Published: July 20, 2021
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Bruneau & Co.
CRANSTON, R.I. – “All of the high-grade Silver Age – the Avengers #1 and #4, Spider-Man #14 and #50, X-Men #1, anything that was in a new CGC slab, recently graded – came out of this one collection from Lawrenceville, N.J,” began Travis Landry, Bruneau & Co’s specialist and auctioneer in Pop Culture, as he described the firm’s July 10 sale of comics, toys and cards. In total, the sale would produce $517,300.
The consignor, a retired academic, had purchased the books new off the stand in the 1960s.
“When we tallied it up, his initial investment was $212. His collection hammered at $102,000,” Landry said.
The gentleman read them once or twice and put them away, all of them ungraded and in liquor boxes when Landry was invited in to see the collection.
“He knew they were valuable, but he said his son had showed his Avengers #1 to a dealer and they offered $1,500. They were unsure if they should take it. We got it graded and slabbed, and it came back from CGC as an 8.0. It sold for $23,125, just $1,000 under the record for that grade.”
Landry remarked that the fresh collection had buyers excited.
“That was a great group of books that came out of the woodwork,” he said, “fresh to the market. The reason I feel our books perform so strongly is because when collectors run the CGC serial number, they know it’s a freshly graded book, a fresh comic to the market. It’s not a slab that’s been around for ten years and traded, these are all fresh books. When collectors look at it, they get excited.”
Other books from the collection did exceptionally well. In a 9.0 was the Amazing Spider-Man #14 and it sold for $16,800. The book features the first appearance of the Green Goblin and the first meeting of the Hulk and Spider-Man. The CGC census lists only 83 books in this grade and only 108 higher.
“That’s tough to get,” Landry said. “To get a 9.0 on a 1964 book like that is not easy.”
On the other side of things, graded only a 3.0 was an X-Men #1, a 1963 book that brought $12,600.
One of Landry’s favorite lots in the sale was an Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, a 1964 book that featured the first appearance of the Sinister Six. It was graded 6.5 and sold for $4,750.
“I checked the day of the auction,” Landry said, “And the 30-day average for that book in that grade was $1,920. The highest result ever recorded was on March 11 for $2,000. So at $4,750, it sold for more than double the highest result.”
A collection out of Cincinnati produced a run of Strange Tales books. Strange Tales #110, a 1963 issue that featured the first appearance of Dr Strange, Ancient One, Nightmare and Wong, went out at $7,813 in a 6.5 grade. The same issue graded in 4.5 took $4,200 and one in a 3.5 sold for $3,600.
“It’s an early Silver Age Marvel book,” Landry said of Strange Tales. “When you compare that comic to other first appearance keys from the same year and era, it’s been undervalued for a long time. With Doctor Strange 2 coming out next year, you have a change in the main face of the Avengers. He’s locked in for another eight years. This is a book that’s low in population and it goes up in value monthly.”
Landry said the Pokémon market, which experienced a bubble in the second half of 2020 and into 2021, has plateaued and recessed back to normal levels.
Still, one gentleman from Orlando, Fla., who had seen Landry appraise a Magic card on Antiques Roadshow, called him up with a collection of Pokémon cards, many of them still factory sealed.
“The valuation was mind blowing to them,” Landry said, “They had no thought of this stuff. He called me up after seeing the show air and now he’s going to get a check for $80,000.”
Among that consignor’s highlights were three factory sealed Pokémon booster boxes. A first edition Gym Challenge box went out at $17,500, a first edition Jungle box sold for $13,200 and a first edition Fossil box brought the same.
The first 52 lots in the sale were from the collection of Eric Baker, a prop master and fabricator at Nickelodeon in the 1990s. He would go on to be the creative lead of props and set dressing for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney World and Disney Land.
“The Nickelodeon material was a learning experience,” Landry said, noting a non-established market. He said that Nickelodeon destroyed almost 90 percent of the material they made when the filming studio effectively shuttered in 2001.
A screen-used Upside-Down Compass of Henry Hudson from Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple game show brought $300. More valuable was a Lunar Excursion Module hatch door that was used in Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks. After the prop’s display at Universal Studios, Baker acquired it for his collection. It sold for $1,920. Just behind at $1,750 was a Disney World trophy from the “Donald Duck Toontown Classic,” a prop that would have been on view at Mickey’s House before it closed in 2011.
Early Hot Wheels cards sporting the Redline around the tires were desirable. The catalog image featured a cardboard box full of jumbled cars in all different colors. The catalog said there were more than 115 examples in the box from an original owner.
“The person walked in and we sold it exactly how it came into the gallery. In the same box – an estate collection.”
Bidders liked that as the box brought $9,000, or about $78 per car. Redlines are the earliest Hot Wheels cars, produced between 1968 and 1977.
Landry said that about 90 percent of the sale sold online. This is common for this particular audience of buyers as a graded comic in a slab does not need a subjective condition report. He said for the last 130 lots of the auction, which included the Pokémon material, the gallery was empty, with all bidding through the online platforms.
All prices reported include buyer’s premium. Bruneau & Co’s next comic, toy and card sale will take place in September. For information, 401-533-9980 or www.bruneauandco.com.
July 6, 2022
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