Comic Books

Will an Original George Reeves Superman Costume Match Superman Comic Book Demand?

True comic book collectors know that the DC Action Comics #1 is the first ever appearance of Superman. They also know that the comic can be priced well over $1 million. But what about the ultimate movie prop from Superman? Up for grabs is a Superman costume ensemble that was worn by actor George Reeves, who played the original Superman in the television series Adventures of Superman from 1952 through 1958).

Heritage Auctions has an upcoming auction that starts on October 15 and ends November 4 to 7 (2021) featuring the super-hero’s and other movie items. As the first actor to portray Superman on television back in the 1950s, George Reeves was known in almost every single American household throughout the 1950s.

This vintage costume up for auction is represented by Heritage as original and as a two-piece costume. It is a blue knit wool bodysuit with long sleeves and a yellow and red wool felt “S” patch on the chest. It also features the noil fabric and floor-length cape affixed to the bodysuit which also features the signature “S” patch on the back of cape.

The ensemble also has a pair of red knit stitched wool briefs with wide belt loops at the hips and a yellow synthetic-coated leather belt. Heritage further noted that the details of the belt have been identified by experts as seen in many of the later color episodes and that this is the finest example known to exist. (Image below by Heritage Auctions)

George Reeves Superman set costume

For further provenance, on top of a certificate of authenticity (COA) from Heritage, the bodysuit/cape has an internal Western Costume bias label with “George Reeves” printed inside. The costume is also said to be accompanied by an extensive professional summary of the textile examination. According to Heritage:

Costume pieces exhibit age, production wear and fading in areas, particularly to the cape and back of costume. The tunic bears a cluster of small holes in the vicinity of the chest emblem and proper left shoulder. Sensitive repairs to waist of bodysuit. The belt exhibits some delamination, damage and a .6″ hole to the back portion. Includes copious supporting materials and LOAs from collectors (including renowned Hollywood prop and costume authority James Comisar, who states this Superman costume was donated by the show’s producer to a Southern California university, presuming the executive to be Whitney Ellsworth due to “WE12” handwritten on the tunic’s label), historians and other knowledgeable parties including, Thol Simonson, FX artist on the show.

While there is currently not an official estimate from Heritage Auctions, there have been other auctions in the past which may shed some light on expectations here:

  • A full-bodied Superman suit worn by George Reeves with fx “flying pan” sold on September 29, 2015 for $216,000.00.
  • Another George Reeves “Superman” belt buckle, cape, and muscle under-suit sold on June 26, 2017 for $19,200.00.

Most of other items featuring “George Reeves” are posters from Superman and Gone With the Wind and other movie related items.

Superman was king of the mountain when it came to action comics, but his comic was just unseated by the record-breaking comic book sale of a Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15 — and there is also a set-worn Spidey suit up for auction right now as well.. Whether or not he gets that title back from Spider-Man may depend on many things.