Published: January 11, 2022
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Bruneau & Co.
CRANSTON, R.I. – A comic book collector who first became a follower of Travis Landry through the Pop Culture appraiser’s appearances on Antiques Roadshow is even more of a fan now, thanks to Bruneau & Co.’s success with 20 top shelf Marvel Comics the firm sold in a single owner sale on January 1. All lots sold, earning the sale “white glove” status, with a combined total of $732,990.
The unidentified Midwestern collector has been selling things through Bruneau & Co., for several months and recently called Landry telling him it was time for him to sell his prized comics collection. Landry boarded a plane with a duffel bag and after going through the client’s mother’s basement, returned the same day with 20 graded and sealed volumes that became the firm’s first sale of the new year. The client’s final 12 comics, all ungraded and of more modest value, will be sold on February 26.
“It was a great sale,” Landry said when we caught up with him after the sale. “All of the buyers were American; we knew all of them, though it’s fair to say there was international interest.” He noted that the sale attracted about 3,600 registered bidders on all of the online platforms, roughly one third of the number that registers for the firm’s usual comics sale; only one bidder opted to bid over the phone, but they failed to win a single lot.
A New York City private collector who was bidding on LiveAuctioneers bought three lots, including the sale’s highest flyer: a CGC 8.0 graded copy of Fantastic Four #1. The issue that launched the Marvel Universe as it is known today, and featured the origin and first appearance of not only the Fantastic Four but also Moleman, achieved $150,000, three times its low estimate. According to the comic census, there are only 20 such copies in existence, with about three dozen issues in better condition.
“That’s a new market record for that issue in that condition,” Bruneau said. “The last copy at that level sold in December 2019 for $60,000 so we almost tripled the record. But what’s really interesting is that last April, a copy graded 8.5 sold for $132,000; this even beat that. Most buyers are buying for investment. Once a book hits a record price, it pulls all the subsequent sales up.”
Landry said his father, a retired police chief, will personally deliver the Fantastic Four comic, as well as the collector’s other purchases – Incredible Hulk #1 in CGC graded condition of 6.5 for $68,750, and, for $51,250, a 9.2-graded copy of Strange Tales #110.
The first lot of the sale was a 5.5-grade Amazing Fantasy #15 issue, which is considered the “number one” book of Silver Age comics and was the issue in which Spiderman made his debut, in 1964. Estimated at $50/80,000, it brought $87,500.
Collectors are keen to collect issues in which characters make their first appearance and the sale had several. Iron Man made his debut in 1963 in Tales of Suspense #39; a CGC graded 8.5 copy with cover art by Jack Kirby smashed expectations to bring $84,375 while Tales to Astonish #27, the issue in which Ant-Man first appeared, in an extremely rare 9.0 grade, shot to $61,200. With a grade of 7.5, $52,500 was considered a very strong price for Amazing Spider-Man #1.
The surprise of the day, in Landry’s opinion, was the result achieved for Werewolf by Night #1, which had a grade of 9.8 and is one of just three copies known in existence. The last lot of the sale closed much higher than anticipating, realizing $49,200, more than six times its high estimate.
“The seller is ecstatic!” Landry said. “He called me just as I was stepping off the podium to say congratulations.”
Bruneau & Co., will sell more comics in an online-only auction on January 26.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
For additional information, www.bruneauandco.com or 401-533-9980.
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