Marvel Comics credit Heritage Auctions.jpg
A 1939 copy of Marvel Comics No 1 that sold at Heritage Auctions on November 21.

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The $1.05m hammer price ($1.26m including 20% buyer’s premium) is also a house record for a comic at Heritage.

Ed Jaster, senior vice president at Heritage Auctions, said: “This is a historic copy of a historic comic book. Without question, this is the granddaddy of all Marvel Comics, without which we would not have the characters and stories we enjoy in today’s comics and feature films.”

It was first bought from a newsstand rack by a postman in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, who purchased every No. 1 issue he could of both comic books and magazines, beginning in the 1940s. 

Published by Timely Comics, the first edition features the first appearances of characters such as the Human Torch, Ka-Zar and Angel, as well as a character called the Sub-Mariner.

The cover art is by the noted science fiction artist Frank R Paul, and the interior art featured the work of illustrators Bill Everett, Carl Burgos and Paul Gustavson.

The book is graded 9.4 on a scale of 1 to 10, making it the best condition ever found, according to grading company Certified Guaranty Company.