Saturday, February 25, 2012

Not all bad news this week 2/25/12

When Michael Rorrer found a stash of comic books in his great-uncle’s Virginia home after his death, the 31-year-old thought they were “cool”—but he soon discovered that some of them were among the rarest issues ever published. The collection, which fetched about $3.5 million at auction this week, includes Action Comics No. 1 (1938), which introduced the world to Superman, and Detective Comics No. 27 (1939), which marked the first appearance of Batman. “The scope of this collection is, from a historian’s perspective, dizzying,” said comics publisher J.C. Vaughn.

Builders in France literally struck gold last week, uncovering a fortune as they tore down a derelict outbuilding at a 19th-century winery in the Champagne region. When the workers broke through the plaster ceiling of the dilapidated building with their crowbars, they were showered with a cascade of golden coins. The 497 pieces of gold, worth around $1 million, are thought to be the proceeds of illicit trading with U.S. customers during Prohibition. The winemakers who own the building say they will share proceeds from the haul with the construction team.

Two Iraq War veterans are cycling 4,163 miles across the U.S. to raise awareness of the hard times many fellow soldiers face once they return home. Jeremy Staat and Wesley Barrientos have already set off from the Wall of Valor in Bakersfield, Calif., and hope to reach the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., in less than 100 days. Barrientos, a double amputee injured in a roadside bomb in 2007, will complete the journey on a hand-cranked bicycle. The object of the ride, he said, is to highlight the rise in suicides among U.S. veterans. “We’re not getting the treatment that we need once we get home,” he said.

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