Published: July 24, 2019
YORK, PENN. – Hake’s auction house ventured into uncharted territory on July 11 with a rocket-firing Boba Fett action figure that sold for $112,926. The 3¾-inch prototype figure from Kenner’s licensed toy line for The Empire Strikes Back had been displayed at the 1979 Toy Fair in New York but never saw production. Forty years later, the production-line reject was the top seller in a $1.5 million online auction of superior-quality entertainment, sports and political memorabilia conducted on July 10-11.
The Boba Fett action figure in AFA 85 NM+ condition was similar to a prototype from the legendary Russell Branton collection that Hake’s sold for $86,383 last year. Hake’s president, Alex Winter, had predicted the example in the July sale might become the first Star Wars toy ever to hit the $100,000 mark. It did so, and then some, landing it in the record books as the highest-priced Star Wars toy ever to be sold at auction. Winter said, “look where it’s gone in just a year.”
“In November [Hake’s next major auction], we will have another Boba Fett prototype, this one is a different version, with a J-shaped slot and it is painted. Who knows where that one will land!”
Beyond the Boba Fett figure, Hake’s also offered other rare Star Wars lots, including a 2¼-inch-tall action figure of Jawa from Meccano’s French release of Kenner’s 1978 Star Wars toy line. Featuring the initial Vinyl Cape variety, this is the single highest graded example of only three of this Meccano figure graded by AFA, and it sold at $32,450. From the Russell Branton Collection, a Darth Vader TIE Fighter Spaceship with flashing “laser” light and space sound jumped far past its $1/2,000 estimate to sell at $19,989; and the ubiquitous Star Wars Millennium Falcon Spaceship also raced past its $2/5,000 estimate to sell at $19,145. “Nice example of one of, if not the most iconic ships from Star Wars,” as it was described in the catalog.
With original comic art now widely regarded as a legitimate subcategory of fine art, expectations were high for the 100-plus lots of original artwork for comic book covers and interior pages, Sunday and daily comic strips and specialty pieces. Dave Cockrum’s (1943-2006) action-packed title splash page for X-Men Vol. 1 No. 95, published by Marvel Comics in October 1975, led the group. Artist-signed and inscribed, with a Marvel Comics copyright ink stamp on verso, it reached $75,673.
Three consecutive lots of Charles Schulz art for Peanuts daily strips from 1960, 1961 and 1965, respectively, came directly from the collection of the Van Pelt family, neighbors of the artist when he lived in Colorado. The name “Van Pelt” is entrenched in Peanuts lore, as it was the surname Schulz chose for Lucy, Linus and Rerun. The strips all sold within or above estimate, with the earliest of the three achieving $26,609.
Rock concert posters were a major attraction, especially those from the 1960s hippie era. A very rare first printing of the poster promoting the 1966 launch of the Family Dog’s Tribal Stomp at the Fillmore Auditorium showed the headliners as future superstars Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company. “The first in any series is always an important milestone, and the cultural importance of this poster cannot be overstated,” noted Winter. The poster was salvaged by an attendee at the show, who later gifted it to a friend who kept it for 30 years before consigning it to Hake’s. It sold within estimate for $24,780.
More than 400 American political items took bidders on a journey whose timeline ran from George Washington’s presidency to the modern era. A magnificent brass-framed 1860 campaign ambrotype containing Mathew Brady’s “Cooper Union” portrait of Abraham Lincoln – a very rare survivor in superior condition – was bid to $17,394. Another highlight was an 1864 Lincoln/Andrew Johnson Civil War-era jugate Grand National Union Banner by Currier. The hand-colored litho with circular portraits of the two running mates sold for $9,864.
A baseball card that was in a league of its own was the 1909 issue from Old Mill Cigarettes with a portrait of future (1936) Hall of Famer Walter Johnson. PSA-graded Good 2, the card swept past its $700 to $1,000 estimate to command a winning bid of $5,412.
Winter said he thinks Hake’s November auction, which opens at the end of October online, will continue the trend he’s been watching since the company first offered the toys in the 1980s. “We were the first auction house to offer Star Wars, even in the ’80s. They really took off after 2000, and we embraced them as collectible toys all along.” For Winter, that’s the secret of Hake’s continued success, “We’re all collectors, selling to collectors, with passion for what we have.”
Prices, with buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For more information, 866-404-9800, 717-434-1600 or www.hakes.com.
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