Published: November 16, 2021
YORK, PENN. – A Captain America “hero-prop” shield screen-used by Chris Evans in Marvel Studios’ 2019 blockbuster Avengers: Endgame sold for $259,540 at Hake’s Auctions on November 3. The marquee item in a November 2-3 online auction of entertainment and historical memorabilia, the star-emblazoned shield opened at $20,000 and attracted 17 bids before selling to its new owner, Wilmot “Wil” Creasy. A commercial analyst with Creasy Group, a Western Australia business focused on mining and metals exploration and investment, Creasy now adds iconic aluminum to his burgeoning pop-culture portfolio, which reportedly also includes rare Pokémon cards.
The shield was constructed for Endgame by Marvel Studios senior prop master Russell Bobbitt and appeared in the film’s all-important close-up scenes. Other Captain America prop shields were created for use in long shots and action sequences but typically survived for only a few scenes before sustaining damage associated with stunt work. The near-pristine shield auctioned by Hake’s was handled with care on set so it could be featured in multiple close-up scenes throughout the film’s production.
Bidder confidence was bolstered in no small way by the shield’s impeccable provenance. Previously, it had been given to youth empowerment nonprofit Sand Sisters Los Angeles Inc., by Marvel Studios executive vice president Victoria Alonso. In February 2020, it was the top prize in a raffle hosted by Sand Sisters (now known as “Girl Powerful”) and raised $155,801. The shield came to Hake’s with a custom-crafted plaque and letter of authenticity, both signed by Bobbitt.
After the auction concluded, Hake’s president, Alex Winter, commented on the shield’s success: “This was one of those rare times when we did not assign a preauction estimate. We knew the collectors would have the final say and didn’t want to cast any expectations, but we also knew the potential for something special was definitely there. And that is what happened – a new world auction record for any Marvel movie prop was set. It’s one of the most amazing pieces Hake’s has ever offered in its 54-year history, and that is saying something considering the millions of items we have handled.
“From the moment we had the shield in-hand, we promoted it everywhere, culminating with its in-person appearance at the Baltimore Comic Con, where it was the star of the show,” Winter continued. “From the day it went online, bids started coming in, but it was on the final day that it jumped some $150,000 before closing at the record price. The term ‘museum quality’ is sometimes overused, but in this case, it is well deserved.”
The November 2-3 auction totaled $3.3 million and catapulted Hake’s 2021 gross to more than $10 million. Outstanding prices were achieved in all major categories of the company’s final cataloged sale of the year.
Original comic art was led by the pen-and-ink Mickey Mouse daily comic strip panel art created by Floyd Gottfredson (pencils) and Earl Duvall (inks) for publication on February 20, 1931. The coveted five-panel strip from the “Mickey Mouse vs Kat Nipp” storyline came directly from the Duvall estate and sold within estimate for $45,430.
Collectors of vintage Star Wars action figures and other toys showed up with “the force” to vie for a tempting selection offered on Day 2. The category’s top-lot honors were shared by two entries that each sold for $42,834. One of them was a Star Wars Millennium Falcon spaceship from Kenner’s 1979 Star Wars toyline, AFA-graded 80+ NM and housed in an encapsulated box; while the other was one of few known carded examples of a 3¾-inch-tall action figure of Luke Skywalker with a double-telescoping lightsaber in an unpunched 12 Back-A blister card from Kenner’s 1978 Star Wars toy line. It, too, was AFA-graded 80 NM (archival case).
With provenance from the Black Ball collection, the only known example of a historically important 1894 Findlay (Ohio) baseball team cabinet photo with African American ballplayers Bud Fowler and Grant “Home Run” Johnson sold within estimate for $23,364. An identical amount was paid for a rare 1923-24 Negro League baseball card issued by Tomas Gutierrez Tobacco and depicting outfielder Oscar Charleston of “Santa Clara B.B.C.” Charleston played in the Cuban League for seven seasons and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.
Comic books proved their rock-solid strength in the marketplace. A CGC-graded 6.0 Fine copy of the November 1961 Silver Age classic Fantastic Four #1 – significant both for its debut of Marvel’s first superhero team and the origin/first appearance of Mole Man – sold within estimate for $37,269; while a rare, investment-grade production from E.C. Comics, Tales of Terror’s 1953 Annual #3, displayed astonishing condition and was CGC-graded 9.6 NM+. Its selling price of $27,258 was on target with the estimate.
Two extreme rarities dominated the selection of political memorabilia. An 1864 cotton portrait bandanna with the image of bearded candidate Abraham Lincoln (based on a J.C. Buttre engraving of a Mathew Brady photo) sold for $35,695; while a 1904 stone-lithographed presidential/vice presidential jugate poster touting candidates Eugene Debs and Ben Hanford, boasting superb graphics and high-quality color, rose to $29,884. Each of the lots had been estimated at $10/20,000.
“Our office has been buzzing with excitement since the conclusion of our November sale, and we’re ready to offer more film and TV props of this caliber next year,” Winter concluded. “Some amazing collectibles have already been consigned for our 2022 Premier Auctions series, so stay tuned!”
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, 866-404-9800, 717-434-1600 or www.hakes.com.
September 26, 2023
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