Published: July 25, 2017
ONLINE – Now in its 50th-anniversary year, Hake’s Americana cemented its reputation as “the home of million-dollar pop culture sales,” and then some, in achieving a $1.1 million total on July 11 and 13. In its second auction outing of 2017, York, Penn.-based Hake’s two-session online-only event blazed to new record highs in several categories, with political memorabilia and comic art putting in especially strong performances.
Unlike campaign promises that fade into thin air, predicted selling prices for the top five political items offered by Hake’s were not only met, but also surpassed by healthy margins. A spectacular 1860 glazed cotton parade flag emblazoned “For President, Abraham Lincoln” and “For Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin” sold for $40,124, a world auction record for an 1860 Lincoln name flag.
“Early political textiles have always been coveted by collectors of Nineteenth Century campaign material, with Lincoln flags being at the top of collectors’ want lists,” said Scott Mussell, Americana specialist for Hake’s. “The example we offered was fresh to market and had remained in Leon Rowe’s collection ever since he obtained it at a Pennsylvania flea market 30 years ago.”
Historically, on any election day there’s no prize for second, but there was certainly a nice payoff for the political category’s runner-up on July 11. A John Bell Constitutional Union Party banner, the first of its type to be handled by Hake’s, rose to an impressive $13,700. The hand painted, double-sided silk banner nearly tripled its high estimate of $5,000.
Rounding out the top five political lots were a 1912 Debs/Seidel locket-motif jugate button, $11,682 (world auction record for any Debs button); a 1960 “Vote Straight Republican” Nixon/Lodge jugate button, $8,112 (world auction record for any Nixon button); and a large real-photo button promoting “Wilson Day/Dutchess County [N.Y.],” which garnered $6,046 (world auction record for a Wilson button of its particular type) against a $400/700 estimate.
Comic books and comic art were unstoppable. There were hundreds of CGC- and CBCS-graded comic books from which to choose. Lassoing the top spot in the category was a scarce issue of All Star Comics #8, featuring the first appearance of Wonder Woman. Acknowledged as one of the most important issues in the history of DC Comics, Hake’s example of All Star Comics #8 cashed out at $31,925, a record price for a certified copy.
Comic art collectors were presented with a tantalizing opportunity. Within the selection of hundreds of one-of-a-kind pieces of original art from comic strips, comic books and other media there were 22 lots of Mike Zeck’s art created for Captain America #265. The cover art plus all 21 interior story pages from the January 1982 comic book were auctioned consecutively and sold to various bidders for a total of $35,325.
Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez’s original pen and ink art for a DC Comics’ 1982 Justice League of America licensing style guide was entered in the sale with a $5/10,000 estimate, but landed at $12,214.
“There was very active bidding for the comic books and comic art in our July sale,” said Alex Winter, president of Hake’s Americana. “It continues to be one of the fastest-rising collector categories, in part because everyone can relate to comic books and superheroes. Also, it’s possible to start a collection modestly or to aim for the very top, pricewise. Anyone can join the hobby and really enjoy it.”
Once again at Hake’s, concert posters rocked the house. A 1955 Bill Haley and His Comets “boxing-style” poster advertising a show in Berks County, Penn., crushed its $2/5,000 estimate to take a final bow at $17,785. A 1964 Caravan of Record Stars concert poster featuring the Supremes also sailed past its estimate to make $9,540 – nearly five times estimate.
With distinguished provenance from Richard Merkin collection, a 1905 real-photo postcard of the Negro League Cuban X-Giants was especially desirable because it included within the depicted lineup Hall of Famer Frank Grant. Early in his career, Grant was a star player in the International League, shortly before Jim Crow restrictions banned African American players from organized baseball. The only known postcard of any type to include Grant’s image, it was a hit with collectors, who bid it to $13,664.
Mickey Mouse and his Disney pals maintained popularity, in the form of vintage toys, banks and other novelties. Estimated at $1/2,000, a 1930s Atlantic City sand pail with a wraparound scene of Mickey surfing, Pluto swimming and an airborne Minnie Mouse grasping balloons sold for $9,735.
Good things have always come in small packages at Hake’s sales, in particular, premiums issued to consumers either as mail-in offers or as free gifts inside product packaging. A sampling from the July auction includes a set of three Canadian-market Quisp and Quake cereal wiggle figures, $4,673; a 1943 Batman mail-in cardboard mask issued in by the Philadelphia Record newspaper, $3,540; and a grouping of 15 circa 1930s or earlier die-cut circus wagons, each advertising Midway Candy Rolls, $4,130. An early 1940s Captain Battle Boys’ Brigade club kit, complete with pinback button, membership card, welcome letter and card listing members’ good-citizenship goals, more than tripled its high estimate at $6,490.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.hakes.com, 866-404-9800 (toll free) or 717-434-1600.
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