Published: September 4, 2019
DALLAS — Multiple auction records were shattered in the Glynn and Suzanne Crain Science Fiction Collection auction at Heritage Auctions August 13-14. The white glove auction totaled $2,407,620, exceeding estimates by more than $1 million, and boasted a sparkling 100 percent sell-through rate by value and by lots sold.
“We knew beforehand that some of the lots were very rare, or even unique items that were traded privately before making their auction debut in this sale,” Heritage Auctions Vice President Todd Hignite said. “To post a sell-through rate of 100 percent is spectacular, and only reinforces what we already knew: the Crain collection is one of the finest ever brought to auction. We saw scores of new bidders, confirming our belief that this great material has huge appeal outside of the traditional collecting circles.”
More than 30 collectors made bids for James Allen St John “At the Earth’s Core” book dust jacket, 1922, to drive its final price to $112,500, breaking the record for St. John and claiming top-lot honors in the sale. The image once was published on the hardcover dust jacket of the first edition of At The Earth’s Core, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (A.C. McClurg & Co, 1922) and is cited as a significant reason for St John’s impact on the visual language of fantasy illustration.
Frank R. Paul, “The Moon Conquerors,” Science Wonder Quarterly cover, Winter 1930, nearly tripled its estimate when it sold for $87,500, thanks to bids from 28 eager collectors. The watercolor and gouache on board painting is signed by Paul and broke the record for works by the artist — there were three lots in the sale by Paul.
Michael Whelan’s “Foundation’s Edge” paperback cover, 1983, more than quadrupled its high estimate when it closed at $68,750, also setting a new auction record for the artist, thanks to bids from 40 collectors. The painting was published as the paperback cover of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation’s Edge (Del Rey Books, 1983), which is considered a central building block for science fiction in general. Its appearance as the cover of such an important science fiction novel and the stunning detail have earned this painting a reputation as one of Whelan’s finest ever to be offered at auction.
Lawrence Sterne Stevens, “Hand from the Void,” Super Science Stories cover, January 1951, was another popular lot, drawing more than two dozen bidders, who drove the final price to $65,625.
Nearly two dozen collectors made bids for Paul Lehr, “Infinite Worlds” the Fantastic Visions of Science Fiction Art book cover, 1997 until it closed at $38,750, nearly eight times its estimate.
Edmund Emshwiller, “Starship Soldier,” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction cover, November 1959, also shot past its estimate before finishing at $37,500. Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Soldier” would be published later as the highly acclaimed novel Starship Troopers.
The auction included several books that achieved impressively strong results, including: J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter books, $26,250; and Bram Stoker, Dracula, $13,750.
Rounding out other top lots were “The World Jones Made” paperback cover, 1956, attributed to Robert Emil Schulz, at $52,500; John Conrad Berkey, “Run to the Stars,” paperback cover, 1986, $42,500; Frank R. Paul, “Castaways on Deimos,” Wonder Stories magazine cover, August 1933, $40,000; Hugh Joseph Ward, “Chaos and Back,” Spicy Adventure Stories cover, July 1941, $40,000; and Earle K. Bergey, “Shadow Over Mars,” Startling Stories cover, Fall 1944, $40,000.
Prices, with buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For information, www.ha.com or 877-437-4824.
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