Published: April 6, 2021
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Brunea & Co
CRANSTON, R.I. – “It was the best pop culture auction for my department that we’ve ever had,” gushed Travis Landry after Bruneau & Co’s Spring Comic, Trading Card and Toy Auction, held March 27. The sale grossed $404,498, more than $140,000 higher than Landry’s previous single sale record. Interest was high in the material, the auctioneer said, as the day of the sale saw 4,587 participants actively bidding.
“A lot of it is the market,” Landry said, “it’s rapidly expanding, the values are going up.”
Mixed in with various consignors was a collection that came by descent from a Meriden, Conn., man, consigned by a woman whose brother, a serious collector, had passed away.
“After I loaded up all the comics, she came out with a portfolio and asked if they were worth anything. She shows us these prints by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, editioned out of 3,000 and they were all water damaged. So there was nothing there, but then in the middle of that portfolio was all this original art. It wasn’t water damaged because it was wrapped in the plastic bags it had originally been purchased in.”
That original art turned into some very high value results for the consignor.
Selling for $14,375 was an original ink and watercolor work by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, issue 23. That issue dated to 1985, only a year after the comic was launched by Mirage Studios and well before it would spin off into multiple feature films, video games and television series.
“He was going to conventions and buying this stuff in the 1980s-90s,” Landry said of the collector. “That Kevin Eastman page, he paid $24 for it, buying it from Kevin Eastman at a convention. The price from the New York Comic Con was right on it.”
The original art market for comic books was not established until after the 2000s, Landry said. “Now when you go to a Comic Con, it’s all these contemporary artists and they are celebrities. But before, when Comic Cons were for nerds, you would meet these artists when they would just be sitting at a table and they could sketch for you, you could talk to them. You could buy these things for $25. If it was a good cover, that was $100-150. The original art market is a Twenty-First Century trend, that was never the case in the 80s and 90s.”
The collector paid $15 for an original artwork by John Byrne and Dave Hunt for Marvel Comics’ Marvel Team-Up issue 61, page 31, which sold for $9,000. The page featured Spider-Man versus the Super Skrull. Coming in at $9,900 was the original cover art by Rich Buckler for DC Comics’ Justice League of America, issue 210 from January, 1983.
In comic books, Landry related that the sale set 47 market records for graded issues.
Top among them was an independent book that went well beyond expectations. The Malibu Sun #13 by Malibu Comics, graded CGC 9.8, went out at $12,000 above a $5,000 high estimate.
“A 9.8 had never come to market within the past decade,” Landry said. “Independent comics are typically the softest. A 9.4 had sold for $2,200 in March, so we estimated around there. There’s not a lot of these books in existence, there are two to three in any grade in the census. For an independent comic in today’s market, we got an unheard of result. We’re seeing a lot of non-comic, non-pop culture collectors, enter the marketplace because they feel these are better investments than putting money in the stock market or putting money into a mutual fund. You can’t get these returns elsewhere.”
Selling for $9,600 was a Marvel Comics Giant-Size X-Men #1 from 1975, CGC 9.0. The issue features the first appearance of the new X-Men, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird.
“If you look at that book back in January, the market average was $4,500,” Landry said. “The last recorded sale was $9,451 on March 9. By the time this article gets published, I bet that record will be broken.”
Also going well beyond its high mark was a Marvel Comics Daredevil #1 in CGC 6.0 that sold for $7,200. Interest in the book is building as collectors expect it to rise to the level of other Silver Age key issues that sell in the $10/15,000 range. “Daredevil has always been underappreciated, but there were two people being highly speculative and pushing the market,” Landry said.
Explosive growth was seen in the Bronze Age key The Incredible Hulk 181. The issue, graded CGC 6.0, would have been valued at $1,800 to $2,000 one year ago and the market average for this grade was $3,000 just four months ago. This example brought $6,336.
The value of Pokémon cards was both consistent and hot, Landry said, pointing to an $18,000 result for a first edition factory sealed Jungle Booster Box. He said that was an expected price and it took the sale’s top lot. In a CGC 8 was a 1999 Base Set first edition Charizard that went out at $15,600.
In toys, the sale saw a $3,120 result for a 1982 Testujin 28 diecast robot. Landry said it is the rarest GoDaikin robot that was imported into the United States.
“Going into it, I knew this was the auction I would be most proud of,” Landry said. “The comics, trading cards and the toys – everything across the whole day was very strong.”
All prices reported include buyer’s premium. For information, www.bruneauandco.com or 401-533-9980.
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