage, although there was no confirmation of the identity of the buyer or seller.
ComicConnect held the previous record for a comic sold at auction, for a similar copy of slightly lower quality, which fetched $1.5 million in 2010. About 100 copies of Action Comics No.1 are believed to exist.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison