Trademark Action Comics #1 Ashcan Sells For $204,000 


The Action Comics #1 Ashcan sold for $204,000 at an April 5th Heritage Auctions. When it was minted in 1937, DC publisher Harry Donenfeld claimed it would be “the most important comic book title ever published.”

It was over a year after the ashcan was trademarked that the June 1938 Action Comics #1 hit the newsstands. It sold for 10 cents a copy. And on the same day that the Ashcan was auctioned the original Superman comic was sold. One of only three known copies in existence was sold for $3.25 million.

Ashcans used to Trademark Comics

This comic was produced by DC as the Action Comics ashcan. The ashcan was created to protect the name and concept from competing comic publishers. For a decade starting in the 1930s publishers of comics used “ashcans” to register trademarks.

They created these mock-ups of titles and logos that they were planning to publish. A copy of the ashcan was included with a trademark application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. There were very few copies of ashcans made. And even fewer survived. This makes them the rarest comics in existence.