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These guys brought a $3.2M comic to New York Comic Con

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He arrived by private car, was escorted through the halls of New York Comic Con by guards to a booth with both visible and undercover security personnel.

But all of that protection, and the massive insurance policy, wasn't there for Vincent Zurzolo, but for what he brought with him.

Thursday saw the first and likely last public showing of the world's most valuable comic book: a pristine Action Comics #1, which marks Superman's first appearance.  The 9-rated comic was purchased in August by Zurzolo and Stephen Fishler, co-owners of Metropolis Collectibles and ComicConnect.com, for $3.2 million. That sale was recognized by Guinness World Records today.

The Manhattan store decided to bring the book to New York Comic Con's first day for fans to catch a glimpse of something exceptionally rare.

"We are huge fans of pop culture and here was one of the greatest gatherings of pop culture in the year," Zurzolo said. "And we thought it would be great to make it into a cooler event by sharing the world's most valuable comic book.

"We had to make sure we had full insurance, undercover security and we brought our largest employees."

The comic stayed at the booth for the entire day.

"We were swarmed the entire day by print, online, television, radio, podcasts, you name it, every form of media was here to cover the comic book," he said. "And then we were inundated with comic fans who wanted to look at the comic."

He said people were fascinated with the comic and impressed with its quality.

"It is a really gorgeous comic," he said.

While that particular Action Comics #1 wasn't really at the show with a hope of selling it, two others were.

Zurzolo said Comic Con attendees regularly spend four, five even six figures on comics at the booth.

"Occasionally," he added, "you get some interest in seven figure comics."

But those deals are almost always completed privately.

"You could sell a million dollar comic here, but I have never sold one," he said. "People do come here to buy comics. It's not surprising for someone to come up and buy a $100,000 comic. It happens all of the time."

The Metropolis case on display at the show is packed with an array of impressive comics, quality books that ushered in the appearance of just about every known super hero. The center top row of one of three glass cases at the booth features seven comics, two of them lesser-quality Action Comics #1, worth more than $2 million in total.

Zurzolo said Metropolis made a name for itself as not just a place to buy rare vintage comics, but specifically the go-to for Action Comics #1, of which only 100 exist.

When I asked him why the store decided to spend $3.2 million on a single comic (a price that he said was actually low) his first answer was a joke:

"Interest rates in the bank sucks," he said.

But then he explains Metropolis' history with the title.

"A few years ago we sold the most expensive comic for nearly $2.2 million, it was Action Comics #1," he said.  "And our company became synonymous with Action Comics #1."

Since 1996, Metropolis has sold more copies of that single comic than everyone else has in nearly the past two decades.

So when Metropolis saw the comic come up again from a different seller the store felt it had to buy it.

Zurzolo said the store isn't actively looking for a buyer for the book right now, instead they're content to bide their time.

"We are entertaining offers," he said. "We have several interested parties, customers who only buy through us."

Such sales are rare and often come with a sort of bond between buyer and seller.

"There are only a handful of seven figure comics books around and I sold most of them," he said. And, he adds, he knows where they all are.

"I keep very close tabs on them," he said. "When they're ready to sell, I'll sell it for them."