A 10-cent purchase by a mail carrier in 1939 turned out to be a marvelous investment for a later owner: A rare and near-mint condition Marvel Comics No. 1 sold at Heritage Auctions in November for $1.26 million. The issue had originally been bought by a postal worker who frequently bought and saved first editions of comics and magazines. The comic had changed hands only a few times, according to Ed Jaster, senior vice president at Heritage.

The previous “most expensive Marvel comic sold at public auction” was Amazing Fantasy No. 15, which featured the first appearance of the company’s most popular character, Spider-Man. It sold for $1.1 million in 2011. Marvel Comics No. 1 featured the characters Human Torch, Ka-Zar, Angel and the Sub-Mariner.

Marvel comic characters are experiencing a red-hot popularity because of the nearly two dozen films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has become a multi-billion-dollar franchise.



 Photo: Heritage Auctions