A scarce first edition of The Shadow has set a world record for most expensive pulp magazine ever sold. The first issue of the hero pulp sold for $156,000 in Heritage’s Rare Pulps & Collectibles Auction on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

“The price realized for The Shadow No. 1 is the highest recorded for a pulp of any kind,” Rick Akers, Heritage Consignment Director of Comics, said. “I expected it might pass $50,000, but things got pretty exciting when it surpassed $100,000, with heated live bidding.”

“The consignor contacted me after the auction and said he was thrilled with everything from start to finish with Heritage Auctions and the results,” Akers said.

The Shadow pulp was the star of the online auction, which saw a 100% sell through rate. The 586-lot sale totaled $636,648 – nearly three times beyond expectations.

“Heritage offered a copy of Weird Tales No. 1 at auction a number of years ago, and it sold for less than $10,000,” Akers said. “Thursday, it sold for $36,000, so that shows how far the category has grown.”

The Shadow, first published in April 1931, is considered the first hero pulp with influence that extended into superhero comic books. It instantly developed a following and became one of the most influential magazines, running 325 issues over 18 years.

In addition to this sale, the auction saw record sales for a 1923 first edition, second state copy of Weird Tales for $36,000 and a 1933 first edition of Doc Savage for $33,600.