Check That Bought Rights to Superman Fetches $160,000 at Auction

Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster sold the rights to what would become a billion franchise for $130 in 1938.
Timothy A. Clay/AFP/Getty Images

Talk about being worth more than the paper it’s printed on.

The check that DC comics gave Joe Siegel and Jerry Schuster, two young artists from Cleveland, to purchase the rights to their new character Superman for $130 sold for $160,000 at an online auction conducted by

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The check is considered one of the most important pieces of comic book memorabilia ever offered at auction, since Superman essentially created the modern superhero and what rights DC actually purchased have been the subject of intense litigation ever since.

The March 1, 1938 check is for $412, because it included payments for other work the pair did for Detectives Comics, as DC was known then.  A notation on the check indicates $130 of the total was for Superman.

The check was thought to be lost, but an enterprising DC employee saved it from being thrown out in 1973.  A brief history of the check can be found here.

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Vincent Zurzolo, the COO of Comicconnect, said he could not release the name of the buyer to the public, but he described him as an American and a first-time buyer at comicconnect, one of the most important dealers of rare comics and memorabilia. Earlier this year they sold Nicholas Cage's pristine copy of Action Comics no. 1 for a world record amount. 

"This is exciting," said Zurzolo, "because it shows a growing awareness among the general public of the importance and value of pop culture and comic book memorabilia." 

The winner, who entered the auction on the last day, outbid a long-time collector for this unique piece of comic history.  Zurzolo said he believes this is highest price ever paid for a historical check.