Published: December 22, 2016
DALLAS, TEXAS – Original Underground Comix art and key books from the Golden Age and Silver Age helped push the total value of Heritage Auctions’ comics and comic art auction November 17-19 to nearly $10 million, the second-highest total ever for a comic auction. The number one comics auction record ($10,389,821) was set by Heritage in July 2012.
“This auction was very gratifying to us at Heritage Auctions, because so many of the lots surpassed our estimates,” Heritage director of operations for comics and comic art Barry Sandoval said. “For example, we certainly thought the Pep Comics run would sell for multiples of the price guide value, but we weren’t expecting some to sell for as much as 12 times the guide value!”
The top lot of the two-day event was a rare unrestored copy of Superman #1 (DC, 1939), which sold for $358,500. Although an estimated 1 million copies were printed in 1939, very few are known to have survived in this grade or better; this issue is ranked third on Overstreet’s “Top 100 Golden Age Comics” list.
One of the auction’s highlights was an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man #1 curator pedigree (Marvel, 1963), which is one of the top Silver Age comics Heritage has sold in 15 years of auctions. The book sold for $262,900.
A copy of Batman #1 (DC, 1940) was another exceptionally popular Golden Age lot that sold for $239,000. The issue, which features the debut appearances of two characters who would end up being long-time Batman nemeses: Catwoman and the Joker, who are two of the reasons for the issue’s appearance on Overstreet’s list. This issue features a retelling of Batman’s origin and a classic cover by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, and is one of the top 20 CGC-graded copies.
Steve Ditko’s Amazing Spider-Man #27 splash page 1 original art (Marvel, 1965) also brought in $239,000. The page features Spider-Man and his greatest villain: The Green Goblin. Headlining the Underground Comix lots was Robert Crumb’s Thrilling Murder Comics #1 “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” complete four-page story original art (San Francisco Comic Book Co., 1971), which sold for $143,400, setting a new world record for the artist. Considered one of Crumb’s most violent and taboo-breaking stories, this art combines the title of the 1969 Rolling Stones song with the events that led to the notorious Tate-LaBianca murders by Charles Manson’s “family” members.
Another top Underground lot was the Robert Crumb Mondo Snarfo “Grim Grids” complete three-page story original art (Kitchen Sink, 1978) that sold for $131,450.
Considered one of the nicest copies of the Golden Age collection with fewer than a dozen copies with the same or better rating, Flash Comics #1 (DC, 1940) FN+ 6.5 CGC pulled in $107,550.
More Fun Comics #73 (DC, 1941), another coveted issue, went for $104,562. In particularly high demand because it includes the origin and first appearance of Aquaman and Green Arrow, its near mint-value jumped 43 percent from 2015 to 2016 – the largest jump of any book on Overstreet’s “Top 100 Golden Age Comics” list.
Other top results include an Alex Raymond Flash Gordon Sunday comic strip original art dated 8-14-38 (King Features Syndicate) that realized $95,600; and another piece by Robert Crumb, Le Monde Selon Crumb [The World According To Crumb], promotion poster original art (C.N.B.D.I., 1991) brought $77,675.
Bringing the same final $77,675 price were: a Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes daily comic strip original art dated 4-21-86 (Universal Press Syndicate, 1986), a Marvel Comics #1 (Timely, 1939) and a Jack Davis MAD #6 complete six-page story “Casey at the Bat!” original art (EC, 1953).
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 877-437-4824 or www.ha.com.
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