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The comic book industry is getting a boost from the ongoing Heritage Auction, which features one of the best-known copies of Action Comics #1, the comic that introduced Superman to the world. This particular copy is in excellent condition and has already received a high bid of $4.2 million, with the final price expected to reach over $5 million after the buyer’s premium. The excitement around this item, as well as other rare collectibles up for sale, shows that enthusiasm and values for high-end collectibles remain strong despite reported slumps in the market.

Barry Sandoval, VP for Comics at Heritage Auctions, is pleased with the bidding so far, which is in line with expectations. He believes that there is still room for the bidding to increase before the auction closes on April 4. The auction also features other valuable items, such as a high-grade copy of Iron Man’s first appearance, as well as restored and lower-grade copies of other highly prized comics. The anticipation of potentially breaking records for the highest price ever paid for a single comic book issue has motivated collectors to bring valuable items out of storage and put them up for auction.

Denis Kitchen, an underground comix artist and publisher, has put his extensive collection of original artwork up for auction. This collection includes works by legendary creators like Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, and Harvey Kurtzman, among others. Additionally, a rare Superman-related historical artifact from Kitchen’s archive has garnered attention. This artifact is a letter from Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, which reveals a previously unknown collaboration with cartoonist Russell Keaton on a different version of Superman rooted in pulp science fiction.

While most high-profile auctions have been successful recently, the overall collectibles market has experienced a decline in prices after the initial surge during the pandemic. Prices for second- and third-tier collectibles have plummeted, sometimes falling below the costs of grading and encapsulating the items. However, Sandoval notes that prices for more generic items have softened but still remain higher than pre-pandemic levels. There is also less interest in recent comics or issues featuring characters rumored to appear in movies or TV series, possibly indicating superhero fatigue among collectors.

Despite the recent market trends, collectors are still willing to pay top dollar for unique and highly desirable items. The buzz surrounding headline-making sales and rare items like the letter from Jerry Siegel is attracting money back into the market. No-minimum bid auctions are especially popular among bargain hunters looking to secure valuable items at potentially lower prices. Sandoval reports that about 1400 different people have already placed bids in the auctions ending next week, highlighting the continued interest in high-end collectibles and unique comic book memorabilia.

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