Christopher Reeve as Superman
The blue muscle suit that made Christopher Reeve the very first Superman of the silver screen is to be auctionedNate D. Sanders

A "very rare" sky blue muscle tunic worn by Christopher Reeve for portraying the comic book superhero Superman in 1978 Hollywood film Superman is set to be auctioned on 19 November. The superman costume will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles.

The famous Superman costume was created from a flexible formulated German-made fabric, which absorbed sweat stains. Made by Academy Award-winning costume designer Yvonne Blake, the costume was worn by Reeve in all the three sequels as well. The costume measures 18in across the chest and 29in long.

"Tunic used in the flight scenes features two stitched holes on the sides, used to attach the flying harness. Four snaps at top are for attaching the cape. Signature blue tunic is made complete with Superman's large emblematic gold and red 'S' sewn onto the front," the auction house said in a statement.

The Superman costume has the original label bearing Christopher Reeve's name on it and is described: "The label on the back of the blue tunic is typed 'CHRISTOPHER REEVE / 12312 WITH MUSCLES / SUPERMAN'."

Christopher Reeve played the role of Superman in the 1978 film directed by Richard Donner at the age of 25. The former American actor initially refused to wear a muscle suit under the costume and trained with bodybuilder and Star Wars actor Dave Prowse for several months to prepare for his role.

"Reeve played Superman four times and the costumes from each production were reused for various scenes in the sequels," the organisers said. According to them, the Superman costume is "in near fine condition" with only "a few small holes". Bidding is open online and the minimum bid starts at $50,000 (£32,900).