A near-pristine copy of Action Comics #1 sold at an online auction Wednesday for $2.16 million.

Story highlights

An original 1938 Superman comic sells at auction for a record $2.16 million

The comic is believed to have been sold by actor Nicolas Cage

The previous record for a comic book sale price was $1.5 million

CNN  — 

Someone out there just leapt all comic book purchase price records in a single bound.

A near-pristine copy of Action Comics #1 – better known as the first appearance of Superman – sold at an online auction Wednesday night for a staggering $2.16 million.

The seller? None other than cash-strapped actor Nicolas Cage, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Cage turned a super-sized profit, the Reporter noted. He bought the 1938 Man of Steel original 14 years ago for roughly $150,000.

The buyer has remained anonymous. But “he’s an extremely passionate collector, and he treasures owning the best of the best,” said Vincent Zurzolo, chief operating officer of New York-based ComicConnect.com, which conducted the auction. “In particular, he loves Superman.”

When the comic book first went on the auction block November 12, the top bid was around $900,000, Zurzolo noted. The price rose to more than $1.5 million Monday and smashed the $2 million mark five minutes before the close of bidding.

The previous comic book sale price record? Roughly $1.5 million for another copy of Action Comics #1 in March of 2010.

“I’ve been involved in the comic book business for over 25 years,” Zurzolo told CNN. Superman remains an “icon that represents the best of this great country.”

Cage’s copy of the all-American classic comes with a colorful back story. It was reported stolen in January 2000, according to the Reporter, and remained lost for more than 11 years before showing up last April in an abandoned storage locker in California’s San Fernando Valley.

Comic book collectors’ holy grails

If you’re hoping to get your own original 1938 copy, don’t hold your breath. There are only about 100 copies still believed to be in existence, according to ComicConnect.

About 100 copies of Detective Comics #27 – better known as the first appearance of Batman – are also still believed to be out there. The Caped Crusader made his inaugural appearance in 1939.

An original Depression-era Batman won’t come cheap, however. One copy sold last year for a little over $1 million.

The good news: if you’re willing to settle for a more modern incarnation of the two crime fighters, you can probably afford it. “All New Batman: The Brave and the Bold” went on sale last month for $2.99.