A quintessential Superman souvenir has drawn a super price at auction.
The original check to Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster for the rights to their comic book character fetched $160,000 Monday. DC Comics, then known as Detective Comics, wrote the $412 check in 1938.
It was auctioned online to an unnamed buyer, according to Metropolis Collectibles and ComicConnect.com, the companies that conducted the sale.
"The concept of the superhero was born with Superman," Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of New York-based ComicConnect, told Reuters. The check was sold on behalf of the heirs of a DC Comics employee, who stashed it for decades in a dresser drawer, the firm said.
The comic book series was first adapted into a TV series, then a Warner Bros. movie franchise that helped usher in a wave of superhero movies that is still cresting today.
The sale of the rights to Superman by Siegel and Shuster for such a meager sum was the basis of a lawsuit filed their heirs, who unsuccessfully sued DC Comics and its parent company Warner Bros. A judge rejected the bulk of the claim in 2009, but did rule that the heirs of Siegel and Shuster would be eligible for royalty payments beginning in 2013.
That will be after Warners debuts the latest entry to the franchise, "Superman," in December of this year. Former "Tudors" star Henry Cavill will star in the reboot, a WB-Legendary Pictures co-production.