The near-mint condition copy of Batman No. 1 will go on sale in mid-March at a cost of $1.8 million with one quirky caveat: No one will be able to buy total ownership of the book. Those interested will be able to buy up to 10% of the 180,000 shares that Rally, an alternative assets investment platform, will offer.
Rob Petrozzo, co-founder and chief product officer at Rally, told FOX Business the goal is to create access to a number of assets that only the very wealthy could previously buy.
"Alternative assets are something that the wealthy have always had access to, and they’ve shown significant return, and a lot of these do outpace traditional investment vehicles," Petrozzo explained. "But the access lane has never been there before, so what you’re seeing is a young, educated investor coming to our platform to invest in things they really care about and really understand."
Rally went live in 2016 with a model that Petrozzo says every competitor has since copy-pasted based on its submission and fractional sharing process. The company offers a variety of assets to buy shares of, including cars, whiskey, video games, sports cards and comic books.
Starting at $10 a share, investors can buy shares in any of these assets – capped at 10% to prevent even wealthier investors from swooping in and buying the total asset, which they can do in "other markets."
"Something like mutual funds and ETFs are great for a certain type of investor, but an investor now – a 21-year-old or a 25-year-old or a 30-year-old – has different kinds of needs than the previous generation," Petrozzo said. So to invest in something you know, something that’s relevant now that will be relevant in the future is a really interesting proposition to our investors."
Rally started selling fractional ownership in comic books around a year and a half ago, including a copy of the 1963 debut of Marvel’s X-Men No. 1, capped at $240,000 with a $20 per share ownership.
Petrozzo said the company last year offered ownership in a copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 – the first appearance of Spider-Man. The Batman No. 1 that will go on sale has a condition rating of 8 out of 10, and includes the first appearance of the Joker and Catwoman. Only 7 copies in the world are known to be of similar or better quality.
The hefty valuation follows the sale of a copy of Superman’s first appearance in 1938’s Action Comics No. 1, which sold on Heritage Auctions for $3.18 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The comic itself will remain on display in a museum space in New York City, with plans to open a larger location on Broadway in Soho and additional locations in other cities, where the comic will be on display for investors to see.