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Rare 1938 Superman comic book found in U.S. wall fetches $175,000

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A rare 75-year-old comic book featuring the debut of Superman found in a Minnesota home's wall fetched $175,000 at auction, comic book seller Comicconnect.com said on Wednesday.

The identity of the buyer in the online auction, which ended Tuesday, was not disclosed. The comic book, Action Comics No. 1 from June 1938, was the first appearance of the all-American superhero by writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster.

It had been estimated to sell for about $100,000, Comicconnect.com CEO Stephen Fishler said, adding that there are about 100 remaining copies of the 250,000 original copies.

"It's so noteworthy because it was a historic milestone," Fishler told Reuters. "There was no such thing as a superhero or a man in costume (in 1938)."

The comic book was sold by building contractor David Gonzalez, who discovered it among newspapers used as insulation in a wall during a home renovation in Hoffman, Minnesota, about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Gonzalez bought the vacant 1938 home for $10,100, Fishler said.

The book's condition was graded 1.5 out of 10 because its back cover was accidentally ripped shortly after it was found.

"Conservatively, that's a $50,000 tear, but probably more," Fishler said.

A mint condition copy of Action Comics No. 1 would command about $3 million, Fishler said. A 9.5 graded copy of Action Comics No. 1 sold for $2.16 million in 2011.

Superman gets a big-screen reboot in the movie "Man of Steel," which opens in North America on Friday.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Cynthia Osterman)

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