An immaculate edition of a comic featuring Superman's first appearance in print has sold for a record $3.2 million (£1.8 million) in an online auction.

The copy of Action Comics No. 1, which has an image of the superhero lifting a car on its cover, set a record price for a comic book sale in the auction on eBay.com.

Website bosses say it smashed the previous record of $2.2 million (£1.3 million) set by a different copy of the same edition in 2011.

It was one of the best preserved copies of the publication ever located and was bought by New York-based dealership Metropolis Comics.

Seller Darren Adams, who owns a comic book shop in Seattle, Washington, says the item was in pristine condition because the original owner had kept it preserved in a chest.

The first edition of Action Comics cost just 10 cents (six pence) when it went on sale in 1938, and only around 50 originals are believed to still be in existence.

A spokesman for Metropolis Comics tells the Associated Press, "It's hard to believe that a kid's 10 cent comic could be worth that much money, but it is Superman. That's an iconic thing. It's the first time anybody saw what a superhero was like."