Published: March 24, 2020
YORK, PENN. – Hake’s first pop culture memorabilia auction of the new decade scored a solid $1.5 million, bolstered by sales of key comic books, rare original comic art, Star Wars action figures, political memorabilia and other prized collectibles.
The March 11-12 sale boasted more than 1,600 comic books, including more than 300 issues that were certified (mostly by CGC). The selection was led by Showcase #4 CGC 8.0, a coveted title that introduces the Silver Age “Flash,” one of several superheroes DC Comics reinvented in the post-World War II era. It landed within its estimate range at $75,284.
Comic books continued their impressive run with Incredible Hulk #1, CGC 5.5, with the Hulk’s origin and first appearance, powering its way to $19,275. A CGC 6.0 example of Fantastic Four #1, Signature Series Stan Lee, introducing Marvel’s first superhero team, commanded $17,700.
The auction included rare original comic art by cartoonist Winsor McCay (American, circa 1866/71-1934). His 1903 mixed-media Sunday color page titled “Why the Parrot Learned to Talk,” featuring mischievous characters known as “The Jungle Imps,” brushed its high estimate with a selling price of $49,973. Also, McCay’s 1911 linen-mounted cartoon poster for Little Nemo reached the midpoint of its estimate range at $15,576.
A Darth Vader double-telescoping 12-back-A action figure, graded AFA 75 Ex+/NM, made $47,200. Created for Kenner’s 1978 Star Wars toy line, it was factory-packaged with an unpunched card and, significantly, a white cardboard stand beneath the figure’s feet. “It was a very early production. Only a prototype could have predated it,” said Alex Winter, president of Hake’s Auctions.
Mustering many franchise favorites in a single pivotal scene – including Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and C-3PO – the original art for Page 27 of the comic book Star Wars #2 surpassed expectations at $24,272. Drawn by Howard Chaykin and inked by Steve Leialoha, the page comes from the second part of the A New Hope comic adaptation published in August 1977. Also, the original Nick Cardy cover artwork for Superboy #197, with a terrific image of the Legion of Super-Heroes battling Timberwolf, flew to $14,746.
America’s original superhero, Superman, dominates a colorful, larger-than-life-size poster inviting guests to visit Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey, which was entered in the sale with a $5/10,000 estimate. Measuring 82 by 42 inches, the poster references a 1968 comic book promotion for which three styles of posters were produced – the other two depicting Batman and Wonder Woman, respectively. “All of the posters from this promotion are very rare. This was the first example of its type that Hake’s had ever offered,” Alex Winter said. The final selling price was $14,927.
An exceptional opportunity presented itself in the form of six original paintings created as the box art for Remco’s 1980-81 series of Universal 9-inch monster action figures. The framed paintings of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, Wolfman, the Phantom of the Opera and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, which were acquired directly from sources at Remco, attracted huge presale interest. They sold in total for $49,119, with “Creature” topping the group at $13,565.
Highlights from the music memorabilia category included a pair of Ringo Starr’s personally used Gretsch drumsticks, $9,767; and a rare 1978 promotional album for AC/DC’s “PowerAge” autographed by all band members, including original vocalist Bon Scott (1946-1980). It exceeded high estimate, selling for $5,428.
Flying high over Hake’s parade of early political memorabilia, a Grant and Colfax 1868 campaign parade flag rose to $7,139 against an estimate of $2/5,000. The glazed cotton flag is overprinted in bold black ink along white stripes: “U.S. Grant For President. S. Colfax For Vice President.”
An 1801 Liverpool creamware pitcher with a portrait of Thomas Jefferson and an early version of the American Seal hammered $6,567. Hake’s catalog noted that it is likely the plate example listed in Arman’s Anglo-American Ceramics.
The March 11-12 auction was packed with desirable political campaign buttons, including a rare Theodore Roosevelt “The Winner” real-photo portrait button. Previously unlisted in Ted Hake’s Political Buttons price guides and estimated $1/2,000, it spurred competitive bidding that pushed it all the way to $4,997.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, 866-404-9800 (toll-free), 717-434-1600 or www.hakes.com.
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